From Flintstones to Fight Club: Versions of the Men’s Social Club
As evidenced by The Flintstones, guys have always needed a place to get away from the pressures of work and family, to drink a big mug of cactus juice, play a little rocknasta with Sam Slagheap and the boys while plotting the demise of their mothers-in-law. Fred and Barney favored the Loyal Order of Water Buffalo, but it didn’t stop there. The men’s social club has had a long tradition, with generally predictable results.
From their boys only clubhouse, Spanky and Alfalfa started the He-man Woman Haters Club. It was volatile name, that Alfalfa quickly learned to regret after Darla gave him the cold shoulder to cuddle up to Waldo (not rascally at all), who admitted to actually liking women. The club was folded shortly after (before the introduction of mothers-in-law as comedic fodder).
Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton (No, not that one. We’ll talk about Tyler Durden later.) were members in good standing at the Raccoon Lodge located somewhere in the wilds of Brooklyn. There they drank, bowled, wore awesome jackets and coon-skin caps, and discussed the various ways to painfully dispatch their mothers-in-law.
Howard Cunningham’s only break from doling out wisdom to Richie and The Fonz was when he served as the Grand Poobah of Milwaukee’s Leopard Lodge No. 462. They we’re pretty tame with the exception of their national conventions where tassel adorned burlesque dancers were a fixture. No jackets, but snazzy leopard print fez-style hats. We assume the mother-in-law jokes were reserved for off camera (it was a family show).
They might have been Married with Children, but the fellas in No Ma’am (National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood) essentially watched porn and plotted against, not only their mothers-in-law, but also the wives and kids. Occasionally, they’ d get drunk and take field trips to either the bowling alley or the bathroom.
Over in Springfield, USA, the town’s men took refuge in the masonic-like Sacred Order of Stonecutters. Their roster boasted Mayor Quimby, both Carl AND Lenny, an alien, Steve Guttenberg, and a guy from the Egg Council. They had bigger aspirations than mother-in-law jokes, until Homer screwed it up by initiating colobus monkeys into the club.
Finally we come to the dream that was Tyler Durden’s Fight Club. An idea so simple and far reaching it could only have been conceived by a split-personality insomniac. Not interested in gin rummy, bowling, or mothers-in-law, this social club, ironically, sought the end of society. Eventually, internal fighting (literal id/ego conflict) and Meatloaf getting killed brought about an end to the group, although underground factions are said to still thrive.
So, there it is. Man at his best and worst still needs the company of other dudes to drink with, goof on, dress weirdly among, compare varieties of mother-in-law to, sometimes punch in the mouth, and watch action movies with ( NOTE: The Expendables opens Friday, August 13th opposite Eat, Pray, Love. Try calling that one a coincidence!).
“Ack, ack, a-dak. Dak, dak, a-ack.” Thank you Brother Flintstone.
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