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Dull Men’s Club: You can only join this club if you consider yourself dull

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
July 24, 2012

In a world that seems perpetually focused on the go go go, some might take comfort in knowing there is at least one group of people who stands firmly in their belief that standing — or sitting, as the case may be — is often preferable to moving.

Meet the gentlemen from the Dull Men's Club, 5,000 strong, with offices in both the United States and England, "where dull men — and women who appreciate dull men — share thoughts and experiences about ordinary things," according to their website.

Their motto? It's ok to be dull. Their activities? Organizing the fridge according to the "Use-By" dates, thumb twiddling, park bench assessing and webcam travelling. The point is that its members, mostly retirees, feel no pressure to conform to any kind of agenda. They can just sit around and enjoy talking about nothing in particular.

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The Wall Street Journal caught up with the Pembroke, Massachusetts chapter where members — one of whom has a 7,000-count menu collection — meet up every week to chat.

"Believe it or not, we spent 2½ meetings on which way to put toilet paper on the roll, over or under," one regular, Ken Girten, a 76-year-old retired banker, tells the newspaper. "It was pretty much tied."

Sara Sutus, supervisor of the Active Living Centre at the North York Seniors Centre, loves the idea of a club for retired men. Women, she says, are social butterflies who tend to get involved with different groups and clubs without much prompting. But men are more difficult to draw into a social circle, which can make life difficult for their spouses and family.

"It's more so the women who have bake sales and afternoon teas, so I think it's fantastic because I don't think there are enough outlets for men to get involved," she says. "And for women, it's fantastic cause it gives them a break."

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Sutus says that even the best-trained staff — who are often mostly women — can have a difficult time engaging a group of retired men, but conversation and interaction among members is something her staff tries hard to encourage. In her centre, which counts 1,000 members from culturally diverse backgrounds, many spontaneous groups form based on culture and mother tongue, she says.

"We promote that type of an open and non-threatening atmosphere so that the different cultures and the different sexes, whether it be male or female, regardless of your age, can come in and meet people -- have a conversation, meet with your buddies, or have a cup of coffee," she says.

Don't worry, women aren't completely left out of the Dull Men's Club. The Decent Women's Club has sprung up in response to their husbands' musings over toilet paper rolls. One notable quote from the website?

"'I like my dull man because he's always home. I don't worry when I can't find my keys.' says Ellen in New York."

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