September 30, 2006

YouTube: I miss Barna so much

I wouldn't consider myself a Hispanophile, but the three and then nine months that I lived in Barcelona were eye-opening. Contrary to what most think of the Mediterranean temperament, Spaniards are actually pretty introverted -- the national level of Extraversion, measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, is the lowest of the Mediterranean countries, all of which are lower than that of the US [1]. I though Spanish girls were more extraverted than Americans when I was there, but maybe I had more luck approaching girls there, or perhaps they were more willing to approach me, making them appear more gregarious. But one thing I do remember which squares with the Spanish tendency toward introversion is a remark that Anglo girls made of Spanish guys -- unlike Italian guys who follow you around in public chatting you up, Spaniards leave you alone. Now, introversion and shyness or diffidence aren't the same thing, of course. The national level of Neuroticism is above-average, though, meaning they're more easily worked up or excited. This low-E and high-N interaction would place the average in the "melancholics" of Galen's typology. That must be one reason why Woody Allen and The Cure are worshipped there! That must also be why a certain stripe of Anglo nerd, I've noticed, falls in love invariably with Spain rather than another Mediterranean country.

Aside from feeling that I fit in better with the girls there, I also noticed that Radical Feminism hadn't made much headway into the thinking or behavior of the modal intelligent young female. They are definitely anti-macho in the sense of not wanting anyone else telling them what to do in their public or private life -- which is to the good -- but they haven't gone as far as feminists have in the Anglo world by trying to badger women into acting like men. They still enjoy being feminine, take pride in their cooking skills, and accept that in circumscribed areas of life, men and women are just different.

In particular, by embracing femininity, they don't complain about the "beauty myth" and so look a lot better than Americans. Hell, even if they didn't put more effort than the average American into attractive clothes and hairstyles, their facial features alone would place them a league above Americans. I'm probably biased in thinking that Spanish girls have larger eyes -- I likely noticed the ones who did -- but I'm sure that the half-moon eyelid is more prevalent in the Mediterranean than in northern Europe. Spanish girls are also distinguishable by their bunny-like facial geometry, especially the prominent upper row of teeth. Those who don't like the look would (unfairly) call it rodential, but I think bunny-like is more fitting, as I find the slight apparent overbite neotenous. Plus they don't have English teeth, so it better showcases their smile.

Tying all three of these threads together -- a slightly melancholic disposition, a nonconformist yet feminine approach to sex relations, and the particular beauty of the females -- is the work of Cordoban singer-songwriter Vega (in Spanish), whose videos I found at YouTube. The first is "Grita!" ("Shout!") which I heard during my first stay in the summer of 2003. It's her version of rock meets pop-country, and the lyrics are about a young girl working up the courage to follow her dreams to be a musician. It's rebellious in a girly way, which I find refreshing -- that is, it's not punk rock, but doesn't try to be this masculinely confrontational.

The music of her recent single "Una vida contigo" ("A life with you") is a bit more wistful, but still playful; the lyrics are tender without being sappy, about how she wants to take care of her man. I've provided a non-professional translation below (I'll post a translation of "Grita!" later, as I'm dead tired -- 4:30AM and counting).

The official music video is here. Pretty cool.

"A life with you"

You want to believe, that now I'm avoiding your embraces
It doesn't matter to me if you're sick or healthy
You don't know that, on the contrary, I'd die if I saw a sea born in your eyes

Who but me, will make you laugh?
Me, only me
Who'll give you "good mornings" with caresses?
Each awakening, I promise to search every corner of this room, for a life with you
I want to continue taking care of you, to be able to share, a life with you

Tell me why, sadness pops in to your eyes and it began to rain
Remember that, I need your loving
And need to nestle inside your sweater

Who but I... (as above)

[1] Lynn & Martin (1995). National differences for thirty-seven nations in extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism and economic, demographic and other correlates. Personality and Individual Differences, 19 (3), 403-406.

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