A couple of weeks ago I extolled the social and cultural benefits of marrying a fellow Basque person, but let me be frank about why this is a far away dream for many of us. In a lot of ways, dating within the Basque community presents challenges. Let’s explore.
1. Pre-Relationship: Flirting, Crushing, “Talking”
Traveling around to Basque festivals, meeting great people both at Udaleku and picnics… All of those things are lovely. But sometimes you get stuck with a not-so-great situation—like if you actually find someone you want to date.
Say you meet the person of your dreams, from another Basque club. You hit it off and you’re totally into each other. Eventually it’s time to go home (whether from Udaleku or a picnic/festival/Convention/Jaialdi).
The reality sets in that your new friend lives in Elko, Rock Springs, Boise, Winnemucca, or any of the other Basque American towns hundreds of miles away from where you live. Or even worse, you fell for an actual Basque person, FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY. Then what?
For many young people, that one festival with your honey is all you get. We’re not in a position to move, leave school, quit jobs to make the picnic romance last. And for many people, trying a long distance relationship is way out of the question.
So that’s it. You’re just left with a smidge of post-picnic depression and a hope that maybe one day your fling will miraculously work itself out and turn into something more.
Now, let’s say you’re lucky enough to find someone from your own Basque club you’d like to date (and who wants to date you back!). Congratulations! That’s awesome. Everyone loves a cute young Basque couple.
But maybe a little too much… People begin to constantly ask you about your relationship, wanting to know where you see it going. People joke and hint about marriage and kids, even if you’ve only been together for a month.
Then the betting begins. Your friends and family place bets on if/when you’ll get married or if/when you’ll break up. Your relationship is completely open to scrutiny from members of your Basque community. People get all up in your business.
And you’ll definitely hear it from older people or even your peers if you show any amount of PDA at a Basque function. Everyone is happy you’re in a relationship, but absolutely no one wants to see evidence of it.
3. Break Up
The cold hard truth is that many relationships end in break ups, even Basque ones. And if you thought people were invested in your relationship before, this is the time when you find out how much they actually are.
People pick sides in these break ups. Not just your friends and family, as you might expect, but people you had no idea even knew who you were or cared about your relationship status.
Inevitably, community members pick someone to blame for the break up, and Lord help you if you become the scapegoat. Breaking up with a Basque person can be quite uncomfortable.
I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve seen time and again Bascos having to “take a break” from community events after a break up to avoid uncomfortable conversations. I’ve heard people say some really horrible things in the midst of a Basque couple’s break up.
So while many of us aspire to finding that special someone from within our communities, the reality is that dating a Basco is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of dedication and patience with nosy people.
For me, right now, it’s not even worth the trouble.
Do you think it’s worth the effort to date a Basque person? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
- Demystifying the Slutty Summer (hellabasque.com)