After spending the last 4 days on a guys’ ski trip to Colorado, I can honestly say not only are men from Mars and we are from Venus, but there’s a reason women love their “girls night out” and their “womens’ get-aways.”
Although my husband has a soft sensitive side and I love our one on one time, when he is with the boys, he becomes a guy’s guy. That’s not a criticism, just an observation.
That said, I had very little trepidation about joining him for his guys’ ski trip this past week. I’ve been skiing my whole life and consider myself fearless on the slopes (up to a point), and always thought it would be great to join in on a boys ski trip. But, I’d never been invited until now.
My husband headed out a few days ahead so he and his buddy could do their thing. Well “their thing” didn’t change one iota when I arrived. I needed to do a little adjusting to make sure that I didn’t upset their flow.
The boys happily spent their non-ski time tinkering and building. After 2 days in their boy bubble, another friend joined the group about the same time as myself. For hours they assembled furniture, night tables, a trundle bed and more. They were totally absorbed in their analysis of construction possibilities, the electrical system, cost/benefit analysis of upgrading bathrooms and the radiant heat. Most conversations ended up with decisions, no waffling for them — real decisions were made.
There were 5 TV remote controls which they knew how to operate. Relaxing time was spent watching “The Games” and taking a TV break with a Jason Bourne flick. They moved seamlessly from Netflix, to Pandora, to ESPN and I observed their technical acumen in awe. They never brought up where they would have dinner until an hour before. “Maybe we should get take-out…or just walk over to the place on the corner and see how long the wait is.” The day went from tool box, to ski slope, to refrigerator, to couch. Eventually the pizza found it’s way to the couch. That was the dance — the men’s tango.
“Hmmm. That is so not the women’s dance,” I thought. Put a group of women in a ski house and you have dinner reservations, hair, skin and general product shares, intimate conversations about the kids, and how to adjust to empty nesting and our work/life challenges. A girls weekend away involves constant reviewing of food plans, recipe sharing, hanging out in bed laughing and planning the next trip. Quiet time on the couch usually happens after the 3rd glass of wine, not at 5 pm. (By the way making that women’s list brings me joy).
But truth be told —at first glance, the highlight for me of being on this boy’s ski trip was the skiing. Skiing endlessly all over the mountain and hiking up into the bowls and jumping into steep pitched powder over and over again. But that’s where my big interaction ended.
I loved seeing how happy my husband was with his buddies and as much as they made me feel welcome, I was an outsider. I honestly had fun all week but had to roll with the guy thing. It took a little doing — here’s a little glance into what felt so different and what I learned:
- Bathroom: It’s a guys trip…chivalry is out. Ladies do not get to go first. When there is one shower to share and a small water heater it’s survival of the fittest. After missing out on the hot water for 3 days, by day 4 (that’s today), I finally figured out I had to get up at 5 am to have a shower.
2. Food: The only day there was any food presented after the morning eggs, was on the counter. One afternoon I decided to put out some cheese on a serving tray with crackers. The boys were thrilled, “thanks so much, this is really really nice.”
“Gee, really,” I thought. :”This is appetizers 101″. However, I observed zero food stress in general …. it was a grab and go mentality. No one was “serving” just surviving.
- Conversation. There is no need to talk if there is nothing to say. “WHAAT!” That is a concept that takes some getting used to. I watched how the men gathered contentedly without talking for long periods. I experienced the sound of my voice as an intrusion into their quiet time. I’m sure they did too. The silence at times felt awkward but not to them. Every time there was too much quiet I worked on my deep breathing. For the boys, there was nothing to work on. They were relaxed and content.
- Money: This is an interesting differentiation between men and women and something I have noticed time and again and dare I say, something I think women can learn from. These men do not haggle over who pays for what…they just pay as they go. If someone has cash they pick up the tab for drinks, or a few groceries. No one is showing up with a receipt and dividing by 4. It took a whole layer of stress out of the shared experience.
- The Couch: I have learned to embrace the couch over the last few years as it has been the ideal way to share time with my boys…but that’s just the point — I have boys not girls. Couch time is the activity of choice. There was no big urge to get off the couch and go out for dinner or to see what was happening in town. Thank goodness I had my dog with me to go on long walks and explore the little ski town because the guys were content to be channel surfing.
- Shopping: Forget about it. I did it alone and often. No one was going to head into town and putter around the stores for an apres ski activity.
- Politics. This was the #WomensMarch weekend and I was feeling way to far away from my sisters who were marching in NY, Boston and DC. I needed to talk about ‘The March.”. I needed to watch the news and read it all and talk about it. Needless to say the men said they needed to take a break from it.
“AHHHHH, a break, NO WAY!” I tried planting bait to lure them in to talking about The March. But, the fish were not biting, so I took to the streets. I engaged in the liveliest of conversations with women I met on my dog walks in town to fill this gaping hole of venting and sharing. I was frankly thrilled when I learned there would be a Women’s March in Telluride.
An hour before the #Telluridewomensmarch was set to start, I planted myself in a coffee shop in town with a girlfriend I’d met on the ski slope 3 years prior. I called her for coffee and we had a fantastic visit. We chatted nonstop and headed out to the march joining hundreds of other men and women. The vibe was exhilarating, so much solidarity on women’s issues and the joy for me of being among so many like minded women was a serotonin uptick that no amount of fresh powder on the slopes could tempt me away from. But not true for the boys. Although they were aware I was going, the conversation was about where and when to meet up when I was done. Granted 6″ of fresh powder had fallen.
I learned a lot about male bonding during this trip. I will say, I appreciated there was no drama over the days I was with the guys. I also appreciated there was no pressure to be anywhere or to do anything. And, after getting used to the quiet and the lack of talk about plans, there was something quite relaxed about the ease of the overall visit. I never slept better.
Secretly I hope I get invited back.