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Seven tips to successful online dating in Spain

Navigatating the dating scene can be a minefield especially if you are looking for love in a culture different to your own. But don't worry, The Local's dating guru Sally Smith has some tips.

Seven tips to successful online dating in Spain
Photo: MandyGodbehear/Depositphotos

Tinder, Down, OkCupid, Jswipe or whichever other one floats your boat. We all know it's true. We live in modern times where the use of dating apps is a necessary evil you can hardly ignore. Living abroad in Spain can make it even more disastrous as you try to navigate the rules of engagement in a new territory. Here are Sally Fazakerley's top tips of exactly what to do online.

Make your language level clear on your profile

Photo: MandyGodbehear/Depositphotos

Although there are other sluttier ways to communicate besides talking, I would add your language skills to your profile anyway. If you have been on a few dates here as a single lady, you know the agony of one where you barely understand each other. If your Spanish is crap, don't date someone who is clearly google translating his messages to you. All that happens is you get hammered on the date out of awkwardness and go home with him anyway. If he is really hot then ignore everything I just said (as needs must).

Avoid these men at all costs


If he uses a mirror to take a selfie, don't even go there. Photo: Syda_productions/Depositphotos

If a man has any of these items in his profile you need to discount him immediately:

1. They are holding a cat or a baby

It could be a cat, a baby, a dog or a rabbit for all I care. They believe it adds a level of sensitivity to them when really they are an asshole who probably kicked the thing as soon as the photo was taken (including the baby).

2. They have the word YOLO anywhere.

It means… 'You Only Live Once'. But  what it really means is 'I play Xbox everyday.'

3. No clear photo of their face and head.

If they are too scared to show you a recent pic, then they are as bald as the day they were born. This in itself is 'sin problema', the fact that they are insecure and need to hide it… big problema.

4. Selfie, mirror selfie, shirtless selfie, selfie in toilet, selfie in messy as fuck bedroom which they hardly noticed as they were too busy admiring themselves.

Dress to impress


Look like you have made an effort. Photo: DemitriPoch/Depositphotos

It isn't just the hombres who need to step it up with their profile. How you present yourself makes all the difference to whether they are gonna treat you like a lady or the tramp. If you are looking for no strings attached nookie then blow him away with bikini shots on the Costa del Sol. Selfie away loves! For those of you with a more discerning pallate of paella and wine before hopping into bed, go for the 'ooh look at me with my fun-loving smile, in modest but flirty outfit, various friends and interests surround me' pic.

First messages count


Photo: Slphotography/Depositphotos

Obviously the photos someone puts up matter, but so does the first message. Add a few hobbies and interests to your page to give them a conversation starter. I don't expect to receive War and Peace electronically in order to get my attention but ,if all they can be arsed to send is “Hola,” or 'Hey,” how much energy do you think they will drum up in the bedroom? Me thinks very little. And for god's sake don't text first. Have some self respect.

READ MORE: Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain

More haste, more speed


Photo: Nullplus/Depositphotos

Quick! Come on! Meet him! When all I want is a text chat, I whatsapp my mum. She is way more sensitive than most of the reprobates that are typing away to me whilst I am on the metro asking the same stuff the last guy did. So as I copy and paste my same generic responses to equally generic questions posed by dudes, my question is, how long do you wait until you meet up? My advice is as soon as possible without seeming desperate. When is that? 3-5 days. Also, don't erratically text him your life story. You will have nothing to talk about when you finally meet and he will assume you have nobody else to communicate with besides him. Believing this he will put you in the category of women who own boyfriend pillows, cats or multiple cats, more than 8 self help books, an active myspace account or a star named after them.

