Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom. The kind of sweet freedom that an open road in a quiet car delivers. The kids, the wife, the household chores; all left behind. The constant pressure of fighting over nap time, fighting over playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Fucking Star on the radio vs. Metallica, of watching Dora the Explorer (how I've come to hate you) vs. anything on the History channel--all left behind.
It's someone else's job this weekend because Daddy is bolting for several days of doing things that I probably won't ever admit to my kids that I did. Let the wife fight the good fight this weekend, I'm out. No more trying to show the kids how smart dad is because he got the final Jeopardy question right because I have no one else to impress. Yes honey, Daddy will get you some juice, but look real quick, Daddy knew who was Secretary of Defense under Nixon, isn't Daddy smart? They don't care.
Once a year I am let off the leash. I am allowed to roam in the wild without being tagged first.
Welcome to Man Weekend.
Once a year, as we got older, a few of brave souls thought it would be a good idea to leave all the pressure of acting civilized behind and let loose. Pretty much like we did every day in college where the only thing you were worried about is if you could get up for your noon bowling class. But now that we are all grown up, a lot of us are married with kids, we don't get to do that as much. We don't get to let off steam in a completely judgment-free environment.
Because let's be honest, I have people looking up to me for examples. Drunk Daddy is not really a good role model for the minions and all Hossmom thinks is that Drunk Daddy stinks like drunk ass and should sleep his drunk self on the drunk couch.
But this weekend, we go native. We go primitive. We go the way that men would live all the time if they never, ever had any responsibility or bills and plenty of penicillin.
We even have a theme each year. Last year it was the "Dirty 'Stache" where we all grew 1980 mustaches and then went to Walmart for group pictures. Trashy and awesome, does it get any better? This year's theme--Dirty Handlebar Mustache.
As I had moved in the last year, the road trip was the only way that I was going to make it. 8 hours on the road with just my Ipod, a book on tape and a whole box of slim jims and soda--neither of which I allow myself to consume anymore because both give me massive heartburn and is not good for my cholesterol. Christ, when did I get so old? But fuck it, it's Man Weekend, I'm going to live it up like I'm 20 again.
That's all I needed, tunes and crap food. But unfortunately I brought something else with me. A fever of about 100. Hossmom tried to convince me not to go. She brought up the very valid and logical point that traveling with the flu is a very bad idea. But as it was Man Weekend and I am most certainly a man, logic went completely out the window. Fuck logic, I'm going. There was no way that I was going to miss this.
9 hours later, driving on the fuel of stink and stale fart, I arrived at my destination. A buddy's house who's wife was gracious enough to allow us to do this at her place as she smartly got the hell out of dodge. This is not a place for women. If a woman was there, saw what we are really like around a bunch of guys, none of us would ever ever get laid again. Seriously, even I'm disgusted.
There is also a competition each year as well. Who grows the greatest Dirty. I was prepared. Hell, I took two months to be prepared. I'm a stay at home dad. I have no job, I had the time.
"Dude, holy shit! Totally not fair!" several exclaimed as I entered the garage.
I had grown an entire beard. I looked like a cousin to the Unabomber complete with wild eyed look and scraps of paper with mathematical equations on them.
"You're shaving out side. There is no way you are leaving that beard abortion in one of my sinks" the Car Dealer said. No problem, I had come prepared.
30 minutes later I came back from the backyard where I had used my own clippers looking very, very dirty. The handlebar mustache ran from my upper lip all the way down to my neck. I had sideburns that ran from my ear and then actually connected to the 'stache itself. 2 months of dedication and it was worth it. I must say, it was awesome. Although no chick would ever touch me with this small animal on my face, it was still awesome. It looked like I should be mining coal in West Virginia or driving an ice truck in Alaska. Dirty, dirty dirty.
And I understand why some thought it might be unfair. They all had jobs and couldn't go the completely untrimmed beaver look. But then again, fuck em, they get to eat lunch by themselves as well and not have hot dogs thrown at their head by a remarkably accurate 1 year old.
But the fever was still with me but I played it off like it was just a headache instead of the gastro-intestinal battleground it had become. 12 guys showed up that first night and it was a good night even though I felt like monkey's were doing the hula behind my aching eyeballs.
I remember a few things that first night. 1st, the cure to the common cold is beer. Lots and lots of beer. Pretty soon, I had forgotten I even had the flu and was feeling damn good. I knew I stank but honestly we all did. It was bad enough that the EPA showed up to measure the green house gasses and then left screaming. I remembered that having only 1 bathroom for 12 guys is no problem, no problem at all like you would expect it would be. We all peed in the yard. But we were good about it by either trying to kill weeds and write our names in cursive rather than in block letters so that it would look better when the grass came in and the dead spots were obvious.
I remember the pizza guy showing up. Normally you wouldn't think much about this. However, I remember feeling very bad for this 19 year old kid. He walks in and I know has to be shocked by the massive amount of dirty handlebars, and believe me, they were dirty. But not as nearly as shocked as he would be as soon as he realized that the entire garage was covered in porn. Good porn, bad porn, french porn. Name a porn magazine, outlet or playing card and it was displayed in all it's glory.
One of the guys brought 2 huge boxes of porn that it would appear he had been keeping for years. We had porn going back to 1986. I found Playboys in there that I distinctly remember got me through some very rough times in college. I found a magazine that I had never heard of ever and was sure that just by holding it I would get gonorrhea.
And there was the pizza guy in the middle of Handlebar and porn and stink. Awesome. He screamed like a girl. And he screamed even louder when we invited him back to hang with us after his shift if, and only if, he could grow a handlebar mustache in the next 3 hours.
