“You mean like when Daniel banged that girl with the lazy eye?”
“Yeah, how’d you know which one to look at?”
“Fuck you guys that was YEARS ago.”
The bond between males is as strange as it is normal. What kind of relationship is bound by a mutual desire to get under each other’s skin? It is an art form, and I’m sure the only reason men evolved to have any memory at all is to remember all the stupid things their friends have done in order to ensure no one gets too big for their britches.
From an early age, it has always been this way, although the stakes have changed. It used to be whoever pissed or shit themselves, who cried or who was a tattletale. Now it is who slept with the most undesirable person, telling of tall tales or (still) who pissed or shit themselves. Now, as then, if you get dubbed a nickname, you’re a made man. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Giving each other a hard time is a sign of a special bond between men: it means you’ve been around each other enough to fuck up and not have it bother you. Showing any form of weakness elicits even more taunting, so it also builds character and teaches one to have a thick skin. Think of the Bildungsroman turned movie Stand by Me, the entire movie is about kids going on an adventure and fucking with each other. Every guy that left his house as a kid can relate, and those similar experiences shaped who I am today.
Male friend groups are different from mixed company or female groups. I’m not here to debate whether men and women can be friends, but I do know that our group dynamics are certainly different.
When I was doing field research on the topic, my only conclusion was that they are fake nice to each other and talk shit behind each other’s backs, rather than being upfront. With men, if you have an issue, you can tell each other, which may or may not lead to fisticuffs. You can generally bet that when men go to blows, they will be back to being friends within a few days, if not few minutes after a fight. Women remember when someone wrongs them and hold grudges for years, whereas men only remember things other men did to give them razzing.
Giving someone the business can’t be out of left field, though, and there has to be an occasion. Otherwise, you’re a genuine asshole. There is a time and place for this and using discretion is your best friend. I generally reserve my times for knocking down a few pegs to keep social order. If someone gets out of line, it is your duty to let them know this by bringing up the time that they passed out drunk while shitting and then threw up on their balls. Don’t commit the crime if you’re not ready to do the time.
I’m still on the line for a million stupid things that I did, and I’d have it no other way. Every time we get a new guy on our beer league team, they are run through the gauntlet of everything they’ve missed. It is both oral tradition, an initiation and a rite of passage. Having commonalities and experiences with people is what makes us human. Using those commonalities and experiences to fuck with each other makes us men..
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