• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
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 · 1 Sep 2016, 08:25

Published: 01 Sep 2016 08:25 GMT+02:00

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
Spain court jails five over deadly Halloween stampede
The stampede occured at a party at Madrid Arena in 2012. Photo: Dominique Faget / AFP

A Spanish court on Tuesday jailed five men over the stampede deaths of five young women at an overcrowded Halloween event they organised in 2012.

Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Sienna Brown launched Las Morenas de España after making the move from NYC. Photo: Jenny Peñas

Moving from New York City to southern Spain may not sound like a great career move. But Sienna Brown, founder of Las Morenas de España, explains why it was the best professional shift she could have ever made.

Eta calls for peace agreement similar to Colombia's
A mural in praise of Eta in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Basque separatist group Eta criticised Spain and France on Tuesday for failing to reach the kind of peace agreement with it that Colombia did with the leftist FARC rebel force.

Spain's Ferrari Land unveils fastest rollercoaster in Europe
Ferrari Land will open next April. Photo: ParkAventura

Ferrari is to open an adventure park in Catalonia promising thrill seekers the ride of a lifetime on the highest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe.

Socialists under pressure to allow PP to form government
Sanchez has so far refused to back Rajoy. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialist leader faces mounting pressure to let acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy form a new government and end a months-long political impasse.

Socialists lose support but still refuse to back Rajoy govt
"The 'no' to Mr Rajoy... has never been more justified," said Pedro Sanchez. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialist leader is standing by his refusal to let conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy form a new government.

The Local list
Ten facts you probably didn't know about Spanish wine
Spain is the biggest exporter of wine in the world. Photo: LexnGer/Flickr

As the wine harvest gets well underway across Spain, The Local celebrates the nation's favourite tipple with some little known facts.

Two jihadists held in Spain for plotting terrorist attacks
The men were inspired by Isis to plan the attacks. Photo: AFP

Spanish police have arrested two men accused of plotting to carry out an Isis-inspired attack in Europe.

Voter posts christening gift instead of ballot paper
He mistakenly handed in an envelope containing a christening gift. Photo: AFP

A voter from Galicia mistakenly posted a €200 christening gift in the ballot box instead of his voting slip.

Ex-IMF boss Rato goes on trial over bankers' luxury sprees
Rodrigo Rato pictured in April 2015. Photo: AFP

Former IMF chief and 64 other former bank executives go on trial for racking up huge expenses while in charge of a bailed out bank.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,156
jobs available