From this fact, I have figured out that the word “meat,” is derived from the contraction of “men eat,” indicating that what men eat is pretty much, well, meat. Sure, there are guys out there who will have a salad at lunch, or eat a quiche with you for brunch, but they’re just trying to work their way into your breakfast in bed. There are the few guys who are vegetarian, or even vegan, but really now, those guys are fighting their basic instinct. Men eat meat.
This has never been made more clear to me than at George’s barbecue.
George is an early-forties, looks-like-mid-thirties, acts like late-teens, bachelor with a very nice bachelor pad on the Westside. Thankfully, unlike some bachelors I know (yeah, I'm lookin' at you), George has graduated from the class of college dorm futons to real furniture. I would even go so far as to say that his place is two floors above Ikea. Now that’s impressive.
Somehow I ended up crashing what I must now call George’s dude party. A dude party is exactly what it sounds like – all guys, save for moi, the lonely girl, though you wouldn’t have guessed my predilection for all things pink from the way I was screaming at the tv. However, it wasn’t a dude party because it was all men. A bunch of gentlemen at a wine tasting is also all men, but that is most definitely not a dude party.
George’s football-viewing, beer-spewing, chest-beating, meat-eating, barbecue was a dude party.
It was a dude party because every course was meat. Not “had” meat, as if meat were merely some main ingredient flanked by non-meat side ingedients, like pasta or God forbid, vegetables. “Was” meat, as in, it was all meat and only meat, from Buffalo wings as hors d’ouevre to spicy sausage for appetizers to an enormous grilled pork loin for an entree. Even dessert. I suppose you could consider it European to have a cheese course at the end of the meal as “dessert.” George served cheese for dessert. It was melted on top of a burger. I think they had to use buns because bunless burgers hint precariously at low-carb-diet, and dudes don’t do “diet.”
It was a dude party because the only vegetables that George served through the entire afternoon and into the evening were potatoes. I think they’re formally called...chips.
That statement about the vegetables is not entirely true. We had a salad, but it was an afterthought. George had every intention from the outset to serve the salad, as he had all the requisite ingredients, but had I not made some comment about all-meat, the salad would have slipped under George’s slightly intoxicated radar. “That’s right. Can you make a salad? Everything’s in the fridge.” I made a salad and was duly impressed by Feta cheese and fancy greens, though I had been hoping for iceberg lettuce. I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough for the dozen guests. It was enough. I think the guys thought it was garnish.
George’s barbecue was a fascinating, somewhat eye-opening study in dudes for me because I wasn’t exposed much to dude-dom growing up. We were a household of girls, and though it was never a question that my father was the man of the house, he was never a “dude.” Sure, my Dad took part in some stereotypically “dude” activities but it was never as a dude. Dad doesn’t drink beer, or any alcohol, for that matter. He doesn’t watch sports except the Super Bowl, and that’s only at the end to find out who wins so he knows how to trade on the stock market come Monday morning. He didn’t read any dude magazines of any sort, at least, not that I ever saw or “discovered” (hidden away in hid desk in the library). I think the only magazines her ever read were...none. He didn’t read magazines, and that only bothered me when he told me magazines were empty words and refused to support me and my school in our annual magazine sales fundraiser. My Dad read books about finance and that was it. Though it’s not strange, Dad most certainly never ever went near anything that was associated with cooking. That’s everything in the kitchen, but it also includes the patio. Dad lit the flame on the grill (because it’s potentially hazardous and requires technical skill), but he left the “cooking” of galbee to Mom, and later to me.
Dad doesn’t grill, but that’s because he is not a dude. George’s barbecue taught me that “dudes,” no matter what their skill level or actual experience has been at the grill, love to grill.
Grilling has nothing to do with cooking. Grilling has everything to do with fire. It’s a peculiar phenomenon, what overcomes men when they sense fire. Like heat-seeking missiles, men are magentically drawn to the fire of a grill. Suddenly they are half-naked, a circle of animal pelts around their waist, beating their hairy chests. Even if they have never ever before even so much as stepped foot in a kitchen, nor ever once before manned a grill, it’s like an animal instinct – the way a newborn shark just knows it’s supposed to swim and start looking for Nemo. They become warrior-hunters and grilling is some final after-the-hunt ritual of throwing the s
acrifical pork tenderloin on its funeral pyre. If the food on the grill requires only one dude to cook, it doesn’t matter. The other dudes stand in a ceremonial semi-circle and grunt their approval.
Even when Buffalo wings that have already been cooked in the kitchen’s oven and they taste fine, one of the warriors captures them in the wilds of the cocktail table jungle and returns to the grill with his prize of fresh kill. I will admit, though the extra grilling wasn’t absolutely necessary, the wings definitely did taste better. I sucked them bones dry.
I learned about dudes and their magazines, but I am not going to talk about the shelves, not just stacks, of magazines in George’s bathroom. This is not that kind of blog. ;)
However, I did learn about beer and dudes at George’s. If men like to eat meat and play with fire, they also like to drink beer. The taste for beer, of course, I have never understood. Dad doesn’t drink beer, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have beer in the house. Mom is the consummate hostess, and always kept fresh beer in the refrigerator for surprise guests who preferred beer over wine or cocktails. Mom also drank beer, saying that nothing was more refreshing than an ice-cold beer after a day on the links, in the garden, or grilling galbee. Up until George’s barbecue, I knew about beer, and I even tried beer every once in a while, just to see what my Mom was talking about. Every time I tasted beer though, I would wince, scrunch up my face and finally decide (again) that I hate beer’s bitterness. Sometimes I can handle a Hefeweizen or a Corona because those have citrus juice added to them, and only after I’m already at a point where I don’t care what I’m drinking.
Of course, for guys, it’s sort of the other way around. They start off with beer, and once their judgment becomes slightly hazy, they regress. If there are other dudes in a ring of fire, no matter how old they are, guys are 21 in Tijuana. They start doing tequila shots.
It was a lovely, meaty lesson in dude-ness.
If ever I thought I didn't know, now I know.