Gentlemen of the Web

I miss men’s clubs (the ones without strippers, I mean). I know I’ve never been to one, but I miss the whole idea and I wonder why it is suddenly “forbidden” to have them.


I know of a few “feminist” groups where men are excluded: self defense groups, support groups, even a feminist sewing circle where men are not allowed. And I think that’s just fine. Really, the world is much more interesting when there are places in it where I am not allowed to go.

But men-only groups get a much harder time of it. Men-only groups will find themselves quickly invaded by irate wimmin waving banners of one sort or another and demanding equality. Well in this area we HAVE equality – women can have their segregated groups, and so can men. In what way is this not equal?

chair.jpgI love the idea of the Victorian Gentleman’s club. Dressing up and hanging out in a room filled with leather furniture, and other men, talking about politics, sipping brandy, cutting deals, spewing out anecdotes and comparing mustaches. What could be finer than that? And not a tempting ankle nor softly-curving neck in sight.

I realise that this will make me quite unpopular, but I propose to start a new Gentleman’s club. It will involve food, brandy, cigars, leather, talk about modern technology, and lots of deal-cutting. It will be men only, aimed at professionals in the web and Internet business, and it will be called, as you may have guessed by now, “Gentlemen of the Web”.

I will start sending out invitations as soon as I can be arsed to make them. So in the meantime, Gentlemen, dust off your best jackets and get to work on that facial hair, because there are cigars to cut, feminists to annoy and many wonderful deals to be made.

/ Paddy (ChairMAN)

30 thoughts on “Gentlemen of the Web

  1. There ARE gentlemen-only clubs, but they go under different guises! I should know as my husband belongs to one…

    I don’t want to tell you more here – but ask me about this next time we meet.

  2. The only thing I can think of that comes close is a gay bar, although they normally allow lesbians in. Personally, I don’t mind the lesbians because they’re almost like hanging out with the guys anyway. Lol.

  3. Whereas I’d be thrilled to bits to have old fashioned meetings of bluestockings. A bunch of intellectual women who get together and discuss books and such.

    The only women-only groups around seem to revolve around: bashing on men, knitting or “book clubs” where they discuss their periods more than the books.

    I wouldn’t even mind a nice salon of the turn of the century sort. The men from the men’s club and the bluestockings could get together to trade witticisms.

    How does that sound to you?

  4. Is it still forbidden to talk about politics, sex or religion or to mention a woman’s name? Because that might just be the deal-killer for me.

  5. Ben: That is, of course, your right. But I do like a good scrap!

    charlotteotter: Sur, he’s in.

    Glen Gordon: I suspect that a men’s club promoting leather seats and mustaches might in fact get quite a few gay gentlemen showing up.

    Blackout: Not British – classic!

    Alex Foster: Yes! And we could all challenge you to a jolly fine game of tiddlywinks.

    csrster: No, all conversation is allowed. Except anything about Macs. I draw the line there.

  6. I should be delighted to join you in a game of tiddlywinks, dear sir.

    {See, people, this could be great fun!}

    I’m all for a Victorian-Edwardian society like the medievalists have. Except instead of wearing armour and such we’d have gentlemen’s clubs, gatherings of bluestockings and salons. Sign me up. Can I wear some steampunk gear sometimes?

  7. I think it’s a great idea Paddy. I really do. There’s an assumption that equality means similarity but it doesn’t my dears, it doesn’t. Boys are boys and girls are girls.

    The university I went to had male colleges, female colleges and mixed college, and each group had a different texture. None were better, none were worse and there was choice. Now they are all mixed, and there’s less variety in the world. Mind you, the one who feels strongly about this for very good reasons says that single sex schools and colleges are a nightmare for young passing transsexuals – your CV outs you every time, so I had to review my thoughts on single-sex education.

    You could join the masons. My Ma loved the fact that my Pa went off for an evening’s dodgy handshaking every month or so, came back, and couldn’t talk to her about it. If it was golf, she said, he’d replay the entire afternoon for the next week.

    Single sex clubs – bring ’em on. We are close enough now to equality of opportunity and achievement for segregated institutions not to be a problem.

    Incidentally, I must go to the wrong book club. We discuss books at ours, not gynaecology.


  8. Alex Foster: Oh yes, we will have a lost-world-explorers theme night, where the old brass goggles will be essential.

    Tor: Well…I am sure any professional gentlemen could be accomodated.

    Aphra Behn: I don’t want to JOIN something – I want to be in charge! With a little leather whip to remind everybody of the fact.

  9. Aphra, then I envy you. I worked in bookshops for over a decade and I can’t tell you how many times I heard some woman say, “I need this for my book club meeting tonight.” Me: Will you have time to read it? Illiterate cow: “Oh, I don’t read it–I just put it on the table. They only talk about the book a few minutes anyway.”

  10. “I suspect that a men’s club promoting leather seats and mustaches might in fact get quite a few gay gentlemen showing up.”

    Yes, and now that you’ve mentioned it, also macs. The only reason why macs are so popular is because of those damn trendy gays. Not the plain-jane fashion-disaster gays like myself, but those tinkerbell sorts like Carson Kressley. Carson I-own-a-mac Kressley is not allowed into my gentlemen’s club, nor is Liberace or Michael Jackson (for obvious reasons). I’m sure if Liberace were alive today, he would have owned a mac and he would have adorned it with mink fur.

