Men only

WRITING - Joe Bob's America

I'm feeling especially MANLY today.

I just got back from one of those Wild Man Weekends where you go out in the woods with twenty other guys and put bandanas on your head and beat tom-toms together to prove you're not a wimp.

It was great. I sweated a lot. I cried. I sweated WHILE I was crying. Of course, I was crying because they made me sweat so much. We had this one part of the weekend where we went in a giant sauna and turned it up to about, oh, 280, until everybody's skin turned the color of strawberry Jello and the veins in our foreheads started exploding, and it turned into this communal out-of-body MALE thing, where everybody was screaming "I want OUT of my body!" Unfortunately Saul Steinman didn't make it through that part of the weekend. Saul was a fine insurance adjustor from Milwaukee who got a brain hemorrhage and died. We'll miss him. But what was great about that is that we got to have the ancient dead-warrior ritual where we piled stones on top of Saul's body and set him on fire, and then we started REALLY feeling like men.

Do yall know what I'm talking about? You've heard about this? It's the Masculine Movement, where we get back in touch with our caveman selves. It's so POWERFUL. You really can't understand it unless you've been there, but when I got finished with the Wild Man Weekend, I didn't wanna bathe for at least two years. And normally I would wanna bathe once every two weeks. It changes you that much.

As explained by our Wild Man Weekend instructor, Norm Moseby, the process involves five phases: Sweating, Yelling, Crying, Drum-Beating, and Ripping Your Shirt Off Even If It's Expensive.

You may wonder why we do this stuff. It's because the modern American male has lost touch with his primitive self. They used to have a ceremony called Separating From The Mother. (Of course, they still do. It's called the "Get a job!" ceremony.) But now most guys, according to Norm, NEVER separate from their mothers. They think ALL women are their mothers, and so they expect all their girlfriends to take care of their emotional needs.

Once I understood this, I called up my mother to tell her I was separating from her.

"That's nice," she said. "I'm glad you have a hobby."

The other ceremony they used to have is called Initiation Into the Company of Men. Of course, we still have this one, too. It's called "beer." In primitive times they would ram crooked sticks through your breast, like in "A Man Called Horse," and then beat you with a Lincoln Log or something until you felt like a man. But Norm says the modern American man never does this, and so he spends his whole life feeling UNCOMFORTABLE around other men, and never talking to them about anything except football.

I hope you're following this.

That's why we start off with the lobster-sauna Sweating Ceremony. Then we move on to the Yelling Like Banshees Ceremony. Then we sit in a circle, and whoever has the stick gets to talk, and he's supposed to say stuff from "A Chorus Line," like "I was always afraid I was a homosexual, and my father kicked my Tonka dumptruck when I was seven and I never got over it," until he starts bawling like a baby in front of everybody else.

Next comes Beating The Manly Tom-Tom. In order to get in touch with our real wild-man self, we whale away on these drums and slamdance against trees until we lose control and BECOME THE DRUM--or something like that. I didn't quite understand what the point was, because I lost control and started giving noogies to Fred Bushman, a Xerox marketing analyst from Tampa, Florida. Sometimes guys get so carried away they start screaming out personal stuff, from the deepest part of the primitive brain lobe, like "She divorced me because I never could stand her sister!"

And, finally, we get to the Ceremony of the Ripping Shirt, where we cavort around like apes in the jungle, exposing our manly flesh to the elements, revealing our manliness to other men, becoming the true warrior-king-lover-gods that we always were but Brenda Weatherby in tenth grade would never believe it. Then we make a conga line and dance out into the woods and plunge into the river and splash around like alligator gar on cocaine until we feel manly enough to take off all our clothes and rip the guts out of a wild hog.

I felt so much better after this. I went back to Grapevine, Texas, where I live, and I told my girlfriend Wanda Bodine everything I'd been through, and she said, "That sounds great. Did they teach you how to wear the same color sock on both feet?"

You ever feel like women don't UNDERSTAND just how manly we are?

It bugs me.