Get Your Ovaries Off Our Coteries!


If there is one thing about the human species of which we can be reasonably sure, it is that men and women are, to a certain extent, different. This is not, as some might say, simply a matter of biology. The different sexes have always gravitated to different interests and lifestyles. Men have always tended towards high-powered positions of influence, political careers, the business world and so forth, whereas women have always tended towards less high-profile, more detergent-intensive lives. Admittedly, there has in recent times been a trend towards what might be called unnatural reversals as female infiltrate the odd boardroom or house of parliament, but such ephemeral perversions don’t change the basic fact that men and women are as different as chalk and oestrogen.

Which is why any reasonable person must have sympathy for the committee of Melbourne’s Athenaeum Club, which has been subjected to a scurrilous campaign to subvert the long-held values of this august institution by pushing to have female members admitted.

Let’s lay out the facts here. The Athenaeum Club has been around for 142 years. That is longer than any woman, so the club definitely has superiority here. When a woman lives for 142 years, then maybe we can talk about letting her into exclusive clubs. And if that seems harsh or unfair or slightly confusing, that’s what the world of men is like. Get used to it, ladies.

The drive to have women admitted to the Athenaeum is led, of course, by Eddie McGuire, a well-known agitator and female sympathiser with a history of troublemaking. McGuire was one of the progenitors of the AFL Footy Show, which has long been noted for its blatant feminist agenda and shameless man-bashing.

McGuire’s unpleasant cabal has made the argument that "a club such as the Athenaeum, which was founded to provide a venue for Melbourne’s civic, business, academic and political leaders, was doomed if it excluded women". This, it seems, has been sparked by the fact that the club has been unable to admit the Governor-General and NSW and Queensland’s Governors, as is traditional, because they are women. But what sort of argument is that? Just because the country goes mad, the Athenaeum Club should follow? This exactly what people are talking about when they write deranged letters to Murdoch papers about political correctness. We should have listened to those wise maniacs.

Because what the issue comes down to is this: men and women don’t mix. Oh, sure, we put up with each other for the sake of social harmony and economic convenience, but there is a limit. Men need a place to retreat to completely free of women, where they can sit and relax, quaff a brandy, smoke a cigar, enjoy the satisfying, earthy odours of other males. What they do in the Athenaeum Club I have no idea, being a simple commoner of no great ambition. I imagine — and hope — it involves a certain amount of wrestling and ample quantities of extra virgin olive oil, but it’s of no matter. What these fine men do in the privacy of their own leathery clubrooms is their own business. Whatever activities, games, dances, embraces, insertions or paddlings they want to engage in, it’s entirely up to them, and why should they have to tread on eggshells just because Eddie McGuire can’t go five minutes without sniffing mascara?

Put yourself in the club members’ place, men. Imagine that your personal time was to be invaded by women. Imagine that you had to mind your Ps and Qs, steer away from vulgar conversation, or keep your pants on at all times, to satisfy some sort of quasi-Marxist lesbian conspiracy. Imagine that you were trying to have a quiet drink with some boy-pals in your shed, only to be suddenly invaded by a squadron of aggressive females. Believe me, it wouldn’t be as much fun as it sounds.

Athenaeum Club president Don Heathcote has, quite properly, terminated debate on the issue, rightly stating that it is too "distressing" a matter for club members to concern themselves with. When I heard this, my heart almost burst with sadness for the poor chaps. See them there, huddled in their clubrooms, scared and bewildered as the debate bears menacingly down upon them. "It’s too much!" they cry. "We can’t deal with these sort of weighty issues, we are but men!" For the love of God, some sympathy, please! All any of us want is a quiet life free of both the opposite sex and vexed social issues. The rest of us find this easy enough — let’s not deny it to the Athenaeum.

And let’s be very wary of Mr McGuire and his seedy pack of vagina-boosters. What sort of man is it that actively seeks out the company of women, to the extent of resigning from a respected social club in order to associate with them? What sort of person does this? I think the most sensible comment on the whole issue comes from Herald Sun columnist Sally Morrell, who points out that "it’s actually very common indeed for women to prefer women’s company, and men men’s". And let me note here that Morrell is, as far as I can tell, actually a woman herself! So it’s not just men who are cognisant of the sexes’ natural hatred for each other. Morrell uses the example of her own book club, where she and her chums find it "wonderful to be among just women, free to indulge ourselves in goss and pop-psychology". And with this stark depiction of nightmarish dystopia, Morrell sends a powerful message to Eddie McGuire and co: count your blessings. You may think it’s pretty bad not having women in your club, but it could be much worse; you could be in Sally Morrell’s book club.

So let’s stop all this nonsense about men and women co-mingling. Let’s continue with the division, suspicion and barely restrained hostility between the sexes that nature intended. It’s not that men have no use for women — we will always need someone to bear our children and make motor sport seem more interesting. It’s just that no good has ever come of men and women mixing in social settings. Eighty percent of all street violence is caused by the needless mixture of sexes.

We men need our space, ladies. We need to get away from you for a while. It’s not because we hate women — the fact that we hate women is irrelevant to this particular issue. But we need boundaries. We need decorum. We need smoky rooms and drinking games. Let us have them. Leave us be. Get your ovaries off our coteries.

Save the Athenaeum Club, or doom mankind.

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