One might think the Romeo Club would primarily attract ladies’ men. But in reality, The Romeo Club is far less racy. According to CNN, the letters in “Romeo”
stand for “Retired Old Men Eating Out.”
The acronym is commonly attributed to Tom Brokaw in his 1998 book “The Greatest Generation,” although the term and the custom apparently predate that, according to the Romeo Club website maintained by its chapter in Payson, Arizona. “The club has no rules, dues, or age requirements,” that website said
The Payson group's Romeo Club site – which says that club is currently offering its domain name up for sale – contains a list of 118 Romeo Clubs in the United States, plus two in Canada and one each in Israel, Scotland and Malaysia. There are also links to 37 online news articles about various Romeo clubs.
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One story, published by the Nantucket, Massachusetts, Inquirer and Mirror, told of how the Romeo Club
in that city celebrated its 30th anniversary at an eatery called the SeaGrille.
The story began: “Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Stop beckoning for your lover over the balcony and try the SeaGrille on a Wednesday at about noon. It may not be the young, seductive romance of a Shakespearian play, but there will be a slew of Retired Old Men Eating Out (ROMEOs) who want nothing more than a few jokes over lunch and cocktails.”
The article said the only requirements for joining the Nantucket Romeo Club were to be invited by a member and to tell a good joke. It indicated the members like women but only once had one as a guest at their luncheon, with that being the widow of a recently deceased member.
Memories, jokes and an occasional political debate were the focus of conversation at the Nantucket Club, the article said, though it indicated member Nob Hovde did jokingly provide some advice regarding romance.
It quoted him as saying: “There is one thing you never want to admit when you’re taking out a young woman. Don’t admit you were in World War II, and don’t bring up prostate cancer.”
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