I was reading a piece in The Guardian at the weekend from Zoe Williams about the new trend for women only clubs and restaurants.
Reading it through initially, I was fairly unmoved. OK, so a few clubs are opening that are just for women – fair enough, there are plenty of men only clubs after all. So what if women want to hang out together, chat to other people socially, without any risk of sexual overtones?
But then the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed. Isn’t the whole thing that defines us as women that we are always hanging out with other women talking about stuff? Do we seriously need our own official space where we can feel safe to do this?
I thought about my average week, discounting the family I live with.* This morning I played netball – a women only team. During the week I work at home, sometimes going out to meet a (female) friend for lunch or a coffee. Most of my clients are women. Sometimes I pick Belle up from school and have a quick chat with another mum. Wednesday nights I might go out to netball again. Sometimes I see my mum or my sister.
Do I sound like I need a woman only club??
If anything, I need to get myself into an office job in a male dominated industry. My life is practically begging for some sexual overtones.
Perhaps it’s different if you don’t have children, but I just don’t buy that women lack space or time together with other women. I certainly don’t believe, as one woman quoted in the article claims, that it’s hard for women to make friends. “In London it’s quite unusual to make new friends,” she says. “I think it’s because when you meet someone and say ‘let’s be pals’, in mixed company, that seems weird.”
‘Let’s be pals’ has been my friend-making one-liner of choice for years. On our first day of college, 18 years ago, my friend Nicky and I spotted a girl we liked the look of in our French group, sat down next to her and said ‘do you want to be our friend?’ There were boys in the room. Nothing terrible happened. I still consider her one of my closest friends and I’ve been employing a similar tactic ever since, albeit more often on twitter nowadays.
What do you think? Is there a need for women only clubs and restaurants? Does your life lack female only contact or would you actually quite fancy spending an evening with just men, drinking whiskey and chatting about cars?**
Let me know…
*Not that I actually discount them in real life, I’m not that cruel, it’s just for the purposes of this musing.
**Because obviously this is all men do.