One of the questions that I am most frequently asked by my female friends is, “Why do guys act so immaturely when they are around other guys?”
There is a broad lack of understanding concerning this point, and it is frequently a cause of friction in relationships, especially newer ones.
During the first dizzying days of romance, both parties are so absorbed with the object of their affection they are blind to even the most obvious flaw.
It is only after the first blush of romance has passed, and the parties have more time to evaluate their new companions, that they begin to notice little imperfections in the person’s character, dress, or general behavior.
As an example, I cite the case of my old pal, Mick. We, and some of the other lads, have been friends since we were at school together.
When Mick met Priscilla, we supported him in his new adventure. Time passed, and we served as witnesses when the preacher did his thing and forever joined the happy couple.
Up until that point, Priscilla had been polite, and even friendly, sometimes participating in group activities when all of us got together.
After the preacher had passed sentence, however, there was a distinct cooling-off period.
Although never rude, Priscilla seemed less than enthusiastic when the gang showed up at their happy little nest.
It came to a head one Saturday afternoon after a round of golf when Mick invited three of us back to his place for a refreshing beverage.
We asked if he was sure it would be alright.
There was no cause for concern, Mick said, because his wife and her sister were out shopping, and would likely be gone for hours.
We trooped into the lounge, and Mick distributed a round of libations to the assembly.
Our friend Stitch had just finished relating a particularly amusing anecdote when the door opened and Priscilla came in, laden with bags bearing the labels of several upscale emporiums.
She gave the group a frosty smile, and, fixing an icy stare on old Mick, asked him, if it was not too much trouble, would he mind bringing in the rest of the bags from the car?
He completed this assignment promptly, and had just resumed his seat when the flow of conversation was interrupted by a noise that resembled a distant thunderstorm rumbling down the mountains.
We looked around and discovered that the sound had proceeded from Priscilla, who was evidently endeavoring to attract Mick’s attention. Fixing him with a frigid stare that was a big sister to the first, she said, “Michael, can I see you in the kitchen for a moment?”
It was a simple sentence, but imbued with much foreboding.
With an obsequious smile and bowed head, he replied, “Of course, baby,” and trotted after her.
We all cringed in our seats.
“He ought not to have done that,” Boycie observed. “You never want to let them see you smile when they are giving you the old stink eye like that.”
We nodded in silent agreement.
We became aware of a sort of agitated hissing from behind the kitchen door, as if someone were riling a nest of vipers with a stick. The noise stopped, and presently, Mick was once again among us, his head bowed even lower than before.
“Um,” he began, “Priscilla thinks maybe we would be more comfortable finishing our beers out in the garage.”
We knew what this meant. We quickly rose and followed him out to the garage. From that day forward, the structure became a sort of man-cave and our new home. It was understood that we were not welcome in the lounge except in formal situations when invited by the female head of the household and when there were other ladies present to mitigate our behavior.
“She’s just a little upset,” Mick said, getting the conversational ball rolling again after we had found seats on crates, benches, and one rickety stool. “She didn’t like the story Stitch told about the traveling salesman and the farmer’s daughter the last time you were here. She says we laugh too much, like a pack of half-witted hyenas, and she thinks our behavior is ‘immature and not fit for a respectable home.’”
We accepted the verdict, and did not hold it against Priscilla in any way. We had all been through it before.
Priscilla’s attitude was similar to that of many women we knew, and this brings us back to the question of why men act immaturely when they are around other men.
The fact is, silliness is a guy’s natural condition. We like to talk smart and make up stories. We laugh at crude or sophomoric jokes because we think that stuff is funny.
And, when it comes to physical comedy, watching someone get poked in the eye or kicked in the seat of his britches is pure comedic gold. Show us a scene in which a woman gets kicked in the seat of her pants, and we will roll around on the floor laughing until our sides split.
Men are less-evolved than women are. Many of us never quite get over our boyish enjoyment of the funny side of life. Women, on the other hand, mature earlier and advance to a higher intellectual plane. Even young girls often exhibit a take-charge, maternal sort of attitude.
You can dress us up in suits and make us get jobs and take responsibility, but for many men, that boyish enthusiasm is always there, bubbling away just below the surface. If we see an opportunity to have a laugh or pull a prank on one of our buddies, we’ll take it.
It is not that hanging around other guys makes us regress to a more primitive state. It is rather that hanging around our peers allows us to strip away the veneer of maturity and responsibility, and reveal our simple, un-evolved selves.