Dating a Spanish girl: 7 things you should know
Considering dating a Spanish girl?
Okay. I respect that.
But there are a few things you should know before you start.
I’ve written before about the benefits of dating people from other countries.
And Spanish girls are often beautiful, passionate, joyous… Everything a guy could want.
But before you pack your bags and hop on the first flight to Madrid, you should know: beautiful, passionate and joyous is not the whole story.
Because actually, dating Spanish can be quite complicated – ask me how I know.
My friend Nina over at Nina’s Sweet Adventures has written an article about dating Spanish men. And inspired by her, I figured I’d make my contribution to the conversation…
Of course, long disclaimers at the beginning of blog posts are all the rage these days, so lemme just say: Yes, I’m generalizing. Surely not all Spanish women are like the four or five Marias that I’ve dated.
If you’ve dated dozens and dozens of españolas, please leave me a comment and tell me where I’m wrong. If you’re married to one, good work. If you want real statistics, go study sociology.
And one further disclaimer: if you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s my civic duty as a foreigner never to say anything negative about Spain or Spanish people, you probably won’t like this article.
But you’ll definitely like 32 reasons why I love Spain.
So without further ado, here are 7 things you should know before dating a Spanish girl.
Otherwise, read on…
Get ready to spend your summer at the beach (or in the pueblo)
Summer vacation means a lot of things to a lot of different people.
Not to Spanish girls, though.
To them, it only means one thing.
Be forewarned: if you get into a serious relationship with a Spanish girl, you can say goodbye to other summer plans… you’ll be spending your holidays at the beach for as long as the relationship lasts.
Or – if you’re even less lucky – in her pueblo.
If you’ve decided that you absolutely must date a Spanish girl, your only hope is to try to find one with a particularly nice pueblo – or parents who own a beach house in Marbella.
I remember a 40-something executive telling me, years ago, about how lucky I was to have a girlfriend from a town of 10,000 people, in a nice area.
His wife was from some dusty village of 200 souls in Murcia, 90 minutes’ drive from the beach.
And that was where he was doomed to spend his holidays, till death do us part: sleeping on a sofa-bed in the kind of place where Clint Eastwood would have gone to film a spaghetti Western.
If you don’t, for some reason, enjoy spending three weeks of every summer with sand up your asscrack and bored to tears in Benidorm…
Or watching mangy dogs lick themselves on the town square of Villafranca de Ojetes, population 22…
Well, maybe you should look for a girl of another nationality.
I hear American girls are nice.
(See? I told you I was gonna do a lot of generalizing.)
She’s used to dating guys who own cars – and live with their parents
Most of my international friends here in Madrid think owning a car in the city is insane – or at least unnecessary. And since we usually come from places with no public transport, we’re happy to grab the metro or an occasional taxi.
Walking out of the house and having such things waiting for us seems glamorous and European – almost James-Bondish.
However, for your average Spanish guy, a car is a large part of the seduction process.
Because even though he’s years out of university… he lives at home with his parents!
Just try “getting intimate” with that special lady while mom and dad are sitting on the sofa eating pipas and watching Hombres y Mujeres y Viceversa.
Just like being a teenager again, right?
In Spain, it doesn’t matter if you’re 35. You can be unemployed and living at home – sleeping on a twin bed shaped like a racecar, even – and nobody will think it’s weird.
Most people blame the economy, the real estate market, or something equally lame.
Anyway, Spanish girls are used to dating guys who own cars – or who can at least borrow one from Dad when he’s ready for some action.
But don’t worry. If you’re in your 20s or 30s and carless, but somehow manage to scrape together the money to rent a room in a shared flat, you’ve got a leg up on the competition.
‘Cause last time I checked, sex in cars was pretty awkward.
It was around the year 2001, actually – and I was a teenager.
Her fiery personality is only sometimes charming
I don’t see much of what goes on inside Spanish families. So I’m not really sure how it happens.
But let’s just say women from the South of Europe are used to expressing themselves and talking about how they feel – often at high volume.
You might see her do it with friends – shouting and waving her hands, in a group of 9 people who are all talking simultaneously.
I call it “conversational shouting”.
Nobody’s necessarily mad. Spanish people just converse in tones that sound (to us timid anglophones) like someone losing their shit.
If you should somehow become the target of this conversational shouting – and you will, if the relationship lasts longer than a few hours – the best thing to do is just breathe.
Don’t take it personally. It might not even be an argument – at least by her definition.
She’s probably just never had someone in her life tell her to calm down. Other Spaniards will let her shout – and then just shout louder in order to be heard.
He who talks loudest – and who isn’t afraid to interrupt or talk over people – wins.
Such is life in Iberian latitudes.
Here’s another one…
She’s always late – just get used to it
Of course, as a Buddhist, I practice patience and compassion on the reg.
24 / 7 / 365.
And what better way to develop patience than to wait, compassionately, for someone who needs 45 minutes to blow-dry her hair before leaving the house?
The relaxed attitude towards the passing of time is one of the things that draws many foreigners into Spanish life…
But if you’re the type of person whose heart starts racing if it looks like you’ll be 2 minutes late for an appointment, you’ve got a lot of “inner work” to do.
