Author Topic: I know this is for women only, but I'm going to conspicuously hang around anyway  (Read 10487 times)

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pierrotlunaire0

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It is interesting to me that there are husbands who would be the least bit interested in hanging around what is obviously a girls' night. I mean, what's in it for you? Is it really fun to hang out and listen to a bunch of women talking? Honestly, I would have absolutely no desire to be the only woman in an planned men's night, whether in my home or elsewhere.

I'm pretty sure if I told my husband he could hang out and listen in and participate, he'd be like, No thanks.

I have to say, I know of two instances where the husband definitely wanted to be a part of girl's night.  I know this because the gatherings were not held in anyone's home, but in a public meeting place.  In both instances, the husband attempted to dominate the discussion, and it was extremely awkward.  The one couple ended up dropping out and joining a co-ed group (perfect solution).  The other one was a bit problematic, and the husband's behavior was kind of a indication of the problems the couple was having.

But anyway, to get back to your question.  One way that I might approach it would be to ask Amy: "I hope that your husband didn't find us too boring."  Once you get her to start talking about his reactions, it opens the door to saying that most husbands and kids stay away, and the group has come to love it that way.  You can even acknowledge that you are asking him to lay low in his own home, but it might start a dialogue.
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Peregrine

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I certainly get why the OP had an issue with the husband in this case, however I would tread lightly when speaking to Amy.  Who knows what bee got in her hubbies bonnet.  But it could have been as simple as the only TV, computer, other relaxing electronic devices were in the common areas that the bunco night ladies were occupying.  For myself, particularly on day that I have worked, I really don't want to draw out my evening by another several hours because my other half is having a social event in my home that I'm not allowed to show my face at.  This could have been sprung on him and he just dug in his heels.  I don't necessarily think 6 month's is a long standing member in this particular case. That means Amy has come to 6 bunco nights, the first couple times she's just getting her feel for the group. 

If it was me trying to bring this up with Amy, I would try to give her a graceful way to save face, while reinforcing what the group's expectation is.  Ask her if it would be a problem in the future to have her husband be less of a presence.  Then I would spell out that beyond host/ess greetings of the attendees he really isn't welcome to participate in the conversation.  This also might be a good time to make sure the majority of the ladies want to continue in the same format with the same restrictions.  Perhaps during your meeting/scheduling for the upcoming year would be a good time to reiterate the rules.  I also think that any new folks invited to join the group should have your rules explained to them in a crystal clear manner.  It also sounds like there may possibly have been some "creep" in the rules if husbands are coming through, making a snack, offering a quick hello and then heading for another part of the house.  If the things started out as NO MEN EVER and that has gradually been evolving to the men wandering through it may have been that Amy was confused.

lowspark

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I suppose another option which you could raise with the group would be to consider whether you want to have an occasional 'mixed' night when husbands and partners were explicitly invited, and see whether Amy could host one of those nights.

The funny thing is, I actually just attempted to do this very thing. We had talked about doing a couples night -- not bunco but a pot luck social -- and I sent out an email with a proposed date asking people to reply. I got back three yeses and one no. Including me that's five out of twelve. So last night (not at Amy's house) I asked if people were actually interested or if we should just blow it off. The response was to blow it off. In fact I was sitting at a table with Amy earlier in the evening and I brought it up (before addressing the whole group about it) and she seemed less than enthusiastic about it.

I didn't think about it at the time but if her husband is so interested in being part of the group, it seems like she'd have jumped at the idea.

lowspark

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Since Amy's husband acknowledged that he knew the gathering was just for women, it sounds as though Amy had been around the group long enough to understand husbands weren't invited to participate.  That, to me, means that either she mistakenly thought her husband would agree to not join in or she never had any intention of trying to follow the rule (unwritten, I know, but obviously understood).

OP, is the nature of the group such that someone might agree to open up their home to allow someone else to host?  If so, that might be a solution.  If not, then it really does come down to whether or not Amy and her husband choose to go with the culture of the group; if not, then perhaps she needs to find another group and your bunco club needs to find a member with a better fit.

I honestly don't know the answer to that. Personally I wouldn't want to "host" without hosting. I mean, if it's at my house I'm going to be providing most of everything anyway. Dishes & glasses, utensils, etc. Plus I'll be doing the prep of the house before and clean up after. What's she going to do, bring over a few plates of food and some bottles of wine? My house, I'd rather just serve my food.

Of course I don't know how the rest of the group feels about hosting for someone else. I don't really know how they feel about Amy's husband being there although I suspect that most of them are like me.

Eeep!

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Since Amy's husband acknowledged that he knew the gathering was just for women, it sounds as though Amy had been around the group long enough to understand husbands weren't invited to participate.  That, to me, means that either she mistakenly thought her husband would agree to not join in or she never had any intention of trying to follow the rule (unwritten, I know, but obviously understood).

