I Get Invited to SO Many Guys' Weekends... Because I'm Not ACTUALLY Friends With Them
Friends! Because we aren't actually friends.
Because I am a passionate defender of women's sex-based rights (our oppression is sex-based, and therefore our rights, spaces, and legal protections must be sex-based, too), and because I do not tolerate male violence against women (sometimes, before I hang out with a guy for the first time, I tell him, "If you ever touch me without my consent, I will kill you" — and I mean it), damaged beta males sometimes accuse me of "hating men."
Couldn't be further from the truth. I love men.
Absolutely love them.
They smell good. They're hilarious. They're more likely than women to like the things I like, such as surfing, mountain biking, boar hunting, attending open mics, going to the beach in the middle of the night, playing basketball, etc.
Since starting my journey as a full-time RVer, I've had the incredible opportunity to meet and join groups of men who are having some sort of "guys' weekend." (For whatever reason, I just have not run into any groups of women at campgrounds or in the woods having some kind of "girls' weekend.")
I've been to three bachelor parties. I've been to two annual guy-friend camping or surfing trips. And, recently, I met up with The Breakfast Club, an outrageously talented and hilarious 80s cover band.
My invitation was always by coincidence. I happened to be camping where they were camping, and we became buddies. As I've written in so many travel journal entries, as well as several Eva Via originals, including Road Trip, A Lifetime in a Day, and I Love This Coffee Mug, a lot can happen between people in a short amount of time when the right conditions are met (openness, willingness, trust, shared interests, and perhaps a certain spark or je ne sais quoi).
tEven though I've always felt very included in these weekends, I am always actively mindful. Am I imposing? Should I go away so they can have their special guy time?
Yet every time I say I'm going to leave, they'll cook me a pork chop or put more bait on my hook or pour me another bourbon, which seem to be pretty clear signs that I am, indeed, wanted.
No, it's not sexual — a lot of the times, most or all of the guys are married. It's not about that — it's that we're actually getting along. (Contrary to what some women think, whether due to low self-esteem or something else, women are worth spending time with, even when sex is completely off the table — but isn't it so sad that some women think if they hang out with dudes they're somehow "leading him on," or that the guy is going to be disappointed when it doesn't lead to sex? It's as thought they think the only thing they have to offer is their vagina, and not their intelligence, amazing sense of humor, or their stories and ideas and experiences and sense of adventure?)
We have the most amazing times together ever.
We laugh until it hurts. We grill the most amazing meat anyone's ever eaten. We make beautiful (and sometimes bawdy) music and catch beautiful (and sometimes messy) waves.
It feels like being real friends...
Except I know that if we were real friends, I would not have been invited on this trip.
I got invited because I'm some random, cool stranger who happened to be camping or mountain biking in the same place, at the same time.
But if I were a not-random, cool female friend from home, I would most likely not have been invited camping or mountain biking.
This makes me sad.
Like, once I sell my RV and go back to living a "normal" life (well, as normal as life can be to someone who lives every day like she's traveling)... am I just going to be excluded from some of the most thrilling social excursions because they are male-only? Am I doomed to a lifetime of ladies' nights and mani-pedis?
I really hope not. I haven't actually seen any of my friends in almost two years, but I seem to remember fun weekend excursions to Yosemite, Big Sur, the Payette... and even Futaleufú.
While all of these trips were male-dominated, I was always included (obviously), and sometimes there were even other girls along.
None of those friends ever seemed to have a particular desire to exclude women because we somehow "ruin the dynamic" with our ladybrains and our lady interests and our ladyparts.
There absolutely were, however, certain tensions at times. As I wrote in It's REALLY Weird How Many Couples Supervise Each Other,
Sometimes, even with guys who are 100% down with spending time with women, girlfriends can be weird about us spending time together. I've got one surf buddy who is "allowed" to surf with me, and even ride in the car alone with me — without even getting permission from his girlfriend...
And I've got another who always makes a big fuss about trying to invite more people when I'm the only person on the group text who's available to surf that day. "Are you sure your boyfriend can't come?! Are you suuuuuuuure your boyfriend can't come?"
I know it's not coming from him. I know he's being supervised and pressured into finding reasons to bail on surfing when it's just the two of us.
It got to the point that I didn't even want to tell anyone when I broke up with my last boyfriend, because I was afraid that once people found out I was single, my guy friends wouldn't be allowed to hang out with me anymore.
So the lack of women at "guys' weekends" is clearly not only the fault of men. (Well... maybe it is. A reasonable argument is that it is their fault that they choose to let their partner control their social and recreational decisions, instead of doing what a healthy, well-adjusted person would do and trust their partner.)
