My future as a network-fixing, Corona-drinking geek.

Thursdays are the standing night out for everyone on my team. Read: the men in IT who have been working together for 10+ years, who all have a fondness for enjoying Coronas and nachos together. They were gracious enough to invite me to join their weekly soiree and I have taken them up on their offer a few times. And let me tell you it is entertaining to say the least. Picture it: me (small, young, thin, female), and about 5 or 6 middle aged men. And we’re not talking stereotypical IT guys either. In fact none of them look anything like that guy, nor have creepy mustaches or anything gross like that, and only a couple are balding and they manage to do it gracefully; i.e. no comb-over (guys: shave it all or own the bald spot, do NOT comb that ish over! It blows, it’s much too long, it is not meant to be worn that way, and you are not fooling anyone! Ugh). So now for this bar we frequent: it’s a Capital Ale House cousin, in that it is actually called Carolina Ale House, and has similar layout, beer, and clientele. Which means this is not a happenin’ place with hotties. My future husband will not be found in this place, Lord help me. Nor will my pals find themselves a nice young lady to spend the evening with, nor will they find the cougar variety to…do whatever with. Really there are no women worth winking at in this place unless you have consumed every Corona in the bar and can’t see straight. Judgment face on the real, people, and I don’t even hide it most times. Digression.

So I think you have a clear picture now, and really it’s like this every week. We go basically to talk about people from work who don’t show up, discuss the latest network outage, mull over which server we think will go down next, and who’ll be the sorry SOB who’s on call to fix it at 3am. No joke people, this is my future. Oh it’s Friday night? You’re out with your girls showing that mohito who’s boss? Too bad. Get on the conference call and fix that server, biotch! Remotely and drunk if you have too, but you better not mess up business, or profits go down and it’s all your fault. [It’s ok though, the “jobs bill” got passed so you’d find work in no time if they fire you!] Oy. Digression again.

Anywho, the interesting part of these little outings is the dynamic of the group. Something tells me it is vastly – or at least marginally different with me there than before. Here’s some things I’ve noticed. The first time I went, I could tell everyone had their sensors and filters on high alert. The next few times, there are more curse words (gasp!), more judgment of so-called “fat cows” at the bar (yes that’s a quote, and yes I taught them all about the judgment face). They have also started asking my opinion about chicks in the bar. “Is she hot or should I stop drinking?” They’ve started being protective of me, like brothers or dads. Or the Secret Service. “That guy is staring at you, he’s ugly, let me stand in front of him so he can’t see you.” No kidding, this has happened (and honestly most the time I’m thankful…like I said, no future husbands or anyone even close). I also get to hear all about their kids, which is vastly entertaining, especially because in some/most/all cases I am closer to their kids’ ages than I am to their ages. Last week, it was daughters night, and I got to hear all about the daughters’ past dating experiences. “This one time, some punk came to pick up my daughter, and honked his GD horn in my &*^% driveway! She tried to get away but of course I stopped her. Walked out there and I said, Son, you ever honk your horn in my driveway again, you’ll get your #$@ !#$%@#$!#  #@$%^&$! Yeah, never saw his ass again.” Said with chest puffed out, lots of agreement nods, and badass chugging of beer. Of course this is not a new story for me, or likely for anyone in the history of dads and daughters who like boys, but it’s still hilarious to be the only non-dad in the group and watch them get all hackled up just talking about some kid who tried courting their daughter 10 years ago.

The next most hilarious thing is that they also pick out men for me. “What about that guy in the stupid ass shorts?” They were madras, and yes he looked sort of silly in them. “That guy is totally checking you out,” one will say, followed by, “no, he’s just wondering what the hell she’s doing with us!” Which is followed by raucous laughter and probably a spilled Corona. Then my boss will remember he doesn’t want me to make friends or have a life so I can work later and have no excuses, clear his throat and say, “Rusty! They’re no good! Work only!” Which again will be followed by more laughter, as they apparently think I would like to do even more work after hours than I do, on a salary which doesn’t pay overtime. Ahem. I never complain, because I am Miss Sassy Pants, and complaining is not sassy. Own it, work it.

Wait, Rusty? Caught that, did you? Save it for another entry. For now, we’ll focus on the closing point, which is that old men aren’t so awful! Just playing, that’s not the point. Just wanted to share that little cliffhanger concerning my new nickname. And that I am becoming a bigger nerd as each day passes. And that, of the friends I’ve made since moving here, these feisty middle aged men definitely take home the most cool points at the end of the day. Plus I get free beer, and who wants to turn their nose at that? Stay tuned, for I’m sure more hilarity will ensue.

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