Last month, Spain beat the world record for a speed dating event. It is said that 7,800 three minute dates were held within a period of an hour. Amazing! This feat was impressive not so much because of the number of hopeful participants (being that everyone in the world would love to find their soulmate), but because of the incredibly short duration of each encounter. Come on! Are they joking! Three minutes? That’s not even long enough to be considered late for a date in Spain!
They were not supposed to be looking for the mother or father of their future children (el padre o la madre de mis hijos) but even so, meeting twenty people in an hour is not easy. It would be hard to even remember what your first impressions were.
Among the many people at the event, some were looking for a long term relationship, while others were just looking to have a fling (un rollo, un rollete) or whatever it may be (lo que surja). In any case, it was a good exercise for improving their memory. How brave!
When asked, some participants admitted that they were only able to form a first impression (of course, what else?) and just asked for the other person’s number so that they could contact them afterwards. Quite tiring work, huh?
In the end, this whole story made me think of Spanish family relationships. These are relationships that not only include the person who you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with, but their extended family as well. In fact, the in-laws can sometimes be the reason why a couple splits up. As a curious novelty, or perhaps as just a play on words, “in-laws” are known as familia política in Spanish.
Family Vocabulary in Spanish
The Spanish word política can be translated as the following:
- Political, related to politics.
- Tact, good manners, courtesy.
Perhaps it is the second definition that we should really focus on. This is because your relationship with this “new family” is not simply based on contracts or signatures, but on the tact, good manners and courtesy that you show them (especially since you will be having lunch with them on Sundays. Just kidding… I love mine).
Family relationships are not always easy to cope with, and neither are the words that we use for each type of in-law in Spanish; especially when compared to English:
Familia Política (In-laws)
Sadly, mothers-in-law (las suegras) don’t have a very good reputation in Spain. Poor things! Unfortunately, they have been classified as insufferable. Believe it or not, the Spanish word for “party horn” (that noisy thing you blow through at a birthday party) is matasuegras. This literally means “mother-in-law killer.” What??
However, love has no limits, regardless of the suegra you might get (lol), and it’s always been this way. We all dream of meeting our soulmate, or our media naranja (our other half) as we say in Spanish. This expression comes from The Banquet of Plato. Here, Plato explained that each person and their soulmate were once a single unified being, who was eventually split up after humans dared to fight against the gods. Since then, our punishment has been to be forever looking for our other half.
Now, that we know a little bit about the history, let’s take a look at some of the verbs that relate to our media naranja. Interestingly enough, most are reflexive verbs.
Again, we have two different definitions for reflexivo in Spanish:
- A verb used with a personal reflexive pronoun.
- Sensible, thoughtful, prudent (not exactly how we act when we are in love…).
Obviously, it is not the second definition that we are talking about in this case. So, let’s go ahead and have a look at these verbs:
Conocerse: To meet.
- Nos conocimos en una fiesta de cumpleaños de una compañera del trabajo. We met at a colleague’s birthday party.
Enamorarse: To fall in love.
- Nos enamoramos a primera vista. Fue un flechazo (A Cupid’s arrow shot). We fell in love at first sight. It was love at first sight.
Hacerse novios: To start going out.
- Quedamos varias veces antes de hacernos novios. We went out / met several times before we starting dating.
Casarse: To get married.
- Se casaron en verano. They got married in the summer.
Irse a vivir juntos: To start living together.
- Se fueron a vivir juntos antes de casarse. They moved in together before they got married.
Unfortunately, not all relationships have a happy ending. Don’t worry though, there are also reflexive verbs to sort that out:
Separarse: To separate.
- No podían aguantarse y, finalmente, decidieron separarse. They couldn’t stand each other and, in the end, they decided to separate.
Divorciarse: To get divorced.
- Se divorciaron de mutuo acuerdo. They got divorced as a mutual agreement.
In any case, when talking about love, it might not be quite as important to have three minutes to talk as to have three options…
Te beso, me besas o nos besamos: I kiss you, you kiss me or we kiss each other.