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Saturday, 17 March, 2001, 16:56 GMT
Bogota men-only night a washout
The Colombian capital Bogota
A damp squib of a night for the Colombian capital
The men-only night in the Colombia capital, Bogota, was apparently a dismal failure in more ways than one.

Apart from a heavy downpour, the voluntary ban on women dampened the spirits of the men, who seemed to agree "it's not much fun without the opposite sex", according to reports in the country's two major dailies.


The night without women was a night without grace

El Tiempo
It was in marked contrast to the women-only night last week - another initiative by the capital's colourful mayor Antanas Mockus, in which women thronged bars, clubs, parks and cafes amid a carnival atmosphere.

Mr Mockus succeeded with his first experiment in showing how the level of violence and crime dropped dramatically with the absence of male bravado and aggression.

Strange happenings

Maybe he realized the opposite would happen on Friday's Men Only night, suggested El Espectador. "While Mayor Mockus was dining with his nephew and son, a nearby group of youths were stealing wallets from passers-by."

El Tiempo was in no doubt that "The night without women was a night without grace".

Apart from the rain, "some strange things occurred", it reported. "The traditionally male Cafe Pasage was full of dancing women ... And what stranger sight than 80 men waiting in Simon Bolivar Park in the rain to watch Marbelle and The Firefly dance like mad to the music of a mariachi band to avoid freezing to death."

Women partying on men-free night
What a difference a week makes
In another episode, El Tiempo reported, three men travelled into the centre "to catch a good time, and the only thing they caught was a cold in the downpour without an umbrella. And not a woman in sight."

However, there were also reports of women setting out to defy the curfew, as had many men the previous week. Two young women engineers joined a group of drunken youths who were assailing female passers-by with uncouth remarks, El Espectador reported.

Defiance

One of the engineers, Monica, said the curfew "only serves to make the city a more exciting place, people on the streets and a wild atmosphere".

Without the ladies, life is boring

Jorge in El Espectador

A bouncer in a bar told the daily that "the women have refused to stay at home, unlike last week when the number of men drinking fell considerably".

El Espectador caught up with Samuel, Leonardo, Oscar, Jorge and Garbriel drinking in a bar and all agreeing that "going out without the girl-friend, the sisters is pretty boring".

"Without the ladies, life is boring," said Jorge. "And who knows what they're getting up to at home."
Bogota crime figures
21,284 people died a violent death in the last five years
87% of them are men
Nine out 10 people arrested are men
Men are responsible for 85% of drink-related traffic accidents
Murders dropped by 80% during the male curfew

In one of the city's night clubs, El Tiempo reported, Valentina was planning to make the night memorable by giving her clients "five little pesos more of affection".

But the club was empty, "in contrast to the women's-only night the week before, when there were more men than the hostesses could handle".

At the end of the night, El Espectador said, the mayor was proved right. It quoted bar owners as saying: "Men have shown that with a few drinks, they become aggressive and seek to settle problems with violence. Women behave better".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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