Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Me and the Boys

I really do like men – even though for the vast majority of my “real” professional life, I have worked only with women. Oh sure, there was my first therapist job where I worked at a local family service agency. There the staff was about 50/50 male to female, but I lasted less than six months.

Then it was onto the work of my heart - working with survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Not a whole lot of men in that field. In fact, the one man I worked with I had to fire. He just wasn’t a good fit. And he was crazy.

But I digress.

Now I work at an organization at the university that has “women” in its title. Again, not many men in my neck of the woods.

(Professionally, that is. Of course, SRH and Zane are the two most important people in my world – and they’re both boys. But since I happen to be heterosexual, partnering with a man was really my only option. And SRH got to determine that Zane would be XY. My only point being that I didn’t actually choose in a conscious way to have these men in my life – I simply lucked out.)

So imagine my delight and surprise that my past eight days have been filled with men, men, men!

Hot Springs Interlude
I was at a conference last week in Boulder, where at least half of the 47 participants were male. (See, I do professionally interact with men. I do!) Anyway, this amazing conference was located at a beautiful rocky mountain resort, which happened to have four hot springs located lakeside.

So, I’m busy hot springing, enjoying a delightful conversation with one of the MALE conference attendees, when another of those beings with penises decides to join us.

Guy: Do you care if I join you?

Me and Other Guy: Yeah. Of course. Come on in.

Guy: I didn’t bring a swimsuit, so I hope you guys don’t mind.

Me: (what I thought) Ummm….okay. I don’t care if he wears boxers or a pair of shorts into the tub. I am totally cool with this. Look at me, being all down with the no-swimsuit thing.

Me and Other Guy: Whatever. Come on in! It’s wonderful in here.

At which point, Guy takes of all his clothes and jumps in. Yep. Every single bit of his clothes. Gone. Naked. No underwear, no sports shorts. Just his birthday suit.

What I thought as I edged myself to the farthest corner of the pool, I am so NOT down with this. What kind of wingnut gets naked with people he just met today? Nobody’s been drinking. Nobody’s using drugs. Who does this – skinny dipping at a professional conference?

I know I tend toward modesty, but really. I’m just not cool with this. I’m trying to be, but I'm failing miserably.

But I pulled it together, looked away as he climbed into the spring, and planned my escape.

Except that this particular scenario replayed itself three additional times before I was able to make a graceful exit.

Yep, that was me in the hot springs with seven men – four of whom were naked as the day they were born.

Fortunately, there was no weird predatory or sexual vibe.

A thought soon after, This will so go into my blog. Even if everyone thinks I’m Prudy McModest from Straight-Arrowsville, this story must be told.

Holiday Interlude
SRH’s two best friends were in town for the holiday, and it was great. We haven’t seen either of them for a while as they live in far flung places, and they are some of the easiest houseguests ever.

Still, my house was overflowing with testosterone.

Case in point, Friday night they went to a local pub and got quite pie-eyed. They slept in late Saturday morning, got up and went out for a noontime breakfast, followed by a trip to the theatre for the newest James Bond flick. They then came home and played killy-killy death games on the computer. It was crazy male-bonding.

I’m a little surprised they didn’t shoot a deer on the way home, but perhaps there are things they aren’t telling me.

Here are the things I discovered from the men this weekend:

  • Males, when living without female company, will simply rinse their dishes in water and call them clean.
  • Bathroom hygiene is questionable with two people who stand up to pee in the house – with four it’s unbearable.
  • I am, apparently, Michu like. (I assume this is in reference to my height, not my proclivity for wearing striped suits).

Medical Interlude
Another day. Another man.

So the doctor says to me today, “I think it’s either bronchitis or a sinus infection. It really doesn’t matter. The antibiotic should take care of either one of those things. You’ve been sick for so long (10 days and counting), that I’m pretty sure it’s not a virus.”

How’s that for confidence-inspiring?

At least dude gave me some killer cough syrup. By killer I mean, it tastes terrible, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be feeling no pain in about 10 minutes.


zingerzapper said...

