Spanish stereotypes: some thoughts from Spain

What stereotypes exist of Spanish people and Spain? Which ones did you have before you moved here and met some Spaniards?

(Remember: these are stereotypes of Spain, not what I actually think!)

A couple of weeks ago one of the things a client asked me for was a really general view of British (foreign) held stereotypes of Spain and Spanish people. This is what we came up with, can you think of any more?

Here’s the list of stereotypes we talked about, and below that are the answers I gave to my client, based on 10 years of living in Spain and speaking Spanish to the level of a professional translator…

Spanish stereotypes: the initial list

Spanish Stereotypes

  • Tortilla, sun, sea, sand, bullfighting, flamenco, salsa, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Benidorm, Barcelona, paella, sangría, chorizo (of course!!), wine and tapas;
  • I often mix my perception of Spain with some vague idea I might have about Mexico (which I have never visited either); a place where donkeys walk along big dusty roads alongside lots of people in very big hats;
  • Spanish people are the same as Latin people, right?
  • Spanish people are very lazy and I like the idea of the siesta, even though I don’t really understand it;
  • I don’t know many Spanish people, not even when I come to Spain, The waiter doesn’t speak English very well and in the shops people are very rude; I’m the client but it seems like I’ve offended them by entering their shop;
  • I don’t understand most Spanish customs and I’m not particularly interested in learning about them; while we’re at it, I don’t really want to learn Spanish either;
  • Spanish people are very rude; they all shout at each other and argue instead of talking;
  • People here drink a lot of coffee and have no idea how to make a cup of tea properly;
  • Spanish people have weird timetables which mean I can’t go to the shops when I want to;
  • The beers are very small, they don’t serve them right and they never fill up the wine glasses properly;
  • Spain is a very popular destination for British criminals on the run;
  • If I’m young (or want to be) this is what I want from Spain: fiesta, Mallorca, Benidorm, Torrevieja, 10 beers for half what I would pay in England, loads of pills in Ibiza watching the sun come up from Café del Mar; Then there’s Benicassim, which is great because loads of British groups play;
  • Cigarettes are a lot cheaper in Spain but people smoke some strange brands.

(Note: before everybody starts saying Ricky Martin comes from Puerto Rico and Mexico isn’t Spain, I know! The idea was to try and jot down all the typical things that foreigners think and mix up about Spain.)

Spanish stereotypes: my views

This is what I would say about the stereotypes I mentioned.

