JOHN WILCOCK: Sneaking Julie Bovasso into McSorley's 'Men's Only' Saloon


I will read the FA shortly, but had to post 3 awesome things about McSorley’s…

  1. The mustard. Oh the mustard. (to be used liberally on a sharpcheddar, rawonion, and saltinecracker sammich.
  2. The race I won to the bar with another cabbie, after picking up a large group of workerbees and betting the fare on the outcome. I famously (among my peeps anyway) went the wrong way on oneway 7th for the win. Other cabbie didn’t like it and wouldn’t pay, so my group (who had been whooping it up the whole ride) paid me double.
  3. The pissers. Seriously - best. urinals. ever.

McSorleys was my campus bar, but that was long long after 1970. As far as I know, they still have only one head; there simply isn’t room for two.

I’ve been reading Boing Boing for a little bit now, and, while the tech/geek stuff is of interest, I STILL don’t get some of the stances on equality. And this article is just… Odd. Is this an act that’s supposed to be praised? If a guy today decided to don a set of falsies and a leotard to sneak into a Women’s only gym, for, I don’t know, I guess Hijinks was at least half the reason in the cited incident, would that be an act to be praised? Or generally regarded as creepy?

I’m not really turned on by the idea of gendered establishments, but, I can at least see why some activities folks of a similar disposition might wish to be able to let their hair down, so to speak, and drinking/socializing as well as personal fitness might well be two instances of that. But, we’ve gone way, way down the path of not accepting that, be it for a particular gender, race, etc. (Disallowing “White’s only” public institutions, or, as in the article, Men’s only Drinking Establishments).

At some point, it seems like you have to decide, which way is “equal”! Allowing some spaces of separation for certain activities, with different spots for Both/every side, and showing disdain for those that violate those norms? Or mandating such things be dissolved, and cheering those who would brave violating those norms, no matter which direction that violation would go. (And the former option totally ignores the various border situations, but, there’s got to be some kind of internet word limit that would be crossed opening that topic right away)

But allowing separate, restricted space for some, while mandating non-discriminatory access in other cases, is self evidently not equality, be it restrictions on Race, Gender, or even Religion (This would obviously apply to ostensibly “public” spaces, not private homes/property, or even members restricted institutions, though even those are a source of some contention).


If you really want your bar to be men-only, it’s not too hard to arrange without resorting to an Official Policy. Not a lot of ladies trying to get into The Manhole or Toolchest.

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Well, sure, but, do these preferences have the force of societal acceptance and even the force of law, in the form of discrimination decisions, behind or against them? Sure, it seems like it’s not that difficult to make a particular event or venue so distasteful to a particular group that few if any would attend, that’s not really the point or the question. What happens if someone does, regardless of the opinions of most the other patrons/attendees/whatever?

When push comes to shove and and organizer/proprietor demands a person to depart, simply due to belonging to a group or having a status that the majority of the patrons prefer not to have at the establishment, is that discrimination lawful and/or socially acceptable?

And does the answer to that question change when you put in actual, specific groups or labels, or specific types of otherwise public establishments? If so, Why, and should it?


“Good Ale, Raw Onions, and No Ladies”

The onions were obviously tied to their belts, that being the style at the time.


I honestly don’t understand how male-only or female-only gyms are allowed to exist in this day and age. Discrimination is Discrimination. I’d think the same laws that took down McSorley’s policy (as well as thousands of men’s bars across the nation) would apply to gyms like Curves or Cuts.

Gyms generally aren’t public establishments—you need to be a dues-paying member to get in, and clubs aren’t beholden to the same laws as other kinds of businesses. A bar or a store or a restaurant is another matter.

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Subtopic: Worst bar names ever:

  1. The Beer Flat
  2. Hitler’s Taproom
  3. Ye Olde Fart Shoppe
  4. Fap Lounge
  5. McDandruff’s Scottish Restaurant and Lounge
  6. The Just Budweiser Bar
  7. Squirt’s Tavern
  8. …
  9. …

And the number one crappy bar name ever…

  1. Hooters
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When I lived in the neighborhood (around 1980) and was attending cooper union (1983-85) there were stenciled signs on the sidewalk across the street (next to the Ukrainian church) that showed a silhouette of a standing man with his legs apart and the words “No McSorley’s Piss Here” – an offering no doubt to all the NYU students. And, the window of McSorely’s had their modern slogan “We were here before YOU were born.”

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Gender issues aside, she could totally pass for a man.

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