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Spanish Men v British Men

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 19th Jan 2012

The high number of 'Spanglish' relationships going on here in Spain has been intriguing me for a while.

I have a few friends and acquaintances in the British geezer / Spanish Chica situation, but hardly any at all in the Spanish Hombre / British Bird opposite category, and wondered if this was simply a coincidence, or if there was a specific reason as to why this may be. Or at least in my area of Spain.

Is there some kind of prestige or mystique in dating somebody from a different country ? Is it really more exotic to date somebody from another culture ? Is it really that hard work to be married to someone who speaks a different language ? Can you really get away with pretending that you simply 'don't understand' the middle of heated argument ? Shall I stop rattling on and get on with the Blog ?

Of course, I do know that the Spanish Hombre / British Bird relationship does exist here in Spain from reading Mo's Spainstruck Blog.

Except in her case would probably be Scottish Lassie. Better get that straight at this point...

I also know that there is a massive contingent of North American / Spanish co-habiting shenanigans going on in Spain too (... Sound of gauntlet being thrown down to Not Hemmingway's Spain), but as I have zero experience of that it would be perhaps be best left alone for somebody else to blog about.

Anyway, so I spoke with one of My Spanish Amigas about the difference that she noticed between dating Spanish and British men, and asked Mo the same question with regards to her sitaution. Call it some kind of social experiment if you like.... [Panorama Executive Producers can reach me via the comments box at the foot of the page].

Spanish Men versus British Men

From asking my Spanish friend the differences (Note I didn't say 'benefits'...) she noticed about dating British Men as opposed to Spanish men, she had the following to tell me (her words and observations, not mine...)

- British men can and will cook. Spanish men will cook, but only as long as it is a barbeque or a Paella (must be something about the outdoors ?). After around 30 years of marriage a Spanish Husband 'might' agree that his wife cooks almost as good as his Mother.

- Cleaning and Ironing is Woman's work. Spanish men will rarely help around the house and not even know what an iron is, or where it is kept, but often have a spotless car. A British guy may ‘occasionally’ help out.

- With a Spanish guy friends always come first, so a girl needs to be ready for constant late arrivals due to their boyfriend was having a drink, or two and then moving on to another bar and losing track of time .... Although they are sometimes considerate enough to bring you churros for breakfast at 8am in the morning on their way home.

- Flowers ? - If they ever bring their girlfriend flowers they usually either have one thing on their mind or they feel guilty about something (then again, in my experience that is often the case with men the world over !)

- As far as friendship is concerned, British men seem (reasonably) happy for their girlfriend to have other male friends or work colleagues and some independence. As far as most Spanish men are concerned if you have just one male acquaintance, then you are sleeping with him - the concept of JUST friendship between a man and a woman hasn’t reached this country yet.

Of course, I attempted to wrench the rose-tinted spectacles from her face and remind her that she hadn't actually dated a Spanish man for some time and that things may have moved on over the last decade that she had been ‘off the shelf’. Ditto, the fact that all the Spanish men she had dated were of a similar age to herself - which, at that time would have been early 20's - surely it would be unfair to tar all Spanish men (and British men) of all ages with the same brush ?

So come on Spainstruck - set the record straight....!

