Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Running on tracks with boys

Reason #38 I can't get into soccer: "France and Switzerland played to a scoreless tie." (Heard on sports radio yesterday.) Sounds scintillating. Wish I had TiVo'd that one. Or, just wish I had TiVo. If I want something that just drags on and on and no one ever scores... well... nevermind. On with today's post...

I make the following statement having demonstrated an unblemished lifelong pattern of staunch heterosexual behavior... It's not easy to meet nice guys.

As I have gotten older, my number of single friends has dwindled. Some have gotten married. Some have moved away. Some just started freakin' me out.

As this has occurred, I have noticed that there haven't been many new friends to replace the departed. So that now I'm left with only a handful of good, single, male friends.

Thus leaving me with predicaments such as the one I faced this past weekend. I wanted to go to Cincinnati to see the Reds play. I had the weekend off. I figured, why not. Of the couple of friends I have who actually like sports and might go on such a road trip, one had to work Saturday night, and the other was helping his girlfriend move a couch.

Sure there were girls I could have asked. And girls are great to hang out with. I think every guy needs at least one girl in his life who is just a really good, close friend. The problem is, at least with the single girls in my life, many have an interest in being more than friends. I tend to shy away from such interaction to avoid possible awkward situations. Bascially, I'm horrible at saying no.

And if I approach a girl, ask for her number, and tell her I just want to be friends. Well, that sounds like a line. So now I'm back to trying to meet guys. Except, at my age, it isn't easy to meet new guys to hang out with.

Once you reach a certain age, it seems to me the friends you have are pretty much the ones you're stuck with from here on out. Once you're out of college, there aren't that many places to meet new people. Or at least, to do so requires a lot more effort. This can be a bit of a problem for the thirtysomething, but still virile, bachelor.

I suppose the most common place to meet new friends post-campus is on the job. But everyone I work with is either still in college or well over forty and married. So we don't hang out that much outside of the workplace.

Other common places for meeting people are bars and clubs. I don't know about any of my male readers, but I'm not really comfortable going up to a guy in a club and asking for his number.

It's easy to strike up a conversation with a guy while watching the game on TV. But once the game is over, that brief friendship is over as well. We've all been around that guy in the bar who is a little too clingy. A little too chatty during the game. Nobody wants to be that guy. I can only imagine if he asked me to hang out later. Freaky!

Also, what if I meet a gay guy? Then I have to wonder whether he wants to be more than friends. As you ladies know, there's nothing more uncomfortable than having to tell a guy you're not interested in him romantically. Besides, as I said, I have a hard time saying no.

Last night while I was running the track, I passed a guy on my first lap who looked to be in his late 30's. As I got about a quarter of the way around my second lap (it's a 1.5 mile track), I hear footsteps behind me. I turn around and see this guy has picked up his pace and is now following me at about 15 yards.

Then, as I get about halfway thru that lap, he jogs up beside me and strikes up a conversation.
"How many laps you running?"
"Just two tonight."
"No, two."
"Oh. Me, too... what lap are you on?"
"This is my second."
"Mine, too."
"It's not too hot at night."
"No, this is good."
And he jogs on ahead.

OK, this is very odd. I've never had a guy say more than a passing "hey" to me on the track. As I near the end of my lap, I see he has completed his run and is standing on the side of the trail with his hands on his knees, recovering. And I have to run a ways past him to get to where I parked.

I wonder should I say anything? Will he say anything? Was he just being friendly? Or did he want to hang out later? What's the etiquette here? Will it be rude if I don't speak as I go by?

As I approach him, he raises his head as if he is going to say something. But he doesn't. So as I pass by I say, "Take it easy." He doesn't respond.

Why did I say that? Why! Take it easy. Take it easy. Duh! What does that even mean anyway? How could I be so stupid? He wasn't interested. He was just being friendly. And even if he was, who would want to hang out with someone who's best guy-to-guy pick-up line is "Take it easy?"

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna meet a nice guy.

"I'm runnin' down the road tryin' to loosen my load. I got seven women on my mind..."


  1. My friends and I call it "carrying a watermelon" * when we say something stupid to a guy... don't worry Bone, we've all done it... you just carried a watermelon.

