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I don’t have to move. I survived Franco, B*tch.

30 March 2008

A social commentary on Las Viejas, or as we have dubbed them, The Biddies of Spain.

Unlike in America—where once women reach 60 or 70 they begin to be overlooked in the eyes of society (depending, of course, on whether or not you consider 30 to be the new 20 (we do))—elderly Spanish women refuse to go unnoticed. We’re not entirely sure what motivates them, but they are very committed to preserving their relevance at all costs. This is accomplished through a number of means:

First, rather than adopt the stately gray or white coiffure of the aged American woman, the senior-itas of Spain generally go fire-engine red with the hair dye. This makes them visible from a mile (1.6 kilometers–they’re metric over here) away, ensuring that you’ll notice them.

Second, they dress to the nines, regardless of time of day, destination, or general plan. Every day calls for their Sunday best: dress or skirt-suit, jewelry, make-up, hair done, heels (granted, stout granny heels, but heels nonetheless), snappy vogue sunglasses, the whole shebang. No mumus, sweatpants or oversized Mickey Mouse tshirts here. This is especially visually jarring when viewed in context of the general crowds, usually adorned in jeans or muted work wear.

Third, should the first two signals fail to grab your attention, their diminutive 4’7″ height puts the powers of stealth and physics firmly on their side and enables them to physically remind you that, “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”. Believe you me, despite the flashy clothes and poison-dart-frog hair coloring, even your most observant six-footer will occasionally miss an oncoming biddy. Should you have the misfortune to make contact, they strike exactly at knee- (or for the taller ones, crotch-) height, resulting in a loss of balance and / or temporary incapacitation. Given their low centers of gravity, they are unaffected by the oncoming force and continue walking.

Fourth, since they’ve been out walking kilometers every night for the past 60 years, they have become deceptively quick—often closing on you at an unexpectedly fast rate—and have avoided the osteoporosis that plagues modern American geriatrics. Thus, they have no fear of breaking a hip.

These factors, combined with their general contempt for the soft and overly-comfortable modern population—a result of their stoic survival of the Franco regime—imbues them with the moral authority to not yield to anyone under the age of 60, regardless of the predicament in which moving might leave you. Neither oncoming bus, nor train, nor danger of falling off a craggy 300-foot precipice will force a biddy to alter her course from mowing you down. Their strength is often multiplied by the fact that they usually travel in packs of 2 to 6, making them a formidable force indeed.

If you plan on visiting, just remember to watch out.


Photos taken without expressed consent of Biddies and at great personal risk; image on right for scale (dude is about 6’2″ and a few feet ahead of them. He barely escaped by darting across the street).


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Spirit of 73 permalink
    31 March 2008 10:37 pm

    Ah, yes. The old women of Spain. In the neighborhood streets, they form into packs which occupy the entire street and prohibit any sort of vehicular traffic flow. They also prevent young American students from getting to the Metro on time to go to class, and no tactic known to man will make them willingly move out of the way. They all tend to be a touch corpulent too, it always seemed to me.

    I use to call them Walking Wedges of Wide Women.


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