Behind Enemy Lines

“Shh, whatever you’re saying right now is not important,” Ben interrupted me as a hot woman walked by.  Travis and Ben were sitting next to each other in the booth, facing the bar and hardxXxcore people-watching, and I was sitting across from them, presumably in the way of tons of sexy babes that they both had a good chance of banging (not at the same time, ’cause that’s totally gay, but maybe if she’s into that).  They were both staring at the newest prospect when I got up to use the bathroom, giving them the finger.  When I returned, they were both eyeing a woman standing near the bar, talking about how intelligent she looked, probably.

“You guys have seriously been talking about chicks in the bar all night,” I said.  “Don’t you have anything better to discuss?”

“No,” Ben said.  “This is what guys do.”

“Yeah, there are guys talking about you right now,” Travis said.  I shook my head.

“Yes there are!” Ben and Travis said in unison.

“Fine, where are they?  Can I turn around and stare at them?” I asked.

“No, we’re not talking about anyone in particular, but they are.  That’s why groups of guys come to bars,” Travis said.

I’ve been friends with dudes my whole life–and no, I don’t mean men, I mean dudes–so when I went to a bar last night with Travis and Ben, and the topic immediately became who in the room they most wanted to bang, I wasn’t surprised, nor offended. It’s not just dudes; everybody does this in bars, to some degree.  This is why public drinking places were invented.

"Yeah, I get it, you want to sleep with me, fine. But why the fuck is every single person in this bar wearing the same thing? And why are the walls padded? How did I get here? God, this Roofie Colada is great, what's in it?"

They weren’t even, from what I could hear, being crude or derogatory, other than blatantly checking out every single female in the fucking place.  They pretty much just said things like, “Oh man, that girl is easily the hottest chick in the bar right now,” and then stared.  Whatever, I do the exact same thing with my friends when we go out, I just don’t do it as voraciously.  What bothered me was:

1.) That was all they were doing, and

2.) I couldn’t participate.

When I called them out on only talking about girls, Ben said, “Yeah, we look at girls and talk about them, whatever.  You wouldn’t understand.”

“I wouldn’t understand?” I asked.

“Yeah, you wouldn’t get it,” he said.

“Right, because I don’t look at girls,” I said.

“Well, not the same way we do.”

“Because you don’t think I’m interested in girls.”


“Not even a little bit.”

Now Ben looked a bit hesitant.  “Well…are you?”

“Yeah,” I said.  “Yeah, I am.”

But Ben was right–I don’t look at girls the same way they do, which was made obvious when he said:

“Dude, my vacation was fun, but there are no hot girls in Seattle,” referring to his recent stint in the West Coast city.

“Yeah,” Travis agreed, “Boston’s got the hottest girls.”

I made my I’m incredibly dubious face.  “Eh…”

“Dude, are you fucking serious?”  Travis immediately pounced on me. “Are you retarded?  The girls in Boston are stupid hot.  Everybody knows that.  There are, like, magazine articles about it all the time.”

“You’re so angry right now,” I said.

“I get angry when my friends are being retarded,” Travis said.  “And you were totally being serious just now.”  He looked away, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Girls in Boston are boring,” I said.  “They all look the same.”

“Whatever, that’s not the point,” Ben said.  “They don’t need to be interesting for me to want to bang them, they just need to be hot.”

I thought about saying something like, “Yeah, you don’t need to talk to them before or after sex, you just need them to shut up and put out,” but at that point I was afraid they might agree with me.  I tried sitting on their side of the table, facing the crowd, to see if I could as shamelessly objectify the women in the room as they could, but they decided it was too weird for all three of us to sit together and stare, so I went back to watching them watch people.

Later, when the subject turned to a girl whom Travis likes, he was all understatement and courtesy.

“So, why do you like her?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, looking away.  “She’s really, really cool.”  He wouldn’t say anything else about her, other than that he’s really into her, and that he thinks she’s cute.

Which is exactly how I talk about people I like–which is to say, I don’t talk about them.  I usually just try to make shit happen, and then talk about them later, being all gossip-face with friends after winning some mild victory or watching part of my dignity get torn to shreds.  But if I want to be one of the dudes, I’m going to have to learn how to match my action with lots of dick-swinging swagger and bravado.

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