When Sally, a Brit, arrived in Madrid five 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.
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. These places are sweaty, sleazy pulling fests where the weak do not survive. 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: Deciding to date from the expat pool can be risky indeed. 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. Drink like a fish and there will be no Latin loving later.
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. 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!
Perfect latin lady man looks like a real woman 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. 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. Photo of a woman ironing: 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 '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 Fazakerley is a British woman in her early 30s who has been living in Madrid since 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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