Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I Thought I Was Past Peer Pressure...
It has become my friends' Thanksgivings Eve tradition. For the past several years, some of the guys (those whose wives don’t object or are unmarried) get together at the Biltmore Hotel bar for a few libations (not referring in the Jewish ritual sense of the word) to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.
Mind you, these are church-going Christian men, who are trying to live their faith. They are guys that over the past several years, at the risk of sounding less than manly, I have grown to love. We have become very close and socialize regularly with our wives and kids.
That night, as I started getting text messages on my cell phone asking where I was, while heading to dinner with my wife and kids, I regressed to my first day as a high school senior when my friends decided to skip homeroom to go “celebrate” our senior year.
Yes, I did want to go (as I did in high school). I would never do something just because everyone else was doing it but I also understand my role as husband and father. Still, even at 46, I was getting that I-don’t-want-to-miss-out-again feeling (having missed the previous gatherings and hearing about the great time they had).
So, I mentioned that the guys were getting together at the Biltmore for some drinks to my wife (ever so delicately) and that they wanted me to go.
“Oh, no; you’re not leaving me here alone with the kids, unless they're asleep! None of your friends have small kids,” she said (I'm the only one with a toddler amongst my friends but I don't consider it a strike against me!).
I tucked my tail between my legs and said I would rather spend the night with her and the kids anyway.
Alright, I know, at this point, why not roll on my back in total submission? But, as a husband, who enjoys and plans on remaining married, I have to pick my battles. I knew I wasn’t going to win this one (at least not going about it in a frontal caveman approach).
I go out to dinner with the family and, as we are heading back home (having put the Biltmore thing aside and planning on watching a movie), my 3-year-old son falls asleep. “He didn’t nap. He’s probably out for the night,” my wife says (My heart rejoices with unexpected excitement.... Did that just sound too gay?).
I get another text message from the guys. It simply said, “…and you?” In other words, where the heck are you? We're still waiting.
I show it to my wife as we stopped at the grocery store to buy milk (isn't this like something Will Ferrell would say in the movie Old School?). As I park the minivan (yes), we notice, our 6-year-old daughter had also fallen asleep (Wow, two down. God must be on my side! Now, if only my wife was as accommodating).
Another text from the guys, “the boys say, lift up your skirt and get over here.” (Thanks a lot. Talk about peer pressure!)
We get home. I carry both the kids into their beds and change them into their pajamas. Our older daughter is still awake but she's old enough to take care of herself and not cause too much of a raucous with her siblings asleep.
I linger around our bedroom hoping for a signal; pretending to look busy and knowing that my wife knew exactly what I was thinking but was trying to make me suffer a little.
“Have fun,” she said.
What? Yes (I would have pumped my arm but thought it would be out of line and was trying to be discrete).
“I’ll be home early,” I answered, as I headed out as fast as I could before one of the kids woke up and she changed her mind.
It's amazing; almost 30 years out of high school and I'm still succumbing to peer pressure...