After four months in Spain, American student Daniela Michanie has just about figured out why Spanish love to stare so much. Getting used to being yelled at to put on more clothes? Not so much.
The Spanish stare is deliberate and undisguised, and while it might be off putting for foreigners who are used to turning their gaze as soon as they're caught, it's just another quirk of the curious people of this country. Spend enough time in Spain and you will probably catch yourself staring at people too.
1. You're wearing a summer dress before it's at least 30C (86F) outside.
2. If you're eating on the go
Meal times are sacred in this country—a time to sit down with friends, talk about everything except work, and savour food and a copa or two of wine. If you're running to work with a sandwich or eating lunch at your desk be prepared to receive some confused looks.
3. It's 21C (70F) and sunny and you aren't wearing a scarf
Scarves in the winter. Scarves in the fall. Scarves in the spring and scarves in the summer. Hit the streets without one and the elderly women who are walking their little dogs will be very concerned for your well-being.
4. It's 4:29 on a Wednesday and you are walking down Gran Via and haven't you figured out Spanish people just like to stare?
5. There's a 3percent chance of precipitation and you didn't bring an umbrella or a heavy rain coat
Lack of preparedness will result in having to pay for a €12 umbrella at Sol that will last you 20 minutes at most.
6. You are out having dinner before 8:30 PM (and even then, you're early)
Spanish meal times defy all logic, but if you try to show up early for dinner you will find that most restaurants closed or empty. Don't even try to make a reservation on weekends before 9pm, that's just weird. Once you get used to this schedule eating dinner at 6pm is unthinkable.
7. If your “night out” starts before midnight
Spanish nightlife is not for the fainthearted. With dinner starting anywhere between 9pm and 11pm, you won't find anyone out before midnight or 1am. Best part about the late start times? In just a few hours the metro will be open and you can pocket the cab money for early morning, post-party churros.
8. You make plans and you arrive on time
Again, Spain runs on its own clock (literally, Spain has been in the wrong time zone for seven decades). Always plan to show up at least 10-20 minutes after the time you agreed on.
9. If you head out to a sobremesa with your friends and don't agree split the bill evenly
This is one of the more logical ones. The social life here revolves around food whether it's meeting up for tapas before dinner or for a long sobremesa on the weekends. It's the norm to split the bill evenly making the waiter's, and your own lives, easy. That, or take turns picking up the tab. Much simpler than trying to figure out who owes those extra €3.
10. If you're yelling loudly, in English, for no reason
I'm looking at you, study abroad students who haven't figured out cultural norms yet.