OP, is the nature of the group such that someone might agree to open up their home to allow someone else to host?  If so, that might be a solution.  If not, then it really does come down to whether or not Amy and her husband choose to go with the culture of the group; if not, then perhaps she needs to find another group and your bunco club needs to find a member with a better fit.

This is where I fall.  If the husband just kept hanging around - without the comments about how he knew he wasn't supposed to - I would cut him more slack that maybe he wasn't aware of how "women only" the gathering was.  But those comments make it deliberate. If he had a problem with this, it should have been taken up with his wife, not foisted on the whole group. 

Since Amy won't be hosting for another year, I think I would probably address this issue when it was coming up to her time again.  To me, no sense in causing friction when she may not even be in the group in a year. But I admit I am a bit conflict-adverse. heh.

I sometimes have had similar situations when we lived in our apartment. My husband had a recording studio in his office but on occasion, he would need to have people singing/etc. in other rooms in the house. I had no problem staying in our bedroom.  Of course, if I wanted to get a snack or something, I just made sure I did it at an OK time but I could go into the kitchen briefly.  I also wasn't "forbidden" from saying hello to his bandmates, etc.  I just tended to do it briefly and then move on.  For me, this kind of arrangement was no big deal.  Now if it was weekly or something it might be an issue but once in a blue moon? Totally fine. Seem similar to the Bunco situation. One time a year I generally agree to stay in the bedroom? I just don't see what the problem is.

Note: I realize that he was purportedly on the computer in the kitchen.  If he was indeed just doing that - and not interjecting comments and stuff - I would probably cut him more slack.  We are laptop people in our house, so that's not really an issue. ;)
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Zizi-K

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I can't see how Amy or her husband was "confused" about the nature of the evening. If he said, "I know this is supposed to be a women's night, but..." then who could have possibly clued him into the fact that it was intended to be a women's night? Amy of course. The fact is that they both knew that the guests/the group expected a ladies night without a substantial intrusion by husbands, and for whatever reason they decided not to comply. IF I had to guess, I would guess that Amy's husband is a bit controlling or insecure, and her joking about it was a way to cover up the fact that she did not possess the power/clout/respect from her husband to utilize their house without intrusion for one night.

As to what the group can do now: I think they have to make it clear to Amy how important it is for the group to have a women-only space once a month. If she can't provide it (for whatever reason) then someone else should host. Perhaps someone else could provide the space while she provides the food/drink. I would tread carefully in the conversation, though, because it is likely embarrassing for her to be unable to host in the way that everyone has come to expect. I like the idea of starting with a "what was up with that?" kind of question. She can make the decision to confide, to apologize, or to be defensive, in which you'll have your answer.

lowspark

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I certainly get why the OP had an issue with the husband in this case, however I would tread lightly when speaking to Amy.  Who knows what bee got in her hubbies bonnet.  But it could have been as simple as the only TV, computer, other relaxing electronic devices were in the common areas that the bunco night ladies were occupying.  For myself, particularly on day that I have worked, I really don't want to draw out my evening by another several hours because my other half is having a social event in my home that I'm not allowed to show my face at.  This could have been sprung on him and he just dug in his heels.  I don't necessarily think 6 month's is a long standing member in this particular case. That means Amy has come to 6 bunco nights, the first couple times she's just getting her feel for the group. 

If it was me trying to bring this up with Amy, I would try to give her a graceful way to save face, while reinforcing what the group's expectation is.  Ask her if it would be a problem in the future to have her husband be less of a presence.  Then I would spell out that beyond host/ess greetings of the attendees he really isn't welcome to participate in the conversation.  This also might be a good time to make sure the majority of the ladies want to continue in the same format with the same restrictions.  Perhaps during your meeting/scheduling for the upcoming year would be a good time to reiterate the rules.  I also think that any new folks invited to join the group should have your rules explained to them in a crystal clear manner.  It also sounds like there may possibly have been some "creep" in the rules if husbands are coming through, making a snack, offering a quick hello and then heading for another part of the house.  If the things started out as NO MEN EVER and that has gradually been evolving to the men wandering through it may have been that Amy was confused.

Again, the men are allowed to "show their face" just not to hang around all night and participate.
I keep reiterating this because I think it's important. No one is saying that the husband is supposed to hide and pretend he doesn't exist.

It has never been "NO MEN EVER". But it has been understood and stated from the beginning that this is girls' night, that we take turns hosting, that snacky food and wine are to be provided and that husbands and kids are to make themselves scarce.

Now, I don't know what Amy's friend who brought her into the group told her, and we don't go over the rules every month or every time someone new comes in, but again, it is clear that this is women only and men and kids are not included.

