The other day it dawned on me that after living here for the past three years, I have an abundance of American girl friends and not a single male American friend. Even when I was studying abroad here ten years ago, the vast majority of the students on my program were women. Here in Seville, as an expat, you can join the American Women´s Club, but to my knowledge, there is no American Club for men and women (at least not in Seville).
I have never really been a girlie girl, have always mixed socially with both men and women indiscriminately, and looking back note that my greatest girl friends have been slightly tomboyish. Girls night out in fact, is a new concept for me, and even seems a little weird sometimes. And while I love my americanitas (could not live without them), I am starting to realize that I miss the company of American men in a social setting.
So where the hell are all the American men?
In an effort to distract myself from my dreadfully boring job and being the sociologist that I am, I would like to examine this matter further. Here are my research questions for my imaginary study:
Is there a substantial difference between the rates of emigration of American men compared to American women?
Does gender inform country of choice? (i.e. are American men less likely to emigrate to a country like Spain, whereas they are more likely to emigrate to a country like Japan or Germany?...If so, why?)
Do American women have more tolerance for permanent cultural change due to how we are socialized?
Is there a difference between men and women with regard to retention in a foreign country (I mean, are women more likely to stay after spending time abroad and men are more likely to return home after a time?)
My admittedly weak hypothesis that is based on no real data other than my own experience is that most American men in Spanish-American relationships end up living permanently in the U.S. with their Spanish partners, whereas American women in Spanish-American relationships end up in Spain. Why? I think that in mixed Spanish-American marriages, traditional roles and expectations of gender are a factor in determining whether or not women will stay in a foreign country long term (that is, we American women are more likely to “follow our men” because it is ingrained in our skulls that that is what the good wifey does), whereas American men are more likely to convince their Spanish wives/girlfriends to go back to their country (cause that is what good Spanish mujercitas do too, follow their men). I could be way off here, which is why I should carry out the study and find out. Any thoughts? (or stones to throw at me?)
The main problem I can see with my study is that it would be impossible to get rates of emigration. There is no official data of who leaves the country and where they go. Anyone have any ideas of how one could obtain a list of emigrators that would be representative of all American emigrators?
Now I just need to quit my job, go back to an academic setting and do sociological studies all day. Is that asking so much?