The He-Man woman hater’s club can now come to order! Episode 44 was all about men and the stuff men hate; like feelings and words. Down in the basement of New Haven’s Olde School Saloon and Bistro, five men got together to eat, drink and mock stupid stuff. The basement’s stone walls were the perfect setting for the stony cold hearts within the chests of the men sitting down there. Wait, did I say the men were sitting? Nonsense! This was a man show, they recorded it standing up.
There was no hugging, no sympathizing, no empathizing, no talk of childbirth or sexy vampires. The only hint of an actual emotion was when the food came and someone grunted the words, “good” and “more.” No one talked about love, either lost or found and no one besides Bruce had a purse. You want to know what men talk about when there are no women around to spray estrogen on everything, you want to peer into darkness of the man cave? Then read this. And just so you know; you might think writing is less than manly but you’d be wrong. I’m not typing out these words with my fingers like a woman, Hell no! I’m violently stabbing each key with a broken bottle of Jack Daniels; like a man!
Being already in a basement the men decided to talk about the obvious: basements. They all agreed, basements are good and manly. Like men, basements have funky smells, they sometimes release dangerous gas and they don’t put on airs, like fancy bathrooms or kitchens. Duo being a man of science, explained the history of the modern basement and why they get mold. Joe Amarante mentioned that his wife was concerned about Radon gas but Duo said that a true man cave should have low levels of Radon but high levels of man stank. The men all reminisced about basement days of yore when they were young bucks using these subterranean playgrounds for their true purpose; Boozing. Every man should have at least one good basement tale. I once got into a fistfight in a basement. Some kid said Captain Kirk could beat Fonzie in a fight. Being a young man of 8, I told him he was wrong the way men are supposed to; with fists. I gave him a roundhouse Happy Days right to his Enterprise. We’re all grown up now and he might still think Captain Kirk is stronger than Fonzie but at least now he damn well keeps it to himself.
From the very masculine world of basements the discussion moved to the less manly act of grooming. In this case, the problem wasn’t so much the grooming, but where it is done. Rob Oliver, while doing his commute to New York, once sat next to a man that decided Metro North was the proper place to clip his toenails. Now men might like to revel in their own caveman-ness but even a man raised by wolves would have more decorum than to clip his toenails on a train. He would know enough to chew them off with his teeth in private. Joe also brought up the uncomfortable truth about the strange breed of man known as the, Naked Gym Guy. This is a man who while naked in a locker room feels free to parade around buffing, rubbing, scrubbing, bending, stretching, flexing, plucking, shaving and examining all areas of his body. This man makes other men feel uncomfortable and in most cases, nauseous.
Next up was the manly rite of passage known as endangering your children. Look, to show a child something interesting or to get a good picture, you sometimes have to prop a baby up on something precarious or expose them to something possibly life threatening. Moms hate this rite but men know what we are doing. When my first son was born my father-in-law took him to visit a bee hive. I had my 2nd son take a joyride on a feral hog, it’s what we do, and all of our fathers did it to us. The fact that we are all still alive shows that this is a good system and that it should continue.
As the men talked, topics came and went quickly, spring cleaning, taxes, giant ticks, and the new scourge of all things manly; family decals. These are the stickers where each family member is represented with a decal on the family minivan, Mom, Dad, girl, boy and Dog. Instead of decals I just cut to chase and got a bumper sticker that reads, “I have procreated.”
The men had spoken for hours without a scintilla of kindness, caring or sentiment when Duo sniffed the air and sounded the alarm of a double x chromosomal intrusion. The man cave had been breached. Marriane O’Hare came in late and like Hurricane Oprah obliterated the room with a topic soaked with emotion. Marriane wanted to talk about her now empty nest and the loneliness of seeing her daughter move away to New York. Like kryptonite, her evil foreign ways and love for her daughter melted the men into sacks of spineless goo.
This taught me a valuable lesson; emotions, though strange and icky, do not necessarily make you weak. Now when I watch Field of Dreams I will proudly cry out loud when Kevin Costner has a catch with his ghost dad. But I will probably be holding a beer or a hockey stick when I cry, just to make it more manly.