Every year, my husband and I look forward to the trips that we do as a family – Kalahari Water Park during winter break, St. Louis to visit friends and a week at Scituate Beach with my sister’s family. Our many videos and photos attest to a good time had by all.
However, there are two other annual events that we each, secretly, look forward to the most – our respective girls’ and guys’ trips.
The girls’ trip, which originated in 2000, consists of six women who travel two hours to Lake Chatauqua. We leave behind a total of 15 children for a weekend of daddy-only care. Our weekend is quite low-key; the biggest decision being should I read InStyle or People? We sleep in, take long walks, eat leisurely meals, and catch up with one another. We return relaxed, a bit more tan, and happy. Total trip cost? $74.
The guys’ trip, which originated in 2004, consists of six guys who board a plane to Vegas, stay in a suite at the Mirage and proceed to lose their shirts for three nights. They stay up all night, drink a lot, and stare at people 20 years their junior (all the while convincing themselves that they look “about the same age”). The men return exhausted, smelly, and broke. Total trip cost? $2,500.
The girls only leave the compound to exercise, shop at some stores in town, or pick up pizza for dinner. The guys, on the other hand, are OUT there. On their last trip, they walked through one casino, decided the stakes were too high, walked to another casino, and decided to stay there. I’m sure there was some advantage to the second casino’s willingness to take their “donation.”
After hours at the second casino, they departed for a nightclub. The first club wasn’t to their liking.
“It wasn’t that hip,” my husband said. I stifled my laughter.
The next club was “so much better.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, at this club we got our own table, and for $800, we got this great view and two bottles of alcohol.”
WHAT!!??? ALL six of these guys either own their own business or are partners in a business. They are bright guys, in theory.
“So, was it fun?” I managed to blurt out, trying not to shake him.
After years of experiencing my weekend and thinking about his weekend, I cannot figure it out. Why are the women so content to just be? What is it the guys are looking for? Are women and men wired THAT differently?
I cannot think of something I would like less than sitting in a smoke-filled casino for the entire night. I have no desire to people watch on the 56th floor of the Palms hotel. Am I that anti-social? My friends would say, “Not at all.” I have been to Vegas and I think it is great. I love the restaurants, the shopping and the desert.
So what is it?
When I go away with my girlfriends, I want to do the things that I cannot do at home. Usually, I can’t sleep in. I can’t eat without preparing the meal and cleaning it up. Nor can I have a conversation that doesn’t end with Laine screaming, Ethan needing help with his homework, or Zach trying to get my attention. I can’t just stand up and say, “Who wants to go for a walk?” and get five willing walkers who won’t say, “I’m tired” and “This is boring.” I can’t just pick up my book and ignore everyone around me. I can’t just be.
But, for two days and $74, I can. It recharges my batteries to have lengthy discussions about a problem I am confronting, the last book I read with a disappointing ending, and funny mothering stories. It rejuvenates me to realize how much my girlfriends mean to me, and how I love their company, which is something I often forget when the kids are around and yanking on my arm to leave. And it makes me smile to think about all of the years we have been doing this, and the memories we have made. By the end of the weekend, I feel good about my place in the universe in a way I can’t take stock of amidst the chaos of daily life.
I think my husband would say his weekend recharges his batteries, too – “chillaxing” with his childhood friends and reliving and retelling the same stories night after night, year after year. The grind of work is surely monotonous, so trying a new casino, nightclub and shooting range (they actually did that this year) is spontaneous fun and a departure from his routine.
It seems that guys want to look back and relive some memories, feel young and not feel so static. While I would argue that his batteries should be dead after three days of drinking, gambling and no sleep, I guess his charger works differently from mine.