Friday, June 18, 2010

Guy's Night

Guy's Nights are severely underrated. You probably imagine unshaven creatures sprawled around a television engaging in shallow conversation. You might assume that food and sports are the focal points. That belching and other gastrointestinal emissions are required. And above all, that emotions are strictly forbidden.

You'd be exactly right. And it's amazing.

Perhaps the greatest way for a man to love another man is to avoid vulnerability. Many of us spend our married lives in the foreign land of feelings. We learn to communicate honestly. We're awakened to our fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. We become simultaneously responsible and inadequate. It's all very alarming.

Not only is it unfamiliar and emotionally taxing, it defies our default setting of irrational invincibility. We prefer to imagine ourselves impervious to pain, incapable of losing: Masters of the Universe. We're musclebound superheros, gravity defying athletes, intellectual giants. We cannot be defeated and we will not be domesticated.

It's important for us to preserve that prevailing understanding when we assemble. That's why Guy's Nights are in fact the cog that holds society together. Our refusal to acknowledge weakness reminds us that we have none and empowers us to continue slogging out the daily grind. Without evenings like these human progress would surely grind to a halt.

Somewhere between the ages of 18 and 30 a man's core reality withstands significant body-blows. For us to successfully carry on despite disillusionment we need other men to remind us that we ARE as tough as we think we are.

Last night was such a night. It included 4 men, 4 garbage plates, 1 ballpark, 46 gambling references, 127 good jokes, 213 bad jokes, 452 hearty laughs, 1 HD TV, 2 sporting events, and 0 tears. It was sublime.

Unequivocally the best therapy I've had in weeks. Twice I accidentally brought up the fact that I was a failure, and each time the other men simply pretended I wasn't speaking. Genius! The expert avoidance reminded me that I am in fact an invincible alpha male, capable of running with the big dogs.

I can't quantify how refreshing it was to be told (without words of course) how they really see me: as just another one of the guys. Thanks men. Here's to you. (Pretending I'm toasting with hard liquor while betting on horse races. Ahh yes.)


  1. I don't know how to post comments! haha
    anyway .... I love this post! :)

    maybe we can hang out again sometime soon? Nate & I were talking about how fun it was last time you guys came over. No emotions or tears, I promise! ;)

  2. I enjoyed reading this.

  3. Ha, the first 2 comments are from girls.

    I grew up with my childhood-best friend Joe and spent so much time at his house that I had chores and my own toothbrush in the upstairs medicine cabinet. I was so much a part of Joe's life that I stood as best man in his wedding ahead of his 2 younger brothers.

    Flash-Fwd to our late twenties - Joe and I are both married, me in NY; he's in Michigan.

    Something was really wrong with Joe - He stopped calling/emailing/everything. His support letters started referring subtly to prayer for "grace for Rachel and I" that had a bad feeling. Nobody was talking about specifics. His family told me nothing.

    One day I decided to start calling Joe just to catch up. I started to leave simple messages about the usual stuff we talked about. I began to tell him in the messages not to call me back. Eventually he answered the phone one day and we had a really shallow conversation about stupid stuff that makes us laugh. At the end of it I told him I would never ask what happened.

    I told my best friend for almost 20 years, that I didn't need to hear about whatever was rocking his whole world. "Joe, if you want one simple relationship that you can count on being superficial with no expectation to dig into your crap - you've got it." I said.

    In February, Joe travelled to Uganda with me and late one night in the cafe he told me that being willing to keep things shallow was one of the deepest investments I could've made in our relationship . . . and then he talked about it all - and I listened.

    It's important for us as guys to know when to dig and know when to trust God to process our brothers and just hang out in the mean time.

    Thanks for the honest rough edges - they remind me a lot of real life.

  4. BRAAAAVOOOOO! BRAAAAAVOOOOOO! Well spoken! Your best masterpiece yet. Not only are you on your way to therapeutic wholeness, but you spread it to all the male masses who gladly dive in for such good reading.

    A world such as you experienced can only foster true masculinity in pure form. No additives, no presevatives, and certainly no feelings. A world where I too am not told and shown in glaring form all the things I should be, but am not. A world that sees me for who I really am- a world changer, an "impossible faucet" fixer, a demon slayer, and the unchallenged heavyweight champion of my toolbox. A world where my judgement is not questioned. A world where my decision is final and authoritative.

    And so, I tip my glass to you, Matt Drake. And in the words of the commercial. "Brilliant!"

  5. Wow, this is great... It totally confirms my core values in my friendships! A guy deserves a night where he can just be a guy with the other guys, no interruptions.

  6. You've hit the Target, Bullseye! My personal favorite is the saturday Sausage breakfast. Guys only. Vast amounts of unhealthy food and caffeine. Shooting the breeze, nothing that goes beneath the surface. Followed by a little Halo action on the XBox. Trash talking. Pizza for late lunch. Maybe watch a movie.

    Shallow? Yep. Refreshing? Absolutely!! Serious talks with other guys need a solid foundation of this stuff before it can happen.