In our village, it is not customary these days for wives to work in the campo alongside their husbands (although I suspect they did in the old days). When we were contemplating our first olive harvest 7 years ago, a friend told me “no, Ana, women don’t work in the campo here, they work in the house”.
There was also the opposite belief in the village – the thought of a husband helping with cooking or the housework would reduce most women to hysterics!
Opinions have changed in the intervening years, to some extent. Our friends are no longer surprised to see me working with a hatchet on the olive trees, or collecting chestnuts and olives. I’m very much accepted as part of the team collecting the grapes during vendimia, too.
It’s nice. In fact, I’d have to say that the men are much more accepting of the changed role of mine, than the women are about Kenton’s cooking/cleaning! The Yunquera ladies simply do not believe a man can adequately accomplish these chores, even when I tell them Kenton is a much better cook than I am! They also are shocked when they see me at the end of a work day, sweaty and dirty!
This was brought home again to me last week, during a conversation at our local beauty salon. I was having my monthly lash and brow tint (which is a subject of it’s own, really!).
The owner and I were, as usual, gossiping about life – our daughter’s visit, the weather, the economy, and so on. She then told me my skin was rather dry, and I said
yes, that’s because I’ve been working outside all week, pruning under the olive trees
Silence. What???? she asked. I repeated it. From her, total incomprehension.
I changed the subject.