Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why 1 + 1 ≥ 2

Ask and ye shall receive; I was in need, and lo, Molly did hear my cry. I'd like to break a little from the regular format around here in honor of my friend and fellow Diary of Why reader's international blogging debut. She joins us today direct from the Iberian Peninsula, having battled the inconveniences of different time zones, Spanish-language keyboards, and angry bulls running wild in the streets, and she has risen victorious. And so, without further ado, won't you please give a warm Diary of Why welcome to everyone's favorite hispanophone, and my good friend...Molly:

Spain: The land of flamenco, paella, and bullfighters. And very horny people.

I’ve never been all that successful in my love life back home in the States. I was kind of an awkward, shy girl in high school (ed. note: While there are many adjectives I could think of to describe Molly, I don't think "shy" would ever be one of them), repressed by my mother’s castrating moralist attitude and, in retrospect, struggling with my sexual identity. If I had to write a blog about my love life up until I turned 22 the entries would be very short and quite uneventful, the most exciting one narrating my first kiss at the local ice cream joint and my place of summer employment, Moose Kone, when I bribed my gay best friend into sticking his tongue down my throat in exchange for a free ice cream cone, moose droppings included (Ed. note: That Molly! So shy! Although in her defense I can add that, against all sense and reason, we didn't know he was gay then). (For some reason the owner decided to give the lovely name of "moose droppings" to the toppings. Between that and all the free ice cream we handed out that summer, it’s no wonder the place went bankrupt after 3 months). I digress.

A couple "relationships" and several years later, I find myself much more comfortable in my own skin, but still not that successful on the dating scene. I marvel at Rachel and the numerous dates she goes on- where do all these people come from? (Ed. note: There's no mystery to it- Perhaps I should lead a seminar called 'You too can find dates on the Internet!'). I’ve passed months in New Jersey without any sign of interest from anyone mildly acceptable (Note: I’ve never had problems in picking up short, 50 year-old latino men).

And then, I came to Spain. I arrived in Madrid a month ago, PhD qualifying exams recently taken, ready to cut loose and, with any luck, do a little research for my dissertation. Just like that I found a place to live with two extremely nice girls: lesbian, pot-smoking communists who have been living together for the past two years. What more could I ask for?

In general, I find that people here are much more direct in their come-ons. I’ve been propositioned several times in the past four weeks. Let me offer an example: I’m in a bar with my roommates and some of their friends. One of them, there with his girlfriend, with whom I’ve shared a total of 5 sentences since I met him two hours earlier, comes up to me:

Him: I think we’d make a good couple, don’t you?
Me: uhm…
Him: I’d like to propose something, if it offends you just tell me and I’ll stop.
Me: … ?
Him: Well, I like you, I think you’re cute, and I thought maybe we could spend the night together.
Me: … ¿cómo?
Him: Oh, you’re offended, never mind.
Me: But, you’re serious???
Him: Yeah, of course. You don’t want to, never mind, I’m really shy with these things(?!?!?), forget about it.
Me: Uhm, yeah, I think that would be best. Besides, I’m confused, isn’t that chick over there your girlfriend? I mean, I know my Spanish isn’t perfect, but I think I know what novia means.
Him: Yeah, we live together. But we have an agreement, you know, an open relationship.
Me: Yeah, I think I’m gonna pass, thanks for the offer though!

Meanwhile, I spent the rest of the night dancing in circles around the pub trying to avoid another one of the friends, who finally managed to corner me and say: "I like you, I like how you dance. Do you want to get together?" Aaaah!

I asked myself, is it something in the water? My exotic American accent? Given the deep love and admiration felt for the US in this country, I highly doubt that that’s the explanation. (Ed. note: Sarcasm, of the scathing variety, I believe). Perhaps people are still rebelling after the 40 years of dictatorship? But no, that ended in ’75; these guys weren’t even born then!

Apparently the interest in me isn’t limited to the male sex, either. Back at home with my lesbian roommates, it seems that I’m acting as a catalyst in breaking up their relationship. Molly Homewrecker. Turns out Silvia has a thing for me, which she confessed the other day while Julieta was off visiting her parents. I have nothing to do with what’s going on with her and Julieta, she says. Problems from before. In the meantime she’s cancelled their romantic Valentine’s Day trip that they had scheduled for this weekend, and she’s planning on moving out in the next two months. Great. Now I have to find a new place to live, but I was so happy here! All I wanted was a nice apartment and fun roommates, and I walk into this mess. Why Molly, why?

