The Thin Yellow Line

So BFF Jon and my co-editor, Jerry Gordon, were over for dinner. My boys, ever eager students of male bonding conversations, were in rapt attention as we discussed the simple rules to going to the bathroom (we’re talking “away games”). Ultimately, this left them more confused than when I tried explaining race relations in this country. Plus, I’m not sure I knew all of the rules. Apparently there is as much ritual to this as a Japanese tea ceremony. Anyway, to wit…

The two most important rules:
1) No talking. There’s nothing you need to talk about in there. This is a sacrosanct moment, filled with doubt about your shortcomings and subtle homophobia.
2) Maintain the pee line. This means keep your eyes straight ahead, never dropping down. You know where your equipment is. Just reach down and handle it.

Keep those rules in mind at all times. However, there is a protocol one must maintain. Upon entering and facing the row of urinals, one must go to the furthest empty stall. When the next person comes in, they must go to the opposite end of the row. Should a third person come in, they should go to the middle. However, this is where things get a little tricky. That third person has to figure out if there IS a middle urinal. It’s important to leave space enough to leave the every other urinal space between men. Therefore, you know if a man has designed the bathroom, because there are an odd number of urinals.

The only acceptable time to go to a stall (other than to poo) is when there are no available urinals. Similarly, you’re not supposed to use the kid urinals unless there are no others available (but you still need to maintain proper spacing). Use your best judgment when it comes to these.

And now, troughs. This is a lowest common denominator pee event. It’s nothing less than a free for all/Lord of the Penises, er, Flies. Simply space yourself out as best as you can. If you know you will be facing a trough situation, remember, no open-toed shoes, flip flops (especially at the Indianapolis 500 track – if your choice is that trough, it’s better to stand outside and piss where everyone can see you).

There should be no handshakes or celebratory gestures of any kind while in the bathroom.

Do NOT cross streams. Under ANY circumstances.

There was some question about stalls and how to handling a no toilet paper situation. This is easily enough avoided if you simply check your stall first, but sometimes you just have to go and don’t think to do your due diligence. In the event of no toilet paper, you have a few options: 1) if the bathroom is not busy, you run to another stall or make a break for paper towels (pulling up your underwear is optional); 2) if you’re a man’s man or in a crowded bathroom, you sacrifice your underwear to wipe with and then go commando for the rest of your evening.

And as I told my sons after this informative and instructional seminar, “now today, you are a man. Or at least you will be once you’ve mastered the art of crop dusting a room.”

BFF Jon and Co-editor Jerry are available for school lectures and Boy Scout meetings if you need them.

Friday Night Date Place: Why I have Stopped Dating Christian Women

As I am still under the weather and am under deadline (some big announcements to come soon), this week’s Friday Night Date Place is brought to you by some time contributor, Jon Harp. It’s a lament I have heard quite often:

Let me begin by saying that anything I say here is a generality and universally true. If it were I would call it an universality (that made up word is too difficult to pronounce to be true anyway).

The reason I have stopped actively trying to date Christian women is simple, I no longer fit the criteria that qualifies me as a potentially acceptable mate. I did once upon a time, but that was before a divorce and three kids. Those two factors have made finding an interested Christian woman in her 30’s or 40’s nearly impossible. The truth is that most single Christian women are looking for a Christian man who doesn’t fall into either of those categories. Now I am not speaking of Christian women in their twenties, my informal (and completely anecdotal) research isn’t aimed in their direction, strictly women in my general age group.

It seems that most of the Christian women I have encountered seem to be searching for some type of untainted soul mate, someone who hasn’t felt that strongly about anyone else before, and/or doesn’t carry the baggage (children) that may have come along with that relationship. This seems to be strongest with women who have never been married before themselves and that is somewhat understandable, though extremely limiting. Women who have kids of their own aren’t much different, though you would think they would be more open and accepting of another Christian with kids, there seems to be a desire to have someone whose attention won’t be diverted from her and her children. Christian women who have been divorced, either with or without kids, seem to be the most accepting, but still seemingly prefer someone who hasn’t got the children.

I understand a lot of the reasons why, adding on a ready made family can be intimidating for anyone. In addition, anyone who has been through a divorce is going to bear some emotional scars, and that may make a relationship a little more difficult. The problem, however, is that I stated before, eliminating all but single never married Christian men in their 30’s will limit your options. Those clean, untainted souls are few and far between, and let’s face it, if there is a single never married man in his thirties in your church there is often a pretty plain reason for his not being married. Sure there are some perfectly acceptable guys who choose to not marry into their 30’s, but many of the men in that situation have, let’s say, social issues, to be kind.

The truth in my situation as a divorced man with kids is that I am part of the largely dismissed group. We aren’t clean and untainted. I have some dirt under my nails, and my share of scars. I am part of an increasingly large group of men in the same situation and if Christian women don’t find us generally acceptable we will turn to the one group that will, non-Christian women. The sad part is that I have found non-Christian women to be far more accepting of the dirt and scars than Christian women. Christians should always display a more open and accepting frame of mind toward others, but too often in many different arenas this isn’t the case. As I said these are generalities and not universally true. But I can tell you that on the internet dating service that I use, I would say easily 80 to 90% of the women who prominently mention that they are Christian, also mention that they are looking for someone, firstly, without kids, and secondly never married. Since I don’t fit that profile I have stopped looking for Christian women and just started looking for those who aren’t as discriminating about the dirt under my nails.

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