Mario

So You’re Dating a Spaniard—5 Years Later

If it’s not obvious enough, I get a lot of blog traffic from people who are curious about dating a Spaniard. Why … It’s not like I’ve written about a lot, is it? Some search terms include:

  • dating a spanish man [Better hope you got a man and not a boy!]
  • dating spanish guys [What this mean, guy?]
  • dating in spain [Sometimes you will go on dates to visit 13th-century cathedrals]
  • why are spaniards so hot [They just are, sizzle sizzle!]
  • dating a spaniard vs dating an american [You will eat more pork]

Guys, I hate stereotyping. Nah, just kidding—stereotyping is the best! So let’s do it. What can I, after five years dating a Spanish man, tell you about the process?

Mario Kaley 2009 Salamanca

Back when I didn’t know that much but thought I did (September 2009)

Spanish men are just men.

Every so often, a hapless guiri will stumble onto the Auxiliares de Conversación groups and ask a seemingly innocent question, which nonetheless drives me mad. “I’m going on a date with a Spanish dude, is there something special I should know?”

In a word, no. In some more words, not really. I don’t know if this message will get through to most of them, but Spanish men come in many shapes and sizes. Some are momma’s boys until they’re 30; some are independent by age 23. Some like partying and staying out all night; some like staying in and reading (mine). Some speak amazing English; some speak none at all; most speak somewhere in between. Some like the U.S. (or Britain or Canada) and want to visit; some have no interest or even have a particular disdain for the culture.

So if you have a date with a Spaniard … First, congratulations. Second, go on that date, and get to know the person, not the label. After all, you better hope they’re not judging you and expecting you to be a certain way just because of your nationality.

His family is likely very important to him.

Note the likely. Again, not every Spaniard is like this, but I see that, for the most part, Spanish men are very loyal to their families. Calling on birthdays is very important. Corresponding on a regular basis is essential. Family meals are likely sacred; do not expect to tear him away from his mother’s Sunday lunch easily. In Mario’s case, the whole family reunites in el pueblo in August, spending their days together, swimming, barbecuing, and paseando through the streets after the sun goes down.

You’re not cool for dating someone from another country.

I used to think I was cool for this, until I realized how lame that sounds. Like I said Spanish men are just men, so don’t start thinking you’re super special because you got a boyfriend from, oooooh, Madrid or Salamanca or Sevilla. Nope. Perhaps you will get a blog and people will tell you how they envy you. Don’t let this go to your head, because there are advantages and disadvantages to all things, even dating someone from another country. If things get serious, you will always be away from family. You will live on one side of the ocean or the other, and that’s not easy, especially if you love your family or they cannot visit a lot or vice versa. Sometimes miscommunications happen due to language or cultural differences.

Remember: You’re just not that special. Well, that sounds mean. You’re special, but not that special, okay? Now go watch some self-esteem boosting videos on Youtube.

Spanish men are not a commodity or a goal for you to have.

Another thing that really gets me irritated is guiris, usually women, setting a goal of dating a Spaniard, as though that were something to have goals about. Do you set goals, while in the U.S., to date Canadians perhaps? Or men from Arizona? Not likely. So stop setting goals to date particular nationalities and start making a list of actual qualities you want in a partner. You know, funny and kind and hard-working and all that.

Spanish men are from Spain.

At the end of the day, this is my number one conclusion. (No, seriously.) I can’t conclude much else about a Spanish guy except that he is from Spain. I’ve met many Spanish men in my time here, young and old, quiet and loud, annoying and endearing, funny and boring … And the one single thing that unites them is that they are all from Spain! I know, I know: My conclusions are ground-breaking and deserve to be included in some sort of academic journal, perhaps? I’ll work on my proposal.

Kaley Mario Gran Canaria 2014

I know a bit more nowadays, 5 years later (September 2014)

Check out some of my interviews from other people dating Spaniards

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Why I Hope 2014 Will Be Better Than 2013

If I’m being honest, 2013 wasn’t the greatest, especially if I compared it with 2012. There were good moments, for sure, like traveling to Amsterdam and Paris, celebrating our wedding in the U.S., and holding our third annual Thanksgiving in Spain. I made friends, met new people, and had a lot of fun.

Kaley Amsterdam Canals

New Friends

But 2013 was, for the most part, a difficult year. Mario’s job kept him constantly away from home. I felt lost in a big city like Madrid and found myself missing my Spanish home.

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Things Bicultural Couples Do

Bicultural and/or international couples (in my case, both) have some habits that can seem odd for an outsider. Most of the time, when Mario and I take a trip, we end up speaking a weird hodgepodge of English and Spanish and Spanglish, which confuses the locals who just want to place us in a little box. (Oh, Americans; or Oh, Spaniards.) But no, we’re not so easily categorized or identified.

Mix up traditions

I wear my wedding ring (alianza) on my right hand because I didn’t have the traditional engagement ring and wedding ring match set. I wanted everyone who saw me, in Spain and in the US, to know I was taken, so I figured I’d wear one ring on each finger. Problem solved. Mario, on the other hand (literally), wears his on the other hand, his left. Why? It’s more comfortable. So we mix up traditions. So what?

We also chose to say our vows both in English and in Spanish, because those words in our native languages were and are really important to us.

Oh yeah, and we had two weddings. We’ve decided we could have one every year. There are lots of states, after all.

Code switch

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Anniversary

Today is October 1st, and that is significant for two reasons:

1) Mario’s been at his job—the job that brought us to Madrid—for one year now. Yipee, hooray, and all that stuff.

2) Four years ago, I started dating him.

Spanish American Couple Salamanca

Our first date, our first picture!

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