The Night I Met Groucho

Beverly Hills HotelThe time I met Groucho I was at the Beverly Hills Hotel with my mother who was there for an AGM of the League of Women Voters. I sat through the meeting as one woman after another got up and described the good work they were doing. Political actions all over the world – helping orphans, resisting racism, job programs, homes for battered women, blankets for the homeless, Korean war orphans, etc. My mother was a homebody and not the kind of person who was an organizer or usually went to this kind of event. I was mesmerized. I wanted to be just like them.

Then the meeting was over and we poured from the room. It was crowded in the hall as we exited. I looked up and there he was! I was about 13 and had always loved Groucho. As he walked by us he put his hands in his armpits and flapped his arms like a chicken saying cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck… I was outraged. Here was this asshole ridiculing our good work because we were women. As if women did nothing but stand around and gossip.

This became one of the significant moments in my life (before I came out as a women’s libber) when I became aware of male chauvinism. I have never felt the same about Groucho and have never enjoyed his cruel sense of humour since.

“I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

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