"Xenophobe's® Guides: The Spanish – Who are they?"

Xenophobe's® Guides: Typically Spanish – who are they?

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Frank, irreverent and funny, and covering topics from nationalism to bullfighting, 'The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish' is almost guaranteed to cure xenophobia.

Xenophobe's® Guides: A book series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations with insight and humour.

A guide to help identify stereotypical Spanish traits. Who are the Spanish really? And how can you be like them?

Nationalism – if it's enjoyable

"When nationalism is enjoyable, the Spanish are fervently nationalistic. Otherwise, the Spanish do not much care what other nations think of them, nor are they particularly patriotic. Spaniards quite like the bull symbolising the country because they are moved by the pageantry of conflict between man and beast and, as an icon, it helps sell vast quantities of brandy and quite a few beach towels."

The social scene

"The Spanish are emotionally demonstrative and gregarious. They love to talk, so much that they indulge in ocio (leisurely chatting) at any time anywhere, invariably in the middle of the street, ignoring the traffic chaos they are causing, or in the supermarket in front of the fresh produce counter."

Turn it up

"Shouting indoors as well as out in the open has to be endured as the Spanish voice box was originally built along the lines of a quadraphonic sound system. The result is that everyone appears to have a hearing impairment from childhood and needs to compete with others very loudly in order to be heard."

Religious fiesta

"Roman Catholic Spain may be, it is no longer religiously oriented except on saints' days, which are celebrated with extravagant pageantry. Every day in the calendar is a saint's day, from 1 August to 31 July the following year, so that somewhere in Spain an essential fiesta will be celebrated, services will grind to a halt and everyone will get tipsy."

Meal times

"As the Spanish avoid thinking about time, and never plan, it is anybody's guess when meals will be served. Tell your guests a good two hours before the time you plan to serve the meal. Avoid hot dishes altogether because, should guests arrive at the appointed hour, they will talk for ever about how they managed it and ignore the food put in front of them."

Elbows first

"Queuing was not invented by the Spanish and the older generation of Marias (all elderly women are called Maria) don't understand the concept. For them it is a matter of pride to succeed on getting served first in any shop with as little subtlety as possible. The butcher will serve whoever comes into their line of vision, or whoever has the most interesting piece of gossip."

Want to learn more? Read part two in the series: How to act Spanish.

Xenophobe's® Guides: The Spanish – Who are they?

For more, check out The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish.

Reproduced from Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish by kind permission of Xenophobe's® Guides.

Photo credit: SubtlePanda

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3 Comments To This Article

  • Evelyn posted:

    on 13th June 2013, 10:21:53 - Reply

    I think who ever wrote the article has got the Spanish spot on. They are a loveable nation unless some one or something upsets them then watch out. We have seen incidents like them talking in the middle of the road many a time from our balcony window and not just pedestrians but car drivers who see a friend advancing towards them and both stop in the road totally blocking it while they catch up on the latest gossip, and at the supermarket, which they treat like the local corner shop, they have a nice chat with the cashier while a queue a mille long develops. Despite what Mark said, although we live in Andalucia, we have been to Barcelona a few times and it is no different there. We have lived in Spain eleven years and love it, BECAUSE of the idiosyncrasy of the lovely Spanish. This is NOT critisising them just making observation about OUR view of them so please DON'T take it so personally.
  • Mark posted:

    on 12th June 2013, 13:39:32 - Reply

    I agree with the commenter above, I'm not sure what Spain you are living but it is certainly nowhere near Barcelona.
    I love the way Spanish people queue, they simply ask 'el ultimo?" for the last person in line and then they can sit or stand wherever they want. Very civilized.
    Spanish mealtimes are incredibly punctual, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that they eat whenever they want, nothing is further from the truth.
    You're generalizations seem a bit odd to me. Not my experience at all after 7 years of living and working in Spain.
  • CA posted:

    on 23rd May 2013, 15:47:35 - Reply

    I'm sorry to say this, but after reading I have the impression it was written by someone that has absolutely no idea of what Spaniards are like, really. Beginning by the fact that the Spaniards queu al the time, they take numbers from Little machines for nearly EVERYTHING, especially butcher shops!! And no one calls old ladies' Marias'. A María, or Mari or Maruja is a woman that doesn't ussually work outside of the house, has limited education and gossips a lot. I could continue with the rest of the points but I have no more time and I'm sure you get the picture. [Edited by moderator]