I went to my first full-fledged Spanish wedding two weeks ago. The ceremony began on time, yet was a lengthy solemn Catholic ceremony held in a traditional cathedral with a main alter that I swear I had seen in numerous horror films about devil possession, followed by the requisite pelting of the bride and groom with rice. The festivities continued at nondescript country club in the Costa del Sol area of Spain, where country club weddings happen as often as folks elope in Las Vegas.
Attendees started boozing at 1pm sharp and didn’t stop until the wee hours the next morning. Thankfully after the multi-course meal, photos, cutting of the cake and a few hours having to dance among tipsy grannies, cigar-puffing uncles and single overeager PYTS set on getting laid by any of the other young bachelors, I was able to convince the novio that NO ONE WILL NOTICE IF WE LEAVE. We had been in wedding mode since 11 am and by the time we snuck outÂ it was 10pm. I was beat.
Nothing really out of the ordinary happened that doesn’t happen at your typical big wedding except for one little incident. I found myself standing alone for minute while the novio and the rest of the gang were making the zillionth booze run to the bar when one of his childhood amigos came up to me and made a statement that left me stunned. At first I thought it was the gin & tonic talking but no one under the influence would have the mind to say what he said but it may have given him the courage do so.
He said to me that he had never been in my position beforeâ€”the sole person of my race in a sea of people that were different from me and who were more or less homogeneous. To see me standing there, the one and only black person in a crowd of 300 Spaniards (to be fair there were two Anglo Saxon dudes but they were lumped into the broader and fairer group of wedding attendees) made him realize what it must feel like to be in my shoes. He then went on to ask me if it was strange?
I was shocked. No one during the whole time I have lived in Spain has ever come close to say anything like that unless he/she was another minority.Â It never really mattered either because that has always been my reality. The schools I went to, the sports I chose to play or the activities I was involved in usually meant I was the only black person, or one of a few. However back home there were/are places I can go where ”I” am in the majority or at least their are a mixture of races and faces in the crowd. Here, that doesn’t happen. I am always always the only black speck in the crowd and well, that’s just fine with the majority.Â They don’t notice us until, there is more than one of us together. I do have a few black friends and acquaintances here that I am thankful for, but I notice we attract a lot of attention when we are together. Who knows what they (Spaniards) are thinking? Maybe the same thought that crossed Amigo’s mind crosses theirs? Probably not. Like Chris Rock says, ”White people don’t care about you!”
Nevertheless, I hadn’t expected anything like this to happen at la boda. All I had hoped for was by some turn of fate that the band, who was actually a really great wedding band/duet, would play the Electric Boogie prompting the crowd to break out into the electric slide (fat chance)- to break up the monotony of old 80′s Spanish pop songs that everyone EXCEPT me knew. But that comment, coming from Amigo was way better than dancing the electric side and will probably go on my list of ”Greatest Expat-Moments Abroad.”