gorgeous spanish women

The Mystery of the Thin and Gorgeous Spanish Women

Before arriving in Spain, I knew there would be differences between the women in Spain and me.  I’d read countless articles about behaving well and not perpetuating the crazy, drunk American girl stereotype.  I figured that shouldn’t be too hard; I just wouldn’t get drunk and crazy.  But I didn’t realize that so many factors other than my imperfect Spanish and potential to have “Girls Gone Wild” moments would separate me from Spanish women, albeit mainly in the looks department.

Spanish women dress impeccably and for the most part have fantastic bodies and gorgeous hair.  I was prepared for the fashion differences (this is Europe after all), but I’m still confused as to how they maintain their bodies and their perfect hair.

Since I’ve arrived in Spain I have not seen a single Spanish woman run.  I’ve seen a substantial number of men running, either in spandex bodysuits or down coats. I enjoy the spandex because most men in the US wouldn’t be caught dead in skintight attire (except triathletes, who do their own thing) and the down coats make me laugh: although it’s February, it’s about 50 degrees every day.  So I know that people run here, but either the women have found running paths that have eluded me, or they rely on walking to keep their figures.  I wish I could do this, since running in Nervión, my neighborhood, involves a lot of stoplights and inhaling an abundance of cigarette smoke and car fumes.  But even with my second-hand smoke filled runs, I still have trouble putting on my jeans in the morning after late-night churros con chocolate and our frequent meals consisting of French fries, fried eggs and croquetas (deep fried balls of dough filled with meat).  The food is wonderful, but how are Spanish women so thin without constant exercise?

When I do run, I definitely am an anomaly, which is highlighted by the excess of ogling and catcalls I receive as I jog to the Parque María Luisa.  I definitely am nothing to stare at during my runs, with my tomato-red face, flying sweat and embarrassingly slow pace, but men are riveted by the fact that I’m moving at a pace above a brisk walk.  Neither women nor men feel the need to move aside at all to give me room on the sidewalk, which makes my pace even slower.  I receive countless hostile looks as well as air kisses as I make my way through the throngs on the street, which perhaps accounts for the fact that Spanish women prefer not to run: female runners are either objectified or resented.

After the seventh catcall on my hour run by a 60-something man, I almost decided to embrace my fried food weight.  But the warm weather and orange trees in February make up for dodging immobile locals and enduring sketchy leers.  That, and I don’t want to have to buy all new jeans when I get home.

Spanish women’s perfect hair also blows my mind.  Because of the economic crisis in Spain right now, water and electricity are exorbitantly expensive; therefore hot water for showering costs a lot, meaning showers must be extremely short. My showers consist of washing my hair in a frenzy, slapping on some body wash and perhaps shaving half of a leg every other day, resulting in hair that I pray doesn’t have too much conditioner residue in it and legs that shouldn’t be permitted to see the light of day.

I know short showers aren’t unique to my host family’s home here, so I’m still amazed at how women manage to make their hair so sleek and in awe of how great their legs look in mini skirts. (The women definitely sacrifice discomfort in the “cold” for fashion; they’re much tougher than the male runners in down coats).  They must know what hair products to use and must have perfected shaving in the sink. I still fall over backwards every time I try to raise my leg to sink level, which is quite dangerous with a marble floor underfoot and a razor in hand.

Blending in with Spanish women is a near-impossible task, since I will never be able to perfectly emulate their language or their style.  But my affinity for running and my inability to shower properly irrevocably separates me from passing as a true Spanish woman.  What I find completely hilarious is the fact that to date, four tourists have asked me directions in stilted Spanish while I’ve been running.  They’re either comforted by the familiarity of a runner, or haven’t realized that real Spanish women miraculously don’t need to run.

11 Responses

  1. Tali
    Tali at |

    I had the same experience in Israel. All the Israeli girls seemed to eat a ton of sandwiches with chocolate spread but didn’t gain a pound. So unfair!

    Did you ever ask a Spanish woman what their deal is?

