Confession: When I was younger, I never really knew how to enjoy the company of other men. Perhaps it was insecurity, and a sense of every situation being a competition of sorts. But I'm inclined to think that wasn't it, given that in many respects, that's an aspect of male relationships that never wholly goes away. Or perhaps it was a surplus of testosterone that drove me always to be looking for a person of the opposite gender with whom to spend time. God knows that's less of a problem as we age. Or maybe the problem was that I used to care, overmuch, what others thought. Heaven knows I still care, but sooooo much less.
Whatever the reason, in the last five years or so, I've finally begun to enjoy the company of my fellow alpha males. I say alpha males, because, for the most part, they are. You'd think we'd clash. But for whatever reason, age, nothing-left-to-prove confidence, manageable hormone levels, whatever, we get along. We all have wives or significant others. We enjoy their company, most of us. But we also enjoy one another's, and take pains to find time for it. Breakfast, runs, bike rides, horseshoes, skydiving, lunch, or, to use last night as an example: a couple glasses of St Remy in snifters, a couple of great cigars, a pair of Adirondack chairs on top of a hill overlooking the city with the sun setting behind Pike's Peak, and stories of snakebites, almost snakebites, switchbacks, and the trout that got away, until sunset and the rapid Colorado chill sent us in. Now that is the kind of evening that will get you through the week. If you spend part of it planning a weekend guy getaway to a cabin on a trout stream with cigars and reserve whiskey for sustenance, it's the kind of evening that will get you through the month.
Don't get me wrong. I love my wife. I love my daughters. I love my two big female dogs (Husky and Newfoundland). I even love our one completely uncatlike female cat. But I love not having to explain myself. Guys understand guys things, guy likes, guy angst and guy anger. With guys, you can simply describe a situation--note, that's describe, not explain--then wrap up the matter in three short sentences (okay, one sentence, one phrase, and one word):
"Dude, that's f___ed up."
That's it. No need for explaining, hugs, tears, 13 ways of looking at a blackbird. It's taken nearly half a century, but I'm finally able to really appreciate that.
All that said, this blog opens with a guy photo from a guy friend taken on his guy vacation. With apologies to Wallace Stevens, I'm going to issue an invitation to my readers to contribute to a series, with this as entry number one. We'll call the series, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a BlackBerry." E-mail me your photographic entries and I'll post them here with appropriate credits. Entry number one comes courtesy of Robert. The e-mail that brought it to me came with the following note: "Please see my recent vacation photos for detailed proper usage of a Blackberry and Corona." We'll call it "BlackBerry Coaster."