Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Men behaving badly: my males-only luncheon deteriorates wonderfully

I invited 12 people for lunch on Saturday, evenly spread across the various genders (two gay men, five straight men, one gay woman, four straight women) but for various reasons only the men were able to come. I realised on doing a headcount on Saturday morning that while I would be in my element (I do so love men), the straight men might find the gathering somewhat on the testosteronic side.

There was nothing to be done at that late stage, however, but vok maar voort (as they so charmingly say in this neck of the woods). And anyway perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something: my menu, drawn up before I realised no women would be able to make it, was steak and potatoes followed by strawberries and ice cream – which seemed to me, on reflection, to be a particularly masculine kind of meal. (My reasoning behind this menu was that it’s fabulously easy to prepare and requires very little kitchen time – fairly male-oriented logic, now I come to think of it.)

I apologised to each man as he arrived, asking forgiveness for the lack of female company and explaining that it was circumstances, not design, that had created this male-heavy guest list. None seemed at all fazed.

The lack of the gentler gender showed itself very quickly when, an hour into the proceedings, a fierce argument – Creationism vs Evolution – blew up. There was much banging of fists on the table and use of expletives, and in order to circumvent actual violence, I hurriedly served lunch.

Here, too, the masculine imperative reigned: there was no holding back in loading plates with steak and potatoes (and the sour cream was a hit), and the French bread was quickly demolished, along with plenty of butter. The salad, however, was politely picked over then quietly pushed to the side.

Where libations were concerned, there was enthusiastic quaffing, mainly of red wine and, to a lesser extent, beer – there was a conspicuous absence of requests for white-wine spritzers or vodka-tonics.

The strawberries and ice cream disappeared in double-quick time – but not before a general request had noisily gone out for a bowl of castor sugar to dredge over the fruit, the ice cream alone apparently not being sweet enough for my guests.

By the time I was serving coffee, what little caution had been there to start with had been tossed to the winds. My liquor cabinet was raided and the coffee fortified with Irish whiskey, Amarula and/or Kahlua, with a couple of guests eschewing the coffee completely and one eschewing a glass and instead drinking whiskey straight from the bottle. Two boxes of mint-thin chocolates disappeared almost instantaneously.

By now it was getting dark and a wicked little wind had blown up, prompting someone to go inside and light the fire, and shortly thereafter the entire party to abandon the verandah for the warmer confines of the living room. Here, between about 8pm and 3.30am the following morning, happy havoc ensued. CDs were played, danced to, discarded, stepped on, lost, found and replayed. Several men kissed other men (and not only the gay ones). Everyone fell down at least once. Furniture was moved around and, in some cases, broken. And the wine flowed like a river, sometimes across the table and onto the floor.

I was first up on Sunday morning, for the irksome reason that Eskom was going to turn off our electricity for the whole day and I needed to do a few dishwasher loads before we lost power. I did a quick recce of the house to assess the situation and found all four available beds occupied, and one man fast asleep on the sofa, curled up in loving repose with Sara the Wobbly Dog.

As I cleared up the carnage, I reflected on my men’s-only luncheon party and how it differed from its mixed-gender cousin:
* Alcohol consumed: 29 bottles of red wine, 16 beers, a bottle of whiskey and a good quantity of other sweet/creamy liqueur-type things ferreted out from the back of my liquor cabinet. (No white wine, no white spirits, no mixers, no soft drinks.)
* Food consumed: 3kg of fillet, 14 baked potatoes, 2 containers of sour cream, 4 French loaves, about a pound of butter, 2 litres of ice cream, a mass of strawberries, two boxes of chocolates, and enough additional sugar to make a diabetic cringe; later, several bags of chips, a lot of biltong and at least a loaf of toaster bread. (The only thing left over: about half a large bowl of salad.)
* Entertainment: mainly hard-rock music, played at full volume; no quarter given when it came to care of carpets, throws or other soft furnishings; chairs and tables bizarrely rearranged, possibly in drinking games; lots of boy-on-boy action, a fair bit of it across traditional gender lines.
* Morning-after revellers still in situ: five, all of whom ate a healthy breakfast and two of whom stayed on for lunch (because Eskom didn’t, after all, switch off the power).

I had such a good time – as, apparently, did my guests – that I’ve decided I’m going to make my males-only luncheon a regular event.

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Juno said...

Oh, I would have loved to have been at this party of yours, Mur. Having spent several evenings getting shockingly giddy at your house and then falling into bed in the early hours, I can just imagine what fun was had by all. Truly, you are terrible.

MissThing said...

Oh, I love stories that remind me of why I like men as much as I do...