Tag Archives: friends

Dude Date

12 Jun

letter you may remember last year about this time the big Batman movie was about to come out. Just as I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t find anyone in my sphere of influence excited enough to see the movie with me on opening night, a piece from the New York Times titled “Friends Of A Certain Age – Why is it hard to make friends over 30?” came across my newsfeed and struck particularly close to home. (See my related blogpost “Where do dads get friends?”)

Later that year, for my birthday and the coinciding release of “The Hobbit,” UnDorkMommy managed to cobble together a group of likeminded nerds for a nerds-night-out. Among that group were three other local dads, all of whom could appreciate beer, burgers and dorky movies.

Where last year was Batman, this year is Superman. I wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass. Months ago I called the other dorky dads and gauged their interest in another dads/dudes night out to see “Man of Steel.” They were all in – tentatively, pending schedules, release dates, and permission from the wives of course. “Awesome,” I thought. Four dads/dudes out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel.” I was stoked.

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A few weeks ago, after the release date was announced, one of the dads had to drop out. This weekend is his son’s birthday. Can’t fault him there. That’s OK. The other guys were firm. Three dads/dudes out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel” would still be awesome. I was still stoked.

We pinged back and forth coordinating work schedules, figuring logistics, and finally last night it came time to buy advanced tickets – 7:20pm show. Meet at my place between 4:30 and 5… head out from there. Awesome. So stoked.

Then this morning I get a text message from dude/dad #2. “I am out. Will not work for me. Enjoy boys.”

So now it’s just me and dude/dad #3 – which presents an unforeseen, awkward dynamic. My epic, 4-man, dork/dads/dude’s night out for beers, burgers and “Man of Steel” has turned into… well… a date.

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I relayed the story to my assistants during the first filling of the morning. I should have known better. “Wait a minute,” said my assistant as she handed me an instrument. “Just you and another guy? Dinner and a movie? Yep, it’s a date.”

My patient agreed. “uhh, huuh” he managed, despite the fact that I was drilling his tooth at that exact moment. The conversation only degenerated from there.

From across the office my other assistant said “You don’t want to have too many beers. You might make a bad choice you’ll regret the next day.”

“Just make sure you aren’t wearing too much AXE body spray” said assistant #1, clearly enjoying watching me squirm.

“Oh, and make sure you don’t shave your legs the night before,” said assistant #2. “That way no matter how bad you want to take things further, you’ll be too embarrassed to do it.”

At this point the patient was totally gagging, launching water and fluids all over the operatory, not because of anything I was doing, but because he was laughing as my assistants gleefully twisted the knife in my back. As she offered some suction to the choking patient my assistant gleefully said “Just remember, he won’t want to buy the ice cream truck if he gets the popsicles for free.”

I finished working in his mouth and made my way back to my private office. “What movie are they seeing?” I heard one assistant ask the other.

“Thuperman,” came the response (emphasis in the sibilant “S”). “He’th tho thtrong with hith muthleth and hith thkin tight thuit.”

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I closed the door to my private office and relayed the recent conversation via text message to the two dudes/dorks/dads. The last text read “Jokes about AXE body spray and shaving your legs. My patient was gagging, cracking up so hard while I was drilling on him.”

The remaining dude/dad texted back “My text window just displayed ‘hard while I was drilling on him.’ Should I just show up to your office with leather pants?”

“The innuendos are popping up all over today,” I replied.

“You can tell your staff it was going to be a group thing,” he texted back. “But Corey pulled out.”

This always happens with the tentpole movies.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a very long work day today. The thinly-veiled jokes are going to keep coming and coming

-Dork Dad

dude date

The Healing Power Of An F-Bomb

4 Feb

letter when your wife is your perfect counterbalance it stands to reason that if you tip the scales overwhelmingly in the dorky-direction, she would come down overwhelmingly on the UN-dorky side of the equation. Such is life in our household. We’re good for each other in that way. I loosen her up, she reins me in and we both wind up in a much healthier place. That said, when she wants to do something wonderful for me, something that may require a little more dork-factor than she is capable of mustering, she usually needs a little help. Such was the case a few months ago as my birthday approached.

UnDorkMommy sat me down one night and asked me what I wanted for my birthday. The only thing I feel like I’m missing in my life is the opportunity to hang out with a good bunch of dude-friends. The realities of being a responsible family-man just don’t leave room for the sort of friendships you enjoyed in your roaring 20’s, and I feel that loss pretty acutely. Certainly the skillset to foster those relationships is still there, but your priorities change when you’ve got a family, not to mention the demands on your time. So when she asked me what I wanted, my one heart’s desire was to have an afternoon to totally dork-out with some like-minded friends, most of whom were professional dads – family men like me. In my mind I imagined beers and burgers for lunch, followed by “The Hobbit” in 3D and 48fps (opening on my birthday weekend), and then more beers and artery-clogging food after that.

