A Sociedad is not just a gastronomic society for men. It is definitely not a British gentlemen’s club. So what on earth is it?.
Let’s go back 400 years. The economy in Navarre and the Basque Country was based mainly in farming and fishing. This jobs would make the men be away from home about 6 months a year. So the women took care of everything at home: the money, education, children …. Women here were, and are, very strong. This is a very strong matriarchal society. So, what happened with the men?
Well, we were the ones in charge of bringing the money, these jobs were very physically demanding, but as well, very well paid. They required men to be on their own, both at the mountains or in the boats. Besides this, we are very shy people, so we are not good at talking.
Imagine the situation when men made their way back home. We didn’t know how to relate to our wives. Men were not used to talk to women, and specially such powerful women. We needed to create spaces in town were men could be with men and feel comfortable about it. This is how the sociedad tradition was created. They are just a place for cooking, drinking, eating, talking men things and playing cards. There were no girls or sex involved in, it was just a place to feel safe. The sociedad is our mens cave.
These societies have changed a lot and now women are allowed in with one condition: girls are not welcome at the kitchen, it is still our safe place. So boys get together there and we are in charge of the cooking, we drink while doing it and we do our boy talking… it is just friends, cooking and talking. Meanwhile the girls are outside drinking and talking their girl things.
Once the boys finish the cooking we sit together, eat, drink and talk our common things, so it works perfectly for both parts.
Before I forget, at the end, yes we are men, and we do not clean after ourselves and we hire a company