So, I’ve self-admittedly never done too well with boys, or boy-like things, or the whole let’s compare penises mentality. I like my penis; I think it’s a real nice penis. It’s been a recurring theme in my life (the struggle with males, not my penis), and honestly I’m just too emotional for the “your mom is fat and ugly and stupid” banter… I hear it, and I go home and tell my mom how beautiful she is, as if she has a wire implanted on me and can hear all the conversations that are had when I try to do the bro thing. So I stick with the things I shine at: Grey’s Anatomy, matching my belt to my shoes, having an excellent command of early 2000s pop lyrics, and a keen sense for finding the nearest pizza for under ten dollars. You could say I have quite the skill set.
But occasionally, I get the inclination to “bro out.” It always ends in the most devastating way because it’s kind of like when you tell someone that you’re fluent in Spanish, and someone asks you to have a conversation with them. I’ve done it with: an interest in sports, the seven year stint that I tried hunting with my dad, the summer I only drank alcohol that cost less than five dollars, among other things, but no bro-ing out experience was more valiant and admirable than my attempt at brocation. I present it to you diary-style:
By my own personal definition, a “brocation” is a vacation that you take with your bros (or in my case, your bro [singular]) to a “bitchin” location so you can, you know, mack on the honeys and stuff. So during my freshman year of college, I was going through an assortment of things that young boys at liberal arts colleges go through: self-identity crisis, mild family issues, and the establishment of a friend group in a place where I didn’t have too many friends. So in hopes of normalizing things a little bit, I tried to do what seemed like the most logical thing to do: find a fellow dude and prepare for a spring break trip. In retrospect, maybe I should have reconsidered my choice, if I really wanted that “dude” experience, but with little time left and a pressing feeling that I needed some kind of vacation, I went to my best friend Ellison.
Two Days Before
Ellison and I weren’t too different our freshman year, and he seemed to be the most willing person around to listen to all the issues I was going through. Without any idea of what he was getting into, he agreed to take the trip with me. When I went home to ask my parents’ permission (because that’s what you do when you’re 18?), they really had no idea who Ellison was. I just kind of assured them that it was all going to be okay, and that they owed me this… which in retrospect was probably even more melodramatic than the trip itself. In just a matter of days, Ellison and I got into his sea foam green Toyota Prius, appropriately named “the anti-boner” and took off for Myrtle Beach.
Our plans were shaky at best, and at the end of the day, we were headed toward Cherry Grove Beach, which ended up being the part of Myrtle Beach where young Jewish families and older couples over 60 go, which is pretty representative of our ambitions at the time. The entire trip down to Myrtle Beach was set to Led Zepplin I, II, III, and IV, which I agreed to only because of it’s manly qualities; other than that, most of my time on the trip down was spent sleeping, taking pictures of the ride down (like the one above), or singing Brocation all I ever wanted, brocation, have to get away to myself.
And once we got there, Ellison had already searched the area on his iPhone (the first of our friends to have that absurd technology) and located the nearest MagiQuest in the area. Originally, I had all these plans about how we would go out on the beach and have this very stereotypical spring break, but it didn’t really happen.
Ellison went out on the beach for a minute, but then he quickly retreated from the sunlight hopped in his car and went to MagiQuest, which is… in case you didn’t know, an interactive video game where you fight things with a wand. I, on the other hand, went to the beach. I took a picture of a black couple (with their permission), and then I fell asleep. I got second degree burns all over my body.
Ellison apparently bought a week-long pass to MagiQuest. I couldn’t move out of the bed. A Mexican woman tried to come in and change our sheets, and I think she told me to get up. I couldn’t understand, so we had an argument in Spanglish. I won. Ellison eventually came back with aloe, and we watched HBO… you know, because we could.
The Mexican woman came back. I didn’t win this time.
|As an 18 year old, these are the kind of things I did with
pictures: a clear indication I was not a bro.
I had healed enough that we decided to go get lunch. I walked around MagiQuest as a visitor, in the same way that a lot of parents do for the players that don’t have their driver’s license yet. I tried to play miniature golf, but the sun was too much, even through clothing. We decided to visit our friends in the area, and their motel room didn’t have carpet, but rather astro turf. The entire motel room smelled like burning rags, which turned out to be marijuana, and there was large fruit with alcohol bottles shoved inside of it. We decided that we were nervous with out surroundings, kind of like a dog, so we left.
We drove home, and my parents met me at Ellison’s house. We had pie, and I think I might have shed a layer of skin in the Berryhills’ kitchen. My parents took me home, and I kind of missed the Led Zepplin.
I concluded that maybe I wasn’t meant for the regular kind of spring break that all the other kids were taking, and maybe I would never be. There’s no way of really knowing, but it never kept me from trying. Since our trip, I’ve taken other approaches to trying to be more of a man, but at the end of the day, it’s just kind of exhausting. If I learned anything about my four day bed-rest, one day indoor video game experience, it’s that there’s not one definition of a man, and when you try to do something for any other reason that wanting to do it, you kind of screw yourself over in the process. Being a dude is hard, and it’s not for everyone, and I think if Ellison and I took one thing away from our lackluster adventures, it’s that being a bro is not as fun as it looks.