Kissing with Tongues

Following the Mills & Boon vs. Kissing Ban entry, I received an email from author Rebecca Pawel, who is often in Spain doing research for her historical mystery series, set in 1940’s Spain.

Inspired by the Mills and Boon vs. Virgin entry, I tracked down a flickr photo of a sort of opposite ad campaign that made me smile when I was in the Asturias a couple of years ago.

Background: The are a province in Northern Spain. Asturianos traditionally speak a variant of Castilian (the “standard” for what is called “Spanish” in Latin America and outside of Spain), called Asturiana, Asturianu, or Asturianes. The Franco dictatorship (1939-75) came down very hard on local languages, trying to make everyone “Spanish” by outlawing the languages spoken in regions where there had been widespread resistance to Franco (Catalan in Catalonia, and Euskadi or Basque in the Basque country).

After Franco died, language politics in Spain got interesting. The country currently has four official languages: Castilian, Catalan, Gallego (a variant close to Portuguese and spoken in Galicia, on the Northwestern coast), and Basque/Euskadi. Asturianu is NOT recognized as an official language, but rather considered a dialect. This makes some proud Asturianos angry, and they have started a campaign to preserve their language, complete with posters and public service announcements.

Sooo…since in most romance languages (no pun intended) the word for “language” (langue/llingua/lengua etc.) is the same as the word for “tongue” you naturally get the following photo, which was plastered all over bus shelters and walls larger than life when I was in the Asturias a few years ago.

Have a look.

The caption reads: “Use your tongue (or language). Speak Asturianu.”

And that is definitely what the couple in the photo are happily doing. As far as I’m concerned this public service message is merely one of the reasons why northern Spain is massively awesome.

I love the Spanish sense of humor, especially as pertains to sexuality and kissing.

Tangent alert! When I studied in Spain, the big campaign was for condom usage (a very big deal back then, seeing as Spain is a predominantly Catholic country). There were these HUGE pictures of condoms on billboards all over the country, with the caption “Póntelo, Pónselo.” I have more than one picture of my friends posing as if they were carrying a giant massive condom on their heads.

The ads for the campaign were fabulous, too. This one was my favorite. Imagine this on tv in the US!

Watch more amazing videos here

There aren’t subtitles. If you can’t get the gist of it, basically he’s saying, “Whose condom is this?” and the kids are all saying, “It’s mine.” I am Sparta-condom!


Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    When I studied in Spain, the big campaign was for condom usage (a very big deal back then, seeing as Spain is a predominantly Catholic country).

    In 2005 Spain became the fourth state to pass a law giving homosexual couples the right to marry (following the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada). [Apparently the law actually came into force some days earlier in Spain than in Canada.]  These marriages confer on the couples all the same rights as for heterosexual married couples, including those of adoption. Zapatero’s government presumably isn’t too popular with the Vatican but a study carried out in Spain in 2004 showed that 68% of respondents thought homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals, and 66% were in favour of homosexual marriage.

    Here’s my transcription and translation of what’s said in the advert:

    He encontrado esto en el vestuario.
    I found this in the changing-room.

    ¿De quien es?
    Whose is it?

    Que, ¿de quien es esto?
    I said, who does this belong to?




    El preservativo es el medio más eficaz para la prevención de embarazos no deseados y enfermedades de transmisión sexual.

    Condoms are the most efficient method to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

    Póntelo. Pónselo.
    Put it on yourself. Put it on him.

  2. 2
    jmc says:

    Re: attitude and humor toward sexuality, I saw something recently while on vacation in Spain that really struck me.  Around the corner from a very old, very beautiful cathedral in what could arguably be the heart of catholism in Spain (based purely on the number of churches per square mile, IMO), is a pharmacist/chemist, and affixed to the outside of the building is a condom dispenser.  I wish I’d taken a photo that managed to get the two in a single frame.  I cannot imagine many (most?) churches in America being tolerant of that.

  3. 3

Comments are closed.

↑ Back to Top