Meetings for the Milquetoast: Introducing the Dull Men’s Club

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The Dull Men's Club is fascinated with luggage carousels

Jacob Silberberg/Reuters

Born to be mild. Think inside the box — it’s safer there. These are not taglines you’d ever associate with NewsFeed (we don’t go to bed until midnight!) but rather the Dull Men’s Club. But what the heck is it?

The 71-year-old Leland Carlson founded the club (“We’re a two-step program: We admit we’re dull and we’re gonna keep it that way”) in New York in the 1980s with like-minded dull friends. Referring back to those days, he told AOL that they “limited ourselves to 17 members because that’s the number of chairs there were in the room.” Carlson, who has been based in London for the past 15 years, is proud to say that the DMC has never grown, held an event or had a membership drive.

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Rather, the club (which, essentially, is pretty much just Carlson), riffs on topics as thrilling as airport luggage carousels (“We cover over 400 airports, and the list is growing”), roundabouting (“our favorite roundabouts around the world”) and racing, which you might think would be exciting but instead are, “reports on racing snails, turtles, gold fish, rubber ducks, ferrets, pigeons, shopping trolleys, lawnmowers, milk floats, donkey carts, Trabants.” We were with them up until Trabants.

The feeling persists that we might all be getting played somewhat by Carlson, who clearly doesn’t lack wit. Later on in the AOL interview, he explains that, “There’s more to leading a dull life than watching paint dry. Of course, we like to watch paint dry. But we like to watch wood warp, too. We get a bucket of water and put wood in it. And if we’re feeling pretty frisky that day we may take bets on whether it warps concave or convex.”

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NewsFeed hereby calls out the Dull Men’s Club for being anything but dull. We were even planning to end that last sentence with an exclamation until we consulted the DMC’s website (“please refrain, if you can, from using exclamation marks”). After all, any organization that lists the eighth International World Potato Congress on its events calendar, is not only teeming with life but clearly has its finger on the cultural pulse.