“Mate.” That’s short for “Man-Date.”

Which I clearly went on last night. Unexpectedly.  Así es la vida

I was teaching one of my routine clases particulares and I received a text from my buddy, Jose Luis.  He invited me to go see Un Tranvía llamado Deseo, or in English, the classic by Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.

Well, after reading that text, I thought, “Why the heck not?” I thought he was going with all of our friends or at least some of his friends, but nope, it was just us.  Ha! Regardless, Jose Luis and I get along famously, he’s definitely one of my best friends here, and I’m really glad he invited me.  But wow, what a great play! It’s one of the last weeks that the play is showing and it only costs us 3 euros to go.

I was going to be late though since it started at 8pm and I didn’t even leave class until about 7:4o.  I ran home, changed, and then ran to the Teatro Español. Jose Luis said he left me a ticket at the entrance. I went in, collected my ticket and made my way to the third floor. Once I arrived and was about to open the door to find my seat, I was stopped by one of the clerks and he said that I couldn’t go to my seat since it had started 10 minutes earlier.  However, he said I would still be able to watch the show until the intermission. He showed me to my new seat: I got box seating! Not only that, I was in there all alone, with three chairs all to myself to recline and enjoy the theatre! It was absolutely wonderful. I was able to stretch out and thoroughly enjoy the piece.

While I was enjoying the show, I started to stare out around the theater and just think to myself. I had made it to a European theater to watch the Spanish version of a classic American play. What a great realization! The theater itself was absolutely stunning, complete with golden balconies and an enormous crystal chandelier (which I morbidly imagined falling to the ground crushing all the people below. Wait, what?!).

After an hour and a half, the production paused for intermission. I met up with Jose Luis and we went downstairs to take advantage of the short break by eating potato chips and drinking beers. The whole night cost me 5.50 euros, which if you ask me is a steal.  It was even better that I got to sit all alone in a private box for most of the show which would normally be really expensive. So what’s learned from all this? Show up late to the theater because you get better seating.

During the intermission, Jose Luis mentioned to me that he couldn’t go to the theater with a girl and I asked why. He said because he’d be forced to talk to her (typical Jose Luis, I thought).  So instead of him going on some romantic date to the theater, he took his favorite American to be able to ignore someone in the play and to chug beers during intermission.  Perfect man-date, or “mate,” if you ask me. We are so cultural here in Spain ;)

Once the second act began, we climbed to the top, and I mean the top. It was thirty rows higher than where I was sitting previously, the view wasn’t nearly as good because we were tucked up into a corner of the venue and it was a little difficult to see and hear. Overall, the play was still very enjoyable. We were both pretty impressed.  At first, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t understand the play since it was in Spanish, but I didn’t miss a single word of it so I was able to fully enjoy it since there was no barrier of comprehension. Score!

After the production, I received a text from Chloe that said the following (direct quote here): “Estoy n l palentino t apetece? Hot girls!”
You can ignore the Spanish gibberish, that includes the location. The most important part was, “Hot girls!” I showed him the message and all he says is: Vamos!

Once we arrived at Palentino’s, our favorite cutre, or dive bar, we hung out with Chloe, Cara, an American girl (who later coined the term, “man-date” when I told her Jose and I had gone to see a play together), and Marta. We had a few cañas (or beers) for real cheap and then we all retired for the night. So our “mate” ended up the way any good man-date should, sipping on beers in a complete whole-in-the-wall Spanish bar talking to our favorite girl friends.

I love Spain.

Graham

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