Guy’s Night. The very phrase is enough to bring consternation to even the most secure woman in a commitment relationship. In fact, it ranks only behind Mother-in-Law and Bachelor Party in the list of phrases likely to get a lady’s fret and/or irk up. For dudes of a certain age, though, middle aged guys with young families, responsibilities, and more time dedicated to a lawnmower than a social calendar, Guy’s Night is occasionally an absolute imperative.
Saturday was Guy’s Night for me and my pals, and it was as wonderful as it was costly.
The annual Cincy Beerfest took place for this weekend, and as soon as I suggested to my group of friends that we should perhaps make a night of it, the response was overwhelming and unanimous. We don’t get together often without our significant others and/or families, so it’s always a big deal when we settle on such an occasion.
I suspect that immediately, many of you are probably flashing back to images of the movie The Hangover as I talk about attending a beer festival with guys I’ve known since before college without the caring, yet responsible oversight of our wives. It wasn’t like that, I promise. Nobody found a baby, nobody stole any tigers from either the Cincinnati Zoo or a former boxer, and everyone made it home safely and sensibly.
I suppose I might have given the wrong impression with yesterday’s “Saturday” image in the Picture Haiku. I can see how you might look at that and see nothing but a bunch of people with sloshing mugs going full-on at a frat-tastic kegger. But, really, as you can see in the comparison below, my representation was clearly of a much more reserved, dignified craft beer tasting.
Craft Beer Tasting:
College Keg Party:
Then again, for as great a time as we all had, the evening wasn’t completely without causality. In the end, I woke up the next day feeling more than just a little worse for the wear. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Puddin, really, at your age? The thing is, though, I’m not talking about the usual after effects of an evening spent with perhaps one too many adult beverages. Sure, my head was a little wounded, but that wasn’t what really got me. The real cost of the whole event came in exhaustion. I’m not talking here about the kind of tired where you think to yourself, “gee, Wally, an extra hour of sleep sure would be great” at 9:30 am. No, no, I’m talking about the type of bone-weary worn-out that happens only once a year or two, where you find yourself looking at your cat dozing in a patch of daylight and you’re suddenly taken with the urge to shave it completely bald just out of blinding nap-envy.*
The fact of the matter is that I’ve reached middle age. What that means is, no matter how badly I might want to pretend that I can still stay out until 1:30 in the morning likes those whippersnappers do, the price I have to pay for it grows steeper and steeper every year. It’s Tuesday, and I’m still kind of a little tired from the whole thing.
Now, does that mean I’m going to swear off Guy’s Night in the future in an effort to keep well-rested for the remainder of my days? Not for a second. The point of such an outing is that every once in a while, each of us needs to be able to hang out with old friends and pretend it’s still The Day. Everyone sometimes needs to forget for four or five hours about the pressures, responsibilities, and stress that spring up in the course of one’s life, no matter how good one has it.
I wouldn’t trade my responsibilities for anything; most of them are the result of choices I’ve made and that’s exactly as I’d have it. And, besides, many of them pay much greater rewards than I ever imagined possible.
Still, there’s no substitute for being able to get away for even a handful of hours with the freedom to make no decisions for anyone else but me. There are no toilets to plunge on Guy’s Night; it’s Smitty’s night off.
Next time, though, maybe one of those decisions about me should be to get myself home, um, earlier. I’m too old to be this tired.
Oh, and for the record, the Puddinette never bats an eyelash or has a fretful moment when Guy’s Night comes around. Yes, in fact, I do realize how good I’ve got it.
*It was Carl Jung who wrote, “There is no coming to consciousness except through pain.”
**Just kidding. Also, we don’t have a cat. No cats were shaved or injured in the writing of this post.