    * Stolen from Dirty Dancing when Baby first meets Johnny... he asks what she was doing in the employee dance club and she told him that she carried a watermelon... then kicks herself for saying something so stupid... long story, but that where it comes from

  2. I guess we're not the only ones who say it...

    I can get you a large...

  3. I've always worked places where there were tons of people so I was always replacing the friends I had lost. Maybe we need to start a .com service for friends. You know, sort of like but only a friend version.

    I'd go to a Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore game with you. Get cher butt up here!

  4. Soccer = Not REAL football.
    No matter what them dern foreigners say.

    You're completely right. Most people by their late 20's, early 30's are hitched or committed. This is going to sound corny and maybe even out-of-touch, but it's not really a "guy thing to do" to go out of our way to become friends with another guy. It's like the sun rising in the morn, it just happens when it happens. There's no rules or guidebook. There are rules to know when a guy has turned from "just a guy" into "being that guy." "That guy" should usually be avoided at all costs.

    Don't beat yourself up about saying "take it easy." That's completely acceptable. If he wanted anything more he would have said something. "Take it easy" at the end of a conversation between men is as acceptable as using "how's it going" as a greeting to a guy you don't know. But his response has to be "good" or "just working." Anything more and he has stepped into "that guy" territory. Another good greeting, but often underused, is "how they hanging?" That question is only good at sporting events, your finer Hooters restaurants, and strip joints. "Take it easy" isn't venturing into hills of Brokeback, or too little. I say it was just right.

  5. It's the same way for women.....I have 4 women friends that I've had for years and years. I've had work friends but once I left the job, I left the friends. I think it's just harder to make friends the older you get.

    P.S. I agree with TBM.....take it easy was acceptable.

  6. i can imagine that it would be difficult for a guy to find a close guy friend, particularly as we get older. we start to pair off and the required "male bonding time" is somewhat frowned upon by girlfriends. it seems to be easier for women as we supposed to get together and bitch. ugh. ;)

    and i still wonder that age old question posed in When Harry Met Sally: Can men and women really be friends? Or does the sex get in the way?

    oh and as far as saying "take it easy" to that fella? don't sweat it (ha ha, awful pun!) because maybe next time you see him running he might talk to you BECAUSE you said something.

  7. OCG: Thanks. So I carried a watermelon. And I need a pink shirt for my summer 'drobe.

    Carnealian: Thanks for the offer. Let me know when the Reds are in town ;-)

    Big Man: Amen, bro. Although one can't help but wonder what would happen if Ditka coached the US Soccer team.

    You're right. I'm probably trying too hard lately. It'll happen when it happens.

    Redneck Girl: Exactly. So you see where I'm coming from. Oh, and thanks for the "take it easy" affirmation :-)

    Ms. Sizzle: Yeah. I rarely talk to my guy friends who have gotten married.

    I think men and women really can be friends. Although maybe the majority of the time one person or the other ends up wanting more, or thinking they do.

  8. This problem never ends. Because even after you're married, you have friends that a.) are couple friends that you must hang out with together, b.) a friend of the same sex that doesn't want to hang out with their significant other when you want to do couple stuff, or c.) a friend that you feel funny for inviting over because they don't have a significant other, so you can only hang out when your other is at work. See? Even after marriage, we have friend problems.
    Take it easy,

  9. I had no idea it was this hard for guys to make friends. The clingy chatty guy in the bar would freak me out.
    I think take it easy was alright for you to say. I hear it all the time from different guys. I heard it the other day in Walmarts parking lot a guy yelled at another when they left take it easy man!

  10. "I wonder if I'll ever meet a nice guy" - I say that every day. :) ha ha.

    It's hard for women to make new women friends, too. We have the same questions. What if she's a lesbian. What if she thinks I"M a lesbian.

    We're going to have to teach you to say no. That cracks me up.

    Re: your comment on my post: Please, please, never buy your daughter an outfit without first consulting a woman - even the woman at the store - so she's not stuck with embarrasing photos of a horrible baby ensemble. :)

  11. You know Bone, for a hetero guy, you can be such a girl. This reminds me of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing when she blurts "I carried a watermelon". You'll meet guys like you where you like to be. Go to high school games, city league stuff. I met my nice guy at church.

    Take it easy was ok to say, especially since he was still recovering from his run. It could have even been taken as a compassionate, but still manly, exit. Maybe you'll see him again. But if you do, don't say "I'm sorry about that "take it easy" business, I didn't know you, and I was out of line".

