Currently, at Oxbridge there is an outcry against men’s private drinking clubs and the way power is brokered there, while women are admitted only as sex objects.
However, over the last few years, I have been delighted to discover an exclusive club for middle-aged women, where men are not admitted and where woman speaks only to woman. I was there again at Cambridge University on Saturday night.
The context was an extraordinary student production of Euripides’ devastating tragedy, “The Trojan Women”. All this was at close quarters in the tiny space of Corpus playroom. Bethany and I happened to notice that Carol Ann Duffy was in the row in front, but in a very British way, we left her unmolested. However, I should say that I love her poetry so much that it is actually pinned to my kitchen cupboards, so I did kinda yearn to speak to her.
The production was so intense that I wept. Afterwards, I had to ask young Bethany, “Are you alright?”
She could only nod.
“What you’re feeling right now – that’s catharsis.”
Reeling from catharsis myself, I went to the ladies’ loo. When I came out of my cubicle, Carol Ann Duffy was there, queueing as a middle-aged woman must. I had my two minute conversation with her after all. Her daughter had been one of the actors.
Nor is she the first well-known woman I have met under similar circumstances. So there you have it. Our exclusive club. How soon before privileged young males start to complain about being excluded from the women’s loos where the Wise Women hang out?