Don't replace real communication with swiping to the left/right


Photo: Grivalds/Depositphotos

I've been there.  I open a bottle of ribeira and I can't even be bothered to dry shampoo my hair (let alone take a shower) to be in any fit state to go out on the prowl. I want instant gratification so I sit down with my mobile, eyes glazed over, and mindlessly swipe and swipe and swipe. I typically end up missing some decent looking guys (from what I remember in my tipsy state) as I am so bored I reject some without really looking at them first. What is it time to do? Get out of the house. Even though dating apps are getting more popular in Spain, there is a strong social culture here to be social in real life. Yes people, real life. Reduce the slob factor by 20 percent and step out onto the street. It's glorious!

READ MORE: Ten golden tips for snagging a Spanish man

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.

EXPAT

Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents

Anyone who lives there probably already knows it to be true. But now the secret is out: Valencia has officially been declared the most desirable city to live abroad as a foreign citizen.

Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents
Valencia tops a ranking of 66 cities in the world for expats. Photo by Giuseppe Buccola on Unsplash

The Mediterranean city in the east of Spain ranks top in the annual Expat Insider Survey published by InterNations.

More than 15,000 expats participated in the survey which analysed 66 cities around the globe during March 2020 in pre-Covid times and before the global pandemic sparked lockdowns.

The survey placed four Spanish cities in the top ten worldwide; Valencia in first place, followed by Alicante (2nd), Málaga (6th), Madrid (9th). 

Spanish cities overwhelmingly score high for the ease of settling in and quality of life indices but score less well when it comes to urban work life, because Spain can’t compete on the work opportunities front.

The city of Barcelona lags far behind in 25 place since expat life seems to be most expensive there: it ranks far behind the other Spanish cities in both the Finance & Housing and the Local Cost of Living Indices.   

So what’s so great about Valencia?


Photo by travelnow.or.crylater on Unsplash

 

Well, according to the survey which asked more than 15,000 expatriates representing 173 nationalities and living in 181 countries, the Spanish city scored the best in all five indices but one.

It ranked first worldwide in both the Quality of Urban Living and the Local Cost of Living Indices.

In fact, 94 percent of expats rate the local cost of living positively (compared to 46 percent globally), and 91 percent consider healthcare easily available (vs. 74 percent globally) which places the city first in the Health & Environment subcategory.

The climate is also a big draw with Valencia ranking second in that category thanks to conditions that are not too hot or too dry but with plenty of sunshine and a sea breeze that means summer temperatures usually max out at between 32-35C, far more hospitable than the over 40C found in parts of Andalucia and inland Spain.

Valencia also ranked well for its leisure options (4 in the survey) with vast stretches of beach within the city, the warm Mediterranean to enjoy swimming, watersports and sailing as well lots of parks and bikes routes and hills to explore inland.


Photo by Paul Povoroznuk on Unsplash

It’s also easy to get settled in Valencia. More than four in five expats (84 percent) find it easy to get used to the local culture (vs. 61 percent globally), and 91 percent say that the local residents are generally friendly (vs. 68 percent globally).

And more than four out of five expats in Valencia (82 percent) find that housing is affordable in the city, compared to 41 percent globally.

“The quality of life and the cost of living” are what makes Valencia great, according to one American expat who responded to the survey.

Where Valencia, and indeed all Spanish destinations, score badly is in the Job and Career categories.

Valencia ranks 62 out of 66 in this section with 46 percent of expats living in Valencia admitting that they are unhappy with their local career opportunities.

“Finding employment has always been difficult,” responded a French expat living in Valencia.

But all the reasons that make Valencia a favourite among expats are also found just down the coast in the region’s second city Alicante, which ranks a close number 2 on the list beating Lisbon, Panama City and Singapore.

Malaga appears at number 6 on the global list and Madrid at number 9, although Spain’s capital scores the most points globally for “leisure options”.

Barcelona however doesn’t make it into the top ten or even top 20. In fact it ranks 25th out of 66 cities in the world. Only 53 percent of expats are satisfied with the state of the local economy (vs. 63 percent globally). According to the survey 28 percent of expats in the city are dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 21 percent globally), and 67 percent find local housing unaffordable (vs. 41 percent globally).

“I do not like the working conditions, the pay is too low, and the rents are high,” remarked one German expat.

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