A Good Team Composition Is All About Gender (Im)Balance

Posted on June 17, 2010


Every year, at the Australs (Austral-Asian Intervarsity Debating Championship) Women’s Forum, there seems to have been some sort of brouhaha about a shortage of women debaters worldwide, and I must say, it does seem to be hugely unbalanced. This, I fear, is very unhealthy. There is nothing that fills my heart with such dread and disappointment as an all-male congregation. This is why I avoid stag nights or “lads’ nights out” as much as I avoid Frangipani on the weekends.

When men are not talking about money and football and slapping one another’s backs, they talk nonsense, wondering, for instance, if it is possible to live upside down, or cross the Sahara on a vacuum cleaner. This sort of disorder is useless when you are debating. You may start out with every intention of what to say and argue every time they announce the motion. But pretty soon, after you’ve checked on the direction your team shall be taking in the debate, you’re going to be wondering if it’s possible to ingest mashed potatoes through your nose.

Men need women in order to function properly, and the reason for this is simple: a conversation with an interesting man is just a conversation with an interesting man. Ultimately, it’s going nowhere – unless the both of you are gay.

Whereas a conversation with an interesting woman, provided she isn’t completely enormous and hairy, could go out of the door, back to the hotel and into the bedroom. Or into the lavatory. Or to the back seat of the car. For heaven’s sake, it could end up anywhere.

This is why men are much funnier and smarter when women are around. I cannot be arsed to think a single noteworthy thought when I’m in an orgy of men. But throw a woman into the mix and I usually would have developed a resolution to the Middle East chaos in mere minutes.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure our parliament is the right place for such behavior. Trying to reason with our female politicians on why the country needs to bid for the World Cup is one thing. Trying to make them understand while imagining what they would look like naked is something that the country can well do without.

Having said so, you now must imagine that the best team composition for a debate team would be one that is made up entirely by women debaters. Thanks to her multitasking skills, a woman in debate could present the direction of her team, substantiate the direction with two additional arguments and summarize the team’s entire case while doing the ironing. You therefore wouldn’t need 3 debaters in a team. Just one.

However, I’m not sure an all-woman debate team would work at all because women when gathered among them are equally nonsensical. Have you ever heard women talking when they think no men can hear?

Initially, I would imagine it’s all shopping and needlework. But it isn’t. Being surrounded by debaters – outspoken and loud bunch of people, I’ve been in the fortunate position these past few years to eavesdrop on conversations of female debaters. Bright girls with impressive persuasive skills. And what did they talk about when no men was around – sex.

Not the romantic, swoony, Mr. Romeo-notebook-sex either. It was the real, hardcore, back-end-of-the-internet, Rocco sex. At one point I thought they were talking about baking because I thought they were mentioning something like liquorice. But I’d misheard. It was clitoris.

I’ve often overheard invitations were extended for the others to have a look at an interesting piece of pubic mapping or bodily asset. I found this amazing. I have been a man for 30 years and I have never been invited by another man to look at his penis. Nor have I felt the need to ask a fellow debater to check out my testicles to see if they are “symmetrical”.

When we understand all this, we can see perfectly well why a single gender debate team composition won’t work. There are too many distractions or lack of motivation.

I therefore have a suggestion for the England squad and Mr. Capello. I think you lot should seriously reconsider restricting the WAGs from the World Cup. For their sake, the sake of the England squad as well as the WAGs.


England was absolutely dreadful in their opening match against the USA in this year’s World Cup. They drew 1 – 1 and had performed a very mundane and uninspiring performance.