Spanish Stereotypes

  • Spanish people eat lots of tortilla: Spanish people eat quite a lot of tortilla. You can ask for it in about 75% of bar-restaurants that you go to, as long as they serve Spanish food (and are not an Italian, Chinese or other restaurant, or only serve drinks). It is sometimes made with a little onion as well as the potatoes and in some towns in the north they make interesting double tortillas with a tasty filling. A good great tortilla is one of the staples of every Spanish mother’s cooking inventory and everybody’s mum always makes the tastiest one. Tortilla is definitely very tasty and worth getting to know properly. Tortilla is not something that people eat every day though, or at every meal, and not everybody likes it.
  • Spain is sun, sea and sand: depends on the part of Spain. There are beautiful parts of the north of Spain which could easily be in Wales or England due to the greeness and quantity of rainfall and cloud. There are big differences between the north of Spain, the south and Mediterranean coast. In the north and many parts of the Spanish countryside which are inland, in winter it can get very, very cold. Here in Murcia, it’s sunny, clear blue skies just about all day every day, all year round. Clouds rarely appear. Rain appears even less frequently. From May until November, it’s very hot and it will try and rain a couple of times during the summer. Between November and February it can feel like it’s cold but it’s relative: if you hop on a flight from rainy Manchester and turn up in the middle of January in Murcia, your body thermometer will think it’s very warm. There are, indeed, many beautiful beaches in Spain. You shouldn’t think this is all of Spain, however, not even half. There are hundreds thousands of beautiful places to visit all over Spain, whether it’s sunny, raining or covered with snow. And it’s even more fun if you get to know the people, traditions and history of the places you visit.
  • All Spaniards are bullfighters or go every week to a bullfight: of course not. Bullfighting is half sport, half art, half barbarity, depending on who you ask. Bullfights are normally held in ferias or festival periods. It is incredibly complicated and understanding bullfighting (whether you’re Spanish or foreign) requires time. The business of bullfighting moves a lot of money. It reaches across social classes. It’s been around for ages and is not going anywhere. Many Spanish people compare it to the recently banned English ’sport’ of fox-hunting. Apart from animal rights issues, I don’t think that’s a good comparison. On a cultural level, I think bullfighting is more analagous to cricket, a thought I will explain in another post. Not everybody goes to the bulls, fewer people understand it and the only people who fight bulls are the professional bullfighters. (this assumes we’re talking about proper bullfights and not smaller bulls in the many village ferias);
  • All Spaniards like flamenco (and all Spanish women know how to dance flamenco): not true. Many Spanish people hate flamenco, in fact. English people think all Spanish girls know how to dance flamenco: this is because to the untrained eye it’s very easy to move around a bit and look like you’re dancing flamenco with a few swirls of your hands and hips. There are many different types of flamenco (the dance most people associate with the flamenco stereotype is called ‘sevillanas‘). Flamenco is a whole sub-culture, composed of song, dance and instrumentals, sometimes all together and sometimes individually. It’s an art. It has more followers in the south of the country where it originates from. There is traditional flamenco and there are new waves of pop-flamenco. There are many different rhythms within flamenco and most traditional flamenco songs, lyrics, dances and instrumental solos fit into one of those subtypes. It’s incredibly difficult to tell the difference between the subtypes if you’re not practiced.
  • Spanish people are good at that salsa dance: nope, not at all. Many Spanish people go to salsa and other dance classes though, just like people in other countries. Most Spanish blokes have two left feet just like most English blokes and most Spanish girls love at least trying to dance a lot. Salsa was created in New York and the influences were all Caribbean and Latin American.
  • Is Shakira Spanish? Nope, she’s from Colombia.
  • and Ricky Martin? no, he’s from Puerto Rico.
  • Everybody eats paella in Spain. No, of course not. Everybody enjoys a good one though. It’s very difficult to make well. There are many variants on what a foreigner might think is paella but which is actually a different type of rice dish.
  • All Spaniards drink sangría. No, Spanish people sometimes drink sangría. The most popular drinks at meals are wine, beer and water. Here in Murcia there is a great Murcian version made with peaches and sugar.
  • Spanish food is tapas. Some Spanish food is tapas. The idea of tapas being free is mainly a southern thing (especially in places like Granada, where you buy a beer and basically eat for free if you go to the right places). There are hundreds of different types of tapas. Apart from tapas, there is some fantastic Spanish food which is nothing to do with tapas. Every region has its own specialities. Spain could easily be a gourmet’s paradise but don’t limit your ideas of Spanish food to tapas and paella.
  • Mexico, donkeys, dusty roads and big hats: no, no, no. These are ridiculous cartoon assumptions that foreigners mix up with Spain from watching Speedy Gonzalez. There are of course, a few dusty roads and a few Mexicans in Spain, although I have never seen a Mexican on a dusty road. I have yet to see anybody wearing a big hat (apart from English tourists on tourist beaches and in airport waiting lounges);
  • Spanish people are the same as Latin American people: no. They speak the same language (with differences) and of course have historical and cultural roots, but don’t mix them up: many different national cultures which all share (apart from indigenoues Latin American communities) certain common features (language, history, religion). Although this would be very debatable, a comparison with the idea of the British Commonwealth or the more general concept of ‘the English speaking world’ would not be a bad one.
  • Spanish people are very lazy: no. Spanish people work some of the longest hours in Europe (although have lower productivity levels) and one of the biggest problems here is lack of sleep due to noise, timetables and a general desire to live life to the full as much as possible. The work timetable combined with the daily-chores timetable combined with a well-filled social life means that many people don’t sleep as much as they would like to. In the south in the summer (and in many other parts of the country), it’s very, very hot and between about one o’clock and seven or eight in the evening, there’s not much point in trying to do anything, espcially after lunch: it’s too hot. Life shifts a few hours at night and takes a break during the day.
  • The waiter doesn’t speak English very well: of course not. The idea that everybody does or should speak English is a myth. Waiters in many countries know enough to bring you a beer and, on the other end of the jobs scale, people working in multinational companies tend to have very good English if their job involves communicating with English speakers. Learning a language properly takes years of continuous effort and practice.
  • Spanish people are very rude and loud: this is something that many foreigners will notice on arriving in Spain. It’s a tricky one: the noise level is definitely higher and people shout a lot when they should be speaking normally. It doesn’t however, mean that people are being rude. It’s just the way it is most of the time. This item needs its own post.
  • Spanish people drink a lot of coffee. Yes, lots and lots. If you like coffee, you’ll like Spain. In Murcia, they have great coffees. In Madrid, the coffees aren’t as good as in Murcia.
  • Spanish people don’t know how to make a cup of tea. True. Not a clue, unless they’ve lived in England and taken a liking to tea.
  • Spanish people have wierd timetables. Spanish people have a different timetable to most of the rest of Europe, althought with shifts in globalisation, this is changing in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Most things related to timetable differences are related to the weather and heat in the summer. The traditional Spanish timetable is: morning until 14h00, midday/lunchtime 14h00-17h00, afternoon from 17h00 until 21h00, followed by dinner.
  • Spanish beers are very small. Yes they are, compared to English pints, but this is absolutely the best way to drink them in the summer when it’s very hot or as a refreshing slurp in winter. Imagine trying to enjoy a few pints of stout in 45ºC heat, or mixing Guiness with seafood.
  • Ibiza, parties, Benicassim and Spanish music: Spain has some great parties. There is also some great Spanish music.
Matthew Bennett
September 12th, 2008
Blog in English
     