Comment on this Blog

Friendships between men and women are really common in Spain!! At least they are in Madrid where i live. Its much more common than in the uk (where I'm from).
Gemma Phillips - Sun, 4th Sep 2016
Mr Grumpy : pleasure! I felt like bad reading that. I dont compare Spanish men and British men, they are all valid, why not. And you can find as well unpolite and rude people either Spain as UK but I dont like people generalising about Spanish men because it hurts to me because Im not "that kind of man". Thank you so much for your reply and my sincere apologize if I was tough at that
Adb - Sat, 10th May 2014
Adb : interesting and valid points, and I hope you caught the fact that the piece was written 'tongue in cheek'. As a matter of interest, I wonder what your thoughts are on Mo's Blog (link in above article) where she offers her opinion on the same issue, from a different perspective ? Thanks for commenting.
Mr Grumpy - Sat, 10th May 2014
WHAT??! Im 100% Spanish from Spain and all you say it "false". I cook, and far from Paella and Ive been cooking all my life and I cook, being pretty sure, better than the 95% of the english men...and women, because Ive seen no one cooking here, just going to pret a manger or the typical fast food place. Responsible? Im engineer, got 3 degrees and Im finishing my phd, I work in a multinational company in an executive position in London....does it sound unresponsible? nothing else to say on that. Cleaning and ironing?? Ive been living alone since I was 8 and now Im 32 so...I know how to clean and to iron... as the usual english people getting the clothes to the laundrette all the time.... yes you are right again. Flowers? Wine? its non sense, are basing all your words in "one experience", Spain is much more and the people is not like that. Anyway I have to say, all Ive seen here in UK, keeping some "weird cases", are worst than your words through the Spanish men....
Adb - Sat, 10th May 2014
Just came across your blog through the british woman who did the spanish men are better than english 15 reasons blog. Moving to Nevarra in September and doing my research. This one made me laugh! I'll keep reading!
Hannah - Fri, 1st Mar 2013
It's easy to generalise here, but a lot of my female Spanish friends have told me that they could never imagine being in a relationship with a Spanish man because of the independance that they have (by which, I assume, they mean that they would not get this with a Spanish man ?). Perhaps a Spanish man in a relationship with a Brit woman knows and accepts that he can't take the P155 on this score, so this never becomes an issue ?
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 24th Jun 2012
my partner is a spanish male and i am a (scottish lassie) :) i have been with my spanish man for 2 years now and i think there is a diffrence between them and british men. from my experience spanish men are very protective and like to know that thier girlfriend is not paying attention to any other man doesnt matter if its only a friendship, he does this by making sure all my needs are met and makes me feel special ( most of the time lol) and not giving out signals of jelousy. in my view this is what keeps me interested because i know he wants me all to himself but he feels confident enough to trust in me, he doesnt know where any of the cleaning products are in our house but he does have an attempt at times.... done badly ( not sure if on purpose) but he tries:) he always cooks me amazing food and loves to cook for me when im tired or having a bad day . he is very attentive but has the tendancy not to listen very well and likes alot of time with his male friends going surfing etc.
Dee111 - Sun, 24th Jun 2012
Yes Mr. Not Hemingway, ask Mrs. Not Hemingway and maybe I can draft in Mr. Mo for more help!
Mo - Wed, 29th Feb 2012
Hemmingway, I think you and Mrs Hemmingway need to arrange a similar Blog to Mo & I with regards to Spanish V American men... ?
Mr Grumpy - Tue, 28th Feb 2012
I think Carry needs to elaborate a bit on what she means.
Mo - Tue, 28th Feb 2012
Carry, I think you're confusing Brits and Americans... It's easy to do since both speak English. We (Americans) are the ones who are all smiles. Except for Humphrey Bogart. And all New Yorkers. Or maybe all of New England. Okay, the stereotype should be: All American Men are all smiles except those from the Northeast, and any others who try too hard to be like Humphrey Bogart.
Not Hemingway's Spain - Tue, 28th Feb 2012
Carry, how can 'I be wrong' ? - I am not making any judgements or observations, just passing on my (Spanish) Friend's observations on Spanish v British Men. As a British Man living with a British Woman how can I make any observations about Spanish / British relationships ? And you will need to elaborate on the whole 'Whimps' and 'Smiles' point. I for one never smile, so that rules me out of your sweeping stereotype.
Mr Grumpy - Tue, 28th Feb 2012
U are definitely very very very ! Wrong about Spanish men , and I think Brits are whimps and there smiles are to cheesy
Carry - Tue, 28th Feb 2012
My husband is nothing like my stereotypical portrayal! All right, he does do the shoulder shaking thing and he is a bit of a sabelotodo, and he does eat anything ...etc etc, but he´s brilliant round the house, helping out, he cooks really well and would rather be home with us than anywhere else. I think a lot of things come into play - age, education, general culture, travel experience as well as the attitude of the women around him. Like me for example - I´m a no nonsense gal!
Mo - Fri, 27th Jan 2012
