Unrequited love: are you a 'pagafantas'?

Article published on July 20, 2009
Article published on July 20, 2009
Boy is in love with girl best friend who wouldn't look at him twice that way. In Spain, a 'pagafantas' ('Fanta-buyer') is that boy who is relegated to always footing the bill of girl's soft drink. The expression of the week bows in from Spain

Internet usage of the Spanish term pagafantas has gone into overdrive in recent months. The phenomenon is driven by the significant increase in the number of posters promoting the Spanish film Pagafantas (2009):

The ever-numerous cases recorded of ‘pagafantismo’provides for large proportions of girl talk. The new-ly coined term - pagar is the verb 'to pay', and 'fantas' is the plural of the soft drink - refers to men who, due to lack of valiancy, don’t dare to take affirmative action to win a woman over. Whilst they are waiting for action to happen naturally, they end up paying for the lucky girl at the cinema, for drinks, meals and other treats, in the hope that one day she realises that she’s with the boy of her dreams (which rarely happens).

The twist is that during this period of time, girl readily confides in boy, getting intimate with him (which results in the poor 'pagafantas' believing his chances of success are increasing). This situation lasts whatever time it takes, be it months or years, for the 'pagafantas' to pluck up the courage and take the plunge. Of course she will respond: 'I see you as just a friend, you’ll make another girl very happy' ('te veo como un amigo, harás muy feliz a otra chica' ) or 'you’re like a brother to me' ('eres como un hermano'), leaving said 'pagafantas' regretting all the lost time spent on his unattainable desire.

The word 'pagafantas' has no translation. Yet this type of chump is not exclusive to Spain; he is a global phenomenon. Wherever humanity resides, there will be a 'pagafantas'. In a best friend lovesituation Brits often end up being the shoulder to cry onrather than someone buying the Fantas, with the French relying on their bon copainwhenever a woman is in need.

These support terms, however, do not fully do justice to the born loser that the 'pagafantas' is. German and Polish women are somewhat crueller in their taunts, relying on the animal world to find a term suitable to use for these unfortunate suckers. Maskottchen ('mascot')  and Klette(burdock) are some choice morsels thrown around by the Germans. Wierny jak pies ('as loyal as a dog') comes from the Poles, linking men to lap dogs or poodles that follow their masters around. In Italy, the now-defunct pop group 883 (who performed on singer Jovanotti's show) leave little room for doubt in their 1997 song La regola dell amico ('Rules Of Being A Friend': ‘La regola dell’amico non sbaglia mai/ Se sei amico di una donna/ Non ci combinerai niente/ Mai lo vorrai/ Rovinare un cosi bel rapport’ ) - if you like a girl, be careful, don’t get too close or you’ll wind up just being her friend!

Are you a 'pagafantas'? Do the test

1. One of your friends is having a massive party at his house for his birthday, on the same day that 'she' calls you and asks you to sleep at her house because she is sad and needs your company

a) You call your friend and tell him that you can’t go to the party, maybe tonight will be your lucky night

b) You tell her that you’re busy tonight, but tomorrow you’re free to talk to her. Anyway, she’s probably only feeling down because she’s got her period

2. You’re with the special lady alone at her house, when, teary-eyed, she tells you how bad she feels about breaking up with her ex. She hugs you and tells you that she loves you

a) You feel the moment has arrived, she’ll finally forget about her egotistical ex that broke her heart and she’ll realise what is right under her nose. You hug her tightly, now is the time!

b) You tell her that the guy isn’t worth it and that she’s better off without him. You try to get away as quickly as possible with an excuse like, I’m sure you would rather be alone right now

3. You’re having a laugh playing a computer game with your best friend when 'she' rings you and asks you to go shopping with her, tomorrow she’s going to her distant cousin’s wedding

a) You go shopping with her as you’ll finally get to see her in underwear!

b) Wasting two hours waiting for her to decide what dress she’s going to buy isn’t your idea of fun. You tell her you can’t, and that you hope she has a good time at the wedding.

If most of your answers are 'a's , there’s no doubt about it - you are a real life 'pagafantas'.

More from resident illustratorHenning Studte