As a gentleman would say, "Valhalla I am commmmmmmiiiiiinnnng."
Last night around 2 am, I got a text message from my brother, telling me he was headed home and that I should do the same so we could hang out in his room and listen to his vast record collection. This sounded nice, although I thought, “I bet this is exactly how he asks girls out at school,” because I know how many times I’ve fallen for the old “do you want to come over and just listen to records?” myself. Only I hope that my brother’s evenings don’t end like ours did, with the girl asleep on his bed while he smokes out the window and the Kinks are playing in the background. Except that while typing that I realized that’s probably exactly how those evenings end, so I’m just going to forge ahead with the rest of this story and try not to think about that stuff.
So my brother and I were hanging out in his room listening to records, and I picked this book off his shelf called As A Gentleman Would Say. This book was his Christmas present last year from some family friends, and also the hotly-anticipated sequel to the present they’d given him the year before, How to Be a Gentleman. There is a $10 bet that tonight they’re going to complete the trilogy and gift him with A Gentleman Entertains, although they really shouldn’t even bother, because all a 20 year old guy needs to know about entertaining involves owning a turntable and lots of old vinyl, and my brother seems to have that one down pat. However, my brother has informed me that the only reason he looks forward to these books is that our family friends hide a $50 bill somewhere in the middle, so I guess we’ll find out how a gentleman ought to entertain soon enough.
Since I’d had a few drinks earlier in the evening, I thought it was pretty funny to read aloud from As A Gentleman Would Say in a faux English accent, covering such quandaries as (these are not made up) When A Gentleman Encounters a Friend Shopping for Birth Control, or When A Friend Asks To Borrow a Gentleman’s Favorite Hammer And the Gentleman Would Prefer Not to Lend It. This one gave us pause.
“A favorite hammer? Are they being serious? Do men have a favorite hammer? Do you have a favorite hammer?”
And then, after a few seconds:
“Stephen, ask me what my favorite hammer is.”
My brother, not looking up from the back of the album cover he’s reading, monotone delivery, no question mark at the end:
“What is your favorite hammer.”
Me, in languid Robert Plant tones: “Haaaaammmmmer of the goooooooooooddds.”
This made my brother laugh really hard once, and it made me laugh really hard about seventeen more times in a row. Because I said it seventeen more times in a row, each time telling him to ask me what my favorite hammer was. Then I fell asleep on top of his covers with my shoes still on and woke up at 4 am freezing to death because my brother had twisted his torso out his open window in order to smoke a cigarette.
I remember one time, when we were younger, my dad telling my brother that while he might wish he had an older brother now, once he started dating girls he’d be grateful that he’d grown up with a sister, because he’d realize he knew things about interacting with women that you just couldn’t learn growing up with only boys. Having dated guys who had sisters and having dated guys who only had brothers, I can vouch for this theory. However, I’m a little concerned that with all of my laughing at my own jokes and passing out after three beers, I’ve instead given my brother the kind of insight you can only get from growing up with a drunk uncle.