They have a fascination with luggage carousels and park benches. They enjoy watching paint dry and, around this time of year, sap drip. These are the members of the Dull Men’s Club, and they don’t care if they bore you.
“We’re not a 12-step program where we’re trying to change our ways,” says club president Leland Carlson, 71, of London, where the club, known as DMC, is based. “We’re a two-step program: We admit we’re dull and we’re gonna keep it that way.”
The club, which Carlson founded in New York City with a few bored — and boring — pals in the mid-’80s, has remained true to its founder’s words. It’s never grown, it’s never held an event and it’s never had a membership drive…
These days, truth is, it’s pretty much just Carlson. But that’s to be expected when you try to keep something called the Dull Men’s Club afloat. We’re talking about an organization, after all, that gets excited about traffic cameras and rhubarb festivals.
It recently added the eighth International World Potato Congress to its events calendar.
“When we were in New York, we limited ourselves to 17 members because that’s the number of chairs there were in the room,” Carlson recalled, tongue planted in cheek, during a phone interview with AOL News.
While membership has dwindled, interest in the club and its curious pursuits has increased. The club keeps a database on more than 400 luggage carousels from around the globe, assiduously noting the rotational direction of each one.
Over the years, travelers have written in about airports in far-off locales, such as Yerevan, Armenia and Libreville, Gabon, to let the club know whether the carousels move clockwise or counterclockwise.
Though Carlson plays a bore, he is, in fact, a Merced, Calif., native who lived in Nebraska and New York City before moving to England 15 years ago for work. Wary of being labeled interesting, he explains that even dull men are prone to variety.
“There’s more to leading a dull life than watching paint dry,” he said. “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.”
Were the DMC ever to have a membership drive, it might find some actual takers. And it might find that unapologetically dull males exist just about everywhere.