In the Aftermath of the Presidents Club Party

On BBC this morning I caught the end of an interview with a vaguely attractive young British woman who was struggling to make a coherent point and seemed to be rambling. This might be because she was unused to doing live TV performances, or it might be because she was a bit dim, I don’t know. From what I could gather she was one of the hostesses working at the now-infamous Presidents Club dinner, or had worked at similar events, and was rather upset by what had happened to her.

So straight up, I have some sympathy. I don’t believe this girl was lying or hamming it up for the camera, I think she was genuinely upset at something and wanted things to change. Where I suspect we differ is what we would like to see changed.

I confess I’ve not delved too deeply into the story, but amid all the outrage there seems to be a distinct lack of actual complainants. I understand that the journalists who broke the story for the FT identified one girl, but the outrage seems to be coming almost exclusively from people who weren’t there. This ought to tell us something, which I’ll get to later.

For now, let’s focus on what people are complaining about. A bunch of rich men attend a dinner where they grope and sexually harass the women serving the food and drinks. There is nothing wrong with this per se, provided the women knew in advance what behaviour to expect (and acquiesce to), and they were paid the money they’d agreed to. The company doing the organising could have easily hired a bunch of out-and-out prostitutes who the men could shag silly all night, or they could have hired a bunch of nuns with wooden rulers to ensure the men didn’t do so much as tell a dirty joke. They’re the two extremes; what they actually tried to do was something in the middle.

They put on an event where some degree of sexual harassment was permissible – flirting, suggestive comments, ass-grabbing, etc. – but not sexual assault. (The difference between one and the other was quite obvious for generations, until recently when placing a hand upon a woman’s knee became synonymous with full-on gang rape. Thanks, feminists.) What should have happened is the people employing the women make it very clear to them what they are expected to put up with, and where behaviours cross the line and they have grounds to complain. The organisers of the function should in parallel have made it very clear to the attendees what behaviours were allowed and what were not. This, after all, is how any strip club works and the rules are so universally well-known they’ve become a cliché. If there is so much as one complaint from any of the women, this should be investigated properly and, if their complaint is valid, somebody ought to be disciplined. This really isn’t difficult.

So did the women get fair warning? I don’t know. Yes, they were told which knickers to wear, which suggests this wasn’t an ordinary party, and I suspect most of the women knew full well what would happen, but I’d not be surprised if this was not spelled out as well as it should have been and someone a bit slow on the uptake got an unpleasant surprise. I’m not prepared to dismiss a woman’s complaint as coming from a feminist harpy on the make, not if she was there wearing the clothes and being groped in person. The organisers could have ensured there were no nasty surprises by explaining things more clearly, or hiring actual sex-workers, but the former requires principled managers and the latter requires spending money. I can’t imagine those who run such businesses specialise in either.

What I don’t agree with is the ludicrous levels of moral posturing in the aftermath of this article. Nowhere amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is an acknowledgement that the women who worked that party had any agency whatsoever: according to the feminists now beating the anti-male drums, they were all poor, exploited women who thought they were turning up to a kids’ birthday party only to be sexually assaulted by a bunch of old, white men in dinner suits. A brief Google search one shouldn’t perform at work would tell you that London is absolutely chock-full of highly attractive Eastern European and other foreign women willing to do pretty much anything for a few hundred quid. They’ll even be a few Brits in there too. Unless we’re willing to believe the bullshit spouted by women’s groups and Theresa May that they are trafficked and there exists a thriving, multi-million pound market for men raping emaciated, weeping prisoners chained to beds, these women in the adverts are working of their own free will.

So who’s to say that none of the women at the Presidents Club dinner were also working of their own free will, and happy with the terms and conditions? I can imagine there is no shortage of women in London willing to earn a little extra cash for listening to lewd remarks and having their asses grabbed. The only question is how much extra cash and whether the women are well-informed in advance that sexual harassment will be on the menu.

But we’re back to the contradiction I mentioned yesterday: one minute feminists are telling us modern women are tough, strong, and independent and should be free to engage in one-night stands, orgies, polyamory, and any manner of other supposedly empowering acts of promiscuity; but at the same time they’re clutching their pearls because some women they’ve never met are working in a manner they believe is demeaning. By launching such moral crusades in a manner their Victorian ancestors would have endorsed, they are denying these women any agency whatsoever.

Of course, we already know the reason for this contradiction. Modern feminism is a political movement aimed at maximising the sexual capacity of women while eliminating it for men. Any woman who bucks the trend by cooperating with men in their quest for sexual gratification on mutually agreed terms – as opposed to the ever-changing terms of the woman only – is therefore deemed a problem, and their agency must be denied if they are to continue to demonise men.

There might have been problems with what went on at the Presidents Club, but they are not the ones being talked about. Those foaming at the mouth while attempting to reshape society on the basis of non-existent problems ought to be mocked or ignored.

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27 thoughts on “In the Aftermath of the Presidents Club Party

  1. Good article, as I always expect from you. But please, Mr Tim, can you avoid ‘ass-grabbing’ and instead for someone born under a British sun (or rain cloud) use the correct Anglo-Saxon ‘arse-grabbing.’

    I hate to seem anti-Americanese but an ass is a donkey-related creature, though I accept donkeys were assaulted too at this club for all I know. I am sure many of our US cousins delight in asses but we staunch Brits tend to revel in our traditions, using for example as you mentioned in your article ‘knickers’ instead of the trite and sadly wretchedly common ‘panties’

  2. But please, Mr Tim, can you avoid ‘ass-grabbing’ and instead for someone born under a British sun (or rain cloud) use the correct Anglo-Saxon ‘arse-grabbing.’

