Get your kit off!…going topless in Spain


At last we’ve had a few days of hot weather, enough to make everyone forget the long, wet winter and start shedding the scarves and big boots in favour of T-shirts and shorts. But with the balmy weather comes a re-appearance of the ‘sinca’, first commented on in the press last year, but now beginning to rear its ugly head again.

Far from being a new make of East European car, as it’s name might suggest, ‘sinca’ is an abbreviation of ‘sin camiseta’, ‘without T-shirt’, and some of the locals are getting very shirty indeed about its reappearance.

What was once only a form of dress seen on the beach, where it was perfectly at home with bikinis and thongs, people are now often seen wandering the streets of the city clad only in shorts and trainers (and for the ladies a bra-type top), with their T-shirt tucked in the waistband of their shorts. Where once this sort of dress was only seen among foreigners, keen for a few rays of April sun on their back after a long winter, (while the Spanish were still wrapped up in scarves and padded jackets), it is now being taken up by the Spanish themselves, men, women and children.

Some of the bars and restaurants in the city, desperate for income during one of the worst crises to hit Spain in living memory, are turning a blind eye to serving ‘sincas’ on their terraces, but many, especially in the Barrio del Carmen, the central city haunt for young tourists, now display a pictogram of a T-shirt and shoes, with the words, ‘Prohibida la entrada sin camiseta y/o calzado’, entrance forbidden without T-shirt and/or shoes.

In one of those curious moments of serendipity, while I was reading the article in Levante, a Valencian daily newspaper, an ancient building worker, covered in dust and grime and dressed only in a filthy pair of swimming trunks and a pair of grubby slippers, sat down at the table next to me with two of his co-workers, both dressed in dirty working clothes but at least wearing shirts. I ask him why he wasn’t wearing a T-shirt to sit outside a café, and he told me because he was dirty. When I pointed out that so were his colleagues, and ask if he didn’t think it a bit unpleasant for the other customers sitting at the nearby tables, he began to harangue me, shouting at me that he didn’t give a mierda what anybody else, thought, he’d do exactly as he wanted, when he wanted. His clothed companions averted their eyes in embarrassment, and when I left I thanked him for his consideration and tolerance.

No law, local or otherwise, exists to cover the case of ‘sincas’, but many see it as simply a case of being civilised, educated and respectful…three things sadly sometimes a bit difficult to find these days.

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, , and Spain Uncovered


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