Women barred from men’s dining room at private golf club

Whoa! Wait a minute. How can that be? Where have I been? I keep thinking I have more freedom of movement about the world than I actually have. Here’s one more place I can’t go.

I just read that at the Phoenix Country Club women are not allowed in the men’s grill room where the serious business deal making and dining occurs. No, the women who want find food to nosh on are pushed off into the women’s grill which is smaller and without the buffet, the bar or the lovely view of the golf course. The women’s grill has a hotplate.

There’s a bit of a fuss going on at the country club since some members want to move on into modern times where a couple can eat eggs together for breakfast, for example. Some of the men are as appalled by living in the days when women weren’t allowed in saloons–“respectable” women mind you and are having a time of it for standing up for their wives. This is true. Here’s the article that covers the details. The story involves peeing on a pecan tree as well as other juicy grammar school-like tidbits.

But before you go to the article, consider this. Several years ago, and I’m talking many–when I lived in Columbia, South Carolina during middle school, my mom took my brother and me to a roller skating rink. When we found out we had to be members in order to skate, we decided that rink wasn’t for us. Why not? Becoming members had to do with religion and skin color. We just happened to be the right religion and and the right skin color, but we didn’t like the rules. We thought the rules should change.

Since then, I think, rules have changed. But, I often live in La-La-Land where we all get along, so I can’t say if this is 100% so. *Before those of you from the south start sputtering, let me assure you I loved so much about South Carolina. Seventh grade was my Renaissance year and I was sad to move.

But, this story is about men and women and not race and religion–so perhaps, they aren’t similar. After all, there are men’s clubs and women’s clubs–and most people wouldn’t argue about that, so what’s the difference?

If the women had a grill as good as the men’s, and the business deal making happened outside the men’s grill so women could participate, I wonder if there would be as much of an issue?

Here’s what I mean. When I was in the Peace Corps, I had some friends who lived in my village who were from Pakistan. The women in the family–18 year-old twins and the mother, didn’t interact with men other than their dad/husband because he was the only family member who lived in The Gambia.

These were wonderful people who treated me extremely well. Once there were men coming for dinner. Since the dad was to have guests, I was invited to keep them company where they would eat in another room. The food was put in the dining room. While the men filled up their plates, we waited in a bedroom with the door closed.

After the men went to the living room, and the door was closed to the dining room, we got our food. Okay, sure the men at first, but there was plenty left.

But, this isn’t the same as the men’s grill either. I was told I could go visit with the men if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. Probably because I had a choice–and I was already in the best company.

As for the women who are at the Phoenix Country Club looking for some equity, I hope they have a frying pan if they want to cook up those eggs on their own.

And if any of you are heading off to a private club somewhere, check to see who can get in. It might surprise you.