Spaniards are …. and many other myths

In an attempt to look at stereotypes, I may come across as arrogant or anti-Spanish, I promise you this is not the case. I’m married to a Spaniard and have spent many years around Spanish people. Recently, I have taken the piss out of Yanks and Brits and now it the Spaniards turn.

Stereotypes have to come from somewhere, the British have bad teeth, are uptight and drink too much. I would say this is true for most, but obviously not all.

Same with the Yanks, ignorant, loud and excitable… maybe this is true for a lot of them. But what about the Spanish?

After living here for some time, and seeing the Spanish living in London, I have seen them in their sunny habitat being fed jamón by their mothers. I have also seen them in the cold depths of England, moaning about the food and not keeping up with the drinks. Along the way I have heard many stereotypes and tales, mostly false but some true.

The Spanish are lazy

Probably not a good one to open with, as this one is honestly debatable depending on where you live.

In Madrid, it is like any other capital city. Busy most of the time with rich and poor areas, shopping centres, nightlife and history. Madrid is anything but lazy. Yet, on the other hand the rhythm isn’t the same as London or Berlin, the saying ‘mañana, mañana’ really holds true throughout the country.

Spain has a working week of roughly 38-40 hours, depending on the occupation. These hours are normally 09:00-14:00 then they have a 2 hour break and work from 16:00-20:00. Many people of course end up working during these two hours, so they actually can end up working more.

Many offices have caught up with the 21st century and now work 09:00-17:00, but flexi working hours are still not much of a thing here.

The dark area that even Spaniards moan about are ‘functionarios’ these are government employees. For some reason public offices and bank branches shut at 15:00 hrs daily and don’t open Saturdays. Now that is lazy and annoying for everyone.

So the Spanish aren’t really lazy but everything is slower, but if it was this hot in the UK, it would be slow too.

Also, their timetable is catching up with the rest of the world, but then this isn’t being pushed, I mean why would you want your workers to go home early and spend time with their family? Most here want this to change!

Siestas

This is mostly a myth, it doesn’t necessarily mean to have a sleep in the afternoon, but it can also mean slowing down.

It comes from the countryside, when people could not work under the mid day sun in a field cultivating crops and I don’t blame them!

However, I have been offered and taken up the offer of going for a siesta after a big Sunday lunch, but then that happens in most countries right?

Rude and direct

Ok, there are many explanations for this. ‘The tone of voice says it all’, ‘we don’t mess around with unneeded words’ etc…

I say rubbish. Being English I am slightly bias towards this but I HATE it when someone’s doesn’t say please or thank you. So I’ve taken the habit of correcting them… one Spaniard at a time!!!

Spanish woman are fiery

Yes, yes and yes. I won’t go into too much detail but this is true!

Obviously it depends on the woman. Not all English woman are like Kiera Knightly after all….

Lets just say I’ve been on the end of a few foot stompings, pointed fingers and raised voices!

Spanish men are macho

As above really. I’ve heard they talk less about their emotions, but maybe you would be better off finding out for yourself.

They all have tans and black hair

Well, if they are from the south then chances are this is true.

However, if they are from the north most people are pale and have a variety of features.

No one talks about the civil war

Depends on who you are talking to. The younger generation are open to talk about it and some have even shown some embarrassment, that they are not taught more about it in school.

The older generation and people of the transition age, are sometimes reluctant, as the civil war touched many families on both sides.

Better to avoid this subject unless you know what and who you are talking about.

They all love bull fighting and flamenco

Most of them hate both!!!

They know everything about paella and tapas

They may be able to cook it better than me … but many people can’t and the ones that have tasted mine said it was nice.

As for tapas, everyone loves something from their ‘hometown’ or ‘pueblo’ and you will have to visit their pueblo to try it. Chances are you probably should.

Although, they will tell you it has the best beer, paella, tapas in Spain. They are very proud of their food and pueblos! (it’s not nicer than roast dinner!)

They are welcoming

As above, if you make a friend then they will invite you to their pueblo to see the real deep Spain, this is a privilege, so take it as a one.

Don’t be fooled thought not all Spaniards are friendly and lovely. But most are.

They have a stereotype in Spain, that the people from the north of Spain are unfriendly and the people of the south are overly friendly.

However, if you make friends with someone from the north it is for good. If someone from the south is being friendly then chances are they are not going to be your life long friend… and this is a Spanish stereotype of their own!

They are always late

I’ll be honest but this is so true. Being 15 minutes late is acceptable apparently, but I have never know so many people to be late in all my life.

If someone is always late here they make a joke of it. Well it is a joke but not funny when you are waiting to go on holiday to catch a plane…

Business students would often show up 20 minutes late for a class, without even whispering an apology. But, if I want to finish 5 minutes early they are offended. But hey! that is the teaching English life. I complain more here.

Every house has a bide and everyone washes their ass with one.

Most old houses may have them and I’m not sure if they use them. I’m sticking to paper though.

If you see a bar of soap next to one in someone’s house, don’t use it to wash your hands…

They like to party

What is better? This….

Very true and they party better.

Less alcohol and they start partying at 00:00, it can go on till 06:00 in the morning.

I’ve never seen a drunken fight in Spain, no women in short skirts falling over sharing their kebab with the world, but the bouncers are still dickheads… that’s universal!

The British are bad though

Or this …

The timetable is weird

So you are on your two hour lunch break… what do you do? Go to the bank… No, Shopping… only if you work by a big shopping centre or Gran Via…

Truth is the timetable here doesn’t work and it needs to change. The government have looked into this and many people want it to change. Slowly does it.

Spain is different

This is the tag line Franco used to advertise Spain to the world. It has stuck around in sarcastic form since then.

It is true Spain is different and it has many good and bad qualities, the same as many other countries.

However, I happy to have the privilege to live here and share this country with the lazy, fiery, machó, party animal Spaniards, that I have the honor to call my friends and family.

See I wasn’t that nasty!

Not me… but you get the idea.