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Elderly uncle not allowed to attend book group anymore

(90 Posts)
Pinkrosesarebest Fri 13-Feb-15 16:16:40

My elderly uncle recently moved to a bungalow in a village near to me as he has no other family (moving 20 miles from previous home so harder for old friends to pop in). He is still relatively active, and, as an avid reader decided to join a reading group in the village in a bid to meet people. He has been attending a couple of months and enjoys it.

However he just told me that he was politely told by one lady, in an embarrassed, laughy way not to return to the group. It was an all-female older lady group (although that was a coincidence, not advertised as females only) and apparently his prescence meant they could no longer gossip and chat at ease. Apparently he was let down in a "aren't ladies silly" kind of way.

He was a bit sad but is philosophical about it (as is his nature- very gentle soul). However, I, on the other hand, am seething with rage and don't know whether to confront the organiser. Why advertise a group in the village paper if it is not open to all and totally selective?! This is also very discriminatory against men. Just needed to vent! Anyway AIBU to feel so so hurt for him. This is hardly welcoming to an old gent on his own in a new area.

leedy Fri 13-Feb-15 16:18:11

YANBU - if it had been advertised as a "ladies' book club", fair enough, but you can't advertise a general book club and then boot someone out of it for being male.

Lipstickandlashes Fri 13-Feb-15 16:20:07


Their behaviour is appalling and so, so unkind. Damn right you should call them out on it.

That must have been heart breaking for him to hear, especially as he's making an effort to join in and find his feet, which is always hard no matter what your age.

I'm seething along side you.

Lipstickandlashes Fri 13-Feb-15 16:20:50


The80sweregreat Fri 13-Feb-15 16:21:15

They sound dreadful! I hope your Uncle can find another group to join where they are far nicer. I feel sorry for him..

Letmeeatcakecakecake Fri 13-Feb-15 16:22:45

Aww poor guy! What a bunch of old witches! Sounds like he's better off without their company anyway!

Still it can't be much for his confidence sad

CupidStuntSurvivor Fri 13-Feb-15 16:23:08

That's horrible sad. I'd be livid enough to call them and have my say. Or at least to advise them that if men aren't welcome, they need to start advertising as a ladies' book club.

SunnyBaudelaire Fri 13-Feb-15 16:25:16

he might have been making inappropriate comments or holding up discussion?

limegoldfinewine Fri 13-Feb-15 16:28:50

I don't really believe this. Maybe the one lady took it upon herself to say something? Or he was doing something in the meeting? Because why would they wait months to kick him out if it was women only? hmm

Aeroflotgirl Fri 13-Feb-15 16:29:12

How awful, that is discriminatory. I would go myself when they meet up and say my piece in a firm but professional manner. I would threaten legal action as it is against the sex discrimination act. So it's ok to do that for sex, but for race it would be unspeakable.

ajandjjmum Fri 13-Feb-15 16:32:01

I think you should go to the next meeting, not mention your Uncle, and see what is said. Then have your say......!!!

NancyRaygun Fri 13-Feb-15 16:34:54

sad He should start his own group - they sound like nasty weirdos.

Charlotte3333 Fri 13-Feb-15 16:36:34

What a horrid bunch, would it be impossible for you to attend one meeting and state how upset you are on your Uncle's behalf? Not unreasonable at all.

Pinkrosesarebest Fri 13-Feb-15 16:38:03

I do feel like attending the next meeting but I am not sure if I am brave enough.... In response to him making comments etc., he is very respectful and gentle. He is a gentleman and his hearing is not great anyway. I did wonder if it is a case of the dynamics totally changing within the group with his arrival. Maybe they just couldn't do village gossip the same anymore and so it became less pleasurable for them. They maybe had to talk more about the books! But still. I feel so outraged by it all.

MightyMightyToros Fri 13-Feb-15 16:39:06

Please go give them a piece of your mind.

What a selfish woman.

stonecircle Fri 13-Feb-15 16:40:19

How bizarre - I know some men who like to gossip and some women who don't so I don't see what it has to do with sex. I'd be tempted to ring and ask for an explanation, pointing out the discrimination and frankly despicable treatment of your uncle. Or, join the book club incognito and go all out to undermine and ridicule their petty minded and blinkered attitudes.

rinabean Fri 13-Feb-15 16:41:51

Aeroflotgirl don't be silly. It's allowed to have women's book clubs

They should advertise it as that if that's the case. But I think it's fairly obvious that that's NOT the case - or they would advertise it like that. Be honest, is there something else about him? My first guesses would be bad personal hygiene or making women uncomfortable. If that's honestly not the case either they were stupid and ought to advertise as women only from now on, or they're bunch of cows. Don't "confront" them, nothing good will come of it (it's your uncle they'll slag off to all his would-be new friends, not you). You could tell them to change their advert though because it's misleading (try and phrase it like you want them to have the group they want or whatever).

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 16:42:39

Yeah, I reckon the meetings were all gossip and no books.

Theselittlelightsofmine Fri 13-Feb-15 16:43:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilymaid Fri 13-Feb-15 16:46:43

If it is the village reading group there should be no barriers to men joining. If it is a private reading group it would be up to the members (but how would he have found about it and found where to go for the meeting?)
We have one man in a group (school based) I belong to. He adds an interesting dimension to our discussions and puts up with any girly conversation we may have.

Abra1d Fri 13-Feb-15 16:47:42

How very mean.

UnalignedAnt Fri 13-Feb-15 16:49:05

What a load of toss! I hate all that cliquey bollocks - bet they'd be the same with any newbie that dare encroach on their 'gossip' sessions. Book club my arse. Why don't they just meet socially instead?

Really angry for your uncle. It's not easy meeting new people, but he made an effort only to be told he's not welcome? Grr.

AliceLidl Fri 13-Feb-15 16:53:50

That sounds really mean.

A couple of months is probably just two meetings, my old book group used to meet once a month.

Where do they meet? Is it in a public building, in the organisers home, do do they move from house to house?

I would speak to the organiser, if she is not the person who spoke to your uncle, and find out what happened.

Ask her if they knew the other woman had spoken to him, if she did so with their blessing, and if they know what she actually said to him.

I'm struggling to think of a reason why they might object to him, because wanting to gossip without a man listening is a pretty pathetic reason.

Perhaps they were worried about having a man come to their home, or having to go to his, but even that seems like a grasping at straws excuse for their bad behaviour.

The organiser of the group and the other ladies might be very surprised to hear how he was spoken to though, or surprised to learn he was spoken to at all. They might like having a man at the group. Our single, solitary man was quite prized by some of the women at my old group, they liked to get a male perspective.

And if it's a meeting in a public building, for example my old group took place in the library after hours and was run by two of the librarians, I don't think they can discriminate against him.

But even so, would he feel comfortable going back after this?

Pinkrosesarebest Fri 13-Feb-15 16:58:07

Rinabean. Nothing odd about him. He showers every day! He is a widower but they never had children. I am biased but he is lovely and easy company. He doesn't hear well but he is almost 80! I needed to vent here Rinabean as actually I suspect, like you, no good will come of confronting them. It is a village after all and everyone knows everyone. Probably best to just be upset here on MN and move on. It is just their meanness that upsets me. They could have included him! But I might ping an email politely saying they might need to advertise it as females only if that is what it is in reality. Thank you for the kind words

KatieKaye Fri 13-Feb-15 16:58:13

How totally horrid.

I would not assume there is anything wrong with your uncle but that they are close minded petty women who want their group to only be for a select few.
Cruel and unwelcoming. He is well shot of them.

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