And yes, I can totally understand if that doesn't work for someone. Drop out of the group if you don't like how we do things. No one will be offended at all.

VorFemme

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I almost wonder if he was hoping that one table would be short a player & he would be asked to "fill in" - he was so aggressively sticking around that it had to be deliberate.

Now - whether he just was doing the equivalent of refusing to allow Amy to run HER party while he did something else or if he was TRYING to ruin Amy's party because he wasn't a part of it...I can't tell.

Same effect, in the end.  He didn't ruin it, but he certainly changed the usual party culture for the evening.

If someone hasn't played Bunco, consider it a four player game that everyone switches partners after every round - rather like Bridge, Spades, or a domino game where the real point is to give everyone a chance to talk to everyone else in the course of the evening.  But if they get involved in the game (or aren't good at small talk) - then that's fine, too.  Game with or without conversation but with snacks & drinks....and no guys or kids to limit the attention to be paid to the game, conversation, and food....

I play dominos once a month with a female only group - but we play at a pizza buffet during the school day.  The store likes having a couple of dozen women in a party room because the extra cars in their parking lot make them look busier - which can bring in extra customers who are looking for a "busy" place as being more likely to have fresh food on the buffet. 

Many of them are widows and grandmothers (or even great-grandmothers) - so there aren't many guys hanging around....except the manager making sure that we're fine.

At least three of the domino players have moved OTHER groups' that they play games to the buffet as a good meeting place - food, drinks, senior price that is reasonable, and plenty of large tables for Bridge, Spades, Mah-Jong, or whatever they were playing (I ran into them at various times - said "hi!" but didn't ask what they were playing if I didn't recognize the game's rules or what they were using to play the game with - tiles, cards, dice, dominos, or what have you). 

I don't have another group - but I have picked up pizzas to go for events with VorGuy.  Depends on who is closest to where I am taking the food.....

Busy thread - there were eight posts while I was typing.

Doing the Jane Goodall thing (academically objective review of behavior) - he really seems to have been trying to take over the event from Amy - or at least refusing to allow her to use THEIR territory for her event.  Not having been there, I can't tell if he is clueless, overbearing, or whatever was going on between HIS ears....

But the only thing the only male present/alpha male in that territory didn't do was piddle in the corners of the room....
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 03:32:03 PM by VorFemme »
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gellchom

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It's inaccurate to describe this dramatically as banishing someone in his own home or saying that he is not permitted to socialize with guests at a gathering in his home, and certainly to say he is not allowed to merely exist.  I think perhaps some posters are getting distracted by this being a women and men thing.  It's not simply that he's a man -- this group is these 12 people, only.

It's a meeting of a club of which he is not a member.  It happens to be held in Amy's home, which is also his home, one evening a year.

Hmmmmm's analogy of a book club is perfect.  I am sure that lowspark and the others wouldn't think a thing of it if a family member in any of the members' homes said hi or occasionally came through briefly to get something or go through the front door, and it probably often happens.  I believe she said that explicitly, in fact.

This situation is that this guy wouldn't give this group their privacy.  It's only, what, three hours?, once a year.  For heaven's sake, make yourself scarce, Mr. Amy; how much attention do you need?  If you must come into the room or where you can be seen or you can hear, apologize for the intrusion, do what you need to do, and scram.

My husband and I often host groups or meetings that only one of us participates in.  The other one doesn't necessarily make plans to be out, and we maybe say hi, but we give the group its privacy as much as possible.  In fact, my husband is very likely to help clean up before they come and make coffee for us before excusing himself.  I've made a nice brunch for an executive committee he was hosting, put it out, and then left the house so they could work in private.  And one evening a week, I have a google+ writing meeting for about an hour with 2 friends in other cities.  We are happy to say hi to a spouse or child for a minute or two; but all of our family members have the sense and good manners to keep it brief and then get out of earshot so that we have our privacy.  Doesn't hurt them, and it won't hurt Mr. Amy, either.  If they can deal with it every week, he can manage once a year.

I disagree that just because his wife's Bunco group is meeting in his home that night that Mr. Amy is any kind of a "co-host" of the Bunco evening, and that therefore it is okay for him to interact with the group more than minimally.

I liked this post a lot:
While I don't usually entertain without my DH I do have a situation that fits this. When my kids were younger they would invite friends over. Maybe they decided to watch a movie or play video games in the family room .....wouldn't it be kind of odd for me as a parent to suddenly decide that I want to hang out in the family room while my child is entertaining a friend there? There is no issue with me going into the room for something but it would just seem so odd to suddenly decide that I HAD TO BE IN THE FAMILY ROOM.  I don't consider this being banned from a portion of my home because another family memeber is hosting friends. It is just common courtesy as far as I am concerned. I don't see how this is any different than the OP's situation. Her husband sounds a bit inscure.

