A theme that comes up regularly on our social media channels or sometimes internally in the form of comments and questions is are women "allowed" to attend our BBQs?
The short answer is Mr Perfect BBQs are intended for, and proven to have benefits for, men.
The longer answer is the following.
I personally, and the community as a whole, appreciate the priceless support women provide us as well as encouraging and supporting initiatives like Mr Perfect. I've voiced it consistently; on podcasts, blogs, interviews and thanked the very individual humans that have been so generous to us (and continue to be).
Recently we engaged our second female board member and it's been as revolutionary as the first appointment.
I often talk about the overt support we receive, like women tagging men they know on our channels or sending our website to them, or the women that literally come up to me at events and tell us how vital this is, for men.
Even the support from our key sponsor Zurich started with and has largely continued to be driven by incredible women.
Having said all of the above, based on my grassroots experience in this field, others in the Mr Perfect team, and more importantly the studies and research from men's health professionals, men need (and want) a space and time to connect with other men, because there are not enough of them.
The conversations can be different in mixed company, the feel of a space is different, not better or worse but it changes how people interact and what they might be comfortable speaking about.
The origins of Mr Perfect were rooted in the fact that when I finally went to access clinical help I soon realised even my male GP didn't know how, or could even have the time and resource, to delve into a discussion around social support for men, and the crippling stigma, and sometimes lack of "muscle" that men had to even skim the surface of the challenges they were facing in life.
There are of course plenty of social, hobby and sporting clubs or organisations in the community where all people can mix but very few spaces like what is created by a Mr Perfect BBQ where men can meet without needing to mix, if they don't feel comfortable doing so.
This is of course not about being anti-women or those that identify as women, or asserting that women can't help men. Women are incredible, and help men in so many ways (as I've personally experienced), but we feel as an organisation it should be ok and understood that having a place for men to meet can be life-saving (and if someone wants to start a Mrs Perfect in future or similar, we as an organisation would not stand in their way and cheer them on!).
It is important to note however, that we do have exceptions in our community. A fraction of our BBQs that started a few years ago naturally formed a more open setup, larger meet-ups that had family, pets, and the like attend. Organically women started attending. And we would never want to change that retrospectively for any current BBQs like that as the impact has great for all.
We even have occasional larger BBQs that are more like open community events that help us spread the word about what we do and how we can help, and women play a big part in these.
Our regular monthly Mr Perfect BBQs can be different, depending on the location and BBQ Host, but predominantly they are male attended, as is intended (we have had women go to BBQs to drop partners off and go for a walk around the park which we fully support!).
Of course, we would never turn anyone away that happened to be curious, was supporting a partner, or wandering through the park, and our BBQ Hosts will be happy to have a chat and explain what we do.
For all the female friends of Mr Perfect, please continue to tell every male you know about us, that the power of your word of mouth is legendary and can truly be life-changing.