It’s lovely when a person asks how you’re feeling. They’re interested. They’re checking up on you. They’re ready to help if you need it. But there’s one question I find hard to hear: “How’s your love life?”
I usually fudge an answer. I’m polite about it. Rarely am I honest when I reply. But this is a blog, and I can be honest here. So here’s my uncensored response to that question:
The Garrick Club in London has just voted to stay only for men. Well, in fact its members voted by a tiny majority to allow women, but the majority wasn’t enough to satisfy club rules. So this pretty posh private members’ club in central London will stay male (and, I bet, wealthy and white).
The columnist Martin Daubney has been celebrating the decision. In a blog post, he says it’s great for men to have spaces away from women so they can open up about their feelings and not feel the need to pose and preen. Daubney implies that when women are in the room, men shut down emotional talk and instead stand around flexing their muscles for the benefit of the women. I don’t doubt that this happens for some men (maybe many men). But I don’t think we should celebrate the continuation of that. I think we should be asking why men can’t open up around women and why they can’t be around women without a sexual undercurrent.