Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Four Men Feasts

I suspect Ted's "Four Men Feast" is probably a one-of-a-kind as of right now. But I think part of his success is that in this world, there are very few places for men to gather together without women, and be men. Smoke cigars if they want, and talk Belloc and ideas, recite poetry or sing songs, where else is this happening?

My husband recently joined the Knights of Columbus. The Knights were formed in part as a reaction against things like Masonic Lodges with their secret entrance rites. But basically, they are both mens groups, where men do things together. The Knights have secret rites (one of which I know: they say the rosary) and they have a meal and play cards together, and meanwhile, they are always thinking of ways to help our parish. If anyone needs a ride, it's a Knight picking them up. Clean up after an event? The Knights are there. Help with parking? Knights. Delivering food pantry to the homebound? Knights. Etc. But I believe it is because of the bond of comaradarie that these guys stick together and help out.

Anyway, men, do you have a place to go with other guys to do guy stuff? Would you consider having a "Four Men Feast" as Ted described in the latest Gilbert?


  1. Speaking as a single University student who lives with two other guys, I can safely say that my current goal at this point is to find a place to hang out where I'm not surrounded by males.

    I'm not ready to enroll in the Women's Studies module just yet, but the idea is tempting. Think of the opportunities for sassback!

    You were probably looking for something more useful. :/

  2. Furor, if you take wymin's studies, be sure to introduce your new classmates to such great Chesterton books as The Superstition of Divorce and Eugenics and Other Evils. ;)

    Back on topic: I would love to host a "Four Men Feast" for a guys-only evening. It would be very easy to keep women out, because I can't imagine a single woman who'd be interested in a feast of bacon & eggs cooked in the same skillet (& at the same time), cheese, bread, beer, and smoking. Nope, just can't picture it. While I love the fairer sex and I enjoy gatherings where both men and women are present, I also think men and women need occasions where they can get together with "their own kind," as it were.

    Belloc's book The Four Men describes such an occasion: a four-day hike through England's County Sussex by four men (each a variation of Belloc's own personality), who talk about everything and nothing, from local history to their first loves to beer to how to properly cure a pig (not make it well, but prepare the flesh for long-term storage using saltpeter). They also sing some great songs ("May all my enemies go to hell! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!").

    The Sussex in the book is a sort of idealized Sussex in which the Reformation never happened. In other words it is very Catholic, both on terms of religion and culture. Belloc himself lived in the real Sussex and wrote about real places: many of the inns mentioned in the book still exist. The book is something of a love-paen to Sussex, making it a profoundly moving and engrossing novel. It is a crime that it is out of print.

    The Feast is at the end of the book, and includes long speaches on what the meal will consist of, including a long discourse on cheese (Ted goes over some of this in his column). A proper Four Man Feast would include readings from the book, as well as renditions of some of its songs.

    Cultured men would love such an evening. Crass men would avoid it. And women of all stripes would be simply appalled.

  3. I would love to do a Four Man Feast, and will probably instigate some variation of it down the road. Some friends of mine and I did something similar on a "Steinbeck Night" a few years ago. We watched Tortilla Flat while drinking beer milkshakes (from Cannery Row).

    It seems to me that we don't have very many outlets for men to eat great food, smoke, drink beer and pontificate.

    I wonder what the cultural ramifications would be if these Four Man Feasts became widespread?

  4. I wonder what the cultural ramifications would be if these Four Man Feasts became widespread?

    Well, wild mayhem, creative thoughts, new political feelings and total cultual upheaval, of course. That's why it must be done!

  5. I'm thinking it would be a new sort of Counter Reformation. :)

  6. I'm wondering myself -- I have friends who have suggested "Inklings" sort of gatherings, discuss books, smoke our pipes and cigars, and drink strong beer. Unfortunately, we're all so enmeshed in earning a living and dealing with family and church items that it has never happened. Wonder if I picked out just four...


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