Thursday, April 15, 2010

Man contests

The other day one of my friends was showing me a picture of her little sister, and worrying that she is now sixteen and can date. I listened to the protectiveness in her voice, and realize that with no little sister to worry about, I am missing out on that highly protective feeling. Of course, I do have younger brothers, but I don't worry about them in quite the same way. When it comes to brothers, your biggest worry is generally that they'll live through their teenage years. Forget about someone taking advantage of them on a date, I'm more worried another guy will offer one of them $5 to chug a gallon of guacamole in a minute, or jump off the roof blindfolded, and that'll be it. Trust me, I've seen them do worse things for less money before. Usually because I was the one offering. When Lance and I were both teenagers, I managed to convince him it would be a good idea to chug a glass of vinegar-- free of charge. It was great, except for the moment when Mom and Dad walked in the door while he was throwing up in the kitchen sink. How did I do it? I invented the term "man contest." I discovered early in life, that the most reasonable guy in the world will do anything for you, if only you throw his manliness into question. This is how I persuaded my straight-A student brothers to do a multitude of unpleasant things, from lying shirtless in the snow to eating dog food (if I was mean enough, I probably could have taken that one exactly where you were thinking it was going). I made it a "man contest," and whoever did the best was the manliest of the three. It worked beautifully every time. Even once they realized what I was doing, they couldn't help themselves-- they had to give in eventually, on the off chance I really would believe they were less manly than the other two. Of course, they have other ways to determine who was the manliest, some more reasonable than others. One of their favorites is who had the most hair. I swear, a guy could walk down the street in a pink cardigan, singing "My Heart Will Go On" at the top of his lungs, and if he had enough hair on his arms they would all be saying "Man, what a stud!" The words "peach fuzz" are an insult of choice at our house, never mind that all three of my brothers can grow a five o'clock shadow before noon. The other most important determiner is the deepness of a guy's voice. If any one of my brothers had the indignity of being a tenor, I'm not sure he could ever live down the shame. I sometimes worry about how my brothers are going to react when I bring home a fiancee someday, but then I realize as long as he's got chest hair and a voice like Barry Manilow, they'll all get along just fine.

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