You might say that this week I truly, got religion. I have long been struggling with how to orchestrate my life in a way that brings true happiness and meaning, and I discovered that the answer was so much simpler than I ever believed. Many operate under the distorted opinion that we should turn our lives over to god; allow the will of that Holy Spirit to guide us in these latter days. We often hear the term, “let go and let god” in respect to this philosophy.
I must say that my conversion struck home as I deeply embraced the much hipper and cooler philosophy of “let go and let guy”. The learning came in such a simple way, from an arena for which I have long held mere disdain; and my eyes were nearly blown right out of their sockets when the statement hit me in all its brightness and perfection.
That Tuesday started like many others. after work i made a quick call to a friend, did he want to grab some dinner and a movie, hang out or anything that night—he informed me that he had other plans and couldn’t make it. Being the tight friends we are, I wondered what might keep him from spending a delightful evening in my company and so I asked. He already had plans for dinner and a movie with two other friends. The other two are also my tight buds and I began to grow suspicious, had I forgotten to shower that morning (he couldn’t possibly know that over the phone), had my belated christmas present of a regifted deluxe caramel apple less than impressed him, was it possible he was offended from the last time we got together and I left without helping to clean up the kitchen (after all he had 3 days worth of dishes going in that kitchen, was I responsible for all of them)?
Before I could offer lame apologies for any of these egregious errors, he set me quickly to rights by telling me it was guy’s night and the dudes needed some male bonding. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge the males their bonding time, and I certainly wouldn’t want them to start questioning how I hang with my girlfriends when they are not around, but I have spent unfathomable hours with these boys over dinner and a movie. I can hang with the best of ‘em and often do. Mind you, I don’t interfere when the lads head off to the gun show to get their concealed weapons permits, I’m never around when they out maneuver each other during their World of Warcraft battles wondering which allied town is under attack, and I make myself quite scarce when they need to really talk about the body parts of the ladies, but this was not one of those nights.
This was a night that we have spent together more times than I can remember, dinner and a movie, and this time the boys were calling it “guy’s night”. Never one to let sleeping dogs lie, I quickly ascertained that the purpose for the evening was not one of the 3 aforementioned reasons, nor anything remotely similar; it was just that one of the guys, who is actually a newlywed, had bestowed the guy night moniker on the evening when his lovely bride declared she was going to have a girl’s night and could he find anything to do? I made a few calls and procured for myself a highly sought for invitation and honorary “guyness” status for the evening if I proved myself to be able to hold my own during the night.
So here’s where this night goes from your basic hang out, to the elixir of hilarity. I had girded up my loins in the most heartfelt of approaches to not “out” myself as the pure, sissy, sweetheart girl that I am. (Heartfelt right…I know, with that attitude I should have never expected to make it through the night, if I had approached it with piss and vinegar, maybe a little braggadocio I might have been better equipped, but heartfelt just wasn’t getting the job done.) as I joined the fellas at the dinner table, I began to clear through the box of odds and ends that my totally bachelor, set in his ways, friend kept on his kitchen table to see if I could throw anything away or just clean out a little of the clutter—I did this while eating my dinner and the rest of the table threw down the gauntlet. My newlywed friend became irate, asking me if I seriously thought I could last the night if I started it by “multitasking”, “multitasking”. Apparently a one track mind is key to the pure enjoyment of “guy’s night” and this track was on food, not organizing! I was quickly informed that I needed to burp, fart or tell a really nasty joke pronto, or I would be shown the door in no uncertain terms. I welled up all my inner tomboy and let out what really wasn’t a half-bad belch, not anything to challenge the current table record holder. i immediately followed that move by swigging directly from the 2 liter container of soda that sat on the table just to up my game and it got me a reprieve for a few minutes.
at this point the discussion turned from who had the worst driving record to the philosophical gem of the evening. My moment of pure enlightenment…when the same newlywed who had been set free for the evening told me I needed to relax…just “let go and let guy”—so simple. Right then and there I was a transformed human being. All along I have been holding on to things the way my mother taught me, my “do unto others” mentality—it had never occurred to me that i might find a better way. There was no need to concern myself with the overall orderliness of my surroundings, no compelling reason I should make myself pleasant and friendly in the group, no burning compunction to somehow make the world a better place. These were all far distant ideas that couldn’t be reasoned out in the here and now, it would be much better to move straight to dinosaur brain and to “let go and let guy”.
How have I never picked up on these cues for easy living in the past? How is that I have spent the better part of adulthood seeking for personal truth and enlightenment, only to find such simple wisdom and guidance practically from the top of a cereal box? I spent the majority of a most enjoyable evening having my feminine errors pointed out to me, don’t wear a coat in the near freezing weather—that only makes you look like a sissy, don’t sit next to me in the theatre—it will look like we’re together, and finally, yes you will go to Alien vs. Predator, the Requiem and “you will like it”, even if it is the dumbest movie of the decade. It wasn’t until the newlywed broke the “guy code” and called his wife mid-evening that I spotted a chink in the armor. Suddenly all the bluster in the world couldn’t cover the fact that he was already missing his wife, what a wuss!! I was getting the hang of this “let go and let guy” business and I unleashed a maelstrom of education on this boy for not remaining true to the code. And then came the real essence of the lesson, I was quickly schooled for my overeager attempt to engage in guylike conduct...this was a “practice” not an “endgoal” to be perfected over a lifetime, and I shouldn’t be so quick to jump into the game. I had glimpsed the nugget of lesson, the true intent of “guyness” is to live in the now, not to hold onto all that other crap that sets my mind to whirling, oh indeed how unexpectedly had this simple truth once again taken the opportunity to teach me a most timely lesson of wisdom and grace?