Friday, November 18, 2011

On the man dance....

I don't know whether it's social conditioning or something that's ingrained in us, but people of the same sex tend to act in remarkably similar ways.  I mentioned this test in another another post a couple of months ago as an example.  Though this is listed on, like most funny things what makes it so humorous is that this kind of thing is what guys do.  If you don't believe it, have 5 guys that you know take the test and compare the results, you'll be amazed at how similar they will be.

Guys do something that I call The Man Dance.  The Man Dance isn't something that you're taught, it's something that you just do, it's in our DNA.  For instance, if I asked a guy to drive me up the street to pick up my car from the shop the rules of The Man Dance dictate that I offer him gas money.  It may only be a half mile trip and thus not really worthy of the gas offer, but the offer has to be extended.  The Man Dance also dictates that the offer of gas money must be rejected because this is what guys do for one another.  That is how men interact and this is what makes it like a dance; the steps are choreographed and each participant understands the progression and which step happens next.  When someone breaks the rules of the Man Dance things are thrown off balance.

A couple of years ago a guy that I work with wanted a dachshund.  Knowing that I had two, he asked me where I had gotten them.  I told him that I had gotten them from a breeder and offered to call her to see if she had any available.  It turned out that she did and he asked if I would be willing to ride out there during lunch to take a look at them.  Although it was about an hour drive from the office, I told him that I would take an extended lunch and ride out there with him.  So we went and he picked out a puppy.

On the way back to the office he asked if I was hungry and I was so he pulled up to a McDonald's drive-thru.  The drive-thru attendant gave us the customary greeting and asked for our order.  This is where the dance should have started, but instead my co-worker said that he was going to have two orders.  Mentally I had already changed into more comfortable shoes knowing that some dancing was about to go down, but instead I was transported to a place where the rules of society no longer mattered and anarchy prevailed.

My co-worker should have offered me that lunch at McDonald's for my trouble.  Then I would have declined, he would have looked at me with wonderment in his eyes and asked if I was sure, and I would have said something like "Absolutely, I was glad to do it.  In fact, let me buy you lunch buddy."  This is The Man Dance and it is the absolute essence of male behavior.  The steps are offer, decline, offer again, decline again.  The code says that I have to say no, but even though he knew that, the code says that he has to offer.  These are the rules and yes maybe they're silly, but life without rules would be chaos and in a world of chaos no one gets McDonald's.

For the last 3 or 4 years I have been able to secure Cotton Bowl tickets.  The first year that I got them I mistakenly told someone in Missouri that I had a spare one that he could use in addition to the two that I knew he had gotten.  A couple of hours later I realized my mistake and immediately called him and informed him of my error.  Dude gave a very strong verbal indication that he wasn't going to be very forgiving and ranted about how he had already made plans for that extra ticket, so I offered up mine.

I had to offer because it was my mistake, but this is where everything went all Twilight Zone on me because he ACCEPTED my offer!  That's right ladies and gentlemen, he took my ticket.  Not only did he take the ticket, he asked me if I could overnight it to him at my expense.  He didn't just violate the code of The Man Dance, he blasted it with a 10 megaton bomb and rendered it totally unrecognizable.  There wasn't any of that "no, it's your ticket and I would feel bad about taking it," to which I would have been obliged to respond back with something like "no, I probably wasn't going to go anyway" (in situations like this the code of The Man Dance dictates that you try to lessen the mental strain on the other party) he accepted before I even had the offer completely out of my mouth.  What he did was take advantage of the code.  Knowing that I would have to offer, he had his acceptance speech prepared.  He zigged and I didn't zag.  He thrusted and I failed to parry.

But this total and complete breakdown in the fiber of society wasn't enough for him.  He never, and I do mean never, thanked me for that ticket.  If he had danced I could have at least left that situation knowing that when called upon to dance for the betterment of mankind I stepped up to the plate.  I would have felt better about the situation.  There should have been an offer, a decline and at least one more offer before his acceptance.  But instead he threw the rule book out the window like a piece of old chewing gum.

I was with a couple of guys at work the other day relaying this story to them and their jaws nearly hit the floor.  They were appalled not necessarily because he took the ticket, but instead because he seemingly had no interest in adhering to the customs of men.  Were there mutated genes involved here or was that ticket so important to him that the violation of code was, in his mind, worth it?  I may never know the answer to that but I do know that if any offense is worthy of having your mancard pulled, this is one of them.

I learned the other day that the guy that pulled the ticket shenanigans on me is no longer with the company and is having a difficult time finding employment.  Karma is indeed a bitch isn't she?

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