  • http://costaricaspanish.blogspot.com Thomas Carmona

    Stereotypes of Spaniards:

    They all speak with a lisp

    They love to dance and they all know the same dances (flamenco, “follow the leader”)

    They only play soccer

  • http://acuteaccent.com/ Acute Accent

    Excellent list of stereotypes, they make you smile really. They are deeply rooted in the British culture and they will remain there for a long time.

    Contrary to other nationalities, Spaniards do not care about building their prestige and reputation and about managing the projection of the Spanish branding abroad. Spain is too involved in preserving regional differences and local cultures. The tourism industry and the Spanish elites do not make any effort either to counter the stereotypes and misconceptions about the Spanish culture.

    Brits flocking to the coast season after season and year after year simply seem impervious to the changes undergoing in the country. Journalists also perpetuate many of the common Spanish stereotypes in articles and books.

  • http://acuteaccent.com/ Acute Accent

    Excellent list of stereotypes, they make you smile really. They are deeply rooted in the British culture and they will remain there for a long time.

    Contrary to other nationalities, Spaniards do not care about building their prestige and reputation and about managing the projection of the Spanish branding abroad. Spain is too involved in preserving regional differences and local cultures. The tourism industry and the Spanish elites do not make any effort either to counter the stereotypes and misconceptions about the Spanish culture.

    Brits flocking to the coast season after season and year after year simply seem impervious to the changes undergoing in the country. Journalists also perpetuate many of the common Spanish stereotypes in articles and books.

  • Barbra

    I dont think the points you have made are all true and it makes spain seem a unpleasent place
    a) non of the people are rude or shout:its a language and to them it is not shouting.
    b)we are visting their country so therefore we should make a effort to learn their language not the other way round!
    This website was really helpful with my re-search but i think you need to change some of the ‘sterotypes’

  • Sarita

    Shakira is from Colombia not Spain…..good sterotypes tho but I agree with Barbra they are not rude and Brits shud make more of an effort when they go to Spain, its their country not yours!! No wonder they don’t like brits sure look at the way they treat them in their own country!!!!!!  If u saw the real spain instead of some tacky tourist area u wud find they are all untrue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marina

    I think that if YOU go to Spain, YOU must learn Spanish; when we travel to another country we have to make the effort to talk the language, so why haven’t you? I don’t like that stereotype, but since you said that this doesn’t show your point of view I take it as a british thought, lol. I don’t agree either with the “laziness”, but that’s another story… lol!

  • Maria

    hahaha
    i’m spanish, from Valencia actually (where the good paella is cooked!) and while reading the stereotypes i thought that we really may seem like that! hahaha
    really, shouting? YEAH! well, actually it’s not shouting, but we usually are very… effusive ^^ we really tend to speak very fast, very loud and everybody at the same time, but what can i say? tradition ^^
     
    and i cannot even start about all the topics! but i must agree with something… we really have the weirdest timetable of all europe (tough for me it’s quite normal U__U)

  • Emily

    I have found a common stereo type about spinards would be there love for soccer, or futbol… They are catholic and attend 3-6 hour church services every sunday. They come from large familes sometime up to 8-12 brothers and sisters. The sisters in the family are always over controlled by there older brothers as well as papa. Many spanish people have tanned skin and deep black eyes, like crying in funerals and usually shout out while they are driving their cars.