  11. Paddy, darling, that’s another kind of club entirely and that kind of club is rarely single sex.

    *blows kisses*

    I must have struck lucky with the book club I joined Alex – I think it helps that most of the women who are in it are friends outside the club (they met when giving birth and herding toddlers) and so the book club sprang up from a need to do something – anything – with their brains other than talk about children and gynaecology.

  12. I would really really want to join a secret society, doing semi-illegal stuff that we don’t tell to anyone else. Can’t you found one of those instead and let me join? I promise I will keep my mouth shut.

  13. Sounds good in theory. The problem is the deal-cutting, which excludes the minority of women involved in business. That’s why the Rotarians had to let women in. But if the men’s club can stick to mustache-comparing until women are equal in fact as well as in law, I’m all for it.

  14. I agree with Brock. Actually I agree with just about everybody except Alex who seems to have a serious streak of misogyny there. I don’t mean fun wimmin-bashing, but the real thing. Hating women for being women, remarking about periods and calling them cows. You don’t sound like someone I would invite to my salon.

  15. I know what happened to those clubs in the United States. They started out as simple social clubs, but quite quickly turned into businesses. The London Stock Exchange started out as a coffee house and evolved into a financial institution. The old Curb Exchange in New York did the same darned thing. The next thing you know, men are writing off their club dues as business expenses and wondering why they don’t know any competent business women. Surely, they decide, it is a defect of the fairer sex. Yeah, it’s the girls fault that we don’t cut them in on the action.

    When Muriel Siebert became the first woman at the New York Stock Exchange, she wasn’t really part of the club. In fact, she became the first discount broker. A lot of guys soiled their briefs. If you ever pay 10 euros commission to lose your shirt on some wretched stock deal, you can thank her for not being part of the club. You might have had to pay 100s of euros to lose your shirt which would make it even more painful.

    There are still men’s clubs. Bohemian Grove is still up and running and except for a few family days, it’s no girls allowed. A friend of mine is a member, and wow, it is pricey. You just can’t write off your membership fee as a business expense, and men only clubs have to be careful to define exactly the nature of their enterprise. If you are running a business, for example, a bar like the old, boys only, McSorleys, you have to decide if you are a public accommodation or a private facility. Getting that liquor license can make a big difference to your business plan.

    So, what happened to all the good old men’s clubs? A lot of them are gone. Most of them take women as members. They have separate bathrooms, so you can still pee on ice. As for the cigars, many of them are non-smoking. Besides, to do it right, your mistress is supposed to choose your cigar for you. No self respecting man chooses his own cigar. It says so right in the Bible. You can see the problem with cigars in a men only club. You’d have to draw cigars at random or something.

    What about brandy? I love brandy, but I think there are six other people in the United States who do. Maybe it’s different in Europe. As for dressing up, the current wisdom is that only gay men like to dress up. That’s rubbish, of course. There is nothing like putting on a good suit and walking into a business meeting. SUCKERS! I’ll even put on a suit now and then just to get that nice warm feeling, but I don’t know if I’d want it stinking of cigar smoke.

    If you want to avoid women, go to a gay bath house. Most women, except perhaps for Bette Middler, avoid them.

  16. Kaleberg: Thanks for that excellent info! Maybe we’ll just drop the cigars and business deals and just hang out. Then, of course, it WILL be a gay sauna.

    Everybody else: Thank you all too. You know that I cherish every syllable you say.

  17. It’s a certain type of woman. As I’m sure you know men who give men a bad name.

    There’s a quote by Mark Twain (I think) that goes something like–There are always people on your other who you wish were on the other.

  18. I wish I didn’t know what you mean, Alex, but of course I do, and yes there is a certain type I can’t stand, but they are not the ones who go to a ‘book circle’ to get lashed on a bottle of wine and talk about their problems. Some women lead very isolated lives and need that. The type I can’t stand are the women who never grow up – they still have girly voices and wear girly hair styles and spout inanities. My brain melts in their company and, yes, there are shadowy thoughts of me strangling them. Guess I’ve got a bit of the oul misogyny myself. What’s that? Paddy? Who? His blog you say?

  19. hey that is a great idea shame that culture has died and more so with the bloody smoking ban, i want to start one as well locally but it would have to be private property. I love the whole idea of fine clothes, elegant furniture and decadence. Right behind you.

  20. I too long for the time when there was a seperation between gentlemen and ladies. I see nothing wrong with it, why is it that people cannot congigate with others of a fellow sex or race? Is it not our right as humans to choose who we wish to assoiciate with and when? Just as long as no one is descriminated against outside the hallowed walls of your establishment.
    But sadly my views went the way of the walkingstick, spats, and the ever-so dashing top hat.
    It is rather depressing to know that in these barbaric times the true gentleman’s club is only reserved for the very wealthy, the most sadining part being that if one was to try to open a proper gentlemen’s club in this day and age and was not surrounded by the soicaly ellit “such as old time wasps” who else would join? The masses of American men would dismiss it as being “gay” why would I want to pay money to sit around with a bunch of guys like a “fag” most would say.

    Given my oldtimely views on the world I am going to be quit scared when I become a old man seeing how I am only at the age of twenty-two as of now and taking notice to how much the morals and ethics of socity have dwindled in the last century think of how bad it will be in another…….

  21. The real reason there are no Mens Clubs ala the Victorian era, is not because the wimmins wont allow it, its because Men today cant go anywhere or do anything, without a harem. Men today arent really men, they are emotiuonally stunted boys with separation anxiety to go along with massive fantasy egos. Thier self image always involves having the (fantasy) possibility of the ultimate “girlfreind” always within ass grabbing range.

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