Thursday, September 18, 2003

A Rare and Endangered Species

With the exception of those who work in a different city and those who are gay, I have yet to meet an unmarried Spaniard who does not live with their parents.

When I first noticed this trend, I was inclined to put it simply down to the fact that I was prone to befriending the more sheltered and "mollycuddled" citizens of the city. However this now appears not to have been the case afterall.

It was only yesterday when this very topic of conversation arose amongst my students that I became properly informed on the matter. A girl from Salamanca, who is to marry next July, was telling the class of how her fiance announced to his parents this week, that he planned move in with his mates until the big day. The mothers ensuing reaction could be described as nothing other than hysterical.....and he was soon resigned to abandoning the idea altogether.

With the subject now raised, it was not long before the entire class began to compete with similar tales. My personal favourite was of a Valencian girl in her late twenties who managed to survive the stage of parental hysteria. However, the reluctant acceptance of the situation was subject to the condition that their daughter live in a different area, so as to save the parents the shame of people knowing that she had not moved to another city for work reasons.

Spanish families suffer great embarrassment if their adult children wish to live outside of the family home before matrimony. It is looked upon as a failure on the part of the all powerful Spanish Matriarch to create a good home and a happy family.

Thus, despite its claims to be otherwise, Spain is still a highly conservative country. While many try to distance themselves from the Catholic church, which they refuse to distinguish from the Franco Regime, they still have religious values deeply embedded in their culture. It is as a result of these attitudes, that only those who do not fit the traditional "Submitting to Mother" role, by way of their sexual orientation or otherwise, that are perhaps the bravest to leave home. These are the only people it seems, who are willing to risk facing the danger of the spanish mothers wrath.