Angels, Romantic Walks …… and a Biscuit Tin! Internet dating in Spain 2

One thing I discovered in the first few days of flirting via the internet was that there are an awful lot of ladies in South America looking for visas to Spain. (According to the ladies I met here, there are an equal number of men looking for them.) I was amazed by the amount of replies I received, about 80 in the first week, and over half of them were from Latin America. Others came from Portugal, France, Holland and a number of cities in Spain, but I had decided that I would concentrate on people I could meet in the flesh. I spend enough time in front of a computer that I didn’t want email pen-pals.

My first two contacts couldn’t have been more different. ‘Angel Lady’ (not the name she uses on the site) was so christened by me because she sent me an email about angels. This nearly put me off because I thought she might be a bit ‘new agey’ for me, but as it turned out she was delightful company. She described herself as small – and at just under 5foot she wasn’t wrong! – con unos ojos que no olvidarás’, ‘with eyes you won’t forget’.

The second lady, ‘La Eleganta’, was at the other extreme. She said she was tall and liked to wear heels, so hoped that I wasn’t short because if we met she might tower over me. A friend suggested I take a biscuit tin with me on both dates, for ‘Angel Lady’ to stand on for me to kiss her goodnight, and for me to stand on when I did the same with ‘La Eleganta’. As it transpired, AL also liked heels, deliciously high ones in fact, and LE, whilst being tall for a Spanish lady, was exactly my height.

‘Angel Lady’ and I arranged to meet for coffee one Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately the place I’d chosen was closed so I sat on a wall outside waiting for her. She told me later that she had driven past and seen me looking up and down the street. I told her that I was extremely grateful that she hadn’t just kept driving and left me looking lost and forlorn.

In any of my emails I wrote in those days making arrangements to meet, I always made it clear that my Spanish wasn’t wonderful. Thank the Lord it’s pretty good now, given some of the scrapes I get into, but then it was pretty iffy. This diminutive lady made a little gesture that endeared me to her and made me more relaxed when it came to meeting others, none of whom spoke any English. Going on a blind date is unnerving enough. Going on a blind date where you barely speak the other person’s language has a fine element of terror attached to it.

When we were finally sat waiting for coffee I tried to chat in my halting Spanish, but it was obvious I was a bit nervous. A bit! This splendid lady simply reached out, gently touched my hand and smiled, a gesture that said ‘It’s okay.’ It didn’t improve my Spanish instantly, but it made me far more relaxed.

When we’d finished our coffee we went to the Albufera, the great lake on the edge of Valencia, where we took a walk just as a bright red sky lit the water as night arrived.

Fortunately Valencia has a couple of cinemas showing English films with Spanish subtitles, so the following week AL and I went to see a film and finished the evening with tapas. I hoped Angel Lady and I would meet again. I liked her company.

‘La Eleganta’ is a different kettle of charming fish altogether. We arranged to meet in a café in the centre of town at eight in the evening and a few minutes before she arrived she phoned to say she we would be a little bit late. I was reading a newspaper in the café a short while later and suddenly looked up to see a stunning creature with thick dark hair and shining eyes smiling down at me. Some photos don’t do people justice and the one accompanying her profile had been one of those. I hope I didn’t gawp!

We chatted amicably for a couple of hours, me hoping that my face wasn’t too blank when she went into realms of Spanish my stumbling vocabulary hadn’t entered. She told me that she was going to Vienna for a few days, with me saying that I was off to Barcelona about the time she got back. We parted amicably saying that we’d speak again.

I sent a couple of emails to LE suggesting we meet for a coffee before she went on holiday, but didn’t get a reply. I assumed that she wasn’t interested, which, although I’d rather she’d have wanted to meet me again, I accepted with only a modest sulk.

But then I thought, ‘Why give in so easily?’ I’d been determined that I would accept friendship if that was what was offered and here was someone who’s company I enjoyed who might not want a relationship but who might enjoy a meal out or the cinema now and again. And what was it that I liked so much about her that I wanted to meet her again, even as a friend? The answer was – her laugh. She has the most wonderful laugh that it makes you warm just hearing it and, like with most people, there isn’t enough real laughter in my life. So I sent her another email telling this and saying that it she wanted to meet again simply as friends then that was fine by me. And I meant it.

‘Faint heart never won fair maiden,’ seems to have worked, because she replied to my email saying that she had been so up to her eyes with work and preparing for her holiday that she hadn’t even looked at her emails for a few days and would call me when we were both back in town. And she did.

On that first experience of internet dating I met five ladies, who were all delightful. I had a brief relationship with one of them, but even though it ended we still remained friends.

And what do I feel about using the internet or a dating agency to meet someone? I think it’s a splendid idea. To be honest, I wish I’d not needed to. I came to live in Spain because I’d met a beautiful lady, and I wish she had still been with me, but she wasn’t and even though I missed her a great deal I needed to look to the now and the future. I enjoy the company of women as both friends and lovers, and they needn’t be one and the same.

Fortunately dating by these means has lost the stigma it had a decade ago, when I first put a tentative toe into the water, so if you are looking for someone to spend time with then I would suggest you get down to your local cyber café if you don’t have internet access of your own. You may not find the person you will spend the rest of your days with, but even if you don’t, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find someone to help while away a few pleasant hours.

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered

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