• my 2 cents

    posted by Deleted user in Spain forum 

    My fiance is half Basque, half Spanish. We spent three months in Spain over the summer, and given that I'm a 5'7"/lean blue-eyed light-skinned foreigner, I got more attention than I'm used to back home. While I didn't so much appreciate the guy yelling "NICE ASS" at me while I was biking, that was sincerely the worst of it. I get that Stateside, too, so it's not like it was a huge shocker for us. Still, it only happened once in three months which is a lot more respectable than any of our college towns in the US. Other than that, I got the standard 'Guapa! Guapa!' in the streets or the occasional 'Preciosa!'. They smile, call you Pretty or Beautiful, and leave you alone. It's great!

    What I've learned is that there are a few different 'categories' (here's with the generalizations again) of Spanish men, just like anywhere else. The chulos -- or machos -- whatever you prefer -- tend to be rather obnoxious. I think of them as the bros of the Hispanic world, haha. They wear bad shirts, travel in groups, and have identical hair.

    But generally, I've found Spanish men to be extremely polite and respectful of women. They appreciate women for being women -- regardless of their measurements or hair color. They don't seem to have some of the neuroses surrounding female attractiveness that American men have -- in the States, often if you're not a certain height/weight proportion, forget about it! I tend to err on the thin side thanks to my genetically-induced metabolism, and while I've had American men give me nonsense about it, I still got an overwhelmingly positive response from Spanish men on the street. I tried to explain this to my American girlfriends back home, but it seems like they can't comprehend the fact that it's possible that they just love -WOMEN-. Of all kinds. Period.

    Spanish people generally are a lot more direct and aggressive than what most Americans or Nordics are used to. They talk loud (which drove me nuts as I come from a very quiet Old South family), if they think you're sexy then they're all over you, and if they want to be with you -- well, I have yet to see any better culturally equipped for courtship. Basques especially seem to be really family-oriented, but I'll definitely say that I saw more Spanish and Basque fathers out in parks with their children -- and having a damned good time of things, too! -- than I've seen here.

    The temper -does- exist, but I've found that this is largely a proponent of just how much they care about things. Spanish men tend to invest a lot, and so if they feel like they're being taken advantage of then of course they'll make their malcontent known. Combine this with the culturally-loud factor and you've got a whole plethora of possible misunderstandings!

    I'd love to hear anyone else's take on this stuff!

    The staring thing definitely freaked me out for the first month or so. I walked around feeling like I must've had something on my face, or maybe I sat in paint, or something. Then I realized that it's a two-way street. Yeah, Spanish people stare -- not just the men. If you'll pay attention, the women do it, too! I once timed a woman at a metro station, and she sat there and stared at me for a solid 13 minutes. But the thing about it is that you can stare BACK. And once you get past feeling like a royal creep for it, it's actually rather entertaining!

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