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Flirting in Spanish

Your blog has been extremely useful so far, and I am hoping you can help me. I’m going to study abroad in Spain and was wondering if you know useful phrases/slang (or even some important cultural notes) for hitting on people at bars or clubs. I’m a 20 year old guy who will be hitting on other guys, but potentially some girls as well. ¡Muchísimas gracias!

Man… flirting advice. You know every person is a different league.

I can’t think of any cultural notes that you should know, though it might help knowing what country you are coming from. In Spain people are quite open so you can just approach the person with any dumb excuse or none at all and start talking. As usual, being a foreigner you get a special treatment and curiosity so you can get away being more direct than locals.

Paying for drinks is not expected (as in, mandatory) and might even come across as flaunting your money (unless it’s sort of a “I get this round you get next” agreement). But of course it depends on the object of your desire: if the person is high maintenance or from a rich background where money is not an issue, they might be used to being treated to drinks. And it also depends on what you are paying for: just a beer or an expensive cocktail. You have to take the call on the spot depending on the target.

As for sentences… you know how this goes. There are many joke pick-up lines that on principle you should not use unless you are fishing for ridicule or slaps in the face. But being a foreigner they might sound just the right amount of flirty, daring and cute to work.

The grandmother of all opening pick-up lines in Spanish is this simple classic:

¿Estudias o trabajas?
Do you study or do you work?

If you use a strong foreign accent, this could get you an honest laugh and work nicely.

For something a bit more elaborate… and cheesy:

—Perdona, ¿tienes un mapa?
—¿Un mapa? No, ¿por?
—Porque me pierdo en tus ojos…
—Excuse me, do you have a map?
—A map? No, why?
—Because I get lost in your eyes…

Originally published in Talk like a Spaniard.

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