Out and About

Out and About

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Yes, that is my name here in Spain. Blondie. It’s not that they don’t have blond women in Spain, because there are some, with skin that is even lighter than mine (yes, skin lighter than mine does exist). However, the vast majority of Spanish women have brown hair and brown eyes, they're called morenas, and that’s just how it is. Some dye their hair, and the Spaniards call them blondes from the bottle (i.e. dye kit).

I’ve never considered myself a true blonde, my hair is more light brown, if you ask me. However, in Spain, I’m blonde, no doubt about it. My Spanish friends laugh when I claim to have brown hair. They point out a Spanish girl with dark brown hair and say, “That’s brown hair.” Fine, I surrender, I’m blonde, and definitely not from the bottle.

= Blonde from the dye kit. Oh, I forgot to mention that hair dye comes in soup cans in Spain.

Thus, blondes are noticed. As are foreigners. Especially foreign girls. With blond hair. And blue eyes. I stick out like a sore thumb in this country, and I never expected that in Spain. After all, I am half Italian, I have some Mediterranean blood in me, surely I could pass for a Spanish girl?

Nope. You would think that as there is always a steady stream of foreigners in and out of Granada (foreigners love to study in Granada, it’s a relatively cheap part of Spain) that Spanish people would no longer feel the need to stare at the foreigners as they pass them on the sidewalk. Well, actually, they do. Not all Spanish people, but a good 50% of the 30 year-olds and under do. There are always a couple of obnoxious ones that will whistle or catcall. But most just stare. And it’s not just Spanish guys; Spanish girls stare too. Sometimes it’s due to my clothes, as I wear shorts in the summer (call me crazy, but it’s like a trillion degrees here). Spanish girls usually only wear shorts with tights, or skirts and dresses in the summer. I have always enjoyed my shorts sans tights and don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.

I don’t even have to open my mouth for people to know I’m definitely not Spanish. When I meet a friend or family member of my boyfriend, they immediately, without hesitation of any kind, ask where I’m from before they have a chance to hear my American accent. I was in a bar once, wearing a hat and a heavy winter coat, and a waiter behind me, who couldn’t even see my face, said, “Excuse me,” in English. It’s like they have a sixth sense for sniffing out foreigners.

Blonde or brunette? I guess I'll never really be sure.

But that doesn’t even begin to compare to the looks that my boyfriend and I get when we walk down the street holding hands. I am now accustomed to double takes and looks of utter confusion when we are out together. It’s not unusual to see a Spanish guy with a foreign girl in a bar or a club, and the Spanish young people and the foreigners love to spend time together in big groups, but they’re not usually seen as couples in the light of day. So I suppose we’re unusual.

But I’m not complaining; it's a nice change from the monotony of blending into the Chicagoan crowd. After all, I never minded a bit of extra attention. It got me a boyfriend, didn't it?


  1. maybe you should dye your hair green, that would really give them something to stare at. Two more reasons: (1) green is green, no discussion (2) it's your favorite color. I'll let you know if I have any more helpful suggestions.

    Your BIGGEST fan xxxx

  2. Ha, if I ever visit Spain I can see my self heating up some hair dye soup and eating it for lunch.

  3. Angie it's blond...no doubt

  4. hahaha i love your blog, angela. it makes me smile when i'm sitting in my cubicle...

    also, i totally understand the whole strangers staring at you and your bf thing. imagine a chinese girl and a latino boy in chinatown. or once, we were on the bus and this asian woman turned her head and just kept staring at us. sometimes, there's nothing you can do but stare back haha

  5. Haha I tried staring back at them, but it doesn't work! It's like a staring contest and I lose. 100% of the time.