    1. sofia at |

      Hi im Spanish and i must say that im skinny by nature, ehich means that my mother, grandmother and great grandmother have had slim and thin bodies without working out, that might be because of two things: the first one, the metabolism and the way you body works and gets the energy from the meals, and secondly the diet. The mediterranean food is condider the healthiest and by far the most tasty one and it helps you to have a slim body.
      Although i disagree with the fact that gis dont go running i must say that we do exetcise but indoors: gyms are often our place and when the weather gets better and the summer arrives, many girls in my hometown go running aorund the parks. To reach that perfect bikini body forthe summer :)

  2. Tom at |

    Not sure how they do it cos whenever im in Spain im getting food from all angles, I order a drink I get free food, I go to someones house im scoffing more food, I go home and my Spanish girl is making me food. The UK is like rehab for me now, I have to pay for every meal in the UK and its normally rubbish food too :)

  3. Boira at |

    Hi there!

    Sarah, your entry is sooooo funny! I never thought tourists/foreign residents see us specially thin or elegant (wow!)
    Well, there’re women runners, of course! but not as much as men. We prefer going to a gym and enjoy a little bit of sauna/swimming pool after our work-outs. With all, not a lot of girls go to a gym. Not because any social or cultural issue, just because emmmm weight isn’t a problem. The times I used to work out were more for having fun and meeting new people than staying in shape.

    I’m sure you have noticed that food here, even if great in quantity, is always made from natural ingredients, not over-processed, never from frozen products, always use olive oil… Unfortunately, things are changing and the young generations are eating more and more over-processed foods from fast-food chains and too many industrial cakes, with their industrial fats and sugars. You know, a burger or a pie made at home or in a traditional restaurant with natural ingredients has nothing to do (nutritional and caloric-wise) with those made in fast food chains.

    About the hairstyle… wow, I have never noticed! I just thought we were very casual!

    Again, thank you for your kind words about us!
    I hope you had/you’re having a nice stay here.

  4. Maria at |

    I am a spanish 18 year old girl and I lived in ireland for a year so I knew more or less that people from other countries thought that we were good looking and all that but I found really funny the thing you said about running haha I am not as lucky as many spanish girls so I put on weight very easily. Thats why I always go to the gym and I eat the typical mediterranean diet, which is the healthiest ( when I went to ireland I put so much weight on because of the food) but after coming back I got my normal weight very quick. And the thing you say about our hair.. I dont know about other countries, but in Ireland girls always straight their hairs and dye them so that damages their hair so much. They always ask how my hair was so nice and i always answered the same ” is 100% natural, never dye it, never straight it” . So as you see there is always an answer, our hair and our bodies are not a mystery!

  5. Julia at |

    I’m a spanish 18 year old girl, like Maria. And I must admit that at first I was very shoked at your post because I don’t really think of us, spanish girls, like that. But then, thinking about it everything you said applies to me, well, not everything, but I’m skinny, I don’t run, I sacrifice myself for fashion (nothing crazy) and I like thinking I have nice hair, at least people tell me so. But to be honest, this is not everyone and the fact that I’m thin is purely metabolism, I inherited it from my mum. And the hair thing, just as Maria said, I believe it’s just that we keep it natural. Not everyone, of course, but specially the younger women/girls, try to keep it natural and tend to grow it long, which looks nice (in my opinion). Also, most of spanish woman have very full hair, I guess it’s in the genes. But seriouslly, we’re nothing special. And thank you for your thoughts, you seem a very positive and lovely girl. :)

  6. cordovese at |

    I am spanish living in Northern Spain from andalousian background, a sporty woman but I avoid to exercise outdoors if my husband is not joining me because I am tired of the insistent male harassment, either locals or migrants. It is like to live in an Arabic country sometimes, even if things are better in large northern cities like Barcelona -not a lot if you are beautiful-. It doesn’t matter if you are beautiful, ugly, cover yourself from head to toes or you wear a sexy top. The secret is to exercise at home, walking a lot (you will be less harassed) or to workout in private sports clubs. Thanks by your funny blog.

