Male Bonding

June 29, 2009 at 11:00 am 1 comment


This weekend saw my annual male bonding exercise. Six men on a testosterone fuelled display of strength, endurance and all-round manliness on a yomp around the Peak District.

This year included two of my best friends in all the world – friends from university who I have known for more than half of my life. Then there were three others who have joined the group over the years either by being a friend of a friend or by marrying into the group. They are all great guys and fun to be with. But, I still don’t want to sleep with any of them.

We spent Friday night at the YHA in Eyam, Derbyshire. Youth Hostels have changed a lot since I last used them – which was some 22 years ago. Back then the typical age range would be from about 14 to 25; you were segregated into male and female wings; there was no alcohol; and, you had to do chores to earn your breakfast. Now, our group of forty somethings were amongst the youngest of the residence; the corridors were mixed-sex; they had a bar; and, all we had to do for our breakfast was strip our beds.

That said, our room was still reminiscent of a POW camp – three bunk beds, a window with bars, and a single sink. And, the facilities were less than salubrious. The carpet in the corridor was suspiciously tacky. If you were not first up (and I was not first up) then you waded into the shower. And, you didn’t want to think too hard about why the floor of the toilet was a little damp and tacky. Men and their toilet habits. Pigs the lot of them!

As much as I love my guys, sleeping with them is not the most enjoyable part of the walking weekend. That would be the pub at the end of the walk. Indeed, my sleep on Friday night was somewhat deprived. It is never a good idea to follow a trip to the pub (during which several pints of ale and lager are consumed in order to wash down fish and chips or sausage and mash followed by some pudding that has not passed ones lips since school dinners) with communal sleeping. It is doubly not to be recommended when the walk from the pub is up a one in five slope on a very muggy and humid evening.

I pity the three women in the room next to us. I pitied me. Within just five minutes of our return to the hostel our room and the corridor we shared were, well, fragrant. Beery, sweaty, farty fragrant with an undertone of mint. The one brief attempt at cleanliness seemed to involve a communal huddle around the single sink in our room for a bout of tooth cleaning.

Isn’t it funny how different people clean their teeth? Me, myself, am one who needs to hang over the sink in case I dribble and I need to rinse and spit a lot. Some of my fellow ramblers were very adept at brushing while walking around the room.

We all then sucked in our bellies, averted our eyes to ceilings, corners and floor and undressed for bed. This involves grunting and harumphing in a deep, guttural, manly way as if to say “yes I am dropping my trousers now so avert your eyes or, as alpha male, I will be required to beat you”.

There was a strange array of pj bottoms, boxer shorts and briefs, with or without t-shirts. We all clambered into and onto our bunks, said goodnight (like the Waltons), and turned our faces to the walls. Turning our faces to the walls was clearly a failed attempt to convince our psyche that we were not in fact sleeping in a room with five other men. Like hiding from monsters by burying your head under the duvet, if you could not see them then they weren’t really there.

“Sleeping” is not something that I did much of that night. I did not sleep well because:

  1. I was attempting not to breathe the beery, sweaty, farty fragrant with an undertone of mint atmosphere through my mouth
  2. I was in the top bunk with my head closest to the door; there was a glass panel above the door through which the corridor light burned throughout the night like a searchlight in a concentration camp
  3. My fellow cell-mates have shrivelled bladders or pituitary issues which required an average of two trips to the loo per man; this required the door to be banged and light to flood the room
  4. Two of our number snored like troopers while another squeaked and whimpered like a little girl (clearly the face to the wall trick had not worked)
  5. All beds creaked and groaned with the slightest movement and there were several wrigglers amongst our number
  6. It was hot, hot, hot

It was a relief when 7.30am arrived and I was able to vacate the room to take a gulp of corridor air and wade to a shower cubicle.

Next year I will insist on my usual separate room and restrict my bonding activities to the daytime.


Entry filed under: humour, middleman. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Where do they find them? Michael Jackson RIP

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. woodman3  |  August 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Oh I love the writing style…

    I was in the pub yesterday when I suddenly realized I desperately needed to fart. The music was really, really loud, so I timed my farts with the beat.

    After a couple of songs, I started to feel better. I finished my pint and noticed that everybody was staring at me.

    Then I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod.

    Enjoy a laugh at a 40 some things expense… lol



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