Do Women Wonder What Men Talk About?
Some people (women mostly, I suppose) wonder what guys talk about when they get together by themselves and shoot the breeze. (Okay, ladies, please hold the snide comments.) I don’t know what younger men talk about, but here are the kinds of things Baby Boomer men discuss when they are together, by themselves, without wives or girlfriends.
The scene: The Cheesecake Factory. (Someone suggested going to Panera’s, but it was judged not “manly” enough.)
The time: Lunch
The characters: Three men, age 63, 61 and 57.
The menu: One of the guys had meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and a beer. Two of the guys had Diet Cokes and some kind of southwestern pasta dish. “It’s okay,” concluded the 57-year-old (not me), “but I don’t think I’d order it again.”
And the topics of conversation:
Children: The daughter of the 57-year-old is 26. She took an extra year to wend her way through college and then managed to get a low-level daycare job in Hartford, Conn., where she was living with her boyfriend. This past year she moved with her boyfriend to Austin, Texas, for a better job as a real teacher. The boyfriend is a musician. “But he has a day job, too,” the girl’s father was quick to add. He reported that they both love Austin — lots of young people and a great music scene — and the father is happy with the whole situation.
The daughter of the 61-year old, also 26, has been living at home for the past three years, working as an event planner. She had managed to turn a part-time job into a fulltime job. “It pays better now,” according to her father, “but she still doesn’t get any health insurance.” He’s still got her on his plan. That doesn’t bother him. What bothers him is that she recently moved out of the house, and moved in with her boyfriend, in a house they share with another couple.
“I guess it doesn’t really bother me that she’s living with a guy,” he says. “It’s just that I’m not too sure about him.” He was fine as a boyfriend — but when you move in together it suggests a bigger commitment. And this guy’s … well, he’s a nice kid, but kind of a drifter. He’s a few years older than the daughter, and he still has a part time job and is going to school at night. “But gee whiz, he’s almost 30 and you’d think by now he’d have his act together.”
Cars: The fellow who’s daughter is in Austin is looking for a car to replace an old Audi that he bought used a couple of years ago. Now he’s looking into car auctions. There’s one in Kissimmee, Fla., and another upcoming in Houston. “I’m going to watch these things. If it looks like a good deal, I’m going to fly down, visit my daughter in Austin, then go bid on a car in Houston.” He’s not worried he’s going to get a leftover car from a flood or something? No, you can get the Carfax report — and besides they’re so cheap that even if you have to put several hundred dollars into the car, its still a good deal.
We’ll see. But my other friend recently junked his old Mazda and got a good deal (which he found on cars.com) on a “lightly used” Mercedes — a 2013 C-class with less than a thousand miles on it. To which my other friend set him straight: “You don’t call it a Mercedes. You say you’ve got a Benz!”
Vacation: I’m about to leave for three weeks in Florida. The 57-year-old is planning to visit his daughter in Austin in February. (She moved last August, and he hasn’t been there yet.) And the other fellow — the meatloaf guy — he’s planning to go down to Myrtle Beach, where he bought a condo three years ago. He’s retired and going by himself for a week or ten days. Then his wife, who’s still working, will fly down to join him for a week’s vacation.
Music: We’re talking about going to a concert called “John Lennon — “Re-Imagined,” by the Nutopians, where they offer their own interpretations of the Lennon songbook. The 57-year-old is going to a Blue Oyster Cult concert. I had never heard of this group. Have you? My friend was appalled at my ignorance of 1970s bands. “Their big song was Don’t Fear the Reaper. You don’t know it?” he asked. But what are ya’ gonna do? I wasn’t that into music in the 1970s, I was into starting my career.
Golf: Then, after lunch, we paid the bill and all walked over to Dick’s Sporting Goods. We tried out a few putters. One of the guys is in the market for a new set of irons. He admitted he was scouting them out at Dick’s, but probably would buy them on the Internet. That seems kind of cheesy to me. And besides, the prices at Dick’s are pretty good. I don’t know what my friend is will end up doing, but I bought a new pitching wedge, on sale for $39.95.
So You Wanna Know What Men Talk About?
So that’s it, ladies. No one talked about sex. No one talked about their wives, except in passing. (Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?) No one talked about sports, or guns, or gun control. I don’t know how representative we are. We’re just three old Baby Boomers slouching toward retirement.