Sunday, February 13, 2011

Them Bucks Will Gut You

I love to catch little snatches of other people’s (men’s) conversations. This gives me an insight into their (men’s) lives, an idea of what they are going through, what is important to them, their dreams and ambitions and, on occasion, reminds me of just how stupid we all sound sometimes.

My favorites bits are snagged in bars…. Picture this: Two men and a beautiful woman sitting at a local bar, waiting for their food order to be delivered to their table. Quite a few beer bottles sit empty if front of both men and the lovely lady, evidently the designated driver is on her second sweet tea. Both men are 35 and just a bit pudgy, both in uniforms of some type, both with sturdy steel toed boots and multiple phone and tool pouches on their belts. One’s hair is a tad too long, a mullet slicked back with something a little too shiny and is clean shaven and one has the redneck-hip bald head and goatee. One’s shirt is white button-up (with one too many buttons loosened at the collar), one’s shirt is uniform blue. Both are wearing too much cologne, splashed on hastily in the car to make up for the fact that they couldn’t shower before coming out to play. Pool cues lean against the edge of the table and the wall and a tumbled pile of quarters sits next to the cardboard centerpiece advertising Texas ‘Rita Tuesday. There isn’t much about them that grabs my attention; the place is full of tables exactly like this enjoying the requisite Redneck Top 40 playing on the jukebox. Then I catch one line, one small phrase that makes me wish I had listened to more of their conversation… White button-up slick mullet dude—“If I could do anything I would be an international arms dealer, now they have it made”

God, sometimes I wish I were a guy.

Not surprisingly at the same bar (but at a different table) sit what is sure to be the same threesome 30 years hence. 65 year old slick back (waaayyyyy back, damn hairline) mullet dude in white button up with one too many buttons undone, cracker-no-longer-hip, just-bald-dude with scraggly chin hair, blowsy lounge lizard with smeared lip stick, no longer the designated driver so drinking Long Island Ice Teas sit on a Sunday afternoon discussing the liqueur they seem to have just discovered. Same dude, still wishing to be more macho exclaims—“Seriously, they put buck blood in it, makes you a love stud, but you cain’t drink it during hunting season, them bucks will gut you”

I worked in a cafeteria for a while, baking all day, which was fabulous. There was a man of Hispanic origin, I have no idea from whence he hailed, who was the master baker. He was contemplating proposing to his current girlfriend so the kitchen conversation revolved repeatedly around that subject. Through bits and pieces I gleaned some interesting facts. He had been married four times, yes I meant 4 times, before and had over a dozen children. He could not have been more than 35. He came in on a Friday and whipped out a jewelry box with a very lovely, though teeny diamond in it. With a flourish and a bow he exclaimed he was going to do it, he was taking the plunge, but—“5 times is enough, man, if this doesn’t work out that’s it! No more commitment for me”

I was the only woman who worked in the kitchen and therefore, not surprisingly, the only one who found that statement horribly ironic and funny. I wasn’t included in the conversation but burst out laughing only to have the other staff look at me like I had flown off my rocker, laughing to myself like a ninny, and was given a wide berth all day.

At one point in time, I had a co-worker in the cube-farm I currently inhabit 8 hours or more a day who seemed to believe that 5 foot high walls that only surround you on three sides made him both invisible and silent. Most of what was overheard was just gross: nail clipping, nose snuffling and loogie hocking, farts of amazing volume and velocity, but some of it was an intriguing look into the mind of a man. One morning he had a woman I will choose to assume was his wife on the phone and kept trying to steer the conversation around to how magnificent he had been in the bedroom the night before. Finally, after being shot down repeatedly he wailed—“I know you don’t like to do it, or watch it, but can’t we at least TALK about it? I mean, Jesus! I rocked”  Wow.

Another co-worker gave me food for thought when the economy took a nose dive and making promises of slashing government payrolls became the popular way to garner votes. This co-worker seemed immune to the tension flooding through the floors of our high-rise, going on about his merry way without a care in the world. Standing out smoking one day a fellow civil servant asked him how in the world he could stay so calm about it all when the rest of us were updating our resumes and calling in old favors. His reply?—“They can’t fire me, I mean, they can, but they won’t, I’m gay”

I totally get the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus idea. In these instances a women might be overheard saying “If I could do anything I wanted I would be Angelina Jolie, now she has it made” but more likely you would hear “I would so do Brad Pitt” We would have talked about how the liquor made us warm and toasty, the thought of being gutted by lusting-for-revenge horned animals never entering our minds. “That bastards been married four times and asked you what?” would have been our response to the disclosure of the proposal, “run me a bath, pour me wine and light candles and I might rock you again” would have been our side of the conversation on the telephone in the cube farm. As far as not worrying about losing one’s job…… with a husband, 3 children producing 9 grandchildren I don’t think the gay thing will fly but I am working on other options……