  7. Patricia Sainz de Rozas
    Patricia Sainz de Rozas at |

    Nice post Sarah! I really enjoyed your observations about Spanish women as I believe they are all true. I am from Madrid, but have lived abroad since a young age and travelled to many countries in Europe, America and Asia. The more places I go, the more I realize that Spanish women are among the most beautiful in the World, no doubt!
    In my opinion I´ll say that we really care about how we look. Spanish people in general are all about fashion and follow the trends of the moment. We have the best low-cost fashion industry for a reason.
    Spaniards love food, but we eat the right food. (I´ll say Spanish food is the best in the World too!) The reason we have such good genetics is because the Mediterranean diet have been with us for centuries and its the healthiest diet you can have. We eat many fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, lean meats and olive oil. (This last one may have something to do with our great hair and skin.) We like the natural look better, that’s why our hair look so nice, because we don´t treat it excessively like American girls do!
    It is true not a whole lot of girls work out because they don´t need it but a lot of us do it, to stay in shape and for fun too. More and more people (men and women) are practicing outdoor and indoor sports in comparison with last decade. I am very athletic as I have always loved practicing outdoor activities. I am a runner myself and love jogging in parks and trails, and I see many female runners wherever I go.
    As for the perfect legs Ill tell you a secret: Spanish women barely ever shave, we always use wax!!!

  8. Laura Schmidt at |

    HI. Thank you for the compliments. I am not used to Americans complimenting the Spanish or maybe it is because many of them assume we are hispanics and they do not seem to like them.

    I can tell you that I am from Madrid and I am naturally thin. I am thin because I never, never, never eat junk food or sweets. When I am depressed, I do not eat.

    If you were to come to my house, you would see that I only have beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts. My husband makes meat and I eat it.

    We were not raised with much butter. WE mainly use olive oil and garlic in our cooking to flavor and this contributes to the thin body. We do not really eat that many sweets. Most Spanish women do not like sweets the way American women do. We were not conditioned to like sweets and we never put sugar in anything we cook unless it is a sweet.

    Basically, our diet is the reason that we can eat what we want and not gain weight. Truly it is the diet. I have lived in the US and see what is given to children here and it is a crime. No one here knows how to eat. They do not like fish, unless it is fried, they put ranch on their salad when they should just use vinegar and olive oil, and they eat dessert every day and all the time. We have fruit for dessert.

    I also do not eat that many carbs.

    I do not suffer to eat the way I do, because this is the way I was conditioned to eat fromt he beginning.

    If yo look at what they feed the kdis here in daycare it is a disgrace. They put sugar in everything and ruin it, fry everythin, do not use olive oil, put ranch on salads…..they ruin the food and make it so that little kids grow up with this horrible habit of eating very unhealthy food that is not really good.

    It is the way we have traditionally eaten and eat. I still get together with Spanish women and if we snack it is on olives, chorizo…………….

    The hair, I do not know. I have terrible hair but you are right, Spanish women are so smart about keeping their houses very clean, organized and keeping themselves looking great. They have great taste and are actually quite hardworking, so maybe that perfect hair took a lot of time……..

    I definitley have terrible hair and need to learn from them…..in that department…….

  9. Sophia at |

    I agree totally, your diet of natural “live” foods such as fruit, nuts and olive oils are what keeps your figure, hair and skin so beautiful. Processed foods make your cells in your body go crazy and confuses your Cells and hormones. Your body does not know what to do with all those unnatural chemicals so it turns it into fat cells and stores it for later in your tissues. After years and years of storing in your body it dangerously destroys your health and wrecks your natural beauty. Spanish women are the most beautiful women their diet and genetics play a big part in it. Plus their upkeep of themselves too plays a big part.

  10. Katie O'Grady
    Katie O'Grady at |

    A great read!

    I lived in Salamanca, Spain for my Junior year of college in the early ’90’s and can relate to what you say!


    Katie O’Grady


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