I must admit that despite the problems my time in Spain so far has been quite a self-esteem booster. I never suspected that there could be so many people out there interested in me. However, it would be safe to say that this trip hasn’t been the most pleasant of experiences. Do I unconsciously seek out weird and uncomfortable situations? Why do my "relationships" always seem to involve more than two people? I can’t help but think that Ms. Higgins lied to us in math class: One plus one may sometimes equal two, but as a general rule, it usually adds up to at least three or four.

Wow. Complete with Moose Kone and Ms. Higgins references. I suddenly feel like I'm fifteen years-old again...Well, thank you, Molly, for that funny and insightful glimpse into your swingin' Spanish life. Please check back and let us know what happens next! And now, Readers, won't you let Molly know you appreciate her efforts, and leave her some comment love?

(Diary of Why will now return to regularly-scheduled programming...)

(Unless of course you (yes, YOU!) have a Why story of your own to share, in which case, send it on over!*)

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  1. Sounds like in Love Actually, where all the English guys believe that American girls are just super-excited about the accent and the foreign extracurricular activities. Apparently, we now know the opposite to be true as well. I, for one, would like regular updates on this situation

  2. Dear Molly,

    It's the whole madonna-whore thing.

    I was a student at the University of Madrid in the 1960s. I was in a program with about 30 or 35 Americans who lived with various Spanish families. We spoke no English for days or weeks at a time.

    In those days, Spanish women were not allowed to be alone with men. They always went out with an older woman called a duena. I once had a "date" with a woman and about 10 or her relatives, including her grandmother and mother, who accompanied us to the bar for a drink.

    Spanish men called all foreign women sueca, which literally means "Swedish woman." But--because it was assumed all foreign women were prostitutes--the term was street slang for "slut."

    Spanish men assumed that all foreign women are little more than prostitutes who will have sex with anyone who asks within, say, the next five minutes. They get it from movies and American TV, which rather badly distort foreign views of U.S. culture and behavior. All American women are Paris Hilton or Pamela Anderson to them.

    On top of that, the church made Spain a very sexually immature culture, a land where all Spanish women are sacred virgins, and therefore untouchable, and who are destined to be either mothers or nuns one day. So the only morally acceptable sexual outlet is--you. Do not be flattered.

    Things may have loosened up since Franco died, but the centuries of church teaching are hard to shake.

    Just develop a bit of a shell and a sense of humor and enjoy your time.


    An Aging White Straight Jewish American Spanish-Speaking Male

  3. Welcome to the blogging world Molly! Your debut was fantastic, I can tell why you are friends with Rachel. Many of the same writing qualities, plus that beautiful sarcasm that we have all grown to love. I look forward to more from you, perhaps your own blog??
    And we are still missin ya Rachel!!

  4. Ditto what Heidi said.

  5. Well, Madonna-whore complex or not, it's probably alright to be a little bit flattered, Mol. After all, you are one hot tamale, and those Spanish people know it!

    Also, for those of you who don't know Molly personally, you may not realize she also has a Madonna complex. In fact, I can't tell you the number of times I've seen her break down "Like a Prayer" on (and off) the dance floor. Too many to count...

  6. Naturellement le Molly est chaud! La chaleur de mot n'a aucune signification sans elle.

    Mais les hommes espagnols sont les porcs immobiles.

  7. i am glad people around the world are wisening up to what i always knew: molly rocks!
    and as the only one of this triad who is not gifted in language (of any kind, english spelling included) i offer this: you are both cutie 3.14s.

  8. Molly, you rock! Thank you so much for sharing this story. I second the motion for regular dispatches from Spain (cough-cough-startablog-cough-cough).

    I must also admit to lurking and not offering comments as often as I should. But now that Rachel, Molly and Tal are all on one page, I just had to say hi and join this mini-reunion! I miss you all.

  9. And don't forget Alan! Alan is here too, although he's traveling a bit incognito...sneaky Al, the accountant from Afghanistan.

  10. Molly, I love you, you are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your adventures (And I too, marvel at Rachel's ability to try the waters with an astounding array of folks.) I'm so glad you're coming into your own...in whatever form it takes, and that it's as wonderful, unpredictable and lively as yourself. I always felt that you were a force to be reckoned with, it's just a shame that these insipid Americans can't handle the reckoning ;)

    As someone who has shifted to the propositioning stance with some success (yes, I know, I was never backwards about being forward) I want to second that life is just easier if people are clear about their intentions. If I want to have a relationship, I ask someone on a date, if I want to have hot sex, I ask them to spend the night and have realistic expectations of the outcome of that sort of arrangement. But then again, I am the one of the quadrad (?) of PHS folks on here who always wanted to grow up and be a sex therapist, so I'll just say: have fun, be safe, and keep on sharing the sordid details!

  11. Alan and Erin! I didn't mean to neglect you! I'll go back to lurking now.

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