There comes a time in every man’s life when he suddenly realizes that he has entered a new phase.
He finds himself in his thirties, cultivating a paunch around his mid-section, the result of hours spent behind a desk rather than beer consumption. It has been months, possibly years since he has struggled through a day at the office while heroically battling an insidious hangover. Happy Hour is but a vague memory of more carefree days, before the mortgage and car payments and brood back home.
He is losing contact with many of his friends, and the ones he retains are slowly disappearing into the distance, their e-mail and phone calls arriving at successively longer intervals. When he does speak to those old friends, conversation inevitably reverts to talk about family, housing prices, and (though he railed against it in his younger days) wine.
A stage of life has stealthily passed him by without so much as a chuck on the shoulder and a “thanks for the good times.”
With this realization will come a sudden panic. Our hero will hastily set up a Happy Hour with some likewise distressed men in his office. Half of the office mates that said they would come will actually appear at the bar; awkward silences and early departures will ensue.
He wonders how he can remedy this situation. Is it too late? Can he recapture that lust for life that he lost when he traded his flip-flops for Florsheims, his Jetta for a BMW, his involuntary chastity for a wife? Luckily, he discovers the time-honored concept of the Weekend Getaway. The Weekend Getaway regularly and dependably yanks him from the brink of ennui and tedium, and back into a reasonable facsimile of the deliriously joyful days of yore.
Here’s how it’s done.
Step One: Rally the Reprobates
You need at least one friend to accompany you, so call as many old friends as you can. Explain your concerns that the old gang is losing contact, that you haven’t had a proper piss-up in ages, and that you need to spend a couple days away from the family with some old mates. Chances are, they will share your concerns but most will find a reason not to accompany you on your daring adventure. Those “opt-outers” are already irretrievably on their way to geezerdom, without so much as a backward look over their shoulders. Consign them to oblivion when considering future excursions.
For those friends expressing interest at the prospect of a weekend excursion, impress upon them the need to act with all speed and determination, lest the idea fizzle and die. Force them to give you dates of their availability. Indicate that they will be forever pussies if they later change their minds. Remind them of insanely dangerous or hilarious acts they achieved in their past days and hint that they may yet trump those feats in the days ahead.
Wait a few weeks for responses, continuing to apply pressure when necessary. Then, prepare yourself for your next, perhaps greatest challenge.
Step Two: Obtaining Spousal Permission, AKA Begging the Wife
By organizing this excursion, you have implicitly stated to your friends that your wife is fine with the idea of the trip. In other words, you’ve committed yourself to the venture, and now you must now get a thumbs-up from your beloved. While this is the most danger-prone and tricky step in the process, I cannot suggest schemes for success.
It’s very possible that a weekend away would be a welcome break for her, but beware — even if this is the case, she may put up a pro forma resistance in order to garner Marriage Capital (similar to Political Capital, but far more valuable).
You must prevail, however. Promise her anything. Whine if necessary. Just be sure to beg on carpeted floor to protect your knees, because your going to need them to crawl out of bars.
Step Three: Choosing the Venue
So, you’ve gotten the wife to buy into your silly scheme, and you have at least one henchman to accompany you. Now all you need is somewhere to go. Here are some criteria to consider:
You cannot stay in your hometown . The temptation for the homesick would be too great. Also, your wives may attempt to conserve money by suggesting you come home to sleep each night. Not a weekend away by any definition.
Choose a city rather than a more pastoral locale. Preferably one that none in the expedition are too familiar with.
Plan on walking or taking public transportation the entire weekend. If you get busted for DUI, you can kiss your future weekend getaways goodbye.
Obtain a hotel near clusters of bars and restaurants. Optimally, choose a hotel with a late night diner very close by.
Step Four: Packing
You’re not the spree-ing chicken you used to be, when you could while away an entire week in ethanol oblivion. Now you’ve only got a couple good nights of drinking in you before your body betrays you. Consider packing the following items.
1) A flask. You know, like the ones businessmen carried in the ‘50’s for a nip during work. During your weekend, you will find yourself in situations where having a drink would be all but impossible (e.g., elevators, bar bathrooms, taxi cabs) were it not for your little companion.
2) Fiber pills. Remember how excessive quantities of alcohol wreaked havoc on your GI tract? Introducing high doses of fiber into your diet can be a smooth move, if you get my meaning.
3) Multi-vitamins. If you already take these, double up.
4) A small digital camera for memory enhancement. You will want to document your progress throughout the weekend, so get a snap of each bar you visit, and pose with the new friends you will undoubtedly acquire. Be advised that your wife will see these pictures at some point, so delete the incriminating photos before you leave your hotel.
Step Five: Implementation — Tips For Success
Drink one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. This prevents some of the major side effects of drinking, such as dying.
Phone the wife no more than twice a day, lest you be labeled “whipped” by your companions. When you talk to her, try to sound somewhat bored with your weekend. If she thinks you’re having too much fun without her, she’s liable to resent your weekend away. Also, try not to slur excessively when speaking to her.
Eat three squares a day. You need the nourishment, old man.
Plan on taking it easy the first night out. Try to find yourselves in a late night restaurant (preferably a diner) for some coffee and chow around midnight. This plan will probably fail miserably, but at least you can say you tried to be sensible.
Stay out of the sun. Avoid sightseeing, fishing, hunting or golf -— prolonged exposure to the sun can cause exhaustion and illness after a hard night’s drinking. You must learn to loathe and fear the sun like a vampire. Only venture outside when proceeding to the next bar.
Establish ground rules. You are all adults now, accustomed to your posh married lifestyles. It’s best to lay down boundaries before the drinks start flowing. You definitely want to make sure no one thinks this weekend’s raison d’etre is scoring with women — you’re here to reacquaint with old friends, not chase skirts. Here is a sample list of other ground rules to consider:
No fist fights.
No Lite beer.
No talking about golf, wine, or 401k’s.
No doing anything that would earn you an uncontested divorce.
If you are concerned about appearing gay when checking into your shared hotel room, ensure that at least one of you is wearing some sort of football paraphernalia. When checking in at the front desk, lean over the counter seductively (if the desk clerk is female) and let it be understood that you have reserved a room with adequate beds or couches for each member of your party to sleep separately. Don’t actually say, “I have reserved a room with adequate beds or couches for each member of my party to sleep separately,” for that in itself could be construed as gay.
Hit up locals for information. Locals know where the best bars and restaurants are. Buy the natives drinks to keep the information flowing.
There’s no use in figuring out who owes what for each bar tab, especially given the substandard math skills you’ll develop as evenings progress. Instead, use the round robin approach by buying rounds or paying tabs in turn. Or, if you are more daring, take a credit card from each person and let the bartender randomly choose which one will be used to pay for the bill. This method has the added benefit of ensuring you don’t stay at the same bar too long and risk getting stuck with a massive tab.
Step 6: Plant the Seeds For Future Excursions
If all goes well, proclaim the weekend to be the First Annual Weekend Getaway. Go home refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated and announce to your wife you’ve decided to make the Weekend Getaway a yearly event. The bouquet of flowers you have brought her will ensure success.