  • Mikel

    You don’t know nothing about spain, the spaniards don’t just drink beer and have a siesta, we make a lot of botellons, thats our culture!

  • Guest

    Shakira is Columbian :/

  • Doraemon

    “I’ve been in England, and when I entered in a commerce and talked in spanish they did not make any effort to understand me.” Would you find it strange?

  • Juan Carlos

    My parents were born in England, I was born in Alcalá de Guardeira (just outside of Sevilla). I love my country, best weather, good food, many English are now making Spain their home. I don’t blame them. Spanish we love all Brits (sometimes Germans too).

  • alex

    well, I am Spanish and I disagree with you. For instance:
    1 – we Spanish people don’t eat Paella every day (althought it is a quite healthy meal with a lot of properties, more than “Fish and Chips”) and many people hate Shakira (Colombian, not Spanish) and Ricky Martin.
    2 – Salsa is very popular, but it is South American, not Spanish.
    3 – Very few people can do a siesta (or nap, your English word) because we work harder than you do (I have worked in UK and Ireland and I thought that you were extremely lazy compare to us). Of course, you would say that this fact is not true, but just a question before you answer it: have you ever worked in Spain? I bet you don’t.
    4 – We shout, that’s true, but as you are not interested in learning Spanish, you are unable to notice that it’s our tone, we don’t argue as much as you think.
    5 – Place like Torrevieja or Salou, for instance, are simply made to take all your British money, we hate these kind of places.
    6 – all British criminals are always caught, please, read the press.
    7- Cigarrettes are very cheap, that’s way a lot of British people just come here to buy them.
    8 – please, try to increase your cultural background instead of just being interested in your British culture, perhaps you will learn to respect others, we have our customs just as you have.
    9 – we just play soccer, ok, that’s right, it explains why one of the best tennis players is Spanish (do you know Rafa Nadal?) .
    10 – if we go to UK, we try to speak English, if you come to Spain, try to speak in Spanish, you are not better than us.

  • alex

    All the same, I agree with you in some comments you make in the second part of this article.

  • Hans Guterg

    Verdaderamente increíble lo que estoy leyendo !! Soy alemán y llevo media vida en España. Nunca he sido más feliz ! Por favor, si pensais así, mejor ¡ no venir aquí !

  • To all the morons in the world

    I would like to write something about the spanish racial stereotypes:

    Many of these stereotypes or clichés are deeply rooted in the XIX century literature about Spain, and even in more remote times, in those times we spanish were as feared as hated many times just because we were the first power in the world and we were catholics.

    I especially hate those related with our “inquisitorial” character and our supposedly “very dark” racial features that Hollywood films so mistakenly well reproduce in their bigoted movies about spaniards.They wouldnt be selling a single film about spaniards if suddenly northamericans discovered that those spaniards dont really look like mexicans but like europeans!.

    Funny enough many of them try to depict a typical spanish town full of typical spanish people by making the film in Mexico with typical mexican settings and with very dark skinned mexican characters and when a real spanish actor or actress is demanded for a film he/she has to darken his/her face to fit with the biased idea of how a spaniard should look like.

    All these stupid stereotypes are really funny. I would like to be there to see the faces of some people (especially northamericans) coming to Spain in the belief they are visiting a typical Latin american country only to discover that everything and everybody just looks european, but these guys are so stupid that they would probably believe that they took the wrong plane to the wrong destination!.

    Greeting MORONS!

  • To all the morons in the world

    I would like to write something about the spanish racial stereotypes:

    Many of these stereotypes or clichés are deeply rooted in the XIX century literature about Spain, and even in more remote times, in those times we spanish were as feared as hated many times just because we were the first power in the world and we were catholics.

    I especially hate those related with our “inquisitorial” character and our supposedly “very dark” racial features that Hollywood films so mistakenly well reproduce in their bigoted movies about spaniards.They wouldnt be selling a single film about spaniards if suddenly northamericans discovered that those spaniards dont really look like mexicans but like europeans!.

    Funny enough many of them try to depict a typical spanish town full of typical spanish people by making the film in Mexico with typical mexican settings and with very dark skinned mexican characters and when a real spanish actor or actress is demanded for a film he/she has to darken his/her face to fit with the biased idea of how a spaniard should look like.

    All these stupid stereotypes are really funny. I would like to be there to see the faces of some people (especially northamericans) coming to Spain in the belief they are visiting a typical Latin american country only to discover that everything and everybody just looks european, but these guys are so stupid that they would probably believe that they took the wrong plane to the wrong destination!.