Dating a Spanish girl means accepting things you don’t necessarily agree with – and trying to rush her through her two-and-a-half-hour morning routine would be the height of cultural insensitivity.
She doesn’t use your flag as a snotrag, does she?
Then be cool: don’t try to hurry her hair-ironing or eyebrow tweezing.
And if you should find yourself waiting somewhere in public for her to show up, you’d better bring a book to read. Don’t even think of calling her out on her lateness.
You’re on her territory, and you’re following her rules: less than half an hour late counts as “on time”. And 45 minutes is “barely even late”. Aight?
Just deal. Don’t be so uptight about it, guiri.
And while we’re here…
If dating a Spanish girl, you’d better like paella
So some these aren’t necessarily gender-specific.
Paella with the in-laws is one of those things that ruins expat relationships left and right, because to many Spaniards, it’s completely non-negotiable.
And it’s every Sunday.
Of course, of course… I hear you. You’re saying, “But last weekend my mother-in-law made cocido… Will you stop with these generalizations? Yankee go home!”
To which I respond, “Yes, but the Sunday before that, it was paella, wasn’t it?”
Anyway, much like dating a Spanish girl means you’ve forgotten about any summer plans that don’t involve lying on a beach for 3 weeks, you’d also better forget about Sunday plans that don’t involve rice and saffron.
Just make sure you don’t express a love for chorizo-based rice dishes.
Trust me on this one.
She might be using you to prepare for a job interview
I’m sure I’m not the only guy this has ever happened to…
You’re on the first date, thinking “Wow, a girl this cute would never go out with me back home!”
Then she mentions that she’s preparing for a big job interview, or an official English exam of some kind. It’s a few weeks or months off, and you don’t think much of it.
But she prefers speaking English when you’re together. To practice.
Okay. No problem. You speak English. You gently correct her pronunciation, teach her some colloquial expressions, and try not to confuse her with your quaint regionalisms.
Finally, the big day comes. She does her interview… Passes her exam with flying colors.
Congratulations are clearly in order.
You take her out to dinner to celebrate. You’re pretty happy, she’s pretty happy…
But soon after, she dumps you.
“Sorry, but this isn’t working out. Also also my ex-boyfriend is back from the grape harvest and we’ve decided to give it another go. Did I mention he has a car? Well, at least his dad does… Anyway, bye!”
Of course, I’m not one to begrudge. Learning languages in bed is a lot of fun. It beats getting a tutor to “drill you” on pronunciation any day.
But I sometimes wonder how much these serious student girls are really into me… Was she just hanging in there for the free conversation classes?
Was she just waiting for the interview to be over so she could go back to dating guys with dark hair and the ability to get a tan?
Maybe she got sick of my carless ass and our sofa dates… Maybe she longed to go back to making out in the park with an unemployed guy who uses lots of hair gel and “goes clubbing” for fun – whatever that means.
Oh well… plenty of fish in the sea.
You might have to deal with her bizarre superstitions
“My grandma in the pueblo always told me…”
Sometimes, what comes next is a bit of hard-earned wisdom from near-starvation after the Civil War. Contigo, pan y cebollas or some such.
But it could also be some wild superstition based on the pre-scientific beliefs of the shepherds in the hills around her town.
Of course, there are people from all over who believe one strange thing or another. I’m sure this isn’t limited to Spanish people.
Here’s one that bothers me: the idea that aircon or heating makes you sick. Or really moving air of any kind – especially if you’re indoors.
I suspect this is just a myth created by the scarf industry to make sure she spends 11 months a year wrapping her neck.
The other month of the year, she’ll be at the beach, extolling the magical healing powers of seawater and kelp.
And another one: don’t sleep with plants in your room. Plants give off oxygen during the day, but at night they shoot poison gas out of their pores and you’ll die asphyxiated in your bed.
Camping is okay, though, because that’s outdoors, and it’s different air.
Duh. ‘Cause my grandma told me!
Anyway. I could go on. But let’s quit while we’re ahead.
En fin… is dating a Spanish girl worth the pain?
So is dating a Spanish girl worth it, in the end?
Of course it is!
Listen: the amount of heartbreak I’ve been through because of Spanish girls and our cultural misunderstandings is truly mind-boggling.
I’m shocked that I’m still – barely – hanging onto a shred of sanity, after all that.
But I still love them, all those feisty females. And I’d do it all again in a second.
What’s your experience dating a Spanish girl? Or a guy… Either way, I’m happy to hear your story. Let me know in the comments…
P.S. If you want to learn how I went from dead broke English teacher to pro blogger and author, check out my book. Earn money with your blog, fire your boss and live the good life – here’s The Zen of Blogging. (It’s got a few stories about dating Spanish girls as well!)
P.P.S. Google’s giving me quite a bit of love on this article. Last I checked I was number one for the search term “Spanish girls”. Well tickle me pink! If you want something a bit newer, check out Pros and cons of living in Madrid. Or my article about sex in Spain is pretty good. Have fun!
P.P.P.S. Update, 2023: I’ve been teaching a bit of Spanish lately, both here and on YouTube, and I have a new article about relationship vocabulary in Spanish. You can learn how to talk about various kinds of romantic (and less romantic) relationships in that one.