    Alas, I’ve been away too long and have ended up with a melange of American and British English. Partly this comes from people around me hooting with laughter at how British I sound.

  3. If people own their own bodies they should be free to do what they like to / with their bodies. Free tattooing, free piercing, free eyeball dyeing, free botox, free lipo, free sex, free polyamory, free prostitution, etc. The feminists seem to support some of these freedoms but decry others.

  4. And that is probably a good basis upon which to argue for decriminalising drugs too. My body, my business if I want to fuck it up (or not, as the case may be).

  5. Partly this comes from people around me hooting with laughter at how British I sound.

    I’d stop hanging around uncouth foreigners if I was you.

  6. If you’re going to do a Banquet of Chestnuts you should do it properly or not at all.

  7. If you’re going to do a Banquet of Chestnuts you should do it properly or not at all.

    Indeed. I suspect to save money (on the part of the organiser) and to save their reputations (on the part of the attendees) both sides were bullshitting the women working there, to some degree.

  8. I’d stop hanging around uncouth foreigners if I WERE you.

    I’ve not paid any attention but my wife tells me that the complaints are essentially a put-up job by the FT.

  9. I watched the video made by the undercover FT journo. Absolutely nothing, plus she gave me the impression whilst straightening her hair and hiding her freckles that she thought she was a bit of a hotty as well, yuk.

    Are the days of the Sun journos dressing up as Sheikhs and stinging conmen in the Dorchester or busting Frank Bough leaving a London brothel over?

  10. Have I boasted here that when I was a fresher I was hired as a bodyguard for a stripper? Jesus, what a pathetic world; indeed, what a pathetic lass.

  11. I’ve not paid any attention but my wife tells me that the complaints are essentially a put-up job by the FT.

    The only thing moderately surprising about this is that it’s the FT. I’ve never liked them, but it’s interesting they too are now going full-tabloid.

  12. Partly this comes from people around me hooting with laughter at how British I sound.

    I’m reminded of my brother, who after several years in Glasgow developed what was to my ears an impenetrable Rab C Nesbitt-like accent and yet was known by his neighbours as ‘the Brummie’.

  13. “have ended up with a melange of American and British English”

    Indeed, Mr Tim, and some French as well, I can see 🙂

  14. “Melange” is the sort of French that my generation learnt off bottles of HP sauce. I think that next time I’ll vote for any party that promises that those old labels will be reinstated. Well, those and the Guinness toucan advertising posters.

  15. This all reminds me of a good friend of mine who works as a waitress in this line of work in Sydney. Essentially getting paid $200 an hour to wear a bikini and be a waitress at a private party for 5 hours. Job role also includes being chatty and friendly. She knows what she’s getting into and enjoys it. Says she would work more events a week if it was something she could put on a CV, instead she has to have a day job for much less money just for something on the CV! The idea that these women were forced into it against their will/ as they had no other choice is ludicrous.

  16. Essentially getting paid $200 an hour to wear a bikini and be a waitress at a private party for 5 hours. Job role also includes being chatty and friendly. She knows what she’s getting into and enjoys it.

    There’s a male version too: Butlers in the Buff. Basically, you’re bollock naked except for an apron and bow-tie. I went skiing last year with a bloke who did it at university, said the elderly women were the worst, always lifting up the apron and copping a handful of meat and veg.

  17. “I went skiing last year with a bloke who did it at university”

    Right, we believe that bit completely!

  18. Right, we believe that bit completely!

    I’m hardly shy about the sordid details of my life!

  19. The feminist fear that some men, somewhere, are having a good time raises its ugly head.

  20. Just another in a long line of feminist outrage du jour. My give-a-fuckometer stopped working a loooong time ago.

  21. a political movement aimed at maximising the sexual capacity of women while eliminating it for men

    Sexual freedom without responsibility for women. Responsibility without freedom for men.

    There are times when I’m almost pleased with my depressingly monastic lifestyle.

  22. Have I boasted here that when I was a fresher I was hired as a bodyguard for a stripper?

    When I was in university, a friend of mine showed up down the local strip club on his first week in grad school and asked for a job as a bouncer. Since he was young, clean-cut, and absent copious scars and tattoos, they made him the night manager instead.

    During his PhD at another university he drove a limo for an escort agency.

    I occasionally had to drop by to swap DVDs or books or whatever, and everything I saw there was deeply depressing. While it’s true that feminists are denying these women their rights to make bad choices, it’s also true that many of them don’t have (or don’t feel they have) any other options.

  23. Young, vigorous women getting made passes at by a load of filthy rich successful blokes with a bit of spirit who are giving money for charity? Plenty of women would have paid to be there.

    >some degree of sexual harassment was permissible – flirting, suggestive comments, ass-grabbing

    Flirting is sexual harrassment?

  24. According to The Sun: “Caroline Dandridge, founder of Arista, the agency which hired the hostesses, told the girls: “Some of the guests are fat and ugly and you may feel uncomfortable. Just tell them, ‘You’re a naughty boy’.”

    That’s pretty obvious to me.

    The thing is, there’s women who can handle themselves in these situations. They don’t mind the odd bum pinch and they know how to tell a man not to do it without creating a situation.

  25. The reported eleven quid odd an hour the girls were being paid does make me wonder.
    I have some experience of putting on things like this. Even here I wouldn’t expect to put on a line-up of talent for that sort of money (Not unless the girls were going to be getting some extra earnings opportunities & in the UK, that’d be a big no-no, wouldn’t it?) I’d be budgeting on the girls going home with a couple hundred euros or I simply wouldn’t be attracting the sort of girl could work the gig. The sort of girl can work the gig has experience of doing it & knows how to handle the punters. And girls like that don’t work for £11 an hour. Why would they? They have marketable talents.

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