When it comes to behaviour in bingo clubs, because of the generally sedate nature of the setting, nothing outrageous really happens, especially if you compare with pubs and clubs. There has been the occasional scuffle caused by queue jumping, but as a rule most outbreaks tend to be a storm in a teacup.
The latest storm is over a man being thrown out of BJ’s Bingo in Birmingham after wolf whistling to the call of the number eleven, something which has been traditional in many clubs over the years. He wasn’t ejected because of the whistle, but due to his response after being told not to whistle.
Although we weren’t witness to the event, he does appear to be justified in getting his hair off as he wasn’t the only whistler. If you read the full story, it almost seems like a classroom scenario, where the teacher realises that they can’t put the whole class in detention, so someone has to be made an example of.
In this case it was Mr Berry who was ‘expelled’, and he claims he was basically picked on because his ‘face doesn’t fit’. I’m not sure what type of face is supposed to fit in a bingo hall, so the motive for the caller picking on Mr Berry over the other whistlers is either unclear, or as mentioned above, he was randomly made an example of for using ‘sexist bingo behaviour’.
There was a bit of a stir a few years ago when the media grabbed onto the notion of sexist bingo calls like ‘two fat ladies’, although nothing legislative arose out of the issue, so it would appear to be up to individual clubs, local councils, and perhaps central management of the chains as to whether such behaviour is acceptable. Having said that David Cameron did come under fire when it got out that wolf whistling was going to be banned outright, however, he probably backtracked when he realised that it would bring Britain’s building industry to a halt for a week while every bricklayer and labourer was processed by the courts.
Seriously though, some players may find the sexist calling offensive (whilst previously others have boycotted clubs that banned the traditional callings). Political correctness doesn’t seem to be the only issue here though, as he wasn’t the sole wolf whistler. It seems that this is a management issue, you either ban the calls outright, and, if we take the classroom analogy, you put all the kids in detention, not just one of them. Kids do have a sense of what is unfair, and this continues into adulthood.
Mr Berry has been going to the club four times a week for the last eight years, doesn’t drink, and so has few other options for entertainment and activities as he suffers from cerebral palsy. As the club have not officially commented we’ve only got one side of the story, but it does appear that someone is being ‘picked on’ here, and is left without his main form of socialisation and fun for merely ‘joining in with the rest of the gang’.
Unless there is something else that we are not privy to we can only assume that Mr Berry is justified in feeling that he has been unfairly treated, and so, deserves a ‘reprieve’, this is Britain after all!