Sunny Sexy South
Why life is more fun closer to the equator

Jamón Ibérico

A few weeks ago I boarded a flight to carry me away from Madrid to spend the entire summer, the first in five, away from Madrid´s sizzling heat.  Walking to the metro on my way to the airport, I thought back to my first post (here) about arriving in Madrid, over four years ago. I was toting two more big suitcases, close to the limit of what I can physically manage on my own. This time was the same, in reverse. I yanked the suitcases onto a subway car that was even more crowded, struggling to control them, and there again in front of me was a man’s clad foot which I couldn’t avoid wacking with one of my suitcases, particularly as he made no effort to move it aside. But this time he was ringed by 4 other men, 3 of them in suits, none of whom made the slightest motion to open space to accommodate my rather large load. I couldn’t help myself; my mouth opened and out came, “Y aquí tenemos 5 ‘caballeros’ mirándome a la mujer.” (And here we have 5 “gentlemen” looking at me, the woman.)

You see, it’s probably barely neutral when I dress to impress with the careful accessorizing so important to Spanish women – I must seem a large ungainly stork to them, albeit a nicely put-together stork. But when I’m actually doing something physical, like rollerblading, especially in a crappy T-shirt and sweat pants, as opposed to a form-fitting color-coordinated athletic ensemble, or, infinitely worse, man-handling multiple pieces of luggage, I can imagine they think I might as well be a man in drag. I simply cease to exist.

Spain demonstrates, toward me, much less enthusiasm than even Mexico, of all places, which at least manages a passionate love-hate relationship with its gringo neighbors. In Spain I rarely have any sort of identity beyond my tall, slender, fair-skinned appearance. I’m just a “güera”, meaning bland, as in white-bread bland. In Madrid I have completely failed in not only the romance department, but even in the casual relationship category. My appearance isn’t the only problem, of course; there are always going to be men who like my look, even if they are socialized from the moment they draw breath to like morenitas bajitas. The problem is that, despite all the hype in Spanish society about sex, as far as I could determine, there´s neither quantity nor quality. And that quite simply does not work for me.

I wish I could say it has been more fun that it was.  Sunny, it is, without a doubt.  But sexy, no, it´s just not.



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