Advanced Spanish Podcast 51 – Ansiedad por el Status

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Do the Spanish really care less about how their neighbours view their professional life and their worldly goods? Or have they got just as much ‘Status Anxiety’ as the rest of us?

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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10 thoughts on “Advanced Spanish Podcast 51 – Ansiedad por el Status

  1. Mark Krahling

    It’s interesting to listen to this discussion sparked by the thoughts that I shared with Ben after walking part of the Camino. I think that what you say about Spanish culture is also true here in the US. I grew up in small towns and now live in an affluent suburban area – I sometimes forget that not everyone is as obsessed with status, matierialism and “keeping up” as they are in this area. Unfortunately, many of the people here are also very unhappy with this materialistic lifestyle, but it is seductive and hard to let go of once you have invested yourself in that life. One of the things that I liked about walking the Camino was that you have to strip down your possessions to what you can carry on your back and your concerns are with the road, the people you encounter, your thoughts, and your aching feet! It’s been difficult for me to adjust to returning to the world of “status anxiety” and that was after only five days on the Camino. Thanks for addressing this issue, Ben and Marina! – Mark

  2. marin

    Thanks to you for coming up with such an interesting topic.
    I’m sorry that I didn’t get the chance to meet you:-(

  3. steve

    I have this conversation hundreds of times with Spanish people living in the U.S. I never realized it until they pointed it out.
    You just get so used to people asking you “so what do you do?” It usually follows the formal introductions. Americans have this need to socially classify others around them.
    I have had conversations with people I don’t even know who have even asked, in so many words, what my salary was.
    Great podcast. I love the part about the four wheel drive vehicles. I never thought those cars would ever be big sellers in Spain, because it just seems that that Spanish people were much more practical in that sense. Hay orteras o pijos por todos partes.

    It is hilarious to see Hummers cruising around Los Angeles, because now these people are paying hundreds of dollars to fill their tanks with gas. I guess you never know when you’ll need the extra power of such a monster truck. You know, a mudslide, flooding, snow storms…..they are such common things in a city like L.A. They can always use the four wheel drive feature to help going over speed bumps in parking structures of the local shopping mall!
    I am with you Ben, I hate these monstrosities.
    I will never give up my VW Golf.

  4. Mark K

    People ask me what I do and I sometimes take the easy way out and say that my wife and I own a restaurant. This usually satisfies them and they are very curious about the inner workings of the restaurant business. The only problem is that I’m only marginally involved in the restaurant and this answer isn’t really very honest about either what I do for a living or what I choose to “do” with my life. I suggest that we all start giving honest answers to this question – So…what do you do?” “I’m a parent, a mystic, a seeker of the truth, a reader and a writer…” How do you suppose that would go over with the “status anxiety” crowd? Maybe I’ll carry some business cards and a copy of my tax return for those who really only want to know what kind of work I do and how much money I make!

  5. jon

    Americans frequently ask “what do you do?” because it is something to talk about! My Dutch friends think that it is American superficiality, and that the asker doesn’t really care. In an American restaurant or grocery store, the employee will smile and ask “how are you today?” My Dutch friends get bent out of shape and say “she doesn’t really care how I am, she’s just being typically superficial”. I thing “sheesh, why don’t you guys calm down and relax a little, maybe meet some new people, smile, chat a bit…”

    I used to think that the US represented everything bad about materialistic culture. Then I realized that Europe (including Holland and Spain) were just running behind. As soon as the situation was right they grabbed onto materialism with both hands, and in many ways the Europeans have now equalled and surpassed the USA in blatant consumerism.

  6. Ben Rymer

    People here in the UK do use your occupation to pigeonhole your place in the many social ‘layers’ they have here. Lots of times people need reinforcement about their own position in life and will use you to reassure themselves. As for consumerism, we have always been consumers (of food, fuel, clothing etc.) but my problem is with consumption in excessive, for the sake of it or for the status issue.

    This is harmful and misleading. Look at the level of happiness measured in surveys and other data in rich countries for the last 50 years. Since WWII the US has got three times richer, but happiness has flatlined. Money takes you so far, but the hard stuff you still have to do yourself!

  7. Paulo

    En Brazil, donde vivo no es diferent. Personas que entán financieramente superior, no sienten un mí­nimo de verguenza de hablar para los menos ricos, de sus gran viajes, de sus posesiones. Es un ambiente muy superficial. Y cuando hay dos, o más ricos conversando es un conflicto de quién tiene más bienes.
    Y los propietarios de camionetas aqui, piensan que son los dueños de las calles. No respectan los coches menores, y motocicletas ni si habla.

  8. marina

    Hola Paulo,

    Hortera, según el Diccionario de la Lengua Española ( es una persona que tiene mal gusto, por ejemplo con la ropa si no sabe combinar los colores etc

    Pijo, según el mismo diccionario, es una persona que en su vestuario, modales, lenguaje, etc., manifiesta gustos propios de una clase social acomodada.

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