I don't like to generalise when it comes to men (actually that's a lie, I love it). So in that spirit, here are a list of the typical men I have met while dating in Spain. I'll show you who they are, where to find them and the pros and cons of dating each rare and marvellous breed.
Pijos (Posh guys) stroll into the bar in their not so subtle Ralph Lauren polo shirt and designer jeans. Their hair quaffed into a perfect George Michael circa 'wake me up before you go go' do (without a hint of irony). But rich boys need love too, especially in the form of an exotic (insert your nationality here) lady. You can find him in any bar where they serve those gin tonics with all kinds of crap in them and charge you €10+ euros for. That's just his jam.
Pros: He buys dinner.
Cons: I've got nothing, you had me at free dinner.
The Foreigner Fetish Guy
Any lady who has got off the plane and headed to an Intercambio (language exchange) to brush up on her Spanish has encountered a man such as this. He has one life mission: to bang a foreign girl. However they are often very United Colours of Benetton inclusive about it and any nationality will do. Lucky, lucky you!
Pros: No need to be intimidated by all the insanely hot Spanish women. He really couldn't give a flying toss about any of them. You are the sun and nothing compares to you.
Cons: They are sleazy, creepy, terrifying serial killers.
The Out Of Work Artist
The recession has seen a real spike in the number of these losers. Whiling long afternoons away strumming the one Bob Dylan song they have learnt and can passably pronounce (Like a Rolling Stone), or if they just want to be even more terrible some Oasis (Wonderwall).
They dream of getting off their mum's/ mate's/ sister's sofa for good and dominating the world with their 'art'. You will find them in their typical habitat, on a bench or next to a fountain, guitar in hand, smelly hairband in hair that they bought travelling.
Pros: They have plenty of time to see you as they have absolutely nothing else to do.
Cons: They have plenty of time to see you as they have absolutely nothing else to do.
Harder to tell he's a psycho from the get go as you might initially think his 'quirks' are just cultural differences between you both. But when he starts sharpening his knife collection and saying such classic lines as 'I love you so much I want to skin you and wear you as a coat', you know it's time to step away from the crazy. He can unfortunately be found just about everywhere, especially after you break up and he knows where you live, and the passwords to your phone.
Pros: How exciting!
Cons: If by exciting I mean his mugshot going to end up on the news.
The Cougar Hunter
Although the great strides achieved by groundbreaking cougars like Demi Moore and Madonna took longer to cross over to the Spanish dating pool, (to quote Obama) change is coming. There are an abundance of young champs desperate to date an older woman who can teach him a thing or two about how to be a real man. They can be found saying such phrases as 'I am 21 and a half,' or 'I have no problem with muffin top'.
Pros: The ego boost of the century of course.
Cons: He thinks the 90's are retro and still has his baby teeth.
Often found on dating apps, you arrange to meet up with them once, realise you have zero interest in them and they just hang around like useless armpit hair. They become friends with your friends, like what you like, all the while hoping that you will start to see them differently if you just get to know them. They are often players who have rarely been rejected before so love the challenge.
Pros: Nice to have a backup.
Cons: You find him so unattractive that you would rather sleep with one of your cousins (first cousins included).
The Gym Dude
Oh cross fit. Oh crunches. Oh treadmill. Although the number of muscle-bound men pales in comparison to the stud muffins you see in the US or UK, there is a growing trend for men to beef up here in Spain. Obviously you'll find them in the gym, or one of those god awful outdoor gyms on beaches and in parks giving everyone a full view of just how gloriously in shape they really are.
Pros: They have mastered the throwdown.
Cons: Those who eat cake together, stay together, and that just ain't gonna happen here.
The Lost Hipster
Ironic beards and moustaches aside, hipsters have achieved worldwide domination and even reached Spain.
However their look of loafers with no socks is quite troublesome in 40 degree heat, but they are committed to the look, and I most certainly respect them for it. They can be found in any bar or cafe which nails inanimate objects to walls, serves kale, has the word 'fusion' written anywhere on the menu, or near a bicycle rack.
Pros: They are so cool.
Cons: ...cooler than you.
The Man That Still Lives With His Mum
Yes, he crept on to this list. There is no denying that this situation is still a national epidemic. Not helped by the lack of repercussions they receive from the fine fillies who agree to date them in the first place. They can be found absolutely bloody everywhere.
Pros: They have loads of disposable income as they don't pay rent.
Cons: Erm... they live with their mum.
The Married Guy
The married guy will almost exclusively be found on dating apps. He doesn't get out much so takes any chance he can get. He hopes that your lack of knowledge of Spain means that you are also naïve enough to shag him. He also is pretty safe in the knowledge that you know nobody he does as you are so integrated in the expat community of misfits.
Pros: He is super excited to be out of the house.
Cons: You are not so super excited when his wife finds out.
He can be found in any number of physical forms, in any number of places and is perhaps the most deadly of all the men on this list. It all starts so promisingly. You go on a date on a Friday and perhaps get a bit carried away on vino tinto and sleep over. But rather than wake up to the disappearing act you are so fondly used to, he'll serve you breakfast and maybe take you on an afternoon stroll. Full of hope and joy that not all men are the spawn of the devil, you settle into a joyous honeymoon period where smugness about your happy situation takes over your mind. He then ceremoniously asks you after two weeks to just be friends, who perhaps bump uglies from time to time.
Pros: He is perfect if you are backpacking through Europe and Spain is just a stopover.
Cons: Not so perfect if you live here. Voodoo dolls are likely to be made.
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.
Photo: Yasmin Alnajjar / @yasminagraphy