Monday, November 16, 2009


Now that the exam is done, I have a little more time to poke around the neighborhood (in between "Internado" episodes, natch, of which more anon). Calle Valverde, where I live, is right on the border between two neighborhoods: Malasaña, the heart of bohemian Madrid, and Chueca, the most flamboyantly gay barrio.

While wandering through Chueca over the weekend, I found its in-your-face cheerful gay identity quite heartening. But one phenomenon left me puzzled, even a little depressed. Based on a stroll through Chueca, a visitor from another planet might well be forgiven for concluding that earthlings' preferred mode of pairing off was (i) in the case of heterosexual couples, to pair with someone physically unalike (ii) in the case of male-male couples (lesbians are conspicuous by their absence in Chueca - a legacy of Spain's legendary machismo?) to pair off with your twin, mirror-image, or person who most closely matches your own physical aspect. Couple after couple, they all look like clones of each other.

I don't know why I should find this creepy, but I do. There's something about it that gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I don't think it's just some kind of passive-aggressive response because I'm not currently part of a couple. Something to do with the huge depths of narcissism it suggests, I think. And the thought that it can hardly be considered complete sexual liberation if all anyone seems to want to do is go to bed with someone who looks exactly like himself.

Anyway, it creeps me out, more than a little. Though I guess San Francisco experienced a similar phenomenon back in the early days of gay liberation. So maybe it's a necessary stage of evolution, in a society which has definitely undergone a huge upheaval in the area of sexual mores within a relatively short period.

Enough playing amateur sociologist. Time to go to dinner, and finish preparation for tomorrow's presentation at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.


Reflexions said...

So you've had the full-length mirror removed?

gaelstat said...

Right. It's up in the attic with that portrait.