copyright 2001 - Linda Marcas - All Rights Reserved

Crank's Corner: Commentary by Linda Marcas

                          Partying With The Guys: An Anthropological Assessment                             

    The other night, my husband threw a party for the guys he works with, the same batch of he-men
that rag him mercilessly for wearing pink T-shirts.  He'd been telling them about our building, and foolishly
said, "I'll have to have you all down sometime," which led to an ongoing chant from them of "party at
Ron's!  party at Ron's!" until he set a date and started planning.  After several weekends of Ron tidying up
the clutter downstairs so the guys would have room to shoot pool, brewing up several batches of beer so
they'd have something to drink, and three days of me cooking up a gigantic batch of my infamous Chunk
Meat, Black Bean, No-Powder Chili so they'd have plenty to eat, it was party time!

    Being the only female present at this shindig (aside from a brief appearance by a friend of mine), I
was in an interesting position, something like that of a cultural anthropologist observing an obscure
neolithic tribe performing their secret manly rituals.  Testosterone mist swirled through the air, mingling
with the beer fumes, chili farts, and cigar smoke.  These guys let their hair down, despite the fact that most
of them are bald and kept their hats on all night.

    John and Glen, two of the guys in the crew, are old friends of ours, but I had never met the rest of
them.  When Ron comes home from work, he tells me about his day, and now I had a chance to put faces
with the names.  John came down early, to set up an amplifier, but the rest of the guys stopped to bowl a
few games after work before they got here.  Ron introduced them as they arrived, when he could get a
in edgewise around the re-hash of the bowling and bragging about scores and techniques.  Anthropological
note: guys might find the figurative re-playing of recent athletic events as enjoyable and satisfying as the
events themselves.

    The guys had worked up a thirst while bowling, so beer was their first priority.  Ron had promised
them homebrew, and made good on his promise by having four varieties on tap for the main drinking and
several more in bottles for sampling.  For the guys who were used to drinking mostly Bud Light and other
mainstream beers, he'd made up a batch of "Moose Whizz," lighter than most of his other brews.  The
pronounced the beers and the kegging system suitably impressive, and proceeded to make free use of
Anthropological note: guys feel safe, relaxed, and happy when they know they won't run out of beer.

    Bowling must have given the guys an appetite as well as a thirst; after they attacked the beer, they
pounced on the chili.  Topping their bowls with liberal applications of shredded cheese and chopped
they did a good job of lowering the level in the vat.  This was fine with me, because I like it when people
like what I cook, and because I didn't want to be stuck eating leftover gallons of chili for the next three
weeks.   Anthropological note: while guys don't need the excuse of spicy food to justify farting as a
competitive sport, they will blame the food for the fart's "stinkiness rating."

    Full of beer and food, the guys moved on to more beer, pool, guitars, and cigars.  Our pool table
(actually, JP's) is old and ratty, but Ron bought a set of balls and a couple new cues so his pals could play
they felt like it, and they did.  Meanwhile, the musically inclined serenaded us with an impromptu concert
guitar, tambourine, and bicycle horn.  Blue smoke hovered in a visible layer.  Anthropological notes:  a
table, no matter how ratty, is okay to play on if it's the only one available.  "Music" consists of any
noise, provided the volume is up high enough.  And guys who refuse to ingest sushi will gladly chew and
puff on smelly, slimy, spit-drenched cylinders of rolled-up tobacco leaves.

    Ron had been telling the guys about our place, which has a lot of weirdness and eye-candy
scattered about.  They didn't believe him until they saw it for themselves; they really liked Ron's collection
of "brand-name beer" bottle-openers and the glowing green skull embedded in the bathroom floor.  Biggie,
(Biggy? Big E?) who had been among the most skeptical, said it for them all when he told Ron, "You talk
the s**t, but you walk the walk!"   Anthropological note: guys are hard to impress, but, once you do, they
aren't shy about admitting it. Come Monday, Ron fully expects that the guys are going to have plenty
of things to comment about and ammunition to tease him with.  During the party, I noticed that men tease
each other more than women do, expresssing camaraderie through the use of insults and derisive remarks
rather than through compliments and sympathetic phrases.  If one guy says to another, "hey, you fat hairy
slob, you're so ugly, your mother wore a blindfold in the delivery room!" it seems to be the equivalent of
one woman telling another, "that dress suits your coloring very well; is it new?"  They were rude, they were
crude, they were very un-PC; the language was bluer than the cigar smoke.  On the other hand, they
behaved very well, considering.  Nobody spit on the floor, nobody got puking drunk, and nobody broke
anything, yet I think they all had a good time.  Anthropological note: I had a good time, too, partying with
The Guys.

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