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DATING

Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain

Dating guru Sally Smith gives us the lowdown on what to expect on Spain's dating scene. And what types to avoid.

Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain
Photo: TechNopal/Flickr

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.

The Pijo

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.

The Psycho

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.

The Orbiter

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.

The Two-Week-Boyfriend

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 Smith 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.

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‘Break the apron strings’: Ten golden rules for dating a Spanish man

Spanish men are great at playing the dating game says Sally Smith, a seasoned participant in Madrid's dating scene. Just watch out for their mothers - and their wives.

'Break the apron strings': Ten golden rules for dating a Spanish man
Photo: Ander Guillenea/AFP

When Sally, a Brit, arrived in Madrid several 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 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

dating tips spain
King Felipe VI with his wife Queen Letizia and his mother emeritus Queen Sofia on either side of him. Photo: AFP

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

tips dating spain
Photo: Olya Nadia/Unsplash

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

tips dating spain Actors Catherine Deneuve and Rossy de Palma, perhaps debating whethe to swipe left or right on Tinder. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

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

tips dating spanish men

Photo: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

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

tips dating spanish men
Photo: Social Butterfly/Pixabay

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

Most Pablitos who have been around the block will have come across their fair share of drama with local señoritas – think Penélope 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

tips dating spain

Former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy checking he’s going to make it to the after-Congress party on time. Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

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 of the Rodríguez phenomenon

tips dating spanish menPhoto: JACK TAYLOR / AFP

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! When men stay at home and their partners leave for a while, it’s called estar de Rodríguez in Spanish. 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

tips dating spainFormer bullfighter Jesulín de Ubrique (left) had a reputation for being a bit of ladies’ man. Photo by DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP

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

A still from Pedro Almodóvar’s film “Volver”, which similarly to most of his films has strong-willed Spanish women at the forefront.

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 ‘la 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 Smith is a British woman in her 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.

READ MORE: Seven of the best cheesy chat up lines in Spanish

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