Hmm, I'm one of the ones participating in American/Spanish co-habiting shenanigans, and in my case, most of those observations don't apply. He cooks, more than I do actually, helps around the house quite a lot, and I come before his friends, so no late arrivals either. He also is not into football, so I never have to compete with whatever game is on tv (funny your Spanish friend didn't mention that). Maybe my husband is the exception that proves the rule? Well, whatever...he's mine, and that's all that matters!
Mother Theresa - Thu, 26th Jan 2012
Brilliant Orwell quote! Happy Burns Day (the cheaper version).
Mo - Wed, 25th Jan 2012
"And the Americans aren't happy minding their own business so they mind everyone else's."--An(other) Expat in Spain
Not Hemingway's Spain - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
" The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad " : George Orwell
Mr Grumpy - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
No danger there. It's been more than a couple of hundred years since the English Parliament ran us, and we Americans still occasionally blame our failings on the Brits. Just for the sport of it. #TwoCountriesDividedByACommonLanguage
Not Hemingway's Spain - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
Fair point. You can have one when we all get to be countries! Anyway you´ve got the nicest buildings. It´s hard to imagine such a fragmented Britain and I can see both sides of the argument. As for the Scots, if we were independent the danger would be that we´d have nobody to blame our failings on! (usually at present the English!).
Mo - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
I agree with you Mo, I just feel agreived that England is the ONLY country in the UK NOT to have it's own parliament - Scoland and Ireland have theirs, Wales has their assembly, even the Isle of Man has their own - but nothing for England ! - The Houses of Parliament is a UK Parliament, but the English are seemingly not allowed the same representation ?
Mr Grumpy - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
I didn´t know about this veto, but I understand it, considering Cataluña and the Basque country not to mention every little municipality vying for independence! They did the same with the veto on kosovo. Personally, I don´t give a damn about what any other government thinks of Scottish independence. My position is that we have a country to get back!I I think it´s an enormously complex question but for me the bottom line is that we were a country and we want to be one again! A country makes all its own decisions - OK, the banks do - and is present in all international forums. We´re not and we should be. That might cheer up all those dour Scots!
Mo - Tue, 24th Jan 2012
So what are you if not a Country ? and where do you - a Scots Nationalist - stand on Spain's veto of Scotish independance ?
Mr Grumpy - Mon, 23rd Jan 2012
And since when were we a country, Monsieur Grumpy? But look out, give us a few years and I´ll be having, not a Burns Night, but an Independence Party!!! (Won´t improve the stock of Scottish men however, dour buggers the lot of them!).
Mo - Mon, 23rd Jan 2012
Whooah there ! - Stop making this an English / Scottish / Welsh thing... I said British ! (Don't even get me started on the differences that there are between all the UK Country's)
Mr Grumpy - Mon, 23rd Jan 2012
Finally I´m getting round to commenting - planning a Burns Night and a bit overwhelmed. As a Scot I find it a fine thing to gripe about the English! Though I could also gripe rather a lot about my own lot, the Scots too! To be honest, as I wrote the post on the Spanish male I kept thinking "but my husband´s not like this". This is good since I was writing tongue in cheek. So seriously, are one lot better than the other?As NHS says, I think it´s a generational thing rather than a national thing. In general I´ve found men to be helpful and understanding towards their partners and I put it down to the fact that women are now educated and go out to work. I think each couple pretty much has to find a balance so that everything gets done. Life is so hectic that there´s no room for a slob or a lazy bastard or a sexist pig or Mummy´s boy. It might mean that there´s certain things he hates doing and others she hates doing but if they need to be done, a way is found.
Mo - Mon, 23rd Jan 2012
Don't worry about the 'Griping about the English / British' thing. If it's one thing that I have noticed it is that the the biggest moaners about British Expats in Spain are other British Expats in Spain ( Guilty as charged ...)
Mr Grumpy - Fri, 20th Jan 2012
I'll take the bait. First, I have to confess that for once I'd find it hard to argue with these stereotypes. I'm often struck by how alive and well the battle of the sexes is here in Spain. The best counter I can offer is that I note there is a _serious_ improvement in gender parity/relations when moving from older generations to younger ones. Also, it is certainly the case that many of these genderings also occur frequently in a certain population back home in the States (and I imagine in Britain). So I can't tell how much my impression here reflects the circles I travel in, versus a general truth about the culture. I haven't noticed any trend in Spain-U.S. relationships following female-male gender. It fits in my case, but I have friends who are Spanish husband and American wife. (Confession time: my wife and I actually met in England, and a big part of the success of our early dating was built around griping about the English. But, I swear, some of my best mates are English!)
Not Hemingway's Spain - Fri, 20th Jan 2012

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