- No names will be included for privacy purposes.
Picture this… Its Friday night, a government shutdown looms ahead of the nation and all I have planned for the evening is to sit in front of my computer, and fill out my estate planning documents, which I paid for about two months ago, and maybe try to catch up on some trashy T.V.. What I would have liked to be doing on Friday night was getting ready for a date with a man who I met on Match, which is proving to be more frustrating than anything else. What I ended up doing was quite different from the other two options, in a way, and not something I would have considered doing before however, after three Stella’s in about a thirty minute time frame, I decided that my estate planning could wait because 1) estate planning on beer could get very sloppy and 2) I was going to crash my brothers guy’s night out.
That’s right… This girl was crashing Guys Night Out! When I sprung this news on my brother, who is five years my junior and single with no kids, I fully expected resistance. You know the kind that comes in the form of a solid and resounding “NO” or “we don’t really want a helicopter mom hanging out with us” or “no because you will ruin all the fun” but what I didn’t expect was the blank stare and “okay” that followed. Surprised by this little turn of events, I quickly put on my face and a pretty, but not to pretty, shirt and prepared to be bored out of my mind and begging to be brought home within an hour. However, what I got, was probably one of the best nights a single girl on her own with seven guys; a cook, an engineer, one ex-Army Green Beret and four ex-Marines, could have asked for. To be honest, and in typical judgmental fashion, I expected to be surrounded by a bunch of jar headed, self-absorbed jerks who hit on everything that walked by but what I got was a bunch of warm-hearted, kind, polite and hysterically funny men who exude pride, honesty and integrity.
The night started off a little slow with me and my brother meeting the engineer and the Army guy at THE local Micro Brew, Able Ebenezer (btw… if you have never been.. go), where we imbibed in a few brews and chatted about everything from my secret crush to the engineers twenty year relationship to food; which led the four of us to our second spot of the night, The Flat’s, another local spot where everyone knows your name, or my brother’s name anyway. At this point I was running on five beers and about to scarf a plate of nachos, that looked way better in the picture on the menu, when I started to regret not ordering that cheap beer off the menu while I listened to my brother sulk about the bartender, his crush, leaving and not stopping to say “hi”, this is also when I realized that this place has what could possibly, almost, be the best guacamole, besides my own, that I have ever tasted. If you are a guacamole aficionado, like myself, then you know that the struggle to find a good guac out in the world is definitely real.
So it was after the Army guy finished air humping the window next to our table from the porch while smoking a butt, and my brother cleared up the confusion over who ended up paying the already paid bill, we quickly departed the premises and ended up next door at Walgreen’s, I needed a new charging cable…. and some M&M’s, before arriving at stop number three of the evening; The Peddler’s Daughter.
Enter the Marines, who I am aptly naming; M1, M2, M3 & M4. This is where the evening gets very interesting and belly achingly funny.
M2: Did you know that, that guy right there (pointing to M3) is a badger?
Random Couple: A badger? Like the animal? Why is he a badger?
M2: Yes because he burrows and has a huge head. I’m a bunny because I’m agile and snuggly. What are you guys?
RC: (woman) I’m a Lion. (guy) I’m a dragon.
M2: You guys suck at this game. (and walks away)
I find this little exchange to be interesting because it points out that not a lot of people have the ability to be creative on the fly and would rather opt for the obvious than be different. Would I have been able to come up with some awesome animal personality on the fly? Maybe, maybe not but in any case, I learned that Marines, or at least these four, grunt in an animalistic way to communicate, will dry hump each other and their friends in public, will grope each others man boobs in public, wrestle like five-year olds in public and have no shame.
After narrowly escaping two fights, not our fault, and a short but cold walk down the block and across the street, the eight of us ended up at some hole in the wall Chinese joint called Five Dragons. This place was everything that you would expect from a dive, amazing smelling food, which we sadly did not get to try, a ghetto bar set up, sketchy patrons and that take no BS old couple with the wife who yells at you in Chinese. What follows is an actual and true account of our time at 5D’s; M1 had a serious case of the hangries, there may or may not have been some wrestling between M1 and Army guy, M2 was becoming besties with a Navy guy and his not-girlfriend, M4 was the one who suggested we all have a scorpion bowl draining competition (which he won), I may or may not have suggested that the two girls who had to play witness to our shenanigans leave without paying their bill, the engineer was turning out to be quite interesting…. and ok… maybe kind of adorable too, I may or may not have added to my pint glass collection via the “five finger discount method”, I also may have perfected my grunting communication method and finally, we may or may not have been kicked out because we were just too much fun for one little dive bar. This all happened in the span of maybe forty-five minutes and ok… they were really closing but my version is more fun.
Last stop of the night took us to everyone’s favorite place; The Nuch or Penuchi’s for those of you from out-of-town. Every time I walk into this place I am instantly transported back to my twenties when I would hang out here, drink too much Woodchuck and throw a terrible game of darts. Needless to say, this time was different in that they finally added Stella to the beer list, darts were a no-go (too many Stella’s), I was able to reunite a few high school friends, who weren’t really friends at all but, did graduate together…. You’re welcome! Aaaannnndd….. I learned that M1 really does have an alcohol tolerance level, M3 has a six month old daughter and makes twice what I make working on a train, M4 has a girlfriend and didn’t know M1, 2, or 3 until after they had all retired, Army guy really has zero F*$#’s to give, engineer guy’s girlfriend figure skates (among other things), how to avoid two more fights (not our fault… again), and lastly, these guys were nothing like what I expected.
The night capped off with Army guy, M1, M2, the engineer, my brother and I all at my house at two am drinking water, waking up Jasper, T and the rest of the house, my learning that M2 really isn’t superficial and a round of drunken “I love you Bertie (my new nickname). You have my back” from M1 but most importantly, I learned something amazing about each one of these guys that I dint know before. It isn’t my place to tell their stories, yet, but what I can say, is that each one is determined to make the best possible life they can, not just for themselves but for their families. Life as a Marine and an Army Green Beret was not easy and even though it did pass with great personal sacrifices for each, what I did not hear, not once, from any of them, was regret. Not when M1 was silently battling his demons from PTSD, not when M3 was talking about the damage to his back and not even when Army guy was talking about a bomb blowing up in his face.
Life got real for these guys early on yet they took it in stride and still continue to live their lives, scars and all. It is not enough to say that we could all learn a lesson from them and every other man, woman and child who has sacrificed in the name of freedom because until you walk a mile in their shoes, you will never know.
Until next time!