    I'm thinking that'll just make it worse.

  12. Groovie: Even when I have gone out with a SO with a married couple, they're talking about babies and in-laws, and we're talking about road trips and movies.

    LOL Yeah, take it easy.

    Linda: Yeah, I think it was fine. But he could have said something in return.

    Carmen: That sort of didn't make me sound good. I guess it's more that I have a hard time hurting people's feelings or rejecting people.

    Here's my question. If it looks hideous, why do they sell it? It would be much easier on us guys if stores would only sell things that were in style and hip.

    Dorothy: Church is the same as work for me. No one near my age and single.

    Again, he could have said something. It's not like I asked him to help me move or anything.

  13. Good luck on the quest.
    Sunday night @ church our preacher gave a lesson over Male Friendships. I didn't realize it was so tough for you guys.

  14. I think it was weird of him to talk to you while running. Your "take it easy" was on target.

    Nick has this same issue. He moved here two years ago, and given one or two guys, he doesn't have anyone to hang out with. I'll have to refer him to this post so he can weigh in on the subject.

  15. My thing is I'm picky about who I spend my time with. Most people are very liberal with the word "friend" and who they assign it to. I on the other hand call few people friend. I have lots of acquaintances that I could hang out with, but I enjoy my own company more. I'd rather read a book, or spend time with my wonderful Lass.

    My friends and I tend gravitate towards each other and just click. Most are introverts like me. We're either instant friends or never are.

    I know what you mean about work people. Most of my friends are people I met through various jobs. But as I sit here at my desk listening to my co-workers I think there's no way I'd spend my free time hanging out with them. Part of it is their age, they're all younger than me and still put "getting s*itfaced" on their Outlook calendar. With few exceptions my friends are all older.

    If you ever make it this way we can go have a beer and talk about it.

  16. I didn't read through everyone else's response...but the best place for single guys to hook up is at a soccer league. LOL! But they have a league for "over 30" guys. They practice, play and go have drinks together and become friends.

    Since I know that's not your game, you might also check out other sports...I think that I've heard Arena Football brought up.

    In this is the only true football and a zero/zero tie is fabulous! It means both teams were evenly matched. DH is so bummed that we don't have ESPN for just this.
    I like that soccer is a game that anyone can play. And once you learn it, it is very fun to watch and play.

    American football is a snooze above high school level.

  17. larsonbuckeyefans6/15/2006 06:50:00 PM

    You're thinking about this too hard..."See ya"always works for an exit and for a straight dude pick-up line perhaps"Do you know of any good strip clubs?" After all it combines heteroness and something all guys are interested in as well.

  18. Very interesting post -- and funny! Believe it or not, girls have these problems too a little bit... finding friends after college is just not easy for anyone. Don't worry, though. Eventually you'll get married and then you'll be forced to be pretend friends with all your wife's friends' husbands. You'll be WISHING for those days when you had no one to hang out with.

  19. This post is hilarious!
    Thanks for taking one for the team and amuzing us at your own expense.

  20. Lindsy: Thanks. You have no idea. It's much easier to meet girls.

    Lass: I thought so, too. I've never experienced a lot of socializing with strangers while running. Thanks for sending Nick by.

    Awatcher: I think I reached some sort of odd maturity plateau in the last year or two. Things I used to enjoy stopped being fun. And some of my friends didn't get the maturity memo.

    Renee: Soccer isn't that big around here. Over 30 guys here usually play softball, golf, bowling, or some combination of the three.

    And your last sentence is sacrilege in Alabama :-)

    Larson: Eh, when the first thing a guy mentions is a strip club... there's just this impression it gives.

    I always think too much in these situations.

    Lost Cheerio: Haha. You're probably correct. Pretending to like my wife's friends' husbands. I can hardly wait!

    Tenacious One: It's all for the blog. That's how I roll.

  21. Also forgot to tell you that if you really want to see a baseball game, and your guy buds won't go, you've got an open invite to come to DC for a weekend (I've got a very comfy couch) and we can go see an Orioles game. Or a Nationals game. We have much baseball to choose from.

  22. Carmen: Thanks. Perhaps I should do a MLB stadium tour. Or my Blog Reality Tour.