You do things for relationships that you normally wouldn't be caught dead doing, right? I mean, after all, we always hear about how "sacrifice" and "work" are the two hot-button words in the game of being a two-some. For some women, that means learning how many minutes are in a quarter of football (that's 15, if you were wondering,) and what player's names to scream at the TV. For others, it means learning how to dirty-talk, or indulging in that odd vinyl fetish. For me, it apparently means sacrificing life, limb, and new Urban Outfitters' dress. After watching a 20-something guy hammer a screwdriver into his motorcycle’s locked gas tank, I’m literally sitting here, writing this to you perched on top of an old black plastic milk crate, listening to a neighbor say “I took my dad’s bike to go meet my girlfriend in South Burlington; I met her in Kmart’s parking lot, ‘cause that’s where she was, Kmart…” Why? In the name of male bonding.
Now, there are three things I love, and three things I really, really love when in conjunction with each other: Men, beer, and oil grease. An elusive and usually sheltered sacred act, I found myself out of Burlington and in the wilds of Winooski after I was promised by the S.O some Steel Reserve and a chance to watch men physically pull apart a motorcycle; I jumped on that shit. But much like taking the pants off of a new beau after a Beergoogle Olympics night out at your local dive bar, I wasn’t ready for just how hairy things could get in a land where the Y chromosome had replaced a fun time for logic and was wailing away at a gas tank, cigarette dangling from lips. While any half-way intelligent person would be running for their life and diving behind the closest Jersey barrier, here I perch, on my milk crate, listening to four men talk about guns, bikes, engines, cigarettes, and penis length.
Well, maybe not penis length, but close enough. This could not get any manlier if Hulk Hogan suddenly showed up in a Ford F250 and promised to teach them all some top-secret wrestling moves and how to get into a scorecard girl’s booty shorts.
Any time when men and women coexist in a non-professional setting, a few differences between the genders become self-evident: 1.) Grooming techniques. 2.) Conversation topics. And 3.) What is really important and constitutes a good time. For women, these things include some strong drinks in martini glasses, the receipts from the last shopping trip’s spoils, and the latest gossip. For men, it seems to be beer, anything with an engine, and anything BUT gossip or recent headlines, possibly other than, “Did you hear about the Royal Wedding? Prince William—what a bitch now.” They ask about family, mutual friends, recent car accidents. They talk about the price of things—TVs, motorcycles, cars, cell phones. They compare the quality of beer, cigarettes, knives, bikes, cars, and housing. After three hours on this milk crate, I feel strongly in the validity of my statement when I say—men and women don’t like the same things. While my S.O and I both have subscriptions to GQ and I’ve watched him flip through the pages of my Cosmo, and we both have an affinity for expensive clothing and fine food, I have finally found an area in which I can’t follow him in—it seems to be, after all, a man’s world, and I suddenly feel like I should be asking if anyone wants me to make them a sandwich.
...Aaaaaaand my very white-collar boyfriend just craned his head around his shoulder, and spat. Oh yeah, Toto—we’re not in college or the Hill Section anymore. Time to get out of here.