Mancation lessons: No photos and don't tell the ladies

My head hurts, my body temperature has increased by at least 2 degrees, my stomach feels like someone stuffed it with concrete and I have a scab on my earlobe - the origin of which escapes me.

But damn was that a good time.

You see, the coming of spring means my annual mancation, featuring days of heterosexual debauchery with the four people I consider my closest male friends. Every year we choose a location and gather for days of drinking, Xbox, wrestling matches and above all else - long discussions about our feelings.

Our feelings about boobs, our feelings about PlayStation 3, our feelings about who is responsible for that smell, our feelings about wavy vs. plain potato chips, our feelings about that horrible (bleeping) call by the jack-(bleeping) (bleep) of a video game.

For those looking to start their own mancation, there is only one rule that must be followed: Girlfriends/wives are not completely banned, but interaction must be limited to less than four hours. Why? Because men act differently when our significant others are not around.

Ladies, please don't take that to mean we are cheating on you - we very possible are, but that's not what this rule is about. When you are around your closest friends, you do things and you tell stories of days of yore. Days that, let's face it, are funny but not the best thing to be sharing with people who weren't there.

For example, I only smoke cigarettes on a mancation. Now, Kate has superhuman senses and hates it when I smoke, but I was completely honest and told her I was doing it.

But am I going to light up in front of her - no, that's a new level of stupid.

Every year this rite of passage brings me a renewed sense of faith that there are people worthy of including in my life and fighting for, even though they are hundreds of miles away. It helps make the other, hurt-myself-with-a-stapler boring days better, simply by reminding me that it's OK to laugh at myself.

(This is made clear when the other four people in the room are already laughing at you).

This year provided an extra insight, however, because I can see changes beginning in our little club.

For one thing, we take more pictures now.

The first couple of mancations, there were no pictures because you had a group of five guys under 30 - traditionally not a picture-taking crowd. But the older we get, the more we forget and the more it reminds us to document our adventures.

So we took about 50 pictures this time, of which five will actually be seen by anyone but us.

"Let's see, nipple, nipple, butt, flipping the bird, obscene gesture, nipple, butt, that one's OK, butt, obscene gesture, misdemeanor, unfortunate clothing choice, butt, obscene gesture, that's just disgusting, butt, where did we get a squirrel, flipping the bird ... What in the, OK who was in the bathroom while I was taking what appears to be a very cold shower?!?"

So, needless to say, that's still a work in progress. The other thing I noticed this year is that our little band of hooligans doesn't have a leader. When a decision needs to be made, someone just seems to naturally volunteer and the group agrees - not right away, but eventually.

Where to eat, whose turn it is to pay for groceries, who cleans and what the plan is for the evening. Now granted, with the amount of liquor and greasy food running through our bodies, compounded with the three hours of sleep on average, we are all about as docile as tranquilized bears.

This year I also learned that women don't understand this mancation idea. Not that it happens, they get that, but what goes on.

"So, you spent four days with your best friends in Lake Tahoe and you didn't go skiing, shopping or spend virtually any time outdoors?"


"So, what did you do?"

"Barbecued, drank, smoked like a chimney and played Xbox. It was great."

"But you just said you feel like crap, how can that be? You had to do more than that, let me see the pictures from your trip."

"OK, but there's only like five of them."

Tell me your thoughts about mancations on the Party of One blog at

• Jarid Shipley is the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a or 881-1217.


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