…wherein Mark Judge takes a few scraps off of Stevie Nicks’ handkerchief hem dresses and tries to make a big old country quilt out of them. I imagine him taking sad little scraps of lace and flinging them at each other, wondering dazedly why they aren’t coming together. OK, enough with the tortured metaphors, let’s get to it: Mark Judge is saying feminists and conservatives don’t let guys have enough guy time. I am…skeptical of this assertion.
Male bonding without women, or what one British journalist calls “lad’s night out,” is an essential part of male well-being. Both feminists who hector men to spend every moment with them—making sure all activities are of equal time—and conservatives who argue that a man’s entire life should revolve around his family, are both presenting ideas that are harmful to men.
A.) No such feminist exists. Period. Full stop. But that’s not the part that interests me about this silliness. It’s the part that makes me defend fucking conservatives that interests me. Because B.) there is no flavor of conservative that would object to bros just hanging with bros in a totally not gay way. That is a not a thing. Even those weirdos who were getting together in stadiums to jack it to Jesus and pledging to lead their families wouldn’t have anything against bros just getting together and maybe showering together after a vigorous round of sportball.
In other words, there is literally no one in the world who has a problem with bros just hanging out with bros and maybe tenderly kissing a bro on the cheek when it gets to that really emotional part in “Rudy.”
An article in the Telegraph that revised the study noted: “Males also look after each other, the study for the journal PNAS noted. While men may do this by watching each other’s backs, for monkeys this means picking insects and fleas out of each other’s fur.”
That last detail is telling, and separates us dudes from our female counterparts. I went to an all-boys high school, and it’s noticeable how physical our friendships still are, even decades after we graduated. At reunions we tend to fall back on the age-old male expression of affection—light punches on the shoulder, a bear hug, even playful wrestling after a few beers.
Wait. I think I’ve seen this movie. I think it was called “Bros Just Being Bros 5,” and it was hot.
Last year a few of us met at our school’s homecoming game and the subject of that year’s reunion came up. We were sorting out the details—a trip to the beach—when one of the guys asked: What about wives and girlfriends? Should they be invited?
The decision was instant and near unanimous: No. All it took to make the right call was a reminder of last year’s monkeyshines: the drinking, pick-up games, late night skinny dipping in the ocean, frank talk about women and sex. We needed to pick the insects and fleas off of each other, and that was best done without girls.
I imagine so, as appealing as I find the idea of de-lousing men.
Occasionally on a lad’s night out there’s mention of who’s missing, and more than a few of them are guys whose wives won’t let them out to play with their old friends. Inevitably when we do see these men they look exhausted and stressed out. Someone needs to take their wives aside and explain that women may need decompression just as much, but as the more vocal and expressive of the sexes they probably don’t build up as much of a head of steam as we guys do. Feminists of course will take this (like everything else) the wrong way—I’m mansplaining why women don’t feel stress, etc.—but it’s actually a compliment. Women communicate their feelings to each other better than men do. They are able to talk to each other for hours, discussing not only all the things men do—politics, movies, sports—but also drill down into their emotions and feelings.
Ladies, hate to say it, but he’s got us dead to rights here. I know I’m almost never stressed. Why would I be what with all the Chardonnay parties and lingerie tickle fights I’m constantly having with my girls?
For dudes it’s not as easy. We usually let things come to a boil, leaving us to rely on each other for true relief.
Again, I’ve seen this movie.
As a writer for the Guardian put it, the lad’s night out is “just the easiest, lowest lingua franca for uncommunicative men to say they love each other while drunkenly singing along to “Wonderwall.”
Dude, the only objection to this is that “Wonderwall” was relevant about twenty years ago. Other than that, I say go for it. Sing with your bros all night long. In a totally not gay way.