    Greetings MORONS!

  • tina

    I visited spain in april I live in both los angeles California and london england i believe the problem that north americans seem to have with spain is the food and the lack of interest in making tourist feel welcomed compared to many other european cities that do. Sorry but the food is not as good as cuban and mexican cooking I had better pealla in a cuban cafe in miami(more spice,flavor) then i did in valencia. people try and say that the french are rude no! nothing like the spanish. Spain has alot to offer. the location, weather and even the food if it would be promoted right.It would be great for your economy. One of the best restaurants in the world that just closed down was outside of barcelona. At the last summer olympics several spanish teams took photos slanting their eyes there was alot of talk about spanish people being racist not only to asians but to black people. My friend is a fair skin cuban who speaks spanish and english she visited spain and felt that many spainish people are so insecure about their identity and believe that just because they are european that automatically makes them anglo. thats like saying all the black people born in england and france are anglo also.Many people in southorn spain have morroccan blood. The spanish need to embrace other latin cultures from around the world instead of believing they are are better because of spains location. Many Spanish dishes(food) are good but its not being promoted in the best way. Tourism isn’t either! As many poor spanish pick pockets in barcelona how can anyone have the nerve to hate other cultures.

  • Ricardo

    Shakira is from Colombia. And I think English people are really lazy and ignorand but is not a crime. Carpe diem!

  • VIVA ESPAÑA VIVA EL REY!!

    I´m spanish and I don´t do all those things, and who are you to judge spanish when you don’t even know about it. And yeah we do play football (not soccer) and at least we do it well not like british/american (obese) people do.
    For your information we do work hard and not like you loud and drunk people.
    We can learn languages much faster than you do. Also I may say we know more about fashion and understand better than you do that “YOU DO NOT WEAR SOCKS WITH YOUR FLIP FLOPS” (with loads of love from SPAINNN to all the british people who had commented this stupid article)

  • Mimi Astrid

    It’s such shame this funny article turned into a slagging match! Iam English and i thought that your stereotypes hit the nail on the head! Welldone. I love Spain, i like the Spanish/ Catalan/ Basque people. Were all human at the end of the day! Oh, and for what it’s worth i know my Country and it’s people get a bad rap, alit of them act like total dickheads whilst on holiday in Spain (or anywhere for that matter) but there not all like that all of the time. Were only humans afterall!

  • felix

    Spain has been envied and attacked by lots of people since te 16th century due to its imperial era. This has translated into many things. These things are just colateral effects that linger on. It will probably last a lot. It does not matter if we become the richest nation in the world again. We just made many enemies, from envious Europeans to resentful Latin Americans, the list can be very long (I do not mean that all Europeans or Latin Americans are like that, just some). In short, we are all humans.

  • Jorge

    I really feel sad for you. That list is way too unrealistic -and unhealthy- even for a stereotype description. I would not be surprised if that list came from an american or chinese, but it’s even more sad coming from a country whose political, cultural and economic relations have been so tight for so many centuries, friend or foe. Clearly the british propaganda has worked for so many years, thinking that Britain is far superior to their neighbors, undermining some and envying some others. Britain can’t stand that Germans and French are richer and better organized, Italians have more style, a culture that’s much more to love and they certainly envy the development spain has worked in the last decades, putting them in higher standards of social welfare and quality of life. I’ll tell you something, currenly there are less than 80.000 spaniards living in the UK while there’s 800.000 british living in spain. I wonder where that masochism comes from, fleeing to such a rude, culturally handicapped country. And I’m not going to mention how many british retirees come to Spain and how many spaniards go for a pleasant retirement in Manchester, Liverpool or London.
    You can learn a lot from a society as a whole by studying their tourists:
    It is true, spaniards are loud, mostly unorganized, often chovinist about their culture and their foods. On the other hand you will see if you study the destinations preferred by those tourists that go out of spain that they mostly travel to cities to visit museums, admire the local architecture and try the regional goods. A spaniard will always go to London to visit the british museum and buckinham palace before choosing going to Brighton to party, go to the beach, or to enjoy London’s nightlife.
    The British tourist, on the other side:
    Is the only one in the world that expects locals to treat him the same way he would be in his home country, even in the same language! they even get offended if people don’t speak it! is there a more arrogant attitude? here’s a fact from you: spanish is a more spoken and spread language than english, so unless you feel that american citizens are superior to peruvian or argentinian, suck it up.
    The British tourist will be desperately seeking -like mouse to cheese- cheap sangría and the grossest paella they can find. Something that spaniards hardly do in spain. They are hopelessly cheap, despite bringing this “richest country” attitude. I’ll bring you an example: most spanish restaurants offer a reasonably good quality menu that includes 2 courses, desert or coffee and a drink for what you would probably buy some fish and chips in London. And yet, you can see british tourists in these restaurants ordering pizza and coke when they can have for example a nice steak and a cup of wine.
    They love going to the east coast of spain, to the tackiest most depressed areas just because they’re cheap and sunny, completely offering what they want, heavy sunbursts and loads of beer. And a night scene suitable for them to behave like they never would at home: like hopeless drunk animals. You think that’s a stereotype? come see!

