Don’t Do It

You know how you watch an unfurling catastrophe, shouting “Noooo!” in helpless frustration?  I speak here of events such as watching your best friend getting involved with a Train Smash Woman, or a lady friend taking up with a rancid Bad Boy, or another friend announcing with pride that he’s just put down a deposit on a Ferrari or cabin cruiser.

You know it’s all going to end horribly, with pain, tears and destruction in various forms, but you’re helpless to prevent it happening.

That’s how I feel about this development:

A crown green bowls club which has never allowed women to join as full members in its 100-year history is set to vote on whether to admit them.
Ilkley Bowling Club has about 1,700 full members, all of whom are eligible to vote in the ballot at the West Yorkshire spa town’s King’s Hall on March 3.
Women can only enter the bar of the club – which was founded in the early 1920s – as guests of members, and are banned completely during the week.
The main bar area – where a pint of beer costs less than £2 – is an entirely male preserve on weekdays and women are permitted to drink as ‘associates’ after 5pm from Friday to Sunday and on bank holidays.

Their mistake was in allowing female members in the first place, and allowing women onto the premises at all.

It’s not helped by the fact that lawn bowls is a game at which women are generally on a par with men in ability (see description here).  But a bowling club is not just about the game, is it?  Without the womyns, Ilkley B.C. would most probably be a happy place, where men can drink to excess, swear like troopers and in general act like the hooligan which lies not far beneath the surface of all of us.

If they open up membership to include the other sex, that will all change.  I know that if I were a member, I’d resign if they did — as I would in any men-only club of which I was a member.

Image by © Ron Koeberer/Aurora Photos/Corbis

And for those with short memories, it’s not the first time I’ve ranted about this topic.


  1. There are variations to consider. An organization with which I was associated understood the ramifications of admitting the fair sex by permitting their presence at recognized social functions, celebratory dinners primarily, but otherwise eschewing them.

    The inevitable happened – a member, who was well judged by all to be thoroughly “whipped,” suggested during an organizational meeting allowing females at more routine functions, adding that it would also improve the financial standing of the organization through the sale of more food and drink.

    The ruling committee, unaminously, discarded the member’s suggestion and afterward a member of the committee approached the suggesting member for a brief conversation. The committee member was an attorney of some repute and well known for representing men quite fairly and well during marital dissolutions. He offered a business card with the suggestion that he could provide assistance in resolving the suggesting member’s problems at home, and introduce him to potential future partners who understood The Way Things Work, which might be a preferable choice over losing one’s membership entirely.

    Some time later I found myself Elsewhere Doing Other Things, and thus allowed my membership to lapse. By chance and invitation, I happened to visit the organization’s digs after a period of nearly 15 years. Alas, not only had women become allowed on a daily basis, membership had been extended to them and a separate “Women’s Committee” had formed, populated solely with distaff members.

    The result was entirely predictable. It’s been said, often and with great truth, that unless effort is expended to prevent it, any conservative organization will become liberal over time. I will remain polite and only suggest that once infiltrated by women it seemingly becomes impossible to avoid their domination in affairs, and a male organization finds itself on a similar path.

  2. It’s been downhill ever since they dropped ” White Male Land Owners” from restrictions list for eligible Voters.

  3. The Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, MD, is one of the few holdouts for all male membership. Women are not allowed on the site even as employees. The single exception is on a particular Saturday in December when wives by appointment may enter the pro shop to buy Christmas gifts for their hubbies. I have been there once with my late mother-in-law on this single day. She was donating some family memorabilia to the club. Her father had been the last living of the four founders. The story about the Chevy Chase Club and the slow foursome of women golfers is true.

    1. ” The single exception is…”
      The end is nigh.
      It always starts the same way, with a single exception.

  4. Back in the early 1990s I was a regular at a bar near work. While women weren’t specifically forbidden, you seldom saw one in there. How seldom? You had to move a booth to un-block the lady’s room door. Once at an after-work farewell party for a co-worker the bartender noted that we’d set a bar record, there were THREE women in the bar.

    Never saw a fight in there, although it was also a popular cop hang-out so that might’ve had something to do with it. There WERE some holes in the floor and ceiling caused, either accidentally or intentionally, by said cops (given that they were NYPD cops AND drunk, it’s surprising they managed to hit either floor or ceiling, they must’ve been aiming at the wall).

  5. You can keep ranting about it as much as you like; as long as there are two sexes (bad boy! bad boy!) and guys who let their willie think for ’em, it ain’t gonna stop!

  6. I’m reminded of Calvin and Hobbes, and their delightfully named club, G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS). Little Susie Derkins never stood a chance of entry, even after having Hobbes over for a tea party.

  7. “…is set to vote on whether to admit them.”
    That this is even a consideration is an admission that all is already lost.
    The solution?
    The person that came up with the idea needs to be violently flogged by the other members.
    Further, why would any woman want to infiltrate a place like that except to take it over?

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