Yesterday I was browsing a local dating website I have an account on. To clarify, I am not looking for a relationship--much less one sparked by wifi and keyboards--but after hearing countless stories about it from my Spaniard friends, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. And if I'm honest with myself, looking at the profile photos of the nation's eligible bachelors is my new favourite way to kill time.
Within an hour of making an account (and this is purely for kicks) my inbox was filled with messages and, as I skimmed them, I couldn't help but laugh. And that's when I paused to read one that caught my eyes. It read something like "Hola, Rubia, I really would like to meet you" before the writer asked me if I'd be willing to perform certain acts I don't feel like repeating.
As I thought about how to word a witty rejection, it occured to me to write a letter to Spanish men as a whole and relieve myself of the many feelings I have concerning these strange, elusive creatures. So if I had to write an epistle to all Spaniards it might look something like this:
Esteemed Spanish Men:
I have spent over 4 months living in the wild of your habitat, you elusive creatures. During which time, I have carefully noted your walk, your talk, and of course your good looks. Gorgeous! Crikey! But after taking a closer gander, I have observed your comportment and noted that you are indeed stranger than I could have ever imagined, and I'm not quite sure I always approve. The following points are my scientific observations and suggestions concerning the evolutionary improvement of your species:
1. For one thing, my name is NOT Rubia. I'll admit, this one is partly my fault for turning around and looking back at you when I hear "RUBIAAAA" being shouted at me down the street. I'm sorry, I'll try to stop. But I would like to go back to being called what my mother intended: Veronica. Vero will do in a pinch.
2. My name isn't "Guapa" either. Trust me, Spaniards, you are preaching to the choir on this one.
3. Pants in colours better sutied to sorbets and other tropical desserts are not under any circumstances a practical choice of legwear. Also please refrain from wearing rooyal blue rugby shirts with red (acceptable) trousers. You look like a fruit salad (and it makes me hungry at inconvenient times).
4. Speaking of fruit, you men have broken my gaydar. As if your lisp, your flamboyant trousers weren't enough, you insist of public displays of affection with your fellow varones. Being a rubia myself, I can't help but be a little insulted when you'd rather hold the hand of some guy named Jesus instead.
5. Also, why do so many of you shave your legs? This is something that just does not fit in my brain. I do not enjoy being prickled by the stubble of your growing calf hairs. I shudder at the memory of my friend's story about the time she came face-to-face (so to speak) with a landing strip. I just picture a gaggle of Javier Bardems watching me walk down the street, all of them holding hands and their freshly shaved chests gleaming in the sun. All of them laughing at the Neanderthal woman who is hairier than they are. And frankly, your rumoured hairiness was part of the tourist attraction for me. I had heard tales that you had bristling arm hair and beards for days! Way to disappoint, guys.
6. You do not know how to drive, and don't try to convince me otherwise. If I had a Euro for every time I've nearly flown through your windshield, I could buy you a new car. I admire you for driving stick (it's actually kind of sexy), but even my 16-year-old sister knows how to use a turn signal.
7. I don't care how many times you emphasize it, but aceite (olive oil) is not "muy sano" (very healthy). If I had a euro for every time you did this, I could buy you a Lipitor prescription and some cooking spray.
8. Mullets: NO.
But for all your faults and all the ways you stray from the Antonio Banderas mystique, I guess you have some redeeming qualities. For one thing, though it may take me days (sometimes weeks) to confirm your sexual orientation, you are largely confident in your sexuality. I dig your courage to wear loud clothing, that you can hold your wingman's hand or touch his breast, that you don't feel the need to act like a caveman in front of me to prove your masculine mettle.
For another thing, you are amazing cooks. The best paella I ever had? Made by a man. Who taught me to make Spanish tortilla? My friend Juan Carlos. Your ability to feed me delicious food (even if drenched in aceite) is a beautiful thing.
Thirdly, you respect your mothers. This is particularly admirable, because most of you live with yours. God knows I have not the patience to live with mine. But I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing more attractive than a man who respects the woman who raised him.
And really, there are the little things too. The way you say "teepecal Espaneessh". The fact that you blow dry your hair more often than I do. The way you mispronounce the word "egg" (ech). That all of you apparently shop for earrings in the same coconut-wood-jewellery store. That you teach me your slang, and then tell me how good my Spanish is getting. That you kiss on two cheeks to say hello. The hairy awesomeness of your shapely beards (when you do have them). The fact that I can walk home alone at night instead of calling a cab. That you are always gentlemen without being pushy. Sigh, I guess, even when you call me Rubia it is sometimes cute.
I have drawn up mixed data in my purely scientific observations of you, but ultimately I have concluded:
Spanish men, you are the best men.
Love (love love love), Veronica