Monday musings #10

compliment

Today I want to explain how fond I am of one particular Spanish quirk. Like their Italian counterparts, who use the word ‘bella’, Spanish people refer to women as ‘guapa’ (beautiful) in everyday speech. Adios quapa, hola guapa… it’s used constantly.

As a British native I’m not used to this treatment and it takes me by happy surprise whenever I hear it. Initially I took it as a genuine compliment, thinking ‘oooh that new mascara must be working a treat’ when a supermarket cashier greeted me with ‘hola guapa!’ as she scanned my tinned lentils. Now however, I realise that it’s actually the equivalent of ‘hello love’ in English and is used so frequently that it definitely does not refer to the effort I’ve made with my appearance that day, merely my status as a female human who has just entered a particular shop/school/post office/cinema/bank/library in Spain.

Whether it’s a genuine compliment or not, I enjoy the use of this phrase and it’s always a nice thing to hear. I think we can learn from this custom too. See, if everyone was reminded of their beauty when buying toilet roll on a Tuesday evening, wouldn’t the world be a happier place?

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