The Absence Of Women In Spanish Bars

Published on 03/11/2008 in Spanish Lifestyle

Bar in SpainIf you live on the coast, just a ten minute drive inland takes you to a very different Spain. Traditionnal values are very much in place and people continue to live life in the same way as the generation before them.

If you do venture out into the unknown, undoubtedly you will stop for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the authentic pueblo bars. Living on the coast, the first thing that you will probably notice is the difference in price as it can be as much as half what you are used to paying. Some might say that they are more in line with the prices that they enjoyed when they first moved to Spain.

However, you may notice, particularly if you are a woman, that there are no other women apart from tourists like yourself.

If they are not tourists they are likely to be either cleaning the bar or working behind it. I was in such a bar early the other morning and I pointed out to the waitress that it was going to reach 40 degrees and she was wering jeans! She replied that it was a case of having to as the customers were mainly males and she implied that it wouldn't be a good idea to wear anything skimpier.

These bars tend to be male only hang outs. It seems that even in small towns on the coasts there are still places in Spain where it would be inappropriate for a woman to hangout. Just like the English pubs, they are usually frequented by their regulars. But unlike the UK pubs, regular punters, it seems, are never women but packs of old, retired men keeping out of their wives way whilst they scrub the houses or cook.

There also lots of obreros (workmen) especially around breakfast time at around ten thirty, eleven. I don't know if it's that women aren't welcome or more that women don't want to sit in the often spit and sawdust hangouts where everything takes place at the bar.

However, you would be very much forgiven for thinking that it was an example of the remains of the machista attitude where women stayed at home and cooked waiting for the husbands to return from the bar, not unlike the attitude that was common in UK towns in the sixties when women still wore aprons and mopped the front door steps. Needless to say, that in many inland towns and villages, it is not unusual to see middle aged women wearing aprons and mopping their front door steps today.

If you are really lucky you might even spot a couple of curlers in their hair ready for later when they will scrub up and go into town to do the daily shop. That's not to say that women don't go out to bars and the like. In the evenings and at weekends bars and restaurants are full of women although, it seems that once they have a family, they are usually out with their families as opposed to the groups of middle aged women that you see painting the towns red across the UK.

Written by: Susan Pedalino

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Women In Spain

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suemac said:
09 November 2008 @ 20:06

Hi Linda

That's interesting, as we have been to most bars in Jumilla (not in Pinoso, as we have only been there once) and although I am often the only female customer (there are usually women working there) I do see a lot of other women in bars/cafeterias during the daytime.

The other night we went into a bar where two women were sitting together having a drink, which I must admit is unusual. We are now recognised in most bars, and I have to say that everybody is very friendly. Maybe they consider me una anciana loca! In fact there have been occasions when we have gone into a local bar and John has been the only man apart from bar staff!

What was interesting was when we went into a bar the other day, where we have been a couple of times in the evening for a glass (or two!) of wine, and the barman said "vino?" As it was before lunch, we said "No! Cafe solo y cafe cortado!"


Linda Needham said:
09 November 2008 @ 15:32

I had a chuckle at this article as it is quite true. It feels like a different planet hear in Jumilla/Pinoso sometimes. After 8 years living here I see little change either. The young ones who are leaving the pueblos and going to universities are finding it hard as they have a different outlook but have to readjust again when home for the weekend or holidays.
I like football. Something to do with having 3 brothers. However, I generally watch the big matches at home alone as my husband goes to the local bar to watch them (I might add he is the only Brit in the group of 15. During the world cup I decided to go watch Spain play with my husband. Now you have to also realize that watching football in a local bar is more about the social occasion than the football. They have a table set for dinner and the local restaurant obliges. On this occasion my husband and I stayed at the bar because I was not allowed to sit at the table, they did however, send me over plates of food and drink. Quite amazing. That does not mean to say I always accept this situation, I dont but if you decide to drink, laugh and joke with the boys you also have to be prepared to be seen as a loose women and have to put a few in there place every now and then.

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