He had so many failed and botched first dates, he was despondent.
His neighbor, Tim, (single, 36, Pixar leader) belonged to a “Men’s Group” and invited Roger to join the guys for day in the woods. Bored to distraction, he agreed. Tim had babbled something about ‘The wisdom of the male collective.’
Tim knocked on Roger’s door at 6 AM on Saturday and they drove to a forest somewhere in Contra Costa County.
About 50 men of varying ages, stages, looks and attire had gathered for the daylong retreat in a huge, open meadow framed by a dense forest. Roger had attended a dozen retreats regarding torts, sexual discrimination, patents and copyright, and never a “Hug Mother Earth free-for-all”
One gang of men was in the woods fashioning something that looked like huge Teepee, constructed with fallen branches. Lunch would be served there, later on.
Another pocket of guys was sitting around a campfire smoking, laughing and drinking coffee.Some guys were playing a raucous game of touch football. A handful of big, burly men – Hulk Hogan types- a few were wearing Davy Crockett hats- were setting up Horse Shoes and Tug-of-war-play stations.
There was a wild array of costumes and crazy hats- like Halloween on steroids- punctuated all day with men giving one another a lot of bear hugs and high-fives.
During the course of the day, Roger had been hugged, back -slapped, and high-fived by about 40, friendly, total strangers In his whole, entire life he had never hugged 40 men.
He spent a couple hours sitting around a fire with ‘The Old Guys.” They were about his age- all had gray hair and beards. They wore variations of faded flannel shirts, crummy old jeans and big boots. Perhaps they were all lumberjacks.
Turned out, one guy was a senior engineer at Livermore Labs, next to him was a radiologist from UCSF, there was a limo driver, a painter, and a lawyer. Obviously, had been close friends for many years. Somehow the topic of Roger’s divorce and dating debacles came up. The guys shook their heads, agreeing that life was a bitch and there was nothing like the love of a good woman.
Go Paleo, young man
All agreed that Roger should sever all Internet connections and go Paleo: meet women the old-fashioned way (me: man – you: woman – let’s dance around a campfire.) Roger chuckled.
The guy in the red plaid said, “At Safeway, go out of your way to help a woman bag her groceries.” He said, “You can tell more about a woman looking at her groceries then you can on an entire online dating profile.” The next guy said, “Go to church. That’s where they are. Women like Unity church, Unitarian, and Wicca. Dude, just sit across from a woman and smile. Chicks dig that.”
The last guy introduced himself as “Dirt Claude,” also an attorney (with a very strong ambulance chaser vibe.) He told Roger to say “Hey” to every pretty woman on the street. He said, ‘Try it for a day.” Roger knew full well he would look like an idiot on Montgomery Street, at noon, greeting every woman – in the floods of ladies who scurry down that chaotic street at lunchtime. Given his recent success- he might try it…
After lunch, followed by more touch football, walks in the woods, singing some raucous songs – a little James Taylor and Van Morrison throw in for color – the men started to fulfill the “Leave no trace rule” and were packing up and were leaving. More bear hugs, secret handshakes, and high-fives. This was the most authentic, male camaraderie Roger had experienced in years- maybe decades.
He and Tim stopped in at Pyramid Ale House in Berkeley and Roger smiled, nodded and said, “Hey” to eight women. Newly inspired, he was on a roll. Blue Skies ahead.