Why men’s clubs are best left to the men
Constrain the sexist anachronisms of yesteryear in one place
If you're a woman, don't waste your money trying to join a man's club, advises Melissa Kite in The Daily Telegraph, commenting on the Carlton's audacious attempt to look modern by opening its St James Street doors to the female sex.
Kite went there to meet a Tory MP and wasn't impressed. After being escorted up a sweeping staircase to a room named after "a male figure of distinction", she was deposited on a chaise longue.
"I looked around and saw that I was surrounded by strange brown humps covered in newspapers. The humps were rising and falling slowly and emitting faint drilling sounds. It transpired that these were the members. Evidently being on a higher plane of existence to women is an exhausting business."
Kite herself wouldn't dream of spending £1,125 a year on a club that doesn't really want her "kind" and thinks, probably wisely, that it would serve society better if clubs like these are preserved as hallowed all-male areas, "thus containing the sexist anachronisms of yesteryear in one place". Sounds a good solution to me.
One man you'd be unlikely to find in the Carlton is the Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. He's more at home on his 130ft iridescent purple yacht in the Mediterranean, surrounded by beautiful women. (Tobacco and sex are his vices, he says: he hardly drinks at all.) The "King of Bling" adores women, he told The Telegraph's Celia Walden in an interview, though he has strict behavioural and stylistic rules for them. "Women shouldn't dress in black, and I can't bear all these women swearing; a woman's mouth should always be clean."
He hates minimalism and doesn't like "undesirables" wearing his clothes. "It happens a lot with women of a certain nationality I'm sure you can imagine which and you just want to say Give it back!'"
It's the English, he moans. "Oh my God, I shouldn't say this because I live part of the time in London, but they are on a par with the Swiss stylistically." He's even scathing about the Queen. "I don't find her very sexy with her funny hats and bags."
One wonders how sexy the Queen would find this preening, puffed-up Italian. But I doubt she's ever given him a second's thought.