Posted by: puebloman | February 28, 2009

The men of the villages 1

There are plenty of cliches about Spanish men in general and Andalucian men in particular – male “machismo”, the dangers of affronting it, the sanctity of mothers, the ease with which an argument might turn physical and the mythology of the campo knife which, as Lorca has it, is ” a knife, a little knife, that slips between the ribs like a fish . . .” (Blood wedding).

What shocks me as an Englishman living in the pueblo,  is the love that men of all ages are able to express for little children. Old men are seen pushing prams, entirely at home and unselfconcious in their role as grandfathers and happy in that role with infants who like all infants, shit themselves and constantly demand love and stuff.  These grandfathers are retired farmers and so can pass the time with infants in philosophical discourse just as they would with their dogs.

What shocks me even more is how easy it is for young men from adolescence to marriagable age to show their love for infants. Gelled up, tatood, pierced, scented and mounted on on thunderous mopeds, they still melt in the presence of young children,  free of the fear of riducule that would make such a response in England impossible. The spanish baby is kissed, cuddled, passed round from young man to young man, celebrated, treated, pampered and generally drawn into the emotional lives of its older siblings. Women find all this very sexy though it seems young Englishmen have not yet realised it.

Unconditional love, openly diplayed by men in the street, is the single early life interventation that will ultimately distinguish a Spaniard from an Englishman.


  1. Kenton has also commented on this. Also, he is amazed that there is no such thing as ‘invading your space’ here. Spanish men stand close to each other during conversations in the bar, and often hold the other man’s arm as they speak. An Englishman born and bred, he loves the closeness here…


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