Friday, March 19, 2010


You know that awkward moment right after your voice cracks? When you don't know if the person you're talking to caught it or not. You're not sure if you can laugh about it or play it off, acting like it never happened? I live for those moments.

It reminds me of our futile attempts to be perceived as the alpha male. Which, if you didn't know, is every man's deepest desire. That, and the hover board from Back to the Future.

Tonight, my church brethren and I will be gearing up for a night of masculinity. We will put on our short shorts, tube socks and wrist bands. We will do trunk rotations, lunges and jumping jacks. And when our limbs are loose and the high fives have been equally distributed, we will pick up our weapon of choice: the 8.5" rubber Action Dodgeball.

The next few hours will be spent hurling this object at our opponents. Each one of us hoping to achieve the fated head shot. Seen here: head shot!

You see, tonight, the men in my church are gathering for a night of Manness- of, masculinity- of, testosterone. We will watch college basketball, eat fried foods, and play outdated sports. Our competitive sides will come out in full force with no wives around to say, "Honey, its just a game. Don't take it so seriously." or "Can we watch 'Who Do You Think You Are'? I'm tired of basketball." or, the worst, "Lets just play for fun, I don't really care about winning."


I'm looking forward to tonight. I expect we will all have a great time as the women congregate elsewhere sharing recipes, talking about babies and pillow fighting (I'm still pretty sure they do that). But the whole thing got me thinking, what is it about hanging with Mr. boys, that is so fun? Bad commentators become bearable, farts become louder, and bad movies become funnier. Don't believe me? Watch "Snakes on a Plane" by yourself. Now watch it with a group of friends. Go ahead. I'll wait.


And we're back! See what I mean?

There is something so rudimentary about a man's need to do man things with other men. Sure we all love our girlfriends, wives and Erin Andrews. But why is it a fundamental need of a man to be a part of something with other men? Our most lasting relationships come from the people we played sports with as kids, soldiers we served with in the military, fraternity brothers we became men with or the 9 other doofuses in our fantasy league.

So what makes a man? Is it a big truck? Mud flaps? Drinking lots of beer? Is it being able to pick up girls, or being the funniest guy in the room, or dressing well? If you make more money than me are you a better man? (Side note, you do make more money than me). Does your success define you? What about providing for your family? Does the ability to quote every line out of "Dumb & Dumber" make you a man? Not sure, but it does make me want to hang out with you.

Look, I'm not sure what makes a man a man. But I know what makes a man better. Camaraderie with guys we want to be like. You think I joined a fraternity to slam beers and hook up with chicks? Please. I still don't know how to do either of those things and I'm married! I joined because there were guys I could grow with, and the values of SigEp aligned with my personal values. You think I'm going to Man's Night to play dodgeball? Well, yea I kind of am. But also because there are guys there who can make me a better man and husband.

So yea, I'm looking forward to tonight. Its a chance to be a man's man, to grow friendships and get overly competitive. The bro-hugs will flow abundantly and the jeers will be heard from miles away when CBS cuts from the end of a close game to the tip of the Duke game. (I'll be secretly excited though). We'll eat our wings, make up stories, and tell jokes. All in all, it's not really important about who wins dodgeball tonight.

But let's not forget I'm fresh off four years of competitive intramural dodgeball experience. Just saying.


  1. AJ,

    See you tonight. If we get to pick teams, I'm on yours.

    Hey guys. Woah, Big Gulps, huh? All right! Well, see ya later.

  2. A.J., this was so well-written. I love it! Hope you have an awesome time! Wish I could hang out w/ your lovely wife and swap recipes and pillow fight. Love to you both...

  3. You get such touching and uplifting responses. Too bad your fraternity big brother won't do the same because it's my job, in helping you grow and develop as a man, to knock you back down off your high blog-horse.

    First, I'll tell you what makes a man. Rather, I'll show you:

    It's from a movie starring the guys who made South Park, so needless to say it's not for the feint of heart.

    Yeah we all live for the brotherhood and the camaraderie and that's what makes being a man fun, that we can do those things with each other and "man stuff" like farts and sporting events become so much more intense. But what MAKES a man is the amount of push-ups he can do. Clearly, we all know that I can do more push-ups than you. Therefore I'm more of a man than you.

    Suck it.