Man Dates Gone Mainstream: “I Love You, Man”

The second Thursday of the month is when I try to get together with my fraternity brothers (not as successful as I’d like to be) and eat at a great Chicago restaurant.  Most of the time, we laugh so hard that we can become “that annoying group of guys” where we try to leave a nicer tip because we know we could easily be seen as “those guys.” And thanks to better than average interpersonal skills, we are typically able to talk to the waitress and leave on good terms.

As I’ve interacted with a lot of circles of young men over the years, I still love my gatherings of fraternity brothers the most.  Just Thursday, we went from trying to solve the country’s economic crisis, to religion, to buffoonery and how to travel with a hangover, to farting, to the subtlties of Irish stouts, to understanding how to be a professional gambler, to education and community development.  My abdominals get a better workout than I get at the gym from laughing so hard.

But it’s interesting observation – when I go out, try to look at the gender dynamics around me.  More often than not I see larger groups of women than men, and men typically rarely congregate together without the company of women.

Anyone experience anything differently?

I’ve talked about this before, and ask any of my students I’ve mentored, but it looks like America is going to be talking a lot more about “man dates.”

(I still resolve that I did not hear either the terms “Man-Date” or “Dude-Date” before I started using this years ago – but that doesn’t matter anymore.  Totally should have copyrighted it or somethin’.)

Best quote of the preview:

“Society tells us to act civilized, but the truth is were animals, and sometimes you gotta let it out”

“Argh!”

“Respect the process”

“ARRGHHH!”

“Yeah, you feel better?

“Yeah!”

“You wanna get a corndog?”

“Yeah!!”

(Oh, and BTW, I have played Rush on Rock Band in similar fashion…T, I know you are smiling now for some reason and you don’t know why. And the fart conversation? Totally had that one too…)

I’m curious what America’s response will be. In college and post college, many men have a real hard time finding authentic friendship. I feel blessed to have some great male friends over the years – both in Christian communities as well as those outside of the church. I’m trying to get in a football league again where I can revisit the gridiron in all of it’s glory.

But I know my experience is the exception rather than the norm. Why is that?

As women have rightly gained more opportunities and are making the most of them, men often don’t know what to do with themselves. When men expected certain opportunities to be handed to them, they aren’t in the same way – which is a good thing.  But at the same time, I would argue that we haven’t advanced our understanding of male identity that can thrive in an age of feminism.  

I mean, Homer Simpson is America’s most recognizable international male figure other than the president.  Does that rub anyone else the wrong way?

I’m curious as to what conversations about genuine male friendship will happen over the course of the upcoming weeks.

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4 Responses to “Man Dates Gone Mainstream: “I Love You, Man””


  1. 1 Amy Kay March 15, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I have heard you speak on this topic before and the older I get I do see it as true in many cases, usually more often with men who married early in life. However, I pose a question, Do men to talk about the friend relationships they have with other men, is that something they do?

  2. 2 andybilhorn March 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    you know, that’s a good question, amy. i don’t want to speak authoritatively for all men, but most of the time i would say “no.”

    in my experience, most men don’t talk about the quality of their friendships unless there is female influence, or a man who provokes the question (which is very rare).

    but there are always exceptions to the norm.

  3. 3 Robert March 17, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I was going to say not usually unless said dude hangs in Andy’s crowd which usually makes them the exception to the norm. (Myself included)

    In my experience, the male “lack of deep friendship” is as over-rated as female “excess of deep friendship”. When I ask girls about their friendships (though this may be slightly biased as this crowd is heavily dominated by Beth) they make more time to get together and share many stories but don’t have a deep connection. More like close aquantinces.

    But this is probably pretty scewed, I mean my wife has mostly male friends. She was kind of in the same position as the lead in this movie – she had a guy in her wedding party.

    Either way…looks like a good movie. Probably many truths will be unveiled.

  4. 4 andybilhorn March 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    rob, i love you, man. 🙂


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