This article is supposed to be about the opening of one of our new international chapters, a chapter in Seattle, Washington, but we can’t do that without first talking about the chapter founder, Jeff. We’re an Australian based book club for men, but we have opened international chapters when a Goon moves overseas. Jeff isn’t a Goon who moved overseas though, so how did he find us?
There’s two things you need to know about Jeff: he likes to read and he’s probably got one of the top 10 beards in the club. The beard was a bit of an accident. He’s been growing it since 2018 after he had knee surgery and couldn’t stand up for long enough to shave, then he just kept it. And starting a TGBC chapter in Seattle was a bit of an accident as well.
Looking for a book club to join, Jeff Googled “men’s book club near me” and was brought to the TGBC website for some reason. We’re no geography experts, but it looks like Jeff’s closest chapter was going to be in Townsville. Thanks Google…
So Jeff took a punt. He noticed we had a chapter in New York, Portland, and London. So why not start one in Seattle. A couple emails later and a few video calls with the TGBC crew in Melbourne, and he was on his way to starting the first TGBC chapter in Seattle.
Any new chapter for TGBC is a good thing, but we reckon new international chapters are the best thing. Book club is a great way to meet new people and always have a friend to have a drink with, wherever you may be travelling. There’s not many towns in Australia where you can’t find a TGBC member to meet and, as we expand overseas, there won’t be many cities worldwide either.
Ultimately, friendship is what this club is about. Some guys pretend it’s about the books, some pretend it’s about an excuse to go to the pub. And maybe that’s what attracts men to TGBC to start with. But it’s the friendships that keep people coming back and get people more involved in the club. The anonymous Goon writing this article knows all this too well; he started a chapter after moving to a new town.
And yeah, that’s a message to all of you who are thinking about applying to start a new TGBC chapter. There’s a bit of commitment involved but it’s damn fulfilling.
Anyway, back to the new Seattle chapter of Tough Guy Book Club…
Jeff chose Chuck’s Hop Shop in Greenwood because he liked the joint and it had good coverage between the north and the south of the city, perfect for attracting as many new goons as possible. From there, Jeff went old school and unusual with promotions: fliers at supermarkets, a poster at his venue, and even posters above the urinals in the bar bathroom.
And it seemed to work! The Seattle chapter is boasting about 6 or 7 Goons and growing strong. Seattle is a big city, so hopefully one day soon we’ll see the club expanding to the other Chuck’s Hop Shop locations in the Central District and Steward Park. Hell, they can be the official TGBC venue of the greater SeaTac area.
“We actually got so much interest in the first event that I was a little worried.” Jeff tells us. “Something like 50 people responded as ‘interested’ in our first meeting. Obviously they didn’t all show!”
And that’s a pretty typical thing we see with both old and new chapters. Potential new Goons have the best of intentions but never make it. If you’re one of those potential Goons who keeps responding to our Facebook events but never shows, we have something to say to you: keep responding, but do show up eventually. We’d love to have you. We get it. We all have the best of intentions then shit gets in the way. Keep responding, keep skipping, but feel guilty about it. Then come, have fun, and regret that it took you so bloody long.
If you like reading, making new friends, or just want an excuse to have a beer, check out Chuck’s Hop Shop at 656 NW 85th Street in Seattle on the first Wednesday of every month at 7PM. If there are posters for TGBC above the urinals, you’re in the right place.