Okay, I have to say that the thought of you sitting in a spring with that many naked men threw me off a little. I think as soon as I realized there were no britches under the pants that the hand would have went up with a BIG STOP!!! Put that/those things away. That is just too much. I hope you weren't expected to make eye contact with any of them later. Damn stupid male entitlement.

lsig said...

Were any of these men European by any chance? Naked co-ed sauna/hot tubbing is apparently quite the done thing in Sweden, even around co-workers.

peefer said...

How inconsiderate of those men. I would ask if you minded first. You know, out of courtesy and respect.

Then I would go in naked.

Zooland said...

Privilege, privilege, privilege. Imagine the opposite scenarios.

Anonymous said...

All those NAKED MEN!!!! What kind of conferences do you go to? I may have to change professions...I definitely don't want to see any of the current work geeks naked in a hot tub...LOL

IC Yellow

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is "UHHHH, bad mental images". Believe you me, I love men, have one of my own, but even though I love him and I'm attracted to him, the male form isn't pretty. And to have 4 men that you've never met (I'm sure not the most attractive model types either) get naked and hop in - YUCKY!

Tree Monkey

Zany Mama said...

You were thrown off a little? Imagine the phone call that I had with SRH later that night.

Interestingly enough, the one European guy did not come to the hotsprings. But I'm willing to say that there was a distinct cultural difference occuring. I'm just not sure what the divergent cultures were.

You are such a gentleman. A naked, fiendish gentleman.

Privilege was indeed in the air and all around. I still had an amazingly powerful experience at the conference - just not at the hot springs.

IC Yellow-
So you think maybe macro social work is for you? I don't see it, but I feel like I should tell you (for purposes of full disclosure) that most activiist type workshops don't involve nudity.

On the other hand, it's kind of funny to imagine your group getting rowdy and nekkid at the company barbeque.

Tree Monkey-
It's really interesting that my overall feeling wasn't "yucky" so much as a vague sense of "I should be cooler with this than I am."

Go figure. I have hangups.

jw said...

Funny you should mention that... I have a similar story about a hot tub incident that occurred at a CERTAIN hairstylist's party a couple of years ago.
It involved a thong and poor grooming. I'll have to tell you about it sometime. (Or maybe I'll write about it)
If you ever find yourself in that position with a very inconsiderate guy again, just look him in the eye, then pan down to his area, and do a half smirk/look of pity type thing, and I'm sure the guy will be outta there faster than you can say whatever you can say really fast.
Hope ya feel better soon!
Michu??? your pop culture references continually astound me.

belsum said...

You know, I had an abundance of men in my worklife today, and after years of being in an almost all female group it's quite refreshing. But they all had clothes on.

How odd!

Dustin said...

Now THATS a conference. Seriously though, who does that? Crazy.

Men are fickle creatures. Smart enough to attract mates, but not intelligent enough to wash on a regular basis. All I can say is that God works in mysterious ways (and by "mysterious" I mean kinda disturbing).

Zany Mama said...

Oh no. You know how you have an image of someone in your mind and you don't want it to change? That's where I am. Please don't tell me it was the hair stylist in question who wore the thong and neglected to wax his bikini area.

I'd like to take credit for Michu, but that came from SRH's evil friend Captain McArmypants.

I'm starting to believe that everyone should all experience this kind of discomfort. It's a growth experinece.

And if nothing, it makes your friends laugh.

I thought you'd respond by reminding me of your sauna experience - you've been naked with a bunch of near-stranger men.

It wasn't fun, was it?

Anonymous said...

I am speechless (which is rare). I have NO idea what I would've done.

I'll never sleep tonight after reading this....

Anonymous said...

EVIL? I mean really?......maybe iniquitous? BUT EVIL?!?!?

In this CPT guy's defense, this clearly misunderstood comment came up in a discussion about safety. Best of intentions. Can a man who demonstrates concern for a small child really be evil?


Zany Mama said...

I was speechless myself. It was quite surreal. (and just seems to get more so every time I think about it)

Being evil and having concern for child safety are not mutually exclusive. One can be evil and still want the best for small children.

allrileyedup said...

I am clearly not attending the right conferences.