YOU KNOW, I was saying to Davo last week: “Chicks don’t think blokes talk to each other. I reckon 50 percent of everybody I meet is a bloke, so how would it go if I said I’m not talking to you because you’re a bloke!”
Davo was poking round his car engine and he waved a black finger at me. Davo has famously got three years of carbon under his fingernails. They reckon he doesn’t so much shower as give himself an oil change.
“Wouldn’t get much done, would you, Daggy. Gotta talk to another bloke to build networks, like who’s brother-in-law is a mechanic what can do you a dodgy roadworthy? Where can I get cheap tyres? Are England gonna fuck us over in the Ashes again? See, we talk sensible stuff. Girls talk ‘periods’. And they go on and on and on! About periods! And they say we talk shit about sports and cars.”
“You’re right, Davo. A bloke can talk to another bloke about sports and cars. Tells you where he stands.”
“Mind you, gotta watch out where you talk to blokes. Doesn’t do to talk to them in the Gents, like, ya nevva know…” Davo stopped there because he didn’t know and he didn’t want to guess.
“I was talking to Andy in Accounts once…”
“That doesn’t surprise me, you can’t talk to Andy ‘twice’,” laughs Davo. “And you don’t talk to him on ‘account’ of his job. That’s puns, that is. I’m good at puns! Hee, hee.”
“Right. Did I tell you I accidentally got invited to his wedding? I’m gunna admit to doing two stoopid things in one day…”
“Yeah? Slow day? Hee, hee, hee.”
Davo is not real funny and he giggles like a princess but I don’t tell him as he weighs more than his pick-up truck! I just carry on like I didn’t hear.
“…See, we got in the lift, me and Andy; I’m going to 10 and he’s going to 12 and it’s a long way to be quiet; and I asked, ‘You got anything interesting lined up?’ And he said, ‘I’m getting married.’ But he didn’t look that pleased so I said, ‘How come?’ And he said, ‘I ran out of excuses,’ and then I said, ‘Aw, ma-ate!’”
“To Andy? Ma-ate?” Davo was that surprised he stopped what he was doing.
“Yeah. Be fair, the bloke had a face on him like the tax department had arsed him over. And then he said, ‘Do you want to come?’ And I went, ‘What me?’ and he goes, ‘Yeah. Why not. She’s Italian and she’s got more sisters than a battery hen and my side’ll be nearly empty. I could do with some more people on my side. Give me your number, I’ll text you an invite.’
“Well, it sounded less of a wedding and more of a gang war, but bugger me, he looked like he’d been beaten up and broken down already, so I gave him me number.
“Well, that was me first stoopid thing. Then I did something even more stoooooopid: I told Sheree and she goes ‘woop-de-doop’ because she loves weddings and the next thing I know is, we’re going!”
“So, another wedding, eh! You’re brave!”
I’ll tell ya sumpthing. I don’t mind weddings, really. It’s nice to see the girls in something other than mumble-pants*. And I don’t mind getting dressed up meself. Thou I never get to choose me tie. Sheree always matches it with what she’s wearing. Red dress, red tie. She’ll go and buy it to match so’s we’re a ‘couple’. She loves dressing up for parties.”
I reckon you can tell how old you are by what parties you go to. See, when you’re 5—15 it’s parties and games and there’s a cake and pictures and a granny somewhere and the candles have to be blown out and everybody sings Happy Birthday and eats spit-sprayed birthday cake. But come 16 and there’s no cake. No Happy Birthday, often no presents; maybe vouchers like phone credits or sumthing. Then come 18, it’s the big ‘do’ and often a hall gets hired because the parents don’t want to get the carpet dirty with that lot in the house. Then after that, we don’t need an excuse—we just go and PAAARTY!
Then suddenly there’s engagement parties and weddings and guilt!
If you wanna see blokes talking to each other, go to a wedding and watch us blokes standing around, strangling a beer, getting a good look at the chicks on the dance floor, and giving odds on who’ll score what. Ideally, we’re looking for a girl who has just broken up with someone, hates men, is feeling unloved, wants revenge sex and is too drunk to remember who she had it with. If a bloke says, ‘I met me wife at a wedding,’ there’s a good chance he was checking the chicks and misjudged how drunk she was.
So! It’s Wedding Day! Sheree and me are decked out and she’s got these new shoes that are killing her and I said don’t wear them and she gives me a look what would shatter glass and I reckon, go figure!
“Andy and Mandy”, she reads from me phone text. “Andy and Mandy? I don’t like it. You can’t make anything from it. Now us, we’d be BarShee, or SherBar, or SheBazza! Ooooh, I like that—SheBazza!”
You know, we’re not even out of the carpark and the guilts have started. Here’s the list:
“I suppose I’m the designated driver AGAIN.”
“That bride has the most awful fake tan! She’s orange! And look, it’s rubbing off under her armpits! He must really love her. Would you love me that much?”
“Awwww, they seem so happy together.”
“Oh, come on, dance with me. If you love me you’ll dance with meeee. The other blokes are dancing!”
And the worst of all, “What sort of wedding would you like, darling?”
So it’s getting late and Sheree’s dancing with Mandy and neither of them are wearing shoes and Andy and me and a few other guys are strangling the beers over by the bar and I said to Andy, “So, where’d you meet Mandy?”
“Funnily enough, we met at a wedding. Have another beer?”
“Too right, mate. Cheers!”
Written by By Barry Dagman; illustrations by Dr Jay Harley
*mumble pants: So tight you can see the lips move but you can’t hear what it’s saying.