The "League of Interesting Gentlemen" Puts the "Social" back in Life

Jun 29, 2018

Humans are social creatures, but these days, many people say they feel socially isolated.  In Blacksburg a group of guys is taking things into their own hands to put the ‘social’ back in ‘life. 

Phil Ramsey, Greg Gardner, Tim Ligon, Kevin Crispin, David Seriff, Harold “Skip” Garner, Carl Stoez at the Tap House in Blacksburg

The first thing they’re taking into their own hands is a cold glass of beer.

“So, that helps lubricate the conversation,” says the group’s founder.

This loose aggregation of men calls themselves ‘The League of Interesting Gentlemen.’   And anyone who also calls himself one is welcome to join them.

The league doesn’t actually exclude women, there are no by-laws, no secret handshake.

“There are more formal groups, you know.  We’re intentionally disorganized,” he quips.

But members do get a card, that says “League of Interesting Gentlemen.” And also this;

“An occasional gathering of Blacksburg area gentlemen for the purpose of stimulating conversation, consumption of tasty adult beverages, and just good fun.

David Seriff loosely coordinates the ‘league.’

“I moved to Blacksburg burg for a woman and knew nobody here, whatsoever and I just made it a point that I’m going to reach out and find some friends in the area. I met a guy on the airplane. We were flying into Roanoke together and we started talking and he was a professor from (Virginia) Tech and we struck up a friendship.”  He eventually accumulated an email list of guys he met and connected with.

Seriff married the woman but he also enjoys getting together with the guys every month or so. 

“And it’s pretty much random. We pick a date and we kind of rotate places and it’s grown. I have 50 people on the mailing list now and we can get 20 people just depending what the event is.   And there’s always new people popping in.”

On this early summer evening the gentlemen trickle in to the outdoor deck at the Tap house in Blacksburg. And soon they’re engaged in animated conversations with the guy next to them, that is, until the guy across from them chimes in, and on it goes.  Some are locals, newcomers, or world travelers, but all with stories to tell and an ear to listen

Skip Garner is a card-carrying member of the League. He says, “You would think that an organization like this would be doing networking and things like that, but it turns out beer really helps in keeping the networking down.”

He goes on to say, “What’s happened is, we now have the APP, the ‘Netflix Society’ and there’s little incentive to socialize any more.  So, you’ve got to have time to break away because everybody is working too hard these days. And, if every few weeks, why not?”

Yes, there’s beer, but there’s no requirement to actually drink it. Maybe it’s just something to hold in your hand, instead of the remote.

It might be difficult for some people to just show up at an event full of strangers.

Tim Ligon says, “I kind of wondered about it when they first started it. I was like, ‘let’s see how this goes.’

Maybe it’s the beer, “But it’s grown on me, “he says.  “And

I think we’re all meant to be in, actually more than one community, to share time and life experiences.

Raising a glass, David Seriff tells me, “Gentlemen like to tell their stories you know and there’s not that many opportunities to do that anymore.”

The university promises an influx of new people to Blacksburg.  He says, sometimes, “people are her for a short time.  They’re trying to meet people, they want an opportunity to interact a little bit and this is a great opportunity for them to do that.”  

“But,” he adds, “it does take guts to do that because they never know what they’re going to get” he says, paraphrasing Forest Gump. And, speaking for himself, had adds, “and there’s some weird guys here.  Definitely. “ 

------- Details on the League's next get-together

Who: League of Interesting GentlemenWhat: Food, beverage and gentlemanly conversationWhen: Friday June 29th - 5 PM and thereafterWhere: Cabo Fish Taco - Main StreetWhy: Good times for hardworking gents This will be the gents first visit to Cabo - decent beer selection on tap, on street parking in the area of Kent Square. We will meet UPSTAIRS. Please Note: The “League of Interesting Gentlemen” is simply an occasional gathering of Blacksburg area gentlemen for the purpose of stimulating conversation, consumption of tasty adult beverages, and just good fun. If you know of others that might want to join in please let me know —or— if you want your name dropped from the list, just reply to that effect. David Lee Seriff - PS: Boring gentlemen need not apply. :)