• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Valentine's Day
Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
Sally Fazakerley on navigating the perilous path to true love

Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man

The Local · 13 Feb 2016, 09:25

Published: 13 Feb 2016 09:25 GMT+01:00

When Sally, a Brit, arrived in Madrid five years ago she had the rather unrealistic expectation that Javier Bardem lookalikes would be queuing up to sweep her off her feet. The reality has been somewhat different.

Now in her early 30s and a seasoned veteran of the dating scene she tells the Local how to avoid the pitfalls of a Spanish mummy´s boy and the perils of communicating through the language barrier.

Here are Sally´s top ten tips for navigating the perilous path to true love in Spain.

1 - Breaking the apron strings

Photo of a man and his mother:Shutterstock

If you believe you can move the relationship along at a snail´s pace and build up to meeting the family at around the six- month mark, then think again. If he´s into you then you can expect him to ask you to meet his mum, cousins and uncle Jose pretty quickly. Spanish men typically are still living at home until well into their 30s so his mum is likely to be the queen of his world (who irons his pants and gives him a Tupperware to take to the office).

I avoided this by always trying to choose men whose family lived in another city, or preferably another country. Latin American guys are good for this reason (though wrong for so many others).

You better make mummy happy. It´s a deal breaker.

2 - Take a dictionary

Photo of a man with a dictionary:Shutterstock

At intercambios (language exchanges) you won´t just be swapping your mother tongues. These places are sweaty, sleazy pulling fests where the weak do not survive.  Beware of guys who are looking for a ‘2 for 1’ bonus of sex with you and free English classes. Another word to the wise… if your Spanish level isn´t great, you could end up dating a boring loser and not even realize until he has cleared out a drawer for you in the wardrobe of his mum´s house where he lives.

3 - Get online

A photo of woman online dating:Shutterstock

That said, when it comes to internet dating, having the language barrier can be a big positive. Use the fact that you are an English speaker as your selling point in your profile and there will be a lot more swipes to the right. Plus you can weed out weirdos before you actually meet. Just beware of misleading profiles: guys who cover up their faces with sunglasses or baseball caps to hide how they really look, selfie-mirror dudes and any man with his shirt off (unless you are looking for a one night stand too). 

4 - Avoid Peter Pan

Image of Peter Pan:Shutterstock

Deciding to date from the expat pool can be risky indeed. On the one hand you don´t need word reference to send a Whatsapp message to them, on the other hand beware of the immature travelling type who will not only avoid commitment with any woman, but also be incapable of simple tasks like wearing a pair of matching socks or having a bank account.

5 - Don't expect him to keep up

Photo of a man passed out on a bench:Shutterstock

As a British woman, I can tell you for sure that I can drink any Spanish guy under the table. He is stumbling to the bathroom to throw up on his shoes and I am searching for the shots menu. That´s all well and good until you have to dodge the obligatory goodnight kiss. Moderation please. Drink like a fish and there will be no Latin loving later.

6 - Play up your non-crazy side

Photo of Javier Bardem and Penelope who played his 'crazy' girlfriend in the 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona Screengrab:YouTube/vikitrailers

Most Pablitos who have been around the block will have come across their fair share of drama with local señoritas – think Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and you´ll get the picture. If you seem like a cool chica who is low maintenance and won´t get jealous because they want some time out with the boys, you´ll come across as a breath of fresh air in Spain.

7 - Forget about timekeeping

Photo of a woman with clock:Shutterstock

Don't expect fixed plans days in advance with a slow build up, or even a clear idea of what you will be doing and when. If you arrive on time, you´ll be sipping your two euro glass of rueda totally alone for at least 20 minutes to half an hour.

8 - Beware the Rodriguez phenomenon

Photo of a man hiding his wedding ring:Shutterstock

When a married Spanish man gets left alone in the big city in the summer while his long suffering wife takes the kids to the beach house, watch out! These men are looking for a good time and what better gift from heaven than a foreign girl new to Spain ready to start their engines? Look for the ring indentation on their right hand. Once you see it, run like the wind.

9 - Tear up the rules of seduction

Photo of a man whispering in a woman´s ear:Shutterstock

Being used to a rather less seductive approach of picking up women from my British exes, I was happily surprised at the way in which Spanish men played the game. Words that would seem ridiculous coming from an English speaker take on a new charm when spoken with a Spanish accent. He'll mostly stick to the traditional plans of dinner, drinks and the cinema at the early stage. When it comes to who pays, I have seen both ends of the spectrum from the stingiest to the most generous. My belief is, if he doesn´t think you are worth at least a meal, bin him.