But I do agree that Amy doesn't have to like this members-only, reasonably private, arrangement (neither do the posters here who don't feel Mr. Amy was rude because it was his home).  And if she doesn't like it or can't comply when it's her turn, then she should leave the group, no hard feelings. 

So to me the question here is whether she understands the rule. And I still like the wording for that I endorsed earlier.  I mean, for all we know, Amy was incredibly embarrassed and gave her husband an earful later!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 04:25:40 PM by gellchom »

Winterlight

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Mr. Amy was not locked in the basement being fed via straw through a keyhole. He could have been elsewhere in the house, or left entirely. Instead, he pushed himself into a group to which he did not belong. He was rude. If Amy flaunted the rules, so was she. If she was stuck with a spouse who'd decided to be a jerk on this point, then she wasn't rude, but she does need to reconsider whether she can belong to a women's only bunco group.
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JoyinVirginia

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I play in a neighborhood Bunco group and its lots of fun. Some of the husbands get together and go out while the wives are playing. If a husband was hanging around, I would be more inclined to talk about female issues that from past experience have grossed out males.
more likely I would have called my dh and got him to talk to the husband and ask him over our house.
Edited to add, in the ten or so  years our Bunco group has been playing, we have NEVER had a husband WANT to hang out with us! Once in a while there are kids hanging around, but they know to make themselves scarce too. Its one evening a month!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 03:44:55 PM by JoyinVirginia »

camlan

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Mr. Amy wasn't banished. He was expected to keep himself to himself for a few hours.

I used to stay with my grandparents during the summer. Grandma had her bridge club that met weekly, so once a month at her house. There were three women who came to play.

On bridge club afternoon, Grandpa would either take me out, or do yard work or go out golfing with his buddy, or sometimes stay in and prepare the snacks for the bridge club--he was noted for his pigs in blankets.

He'd greet the women as they arrived and say good-bye to them and ask about their families. But he wasn't part of the bridge club and didn't act as though he was.

Every fourth or fifth month, Grandpa would host a poker game with his buddies, and Grandma would go out to the movies with her friends.

Not banishing, but acknowledging that sometimes, even the most beloved spouse can be in the way at times.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Sophia

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If I were you I would talk to the Amy about how unacceptable it was for her husband to insert himself, and then listen for her response.  If she says,  "He was being a jerk that night, and I can guarantee you it won't happen again next year. "  Then all is well (probably), but if not my response would be that she isn't allowed to host at her house anymore.  Since hosting is a requirement, she should consider dropping out, or making arrangements with another member.  Like maybe another member provides the house twice and she provides the snacks and wine both times. 

etiquettenut

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I don't understand the idea that Mr. Amy was "banished" from his home and expected "not to show his face." Neither of these descriptions are accurate as to what actually happened. Frankly, I think that if a person is going to get so bent out of shape over being asked to not insert themselves into a social gathering to which they were not invited (regardless of whether it's in their home) they are incredibly selfish. I reject the notion that a spouse is necessarily included in every single activity simply because it takes place in the home (and if you have that kind of dynamic and it works for you, fine, but then don't join groups like this!)**

I think you should say something at the next meeting, albeit very casually, because I think waiting a whole year will be less effective. I like the, "So Amy, what was up with your DH last time?" approach. "Why was he trying to be involved in the group when he knew it was women only?" And then say, "Honestly, it changed the dynamic of the group and since we don't want to be in your husband's way maybe it's best if you host at someone else's house." (And definitely put a reminder in the schedule email.)

Phrase it like you don't want to put Mr. Amy out so it's best if you don't have the group there. See what she says and then give her one more chance. If she hosts next time and her DH does the same thing, I would A. leave (if you are all comfortable with that) or B. Inform her that she will no longer be able to host, and perhaps should find a group better suited to her needs.

**Again, this doesn't mean you can't get a sandwich or say hello to people. It means you don't get involved in the activity.

doodlemor

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Amy's husband was thoroughly rude.  What a jerk!  Put me in the group who thinks that poor Amy was embarrassed, and tried to make the best of it. 

..........we were sort of forced to curtail some of the normal girl talk ..........

I'm with JoyinVirginia.  I would have been more inclined to discuss difficult childbirths, monthly troubles, and so forth.  If he found the talk gross he could go to another part of the house.


I know that we can't diagnose a relation*ship from one instance.  I do find his behavior troubling, though.  It seems like he doesn't respect his wife very much [this is assuming that she had told him to hang out in the rest of the house.]  If Amy was actually complicit in having him present she is probably not a good fit for the group.