“OK… so… who would you invite?”

“Well, probably these people on my FB friends list.”

“OK… so… how would I get in touch with them?”

“Here, let me show you.”

“And… where would you want to eat?”

“Ask this guy. He’ll know the best place.”

“And… where would you want to see the movie?”

“At this theater here, but it’ll be opening weekend so we’ll probably want to get tickets in advance.”

“And… how would I go about doing that that?”

“Here, let me show you.”

Etc. Etc.

Let it be stated for the record that my wife is an incredibly competent woman. But in the nerd-world she’s a fish out of water.

Fast-forward a few months and I’m sitting at a brewpub with my dorkiest buddies, some of whom generously came from very far away, a frosty beer in front of me, garlic-laden awesomeness on a bun on my plate, tickets for everyone to the 2:30 show in my pocket. Almost none of the guests knew each other, but I knew the group would get along famously. Within five minutes of making the introductions the conversation was blazing. You see, the one thing that everyone at the table had in common (besides me) was a thorough appreciation of all-things-geek. Whether it was the childless couples who got out of town to do something different, or the dads at the table who cashed in their one dads-night-out card for the year on this event, the chemistry in the group was instant. The geek-factor was sky-high. The conversation flowed like The Force through a Jedi (that was almost too nerdy to type even for me). It was just what I wanted – just what I needed.

Not the nerdiest of nerds, but nerds none the less.

Not the nerdiest of nerds, but nerds none the less.

Sitting around that table, something interesting happened though that I didn’t expect. The conversation was loose. The IPA was fantastic. People were letting their guard down among strangers. And then, suddenly, someone dropped an F-bomb.

There was a beat, almost imperceptible but a beat none-the-less, and then the conversation comfortably moved along. If a primatologist were there, secretly observing our group from an invisible daddy-duckblind they would have noted that beat, that moment as a turning point in the social dynamic of the afternoon. Allow me to explain.

droidscurseIn my life there are five roles I generally fill: Husband, Father, Doctor, Boss, Teacher. That’s pretty much my entire life. In each of those roles there is a certain range of expected, acceptable behaviors. Anything beyond that range compromises your ability to function in that role. This reality so dominates my days that I have become very skilled at identifying what the behavioral norms are for whatever situation I’m in, and adjusting my behavior accordingly. Much as I wish it were not the case, the dentist who wears superhero t-shirts and flip-flops when meeting a patient for the first time tends to have a tougher time maintaining a healthy business. Whether I’m wearing my husband, father, doctor, boss or teacher hat, in none of those circumstances is it appropriate to drop a well-placed, heart-felt, withering F-bomb.

batscurseMore than half the people sitting at that table were daddies and professionals, just like me. Their lives and their behavioral norms are totally compartmentalized just like mine. In that one post-F-bomb moment, when the daddies at the table looked up from their beers and looked around to take inventory of who was sitting there with them, and by extension what set of behavioral norms they needed to fall into, the realization suddenly came to each and every one of us that if ever there was a right audience, time and place to drop an F-bomb, this was it.

It wasn’t as if we suddenly turned into a group of sailors. But for that one glorious afternoon, surrounded by people in (and on shore leave from) the exact same life-circumstance as I am, there were no socially acceptable bounds on my behavior beyond who I am naturally. Me – just me. No hats to wear. No parts to play. As I drove home after dinner, I had to laugh. Heading into this birthday event what I didn’t see coming, what I didn’t realize about myself was just how badly I needed to curse.

…or at least how badly I needed the freedom to curse.

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After dinner we all parted ways with smiles on our faces. The childless couples leisurely strolled off arm-in-arm with no sense of urgency. The dads heartily shook hands before heading off to their cars to return to their families. As fun as it was to spend an entire afternoon and evening with my nerd friends (and they all know the respect with which I use the word “nerd”) what I will remember most is how each and every one of the daddies came up to me at different points and said, “Thank you so much. I really needed this.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only one.

How many days is it until “The Hobbit – Part 2” is released?

-Dork Dad

(on a related note, check out this article from Alan Kercinik: “I Am A Dentist And I Need To See Your Wee Wee”. It’s applicable, I swear.)

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