But so here's the thing. I fight for women's sex-based rights, including sex-based spaces and activities, every day. As I said before, our oppression is sex-based. Women are oppressed because we have female bodies. Women are oppressed because they are physically smaller and weaker than men, and therefore vulnerable to male violence — which is so prevalent that all of us have been harassed, groped, and made to feel intimidated, and many of us have been the victims of male violence against women.
This is why I fight for female-only sports.
This is why I fight for female-only bathrooms and locker rooms. It's not just about the privacy and dignity we deserve to deal with our uniquely female needs... it's about our literal safety. (Yes, transwomen also deserve safety... the problem is, women aren't human shields to protect transwomen from male violence. I would 100% join the fight for single-user and OPTIONAL gender-neutral a bathrooms, but I 100% reject "self-ID" as the criterion for males entering women's bathrooms. It makes it easier for males to harm women, it harms women in the workplace and girls in school, and it removes any recourse women have against predators in their private spaces. It is unethical and immoral to tell women they must accept fear, danger, embarrassment, and discomfort to accommodate male feelings, when there is a solution that would provide a safe place to change and pee without violating women's human rights.)
I also think it's important for women to maintain female-only groups to discuss topics like breastfeeding, pregnancy, sexual assault, PMDD, endometriosis, and other uniquely-female issues.
Of course, I also think that men have a right to male-only spaces. Men have the same right to privacy and dignity as women do. Whether due to social, religious, or even trauma-based reasons, many men would not be comfortable sharing a private space with females.
I also support their right to maintain male-only groups to discuss topics that only affect men, though it's a little less clear to me what would be discussed in such groups.
But I continue struggling to understand why men need to exclude all women from something like a mountain biking or camping trip. What is it about all women (except for the random, cool stranger across the way) that inherently ruins the weekend?
Don't mind me. I'm just sitting here ruining everything for everyone with my ladiness. Image: The Happy Talent
Especially considering we're not talking about whether a stranger of the opposite sex should be allowed to enter a private space with unconsenting strangers.
We're talking about people who are (presumably) friends.
I don't understand it. I don't really have any answers. I'm just musing, because I really, really don't want to be doomed to a life of ladies' nights while the guys have all the epic, outdoor fun.
Am I to continue doing everything alone forever? Am I to always rely on the temporary friendship of strangers?
Share your thoughts in the comments, because I sincerely want to hear additional perspectives and insights.
Note: I mentioned several male-only events I've attended in the last 16 months in this post. I mentioned that I know I would not have been invited had I been real friends with the guys on the trip. I should also mention that there is one exception: The Breakfast Club. They 100% wouldn't exclude women — as long as you're as outrageously high-energy and fun as these guys (and girls – they've got a female singer, who was in Florida but didn't hang with us when I was there, and a female drummer, who was not in Florida last weekend), you're welcome to join in their shenanigans.
I should also mention that this group is insanely talented, and if you're in any way involved in booking or event planning, you should hir them. Also, some of the guys in the band have put together an incredible new production called Radio Gaga, a Lady Gaga + Queen show — "the concert that never was" — and it is epic.
Image: Radio Gaga Tour on Facebook
1/28/2022 10:46:08 am
No real answers, but I would love to find more women's groups that pursue fun adventures. My closest friends who are women tend to want to "hang out" (usually at someone's house) or maybe do a brief hike first, but I'm craving more adventure, more risk, more skill, and it's hard to find people to go with (more so in the pandemic). I do think there are great groups out there, but to be honest, I've been discouraged by how many advertise themselves to "womxn and all GNC people" or "women of all identities and gender minorities and non-binary individuals." If I'm looking for a women's group, a mixed-sex group is not the answer, and yet it's all I'm seeing on offer lately.
1/28/2022 05:53:06 pm
I love your writing and agree 100%! I wish I had more friends that did more outdoor stuff and got me to do it, too!! I also wish I didn’t live in Iowa.
1/30/2022 09:41:54 am
Next time I'm in the area, I'll hit you up! We'll do mani-pedis, then go ruin them in the backcountry. :P
4/25/2022 10:54:38 am
It really is so refreshing to come across an actual sane adult human female who fights for sex based rights while also acknowledging that men have every right to our own men-only spaces and have rights as well. It's really sad and disheartening how rare that is these days.
4/25/2022 11:44:13 am
Ah it seems the rest of my comment was cut off. Wish I'd seen this right after posting it so I could remember it verbatim. Oh well.
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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