If Paris is Romantic, Madrid is Randy
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My last column about my travelling experience to Europe brought in numerous letters. Readers wanted to know more about my Spanish vacation. What did I find different about being single in Madrid, compared to being single in London, Ontario? And several asked if I’d met someone special during my travels.

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I saw couples making out everywhere—at the airport, on the subway, in parks, malls, restaurants, and bars. It is quite common to see public displays of affection, overtly sexy product advertisements, and extravagant design and architecture. Lovers hold hands at the feet of towering pillars, enormous buildings, stately monuments, and big clocks.

If Paris is the city of romance, then Madrid must be the city of sex appeal.

Even strangers tend to hold eye contact longer than I am accustomed to. From a hotel security guard and a man at the ‘Farmacia’ to men of all ages on the street, I saw flirtation.

For instance, I was out for an afternoon stroll, looking in the neighbourhood shop windows. A Spanish sun overhead. I didn’t have a care in the world and couldn’t have been more content. A man on the street approached and asked me to join him for a café, cerveza, or Coca-Cola Light. My Spanish isn’t as fluent as I’d like, so I couldn’t make out much else. But when I said no thank you, he pointed to my left hand and obviously asked if I was spoken for. Since I had my gloves on, and I only had 10 minutes to meet a friend at my hotel, I nodded and fibbed, “Si.”

He bowed his head in disappointment, kissed me on both cheeks, and said something else. Just then another man walked by and translated … “He says, your husband is a very lucky man. You are a beautiful, confident woman.” As I walked away with a little extra colour in my cheeks, I was delighted that he had added credence to my theory that contentment is very attractive.

The early hours of the day are as full of hustle and bustle as in any other city I’ve ever seen. But in Madrid, most shops close down for hours in the afternoon for a lengthy siesta. This makes for a break that pushes the rest of the night into what I like to call overtime. Dining and evening entertainment start much later than they do here. People are still entering packed restaurants at 11p.m. and the hottest dance clubs don’t even open until midnight. Then they stay open until 5 a.m. or even later.

When I didn’t have to get up early to see the sites, I joined in on the festivities. But, in response to the most-asked question, did I meet anyone special in Spain? Well, since the bullfights only take place in summer and autumn, I didn’t meet my handsome toreador. Truth is, I wasn’t looking for “The One” while I was abroad, but I did spend a wonderful evening dancing with a very handsome “Juan.”

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? Email Christine at single@keynotebooks.com

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