And I remember some of the beer games. Beer pong, drink because I said so, and flip cup--the last game I remember actually playing. It's a relay game, 6 to a team and it makes no sense what so ever so I won't actually describe the rules to you. At first, we just had captains picking teams and then we got creative. This usually happens when guys get drunk and get competitive. We will fight then make up bullshit rules about anything.
The first team was fat guys vs. skinny guys. Oddly the fat guys (my team) lost. Then we went married vs. non married. Married guys (my team) lost again. Finally, we went old guys vs. young guys. Of course the old guys (my team again) lost. So it would appear that being fat, old and married does not translate into good drinking game statistics.
Finally, after several hours I slinked off to bed. My goal this year was to not be the first married guy with kids to pass out. I reached that goal only because one guy just had twins and the other guy, my hippie brother in law, beat me to it. I was feeling good, no fever and relatively few weeds killed in the front yard.
We were woken up the next morning by the organizer of the event. Big Boy opened the door to our room where my Hippie brother in law and the Twins dude were sleeping on whatever we could find. He almost gagged.
"It smells like a can of assholes in here!" he exclaimed. Oddly, I smelt nothing as my flu was back. Or I was hungover. Again, I'm not 20 anymore and it's a very painful reminder to realize that I don't bounce back the way I used to.
We had a 10:30 appointment for pictures. It was 10:00 am already. There were no showers to be had. Awesome. And I had to get into costume.
We all thought that going with a biker look would be great to go with the Dirty Handlebar Mustache. But I wanted to stand out, just a little bit. So I took it a step further. I went ultra-gay biker.
I had a medium-size black shirt that said "Kiss Me I'm American." I haven't worn a medium since I was 12. I had a bandanna that had a picture of a skull on it wearing a bandanna. I had an red, white and blue neckerchief that I tied around my neck. And I was wearing a gold sparkle belt. Completely awesome. I must give it up to Hossmom though, she put the outfit together and thought it was funny as hell.
But the last touch, it was all me. Instead of jeans, which a true gay biker wouldn't wear, I wore cutoff jeans. I had to be careful because everytime I sat down I would teabag anything within a 10 foot radius.
There were other costumes. Hippie brother in law bought a bunch of fake tattoos and shaved his head. He's a teacher by the way. Uncle Brick Salesman had a plaid shirt that made him look more like a lumberjack salesman. And one other guy, who couldn't grow a very convincing stache, busted out the leather chaps. Good times.
We get to Walmart and then the looks start coming. Our biggest fear was running into a real biker gang and getting our asses kicked. My second fear was freaking out any families and kids. I'm still a father, although perhaps a bad one at the moment. The stares came along with the pointing. I was on full display and knew that I had reached the image I was going for when a little lady passed us and said loudly enough "Oh my God." I don't think God has anything to do with this one, honey.
When you take pictures at Walmart they put you in a very small room. Not a good idea for any 12 guys as 12 guys naturally stink. But 12 guys that spent the night drinking and fouling the toilet all night? Really, really bad idea. I don't think the photographer got that this was all a bad joke but then again, it was hard to see her through the stink lines. Or it could be that her eyes were watering because of the smell and not because of the joke. I'm not sure, but she went by her job very quickly.
In the end, we asked her to look at the pictures and choose the winner of the Dirty Stache contest. She said it was close, but she chose me. She said it was certainly a dirty stache but the gold belt put me over the top.
Afterward we went to lunch at a place called Bone Daddy's which is a Hooter's type restaurant. Normally I think my friends and I are funny but we were in rare form. Soon all the waitresses were coming over for the spectacle, especially when one of our number decided to apply for a waitress job. He runs about 270. We didn't think he had a chance until the manager came over and interviewed him.
Getting out of that place was a hassle because it was the lunch rush and by this time I was feeling very self conscious with my junk hanging out every time I sat down. We were given a very wide path to do our walk of shame.
I exalted in my greatest stache award as we went back home. I needed some water, bad. I had nothing to drink except beer in 24 hours and I was hurting. It was not to be. The keg got floated the night before but luckily we all brought a case. I don't remember much more from that weekend except being tired and feeling like I go in way over my head.
Around 5:00 pm that night I got a call from Hossmom. Little Hoss was throwing a fit. She hadn't seen me in two days and was insisting that I was just outside in the yard and couldn't understand why I couldn't come in to see her. She was screaming, full on tantrum. I talked to her on the phone and tried to calm her down but she just kept on saying "Daddy inside" in that little girl voice that cuts to the quick of any father. God dammit. This is man weekend and now I can only think about snuggling on the couch watching Lady and the Tramp for the millionth time.
Eventually she calmed down enough to tell me that she loved me and to let me know that Bubba Hoss, my son, was ok but missed Daddy to. Rarely have my kids not seen me for this many days.
The next morning I awoke feeling worse than the morning before and headed home. The drive was still good and quiet but without the slim jims and soda. Those had been replaced by granola bars and water. When I got home that night both kids woke up and wouldn't go back to bed until I was in there with them. Which wasn't a good idea at first because they didn't recognize me as I hadn't shaved off the Dirty Stache just yet. After some initial stranger/danger moments I reassured them that Daddy was home and the smell was only the smell of victory. When I sang You Are My Sunshine for the tenth time, they both went to bed.
It's taken me a full week to get over that one weekend. My kids go to bed at 7:30 and I was in bed minutes after them. I'm popping whatever pill Hossmom floats my way. I finally shaved and now I look like a 12 year old fat kid but I'm home and my kids love me. Next year, perhaps the Man Weekend theme can be business casual with wine spritzers.