    And when it comes to what spaniards think of the british, I don’t think it’s as far from realty as your over the top examples:
    Arrogant, cheap people that underestimate the southern countries in a very racist fashion -while they love calling everyone else a racist-. Why do we think this? because all the above, because your newspapers call us “p.i.g.s.” when you’re next to recession, because you prefer being close to a country that’s in another continent rather than teaming up with your all time neighbors… the list is long. We do not laugh about your culture, your tea, your music and your cities, because honestly we like them. We don’t feel the need of labelling everything to feel superior, just because you can’t deal with the fact that you’re a decadent nation that still hasn’t got a grip of the fact that they are no longer a power and no longer an empire. For god’s sakes, british even think the world’s speaks english because of them!. Take out the london bubble and tell me how england is. Remove the carpets and look forward lads!

  • Lildivil

    Rudest people I have ever met in my life.  Don’t ever try to request your medical records from them.  Useless, they take your cash then run off and close the Clínica down. No help at all!

  • Alejandra

    It was quite a laugh reading your post, me being spanish. Okay so: I’m spanish, born in the north (Galicia, the good one – unlike Cataluña, sorry to say) but have been living in the south (Malaga, Andalucia) for half of my life. So I’m quite broad about Spanish culture. This is just what I think Spanish people are really like:

    To begin with, we are NOT RUDE. No way! English people are rude, too much to themselves, too cold and rigid, and ignorant. That exact attitude (don’t want to learn spanish or about spanish culture) is exactly what offends spanish people when you enter a shop or a cafe. In Spain, unlike the many times I’ve been in England, people are very caring, nice and attentive in the shops. However in England saleswomen get very offended if you speak to them. All they do is speak between themselves, talk at the phone and answer back very rudely. I have to say this is true, this is my experience and even me speaking english fluently. In Topshop I was inside the fitting room and I asked a saleswoman politely to please find me a smaller size for a skirt and she said “if you could just use those two legs and get it over there!” – I was gobsmacked. I did not buy a single thing due to her horrible treatment to me. I know there are exceptions but I have not seen a SINGLE one up to the date. I am used to english visitors as I live in Marbella, a typical touristic region and quite expensive.

    We do speak loud, a lot and usually fast but that’s just something we always do. It’s normal. We are very passionate. What you call argue we call talk. 

    We love good food (in the south -and in general- paella, tortilla de patatas, etc. and in Galicia seafood! Centollo, percebes… the best seafood you can imagine in the world I have to say). We HATE tea. Most of us do, so no wonder we don’t make good tea.

    Strange timetables? SERIOUSLY?! In Spain you can shop anytime between 10am to 10pm! Sometimes there is a break at 1pm until 3pm but that’s only for lunch! I personally shop in the afternoons so I hate the fact that in england shops close at 5pm! Unbelievable! Even at 4pm sometimes!

    We really know how to drink. I mean, our beer is simply great, just as our wine. Wine and beer are best in the mediterranean countries – Spain and Italy. Doesn’t get much better. And beers are not small at all! Birras? They are big!

    I hate bullfighting. Just as many people do – specially young people. It’s always the old and uncivilized who keep  saying it’s a tradition. It’s a cruel blood spilling.

    We are quite good-looking and fine dressing, however that is probably because of the superficiality of this city (Marbella), it’s like our Hollywood or Los Angeles, a bubble of money and vanity. But in the rest of Spain we still are good looking and have a good taste when it comes to fashion but not everyone.

    Many of us are aggressive (I am), untidy and unpunctual. Siesta is a little nap that we take after eating. This is quite good for digesting lunch, however most people don’t take it anymore as in today’s society we are too busy to take a nap. We are quite hard working however there is the usual exception, specially the uncivilized, cani and cateto (the uneducated and street people). We are also humorous and relaxed.

