For as long as I can remember, people have talked about an “old boy’s club” — the idea that men are watching out for one another and have a secret clubhouse where they talk differently without women around.
Admittedly, my inability to discuss sports, which acts as a kind of secret password to enter the club, has limited my experience with these kinds of conversations. In fact, I’m probably going to be expelled from the club permanently for revealing the truth about these conversations in public.
Here, then, are the things men discuss when they are amongst themselves.
1. The Results of the Horrible Loneliness of Their Lives
Men are much more open, sometimes even proud, of how horrible their lives are when there are just men around. It’s not that they think they’re doing that, though; they think they’re bragging about how awesome their lives are. But staying up for 72 hours to finish a video game, or only eating Costco Corn Dogs for three weeks, is really kind of sad. An audience of only men will pretend to be jealous of stories like these.
Recently-divorced men are the worst tellers of these kinds of stories. Suddenly, they start to follow through on every bad impulse they ever had — the things that their wives once forbid them to do. That’s why they can show up to a poker game and brag about having a Foosball table where their dining room table used to be and a bumper pool table in the spot where the baby’s crib used to be.
The other men are never supposed to say how tragic these stories are. But we just tell the guy how lucky he is, and then we go home and hug our wives.
It seems like I have heard a lot of conversations about how pants are optional when women aren’t around. Single guys especially like to brag that they didn’t put on any pants for an entire day until they went out on a date. Not sure where this comes from, but lack of pants seems to be a major life goal for most men.
I like to imagine that Albert Einstein once bragged to his buddies about how he liked to sit around the house in his boxers, with his Nobel Prize hanging around his neck.
In classes on writing fiction in college, they tell you a lot about how a story is about change. As soon as the main character changes in some way, the story is over.
When guys are telling stories, it often isn’t over until a fluid or solid has left the body. Change isn’t as important as the expulsion of something from an orifice.
I used to have a friend who only told stories that ended in vomit. He drank a lot, but still, you’d think he could have varied it a bit.
For guys who have spent a lot of times in bands, this tends to be their major form of communication.
A man’s ego is usually so tiny that he can find fault in any beautiful woman. They can look at a Meagan Fox or an Angelina Jolie, and instead of saying that they are gorgeous, they can instead pick apart their lips, thighs, noses or thumbs.
It’s perfectly fine to not find someone to your taste, but when guys are alone they find fault with every woman to make themselves feel better. “It’s not that she wouldn’t give me the time of day, it’s that I wouldn’t want to talk to her.” Right. Go eat a corn dog in your underpants, studly.
For some reason, men all have a story about their dad that they feel is deeply personal. After the ingestion of alcohol, they will begin telling their story. Some of them are about their dad standing up to another authority figure, like a teacher or coach, or just throwing a ball with them in the backyard. Truthfully, it is only among men that the intended depth of these simple stories can be expressed with very few words.
A two-sentence Dad Story, told under the right circumstances, can have as much meaning as the Great American Novel. In my case, my dad took me to see Gene Roddenberry when I was probably too young to go. They showed the “Star Trek” blooper reel and he talked about his vision for the future.