Monday, March 26, 2007

The Mandate on Man Dates

Rob just got back from a 10-week joint forces training course. This is a senior officer course about how the different services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) all work together. It's supposed to be training for taking a "joint" assignment, where you work with the other services.

Of course, thanks to military bureaucracy, you often get cases like my husband, who has been working in his joint assignment for two years. He could probably teach half the classes. In fact, he ended up in a class of mostly Colonels with more experience than some of the instructors--and they did end up teaching some topics. ("I know the regulations say that. Now here's how it really works…") Rob had a terrific time and learned a lot. Even more, this has been the first such course where he really fell in with the group and did a lot of useful networking, which is another reason for these courses.

One of the side benefits, it seems, is for these up-and-comers to relax and enjoy themselves before they have to return to their positions of responsibility. For 10 weeks, they can be college kids again. They had volleyball tournaments. (Rob's crew had T-shirts with the motto "Experience and Treachery Over Youth and Ability!") They had poker games. (Rob didn't participate--he's more of an on-line role-playing sort.) And they partied. Oh, did they party. Relive-the-glory-days and act-like-the-fighter-pilots-we-know-we-are party. (Here, Rob did the "fly-by": show up for a drink or two, then turn in to chat with me on the IM. Love that man!)

They draw the line, however, at going to the movies together.

As you know, 300 is out. (Terrific movie, though it deserves the R rating.) Since it deals with the Battle of Thermopylae, Rob thought they should go see it as a class.

Oh, no! Can't do that. That'd be a Man Date.

Yep. A Man Date. We can't have that--men going to the movies together. Next thing you know, they'll be hugging and sharing their deepest thoughts over mochachinos. And to ask fighter pilots to Man Date? The entire defense of our nation could crumble!

Apparently, there's an unwritten rule that Real Men need a woman in order to attend a movie. Even a movie with excessive violence and gratuitous nudity. I guess someone's got to go for more popcorn.

There is, apparently, some kind of complex code for determining what constitutes a Man Date. As a woman, I'm not privy to the secret, but I've deduced the formula has to do with alcohol, women, stogies, and quite probably bodily functions (you know which ones). Thus, as we've seen, going to the movies is definitely a Man Date. Bar hopping is not--apparently, liquor and the presence of women in the bar (even if all the guys are happily married) make this an approved macho activity. Poker is up in the air, according to Rob. I'm guessing a good rule of thumb is that if you see guys do it on a beer commercial, it's probably not a Man Date.

Well, Rob and I saw 300 tonight. Rob thinks it will become a military classic. He predicts that one day, it may become required viewing at the Air Force Academy.

But you can bet that the male cadets won't be going out together to see it on their own.

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