10 - Remember that old traditions die hard

Story continues below…

Photo of a woman ironing:Shutterstock

Of course Spain has come a long way in terms of equality between men and women, but there is still a long way to go. If you survive the dating stage and think about getting serious and moving in together, it can become a battle of the sexes. If he has only lived with 'madre' and his accommodating sisters, then you could be looking at an uphill battle not to take over this role and do the lion's share of the housework. Try and date a guy who has already lived with someone and therefore comes adequately trained.

Sally Fazakerley is a British woman in her early 30s who has been living in Madrid since 2010. After finishing her degree in Psychology she moved to Spain to teach and sing in a band while undertaking an unofficial psychological study of Spanish men.

The Dos and don'ts of dating a Spanish woman

From our other editions:

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for love in another of The Local’s countries then we have plenty more tips for you.

The Local France: How to date a Frenchman and How to date a French woman

The Local Austria: Nine things to know before you date an Austrian

The Local Switzerland: Ten tips for finding true love in Switzerland

The Local Norway: 12 tips on how to snag a Norwegian

The Local Germany: Five reasons you should date a German (and five not to)

The Local Italy: Five reasons to date an Italian (and five not to)

The Local Sweden: Five reasons to date a Swede (and five not to)

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gibraltar stands defiant against Spain after Brexit vote
Gibraltar's First Minister said there would be no negotiating with Spain. Photo: AFP

Gibraltar's Chief Minister made very clear that the British Overseas Territory would not bow to pressure from Spain after Brexit.

Brexit
Anxiety over Brexit damage to UK-Spain bilateral trade

The Local canvassed the views of British businesses in Spain to see what they thought about Brexit.

Brexit
View from the Costa: British expats fear time in sun is over
British people enjoy a drink on a terrace in Ohriuela. Photo: AFP

After Brexit, many British expats feared on Friday their golden time in the sun could be over...

Brexit
Black Friday: Spanish markets plummet with news of  Brexit
The IBEX has fallen 12 percent since Brexit result. Photo: AFP

Spain’s IBEX suffered the worst fall in its history on Friday after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Brexit
Rajoy: British expats will have same rights in Spain...for now
Rajoy urges Brits to keep calm and carry on. Photo: AFP

Spain's premier on Friday sought to reassure Britons living in Spain after the Brexit vote, saying that for now, they would keep the same rights to live and work there.

Brexit
Will Brexit affect Sunday's general election in Spain?
Spain goes to the polls again on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Spain's conservative interim Prime Minister looks set to benefit as his countrymen fear economic repercussions from the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Brexit limbo: What happens next for expat Brits in Spain?
Is a storm brewing for British expats? Photo: AFP

So what happens now for Brits in Spain? Nothing too dramatic, but a lot of uncertainty amid legal limbo.

Brexit
Brexit: Spain calls for shared sovereignty over Gibraltar
Photo: AFP

Spain has proposed sharing sovereignty over The Rock after the UK made the decision to leave the EU.

Spanish politicans united in their reaction to Brexit
Photo: AFP

Just two days before the vote on Sunday, the Brexit result served to achieve the impossible, it united Spanish politicans from across the political spectrum, at least in decrying the UK choosing to leave the European Union.

Worried after Brexit? Here’s how to become Spanish
Photo: Patrick Dobeson/Flickr

Now the UK has voted to leave the EU many Britons living in Spain will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a Spanish citizen. Here’s some guidance.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
International
Spain REALLY wants Britain to stay in EU and here's why
National
Don't jump! Officials in Spain warn against 'balconing' craze
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Girl's best friend: Four-year-old finds comfort with a bull
Politics
Hilarious video pokes fun at expats in Spain over Brexit
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
National
Spain knocked off top spot for world's best restaurant
International
Meet the Spaniard working as North Korea's secret weapon
National
Sheep invade Spanish city after shepherd takes a snooze
Features
Five brilliant ways to beat the crowds in Barcelona
National
Experts warn of jellyfish boom across Spain's beaches
Politics
Are these the weirdest political campaign ads ever?
National
Giant inflatable poo goes walkies from town square
Lifestyle
Spanish study proves fat really ISN'T bad for you
National
President Obama announces three-day visit to Spain in July
International
Couple found dead on yacht in Catalonia after 'drugs binge'
National
Hotting up! Spain set for hotter than average summer
International
'British expats could lose right to live in Spain' warns Rajoy
National
Spanish resort bans blow-up dolls and novelty willies
Lifestyle
The ultimate guide to Spanish wedding etiquette
Spanish police quiz suspect over boy missing since 2007
National
The Spanish gum that cures hangovers AND boosts libido
Society
How a quiet Barcelona block became a hotbed of protests
3,414
jobs available