Dame un Toque

You probably already know this if you’re reading this blog. I’m sorry about that. Really.

The first thing I learned when I returned to Spain in 2009 was that cell phones are not like in the U.S. Unlimited texting wasn’t so common. It cost money every time I sent a text. Not a lot of money, mind you, but it adds up. Especially if you’re text happy (not like anybody I know).

So, in Spain at least, there’s this thing called the toque. Mario tends to say “llamada pérdida” because he has class and you don’t.

If you want a response, it may only need a yes or no response. Thus, Dios invented the toque. If you text your friend Marcos at 10 PM and say, “Want to meet in the plaza at 10? Dame un toque si quieres.” Thus, Marcos instead of spending a whole 8 cents in responding can give you a toque to say yes, we can meet at 10. It works! It’s useful.

(I know, 8 cents doesn’t seem like a lot. But yeah, it can/does add up.)

Often, Mario’s parents would give him a toque if they arrived safely home after taking him to his apartment. It was a courtesy, but still – it made him feel better.

So, dame un toque - but tell me what you think. Are toques part of your daily life?

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20 comments

  1. I don’t understand. I looked this up in Spanish and I still don’t. You only reply if it doesn’t work? THIS IS CONFUSING.

    Also, I think of a toque as a hat (sue me, I’ve never lived more than 2 hours from Canada) which makes this even more confusing.

    1. If you can’t, I guess either don’t reply or send a text saying no. But if you can, you call, hang up before they answer, and then you both know you meant yes. And you avoid spending 8 whole cents. Is that any clearer?

  2. I miss giving/receiving toques! It’s such a smart, cost-effective system! Unlimited texting is so common here – I use that, but in Spain I definitely got in the habit of telling people to give me a toque when they were leaving/arrived somewhere, etc.

  3. The blessed toque has become a part of my everyday life. I have a phone contract now, which makes the texts I do send more expensive than before–15 cents for both sending and receiving. In August I tried explaining to a friend of mine how a toque works, and why we should use it; however, our last conversation went something like this:

    Me: I’m still on to meet at the same time and place! I’m leaving now, see you in 20 mins.
    Her: In Sol, right?
    Me: Yep!
    Her: At 12:30?
    Me: Yes, see you there.
    Her: Seeee ya!

    We could have saved 5 text messages, or 75 cents! It’s not a ton of money, but when my communication system works like this with everyone, the bill begins to add up.

  4. Oh toques… I remember when I first got to Spain they confused the hell out of me! Especially the flirting toques from Alejandro. I saw a missed call and wasn’t sure if he had called, or if it was just a toque. Apparently toques can also mean: “I’m thinking of you” “What’s up?” “Miss you” “What are you doing?” and just about anything that is overly vague and confusing!

    1. Toques being confusing = yes! Plus everybody toques differently.

      For some Spaniards toque means they call you until you ignore their call, but I’m so bad at it that I almost always pick up and then get in trouble for wasting money! But when toques are used effectively they’re pretty awesome indeed.

      1. Yes!! Sometimes I forgot that Mario was going to give me un toque so I would pick up and he would have already hung up. I was confused until I realized, duh, toque!

        I love that you got flirting toques, Lauren.

  5. How fun! Portuguese uses this expression, too, but it just refers to phone calls in general, and it’s mostly just used by young men talking other man (part of what I like to call the “sup man? sup?” kind of slang). But it’s interesting because it’s rare for languages, even related languages, to use such similar slang, especially for a new concept. :D

  6. It’s funny because my family and friends have been doing this for years. Ring once or twice when you get there and hang up. i don’t think it was a money thing more just quick and convient way to communication, especially if in a hurry or late at night. So when I found out about it here, I was so on board…… this time it’s $ lol!!!

  7. I have similar story from the seventies before cell phones. We often had to use the pay phone which charged a dime (10 cents ) for a call to get a ride home from school activities. We called and let the phone ring once. If you hung up before someone answered, your dime dropped back into the coin return. Thus a “toque”

  8. I definitely need to start taking advantage of this whole toque thing…. My friends and I have been giving a toque when we leave our house to meet up… but not to confirm plans or respond to a text. Some people have started catching on and will hang up before you can pick up so that you have to call them back and use your minutes haha… I´m not shady enough to do that though, unless my saldo is almost up. It´s so hard to break the obsessive texting and calling habits from the U.S.!!

  9. Yes I love toques!! They are genius. But I was so confused when my Spanish friends told me about them for the first time!!

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