In praise of dullness

Some 35 years ago, there was an International Dull Men’s Club whose chairman was J.D. Stewart, a statistical analyst for Eastman Kodak Co. here in Rochester, New York.

That was in 1982, a year of peak dullness and boring prosperity for both Rochester and Kodak.   Since then Kodak has gone bankrupt, which has made life around here more “interesting” in the sense of the ancient Chinese curse.

The club was formed largely as a joke, but with an underlying idea of honoring people who enjoy mundane things and who do mundane but necessary work.

Stewart would do things like publishing a list of the 10 dullest Americans (including Don Rickles, Gerald Ford, Lawrence Welk, Walter Mondale, Fred Rogers and Garfield the cat) and proposing seminars on topics such as “dressing to break even” and “non-assertiveness sensitivity training”.

The video above shows how the Dull Men’s Club concept has been revived in Great Britain.  The club blog is devoted to safe excitement, an outstandingly dull concept.

I do have to say that the British devotion to dullness is incomplete.   The new Dull Men’s Club is devoted to unusual hobbies, some of which seem actually interesting.

There is a woman whose hobby is to follow brown road signs, wherever they might take her.  That could lead to actual adventures, which is contrary to the spirit of dullness.

And if a club is to be truly dull, it should be restricted to men.   Admitting women may well make the club more interesting; it certainly wouldn’t make it more dull.

Still, the basic concept is there.   The need for constant stimulation is a harmful addiction.  Dare to be dull.


Dull Men’s Club website.

Bored by Trendy? Dare to Be Dull by William E. Schmidt for The New York Times (1982)

Born to Be Dull by Thomas Rogers for The New York Times (1982)

Life in the dull lane by Jessica Treadway for United Press International (1983)

Bland Reaches Out to Dull and Boring by Oliver Smith for The Telegraph.

Founder Grover Click on the ‘safe excitement’ of the Dull Men’s Club by Jason Zasky for Failure magazine.

The Dull Men’s Club by Monica Penning for Monster Children.

2017 Dull Men’s Club calendar to feature some of Britain’s most boring women by Bianca London for The Daily Mail.

The International Society for Men Who Love Being Boring by Sophia Kercher for MEL magazine.



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