  • http://www.houses-for-sale-in-spain.net Graham

    I wrote one which really offended a Flamenco dancer a year or so ago about stereotypes http://www.houses-for-sale-in-spain.net/lifestyle-in-spain/spain-is Spain is…

  • Peldroda

    I think most of the people didnt get this article. This is not the author´s view. If he speaks in first person it is just to make it more expresive. It is funny seeing all those angry answers to this funny article. If there´s something difficult for a Spanyard is to understand irony. I see lots comments stating”We Spanish people hate those places like Salou”. We, I don´t think people really hates them, they just don´t bother or avoid them. And then people talking about misconceptions and prejudices comes a lady saying:”the place where paella is well done”… It is funny how she -surprisingly supports these stereotypes, but for her own advantage.
    The thing is, if people have those stereotypes about us they can do two things:
    -Come to Spain and learn…
    -Remain outside our borders and keep those funny-weird ideas for chitchat, etc.
    The stereotypes are fun in sitcoms and comedies, but to believe them means ignorance.
    Who want to be ignorant: the cowards.
    Good article and well written Mathew.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/L2FW55JCG4NNVE2CCP5336XJRE Cheese!

    Spain = a giant cockroach with VD sleeping with your daughter.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/L2FW55JCG4NNVE2CCP5336XJRE Cheese!

    I think you left out, ‘talking endlessly about ourselves’.

  • Saint Thomas

    what exactly is your problem with the catalans?? :) Barcelona is the best place in Spain period!! and my parents are from Galicia and Madrid! hahah

  • Lupe

    I think you don’t know anything about spanish people… You need to learn before to speak about something. You seem quite arrogant.

  • Joelle

    Like Peldroda, I am also amused, and yet saddened, by the ridiculous responses to this topic. Apparently, most of you who responded completely missed the point. You don’t know the meaning of “stereotype”, didn’t read the article properly or the author’s explanation, and are just too uptight. I can forgive the Spanish responses if only because English is not their mother-language, but still, why so defensive? If stereotypes were always true descriptors of a culture, I might assume from the responses here that the British are arrogant and narcissistic, and that the Spanish are hyper-sensitive and quick to anger. As a Canadian expat living in Egypt, I understand deeply how stereotypes are created and maintained, and how shallow and meaningless they are. There is no way to lump a unique culture and all the nuances of a society into one list, much less a tongue-in-cheek list of commonly-held beliefs that are founded on ignorance – and I think that was the author’s point. I might only applaud him for challenging this kind of ignorance with this article, if only in a small (and harmless) way.

  • Paula

    Come on people, are you silly? Have you read the second part of the article?
    First he introduces all the stereotypes about spaniards, not what he thinks. In the second part he gives his opinion, and he makes clear that he doesn’t agree with most of the stereotypes. Please, don’t talk if you haven’t read the whole article because you’ll look like an idiot.
    Adéu.

  • Guest

    Some, if not most of those stereotypes assumed by British and Americans are made up by sheer ignorance and sadly it still goes on today.
    I have lived in UK for about eight years, and never again I want to be looked down like some dark brown extraterrestrial creature good for nothing.

    So I think its good that the world knows(specially the Brits) that Spanish are not that different to other nationalities, specially along southern Europe.
    But some do have some truth in them.
    We eat a great variety of different foods, Paella happens to be one of them, there is nothing alike to compare in UK, not even Indian Curry Rice. But its one dish of many we consume.

    I do think some Spanish are on the lazy side, then again thats just some, one of my close relatives is now 60 yet still works a full 14h shift, that including Saturdays, and its not a soft job like waiter or Shop Assistant, its just an example, one of many people who work in a manner that British wouldn’t not tolerate as day to day employment.

    We are in Spain, so if someone speaks English is because it has to, or likes it, or needs it, but not because one must. It isn’t an official language here, and although English is nowadays the self proclaimed international language, its still to reach everybody…
    There is a huge array of different traditions in Spain, with its parties and celebrations, and all its paraphernalia and Flamenco happens to be just one of them. Like each region of the country has its own and each one is very different in its nature and character.

    Im not into coffee, but thats just me, indeed lots of people do drink coffee in Spain, but less that then people I met in UK, who can drink both tea and coffee in serious large quantities each day. Like non stop.

