Seems like an eternity since I have sat down and blogged anything, but after seeing the movie, I Love You Man, I had to sit down and jot a few lines as to how men relate to one another.
I seem to remember the Summer of 1989 as being the last time that my male friends and I really had great times. We were all about 16 or 15 and it was right before our Junior year in High School. The Summer days were spent driving around in an old beater car and playing basketball till dark and then going to a quickstop for some sort of Slurpee and then the usual talk about what girls we liked and which ones we hated. We were consumed by the dream of having a girlfriend and maybe a better car. The Summer days were long and the conversation was always interesting. Then came the heartache of Junior year in the Fall, and the relationships we had were tested by the very thing that consumed us, namely the opposite sex. It was no longer cool to just hang out, cause his girlfriend didn’t like my girlfriend, or worse, I didn’t have a girlfriend, or the girlfriend didn’t like me, or half a million reasons that did not make sense. The ordeal of Junior year was that women cause wars, and much like the Trojan War, mere boys waged battle and held animosity for each other for the sake of a girlfriend. Senior year followed and it was too late we could never go back to that Summer of ’89 and be just boys. We were men with girlfriends and lives, and even responsibilities. Then Prom came and went and all of a sudden we saw each other and did the one thing we thought we could never do, we forgave each other and put away our grudges and walked away forgetting the wars and battles and the time of peace had come. At the same time, some of us walked away and felt a terrible loneliness. I left Chicago and came to Iowa and my world got a little bigger and a lot different.
In Iowa, I met lots of other guys and made friends. I even mentored a few freshmen, my sophomore year. College seemed more about having shared experiences, than about maintaining strong best-friend relationships. Given that the Internet revolution happened while I was in college, I can see how technology can be isolating for many men, instead of helpful in establishing friendship. Now the Internet is incredibly intricate and it is perplexing to me that as men we all communicate every day, yet have devoted very little of our time to actually becoming better communicators. Yes, we may think it is funny that women have brunch and talk for hours about unimportant events and matters, but in truth women are better communicators. But this rant is not about women, it is about men and how we go about the business of life, outside of work.
The hardest thing about dating in general is that you have to put yourself out there and ask someone else to spend time with you. This can be awkward and uncomfortable for most of us. However, you have to think about it this way, the idea is to have a good time, so it is not about any thing else. Men don’t sit around and talk about feelings, but at the same time, men need to be open and ask for what they want. If you want to go see that new action movie and want someone to tag along with you, say so.
Whatever you do, don’t be pushy or annoying. Men don’t like guys who constantly bother them or ask them for stuff. As my girlfriend reminds me all the time, personal space for men is about ten times larger in radius than it is for women. So don’t tread on me!
Be interesting. It is that simple. No one likes the typical Cheers character that bombards you with useless trivia, but worse is the guy who just wants to be your friend and who happens to bore you to death. You have to bring something to the table. If you are the sports guy, the politics guy, or just the typical comedian, be that guy, just don’t go overboard. With age, comes temperance, you should know a little about everything. Even if you hate sports, you still need to know who The Lakers are.
Man dates are all about the experience. It needs to be fun and somewhat memorable. The hard part is that most men hate lots of things. For example, I use to play golf in my teens. I know the game well, because I had a good golf coach, yet I have not touched a club in more than ten years and if someone asks me to golf, I will always turn them down. It does not interest me. Hate it! Sometimes it just doesn’t work, so be prepared to know that before your date.
Politics and the right conversation. Men can take politics a little too far and let the conversation go downhill before you even realize it. Don’t let political opinions kill your mood. You have to let some things slide. Politics can also be a bad sign that you really can’t be friends too, so before your date you might want to make sure you can even be comfortable if the subject of politics comes up.