Wednesday, October 22, 2008

JOURNAL EXCERPT: May 29, Mon. 1978 at 9:50 PM

"The date Fri. night that T. set me up with didn't work out. T. said C., the girl I was supposed to be with, was being a bitch about the whole thing. I agree, but what can I say? C. is seeing an ex-preacher or maybe he still is a preacher, who's wife is a lesbian, so C. fucks him. The guy was possibly going to drop by the bar we were at, which was ridiculous because C. was supposed to be with me. I kind of ignored her most of the time she was there, because I had a bad impression of her before I ever met her. C. left and T., D., Todd's date and I went to another bar to play backgammon. I felt totally out of place, but fortunately, I was too drunk to worry about it. T. and D. were displaying signs of affection while I was sitting there like some kind of fool. As it turns out, T. may move in with D., who's 24, while T. is only 20. D. might try and set me up with someone next, but somehow I don't think so. I'm tired of being set up. So much for that."

MANHOOD REDO: I've never really understood dating, probably because I'm reluctant to play the role expected of my gender. And I'm not referring to some 1950s-60s scenario where you rush out of the car to open her door. The show "Mad Men" on AMC seems to suggest that those platitudes and pleasantries were largely superficial, spiked with an undercurrent of misogyny and betrayal - at least in the world of ad men.

When I was in high school, R., a junior when I was a senior, came running out of the school to tell me and a few other guys that he'd told L., a cheerleader in his class he was going out with and someone I went out with a year later, that he "loved" her. It was clear that he only said it for "effect," meaning he didn't really love her; he wanted her to think that he loved her so that she would be enamoured with him. His statement to her befuddled me. At 18, I knew I didn't know what the hell it meant to love someone, was pretty sure he didn't know, and had no idea how long it would take for me to know.

Abby and I never really dated in any official sense. There's a stigma against romantic involvement between friends - too much like a brother/sister relationship, not enough fire, I suppose. But friendship's always been at the base of our connection. I just like hanging out with her. We do that a lot.

Monday, October 20, 2008

JOURNAL EXCERPT: May 22, Mon. 1978 at 10:00 PM

"My dad and I tried to put some windows in our converted garage/playroom today. We are slowly getting the first one put in, but I have reached the conclusion that neither of us are carpenters."

MANHOOD REDO: I haven't been keeping up with the blog. Work has taken over my life these past few months and left little energy for outside projects. I haven't worked on my novel in ages it feels like. Although I have had to find a little time for home repair. A while back a large tree branch smashed through our front porch handrail and knocked off a step during a storm, so I did a temporary patch job.

I don't really remember replacing garage windows as it's described in the above journal excerpt; it's hard for me to believe Dad and I tacked anything this major in terms of home repair. Mainly, I remember working on the cars with him back in the days when you could do that yourself without anything in the way of complex electronic equipment. He taught me how to adjust or change the points and change the plugs, and there's probably something I'm forgetting since it seems like there was a third task. We just wanted to save the money.

He doesn't work on his car anymore and neither do I. Home repair and car maintenance aren't very strong aspects of our masculinity. If I had more time and a friend who lived close by who could mentor me, I'd probably get into it more. I did refurbish the kitchen windows when we had a contractor remodel the kitchen.

I wonder what manly tasks fathers and sons do together nowadays?