I finally came across a street sign that said: “,” they looked at my i Pad map, shook their heads a couple of times, and waved at me to follow them.At this point, they proceeded to escort me through the maze of the town, down several kilometers of narrow country roads, and finally to the entrance of the Casa Rural Fuente la Teja where I was staying (smack dab in a very lovely stretch of the middle of nowhere, down a winding road called Calle de Diez y Ocho Caños; I include a picture, in case you’ve never been nowhere in Spain).As I understand it, Spaniards take a two-hour lunch that may begin at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, or later. There is another aspect of Spanish culture that feels very natural, but that is rather un-American.That lunch may well be accompanied by a glass of , and that may be followed by a short nap. Spaniards are shockingly hospitable, even to strangers.
And then, when I told Luis I was planning a visit to the nearby city of Sevilla, he responded by taking me on a 4-day guided tour of what he called “Deep Spain,” including not only Sevilla and Salamanca (where Luis’s family lives), but also two days in a region called the Extremadura, a shockingly pastoral and beautiful hilly region along the Portuguese border (where his grandparent’s home still stands in a charming little pueblo called Torre de Don Miguel, and from whence came many of the Conquistadors who settled America, including Cortez, Pizarro, de Soto, and Balboa).What’s fascinating to me is that an evolutionary approach to human psychology, which used to be considered politically incorrect, turns out to be a perfect antidote to ethnocentrism, leading us to focus on our commonalities with other human beings, instead of our differences. Also, thank-you for sharing the statistic about marriage age preferences. Speaking "Americano," on the other hand, was what we call a joke in my country, and the reference to Spain's union with Germany represented my understanding that both countries were part of the European Union (of which there was a lot of talk while I was visiting Barcelona).All we need now is the old theme song from Coca-Cola: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” (sung in Spanish, which I’m sure is out there somewhere! Los Cinco Grandes across cultures and ethnic groups: Multitrait-multimethod analyses of the Big Five in Spanish and English. Benet-Martinez pointed out that the folks up in Barcelona don't live the Southern Spanish lifestyle, with those 2 hour breaks and siestas. The reference to a "former colony" refers to the region of the United States that I live in, which I believe was once a colony of Spain.I can, on the other hand, transmit some Spanish, but am dazzled on the receiving end (when I ask “ in time).But despite the fact that Luis’s half of our conversations was in halting English, and mine was in broken Spanish, we managed to understand one another perfectly, and it was clear that our responses to most social situations are precisely the same. for catching the misspelling of Extremadura, which was one my own internal editor should have caught (whilst typing, I am capable of misspelling my own name).Using Spain’s Marriage Records from 1976 to 2006 (with a sample of 13,292,902 people), they replicated the exact same pattern Rich Keefe and I had found in North America: As Spanish men got older, they choose increasingly younger partners for marriage, whereas females generally prefer older partners throughout their life span.They concluded: “These results provide new evidence for the evolutionary model of age preferences in choosing a partner and for the universality of the sexual attraction mechanism.” (see my blog The Mind as a Coloring Book for a description of our research on age preferences in men and women).This is related to another salient difference: the Spanish keep a schedule very different from los Americanos.I have occasionally been shocked to find that most Spanish restaurants are closed at noon, and many other businesses close for two or three hours in the afternoon, during the “” time (which has persisted despite Spain’s union with Germany). From the perspective of an American business model, it hardly seems efficient, but the tapas sure are tasty.My host at the University of Malaga, Luis Gomez-Jacinto, is probably the most hospitable person I have ever met in my life.He not only wrote a grant to cover my travel expenses for our work together, but then he and his wife, Maribel Hombrados-Mendieta, gave me the keys to their summer house near the beach on the Gold Coast (with a lovely view of the Mediterranean from the patio).