    Another one I partly agree is on Spanish rudeness. Yes, that can be true, and it can be annoying. Then again you get well educated people with manners here too, or just well behaved, though you do get the famous rude waiter, who seems to hate you or about to fight you when you go into their local, yes, that still happens today, but its not the case everywhere either.

    Spanish do speak loudly and can appear aggressive easily and offensive, culture is just different.
    Its not like all Brits are gentlemen, thats a myth, they can be really rough and mean, and lack all moral background on top of being cheesy and racist…oh, you see what I did here…dont be mad…Im making a joke. but there are lots of people like that over there which are far from fine people.
    Well, no matter what, I will never go back there, but still annoys me the crap I get to read and hear too often, considering we are not even too far from each other….so its rather weird.
    Spain isn’t paradise either, its corrupted to the core, messy, noisy, its that there is also genuine, hard working, smart people here, and Ive never seen anyway wearing a large hat here, or even a donkey, thats just plain racist.
    Well, im ranting so I quit. Nowhere is perfect, each country has its own perks.

  • Claudio Frollo

    Some, if not most of those stereotypes assumed by British and Americans are made up by sheer ignorance and sadly it still goes on today.
    I have lived in UK for about eight years, and never again I want to be looked down like if I was some dark extraterrestrial creature good for nothing as many Brits do when they hear my accent, although Id say my English is pretty good by now, yet still…I could say all Brits are descendent from the Nazi but I won’t do that….because there are great people there too.

    So I think its good that the world knows(specially the Brits) that Spanish are not that different to other nationalities, specially along southern Europe.
    But some do have some truth in them.
    We eat a great variety of different foods, Paella happens to be one of them, there is nothing alike to compare in UK, not even Indian Curry Rice. But its one dish of many we consume.

    I do think some Spanish are on the lazy side, then again thats just some, one of my close relatives is now 60 yet still works a full 14h shift, that including Saturdays, and its not a soft job like waiter or Shop Assistant, its just an example, one of many people who work in a manner that British wouldn’t not tolerate as day to day employment.

    We are in Spain, so if someone speaks English is because it has to, or likes it, or needs it, but not because one must. It isn’t an official language here, and although English is nowadays the self proclaimed international language, its still to reach everybody…
    There is a huge array of different traditions in Spain, with its parties and celebrations, and all its paraphernalia and Flamenco happens to be just one of them. Like each region of the country has its own and each one is very different in its nature and character.

    Im not into coffee, but thats just me, indeed lots of people do drink coffee in Spain, but less that then people I met in UK, who can drink both tea and coffee in serious large quantities each day. Like non stop.

    Another one I partly agree is on Spanish rudeness. Yes, that can be true, and it can be annoying. Then again you get well educated people with manners here too, or just well behaved, though you do get the famous rude waiter, who seems to hate you or about to fight you when you go into their local, yes, that still happens today, but its not the case everywhere either.

    Spanish do speak loudly and can appear aggressive easily and offensive, culture is just different.
    Its not like all Brits are gentlemen, thats a myth, they can be really rough and mean, and lack all moral background on top of being cheesy and racist…oh, you see what I did here…dont be mad…Im making a joke. but there are lots of people like that over there which are far from fine people.
    Well, no matter what, I will never go back there, but still annoys me the crap I get to read and hear too often, considering we are not even too far from each other….so its rather weird.
    Spain isn’t paradise either, its corrupted to the core, messy, noisy, its that there is also genuine, hard working, smart people here, and Ive never seen anyone wearing a large hat here, or even a donkey other than the old zoo, thats just plain offensive.
    Well, im ranting so I quit. Nowhere is perfect, each country has its own perks.

  • Claudio Frollo

    I have to completely agree. And thats the reason this stereotypes are to prevail.
    Spanish only care to appear friendly and obliging to other nationalities, not to build their reputation and prestige.
    Look at the Portuguese, next to Spain, another small, poor, messy country, yet it has build a good rep with the British from old times and that helps them now, if just to be somehow looked as equal in some fields….
    Every Portuguese doesn’t blink to talk glory about his countrys feats and achievements as well as say they are the best in all that can be, ok, I find it disturbing personally, but it surely works on British and people might think they are really amazing. You know they are confident and resolute, Spanish generally act like a bloody puppy amongst other nationalities from Europe.
    Spain does lack something fundamental for a country to grow and eventually succeed, even if its just in the economic territory-its called cohesion.
    Its like many countries patched together..all that said, if economy was better here, and less corruption on sight, Id prefer this to live, even if its just to eat Paella, whatever…