TGBC Monthly Challenge - #StraightArms

Is Tough Guy Book Club a drinking club with a reading problem, or the other way around?

This is a question we get asked more often than you would think. We've had dudes show up to one of our meetings and decide this isn't the club for them, based solely on our booze intake. That sucks, because we don't want to make anyone feel excluded except fuckheads (read the rules). And it would be pretty fuckheaded of us not to step back at that point and examine our own attitudes.

So, here's our absolutely official policy plank, manifesto, 95 Theses nailed to the door statement on alcohol. You ready?

We like pubs. They're warm and historical and they have weird old carpets that smell nice and they sell beer. We also like beer. It's golden and foamy and it makes people funnier and generally leads to more honest and open conversation. We especially like to pair pubs and beers with books, because that's kind of our brand. It's what makes us unique and encourages men who don't read much to come and try a book club. Because y'know... bribery.

But we're not here to encourage drinking any more than we're trying to tell you which books to like or dislike. We want to open minds and make ourselves better men. Not just spiritually but physically, which is why we challenge ourselves to do blood pressure checks and Dry January and all sorts of stuff. In fact, back in April 2022, the official club challenge was to get out there with another goon and do something without a pub or beer in sight.

We called it #StraightArms.

And it turns out we're really good at it! Every time we set a challenge like this we get a deluge of fascinating stuff. Goons getting into the outdoors for park or trail runs, overnight hiking, surfing, golf, paddle boarding or an afternoon at the footy. Goons getting together to share nerdy hobbies like archery, motorcycles, guitars and music and gigs, tabletop and board games, bowling (both the lawn and tenpin variety), even goddamn blacksmithing. And goons doing completely normal things like catching up for coffee or taking their kids to the playground. We had 7 dudes from Altona VIC get up at the crack of dawn for the ANZAC Day service! Can't do that hungover!

Seriously, you could take the booze out of this club tomorrow and you'd still have a bunch of good friends with long reading lists and strong literary opinions. At the same time, if the welcoming atmosphere of a pub and a bit of amber liquid courage is what helps a new goon walk into a room full of strangers to argue about books, we're okay with that too.

We're not here to get you drunk, we're here to expand your bookshelf and your brain. We're trying to destroy your ignorance and your loneliness, not your liver.

See you in the pub for an orange juice very soon.

Posted in News on Apr 20, 2022.