On our first night in Tobarra our doorbell rang and when we opened la puerta a bald man, around 55-years-old, waltzed into our kitchen, grabbed the cheese grater we had been using and asked us when we wanted to come over for dinner. We stared, stunned. He was speaking rapidly in Spanish and in New York we would have called the police five minutes ago. But we were in Tobarra and any night of the week was open for dinner so we looked to Mans, who was reading on the couch. “Oh yeah, it’s no problem, men in Tobarra do this all the time, don’t worry.” So we set a date of Miercoles a las ocho, and off went the bald man, still holding our cheese grater.
We are all for friendly town folk but the guys here are clearly female deprived and scented new woman before we even got off the bus. We tried to be nice. A few men began talking to Perrin during our of our trips to our home away from home, the Internet cafe. (Yes, travelers these days are probably too wired, but how else can one book flights and stay in touch with America, cheaply?)
As Perrin and the boys spoke two common languages – English and French – and promised to teach us Baileys Spanish, we gladly accepted their invitation to share a few drinks.
Much to our surprise, two of the men decided – that despite the lack of any romantic activity – that they were dating us. A barrage of irksome phone calls followed. We stopped answering the phone, but everyone in the miniature village of Tobarra seems to know where everyone else lives, so we weren’t so surprised when we peered over our balcony one day and found the two men staring up at us Romeo-style. What a pain in the ass!
Why were we feeling less-than-love-struck? Firstly, Perrin has a boyfriend. Secondly, these small-town men are (clearly) clingy, sappy and boring. The most exciting conversation starter they offered was, “Do you have any brothers and sisters?” Um, obviously.
Most men in the town did end up being genuinely nice. Juan (the cheese grater stealer) made us a delicious potato dinner on a wood-fire stove and then made us a bottle of honey-flavored Whiskey (moonshine) in his basement. It must be at least 65 proof and I can’t actually swallow it but it was a sweet gesture.