I feel like I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time in life as the lone woman in a large group of dudes. I traveled around Europe with 5 smelly dudes, took a road trip to Tennessee in the middle of the summer with 7 really smelly dudes, and I take a yearly trip to Colorado with yet another pack of dudes.
After all these years of research, here is the main observation I can report: When dudes run out of real things to talk about with each other, which usually occurs about 5 hours into a trip, they begin to incessantly quote movies. They’ll quote Lebowski, they’ll quote Anchorman, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Wedding Crashers, Snatch, Ferris Bueller, Trainspotting— just about anything that’s not widely considered too “chicky.” And what’s even stranger is that they seem to gain some kind of social stock with each other based on their ability to not only remember these lines word for word, but to recite them with exceptional gusto and in the accent of the character being quoted.
I remember sitting at a pub in London with a bunch of guys I was traveling with, and we were in the middle of a city square with a million things to observe and discuss. There were Aussies to our right and Irish people to our left, eager to make new friends, and we were on the second day of the first time any of us had been to London. So where did the conversation go, almost immediately? Movie quotes. I would say something like, “Wow, this city is beautiful. Anybody wanna check out Big Ben tomorrow?” And one of the guys would shout, “Oy, keep your fingers out of my soup!” in a horrible cockney accent, and the rest of the dudes would crack up and cheers him with their beers while I sat there, totally unamused.
What’s weird about it is that men can’t seem to remember the details of anything else. They can’t remember birthdays or anniversaries or the fact that you asked them to pick you up from somewhere at 3 o’clock, but they can recite Kevin Costner’s entire “I believe in the small of a woman’s back” speech from Bull Durham, word for word.
It blows my mind.
What is so great about being able to quote movies? To me, it just looks like a very obvious avoidance of having to actually converse with each other, talk about what’s going on in their lives and actually express any kind of (eek!) feelings.
I wanted to give men a chance to explain themselves before I posted this blog speculating about their weird social habits, so I asked 3 men what was up with the movie-quoting thing.
The first man answered, “Because it shows our devotion to the films we love and the prowess of our memory. We also use quotes to describe how we feel because we think the actor/actress we are quoting probably felt a similar way.”
The second man said, “It creates commonality.”
The third man said, “It’s evolved into a method of social interaction that actually serves a complex function, which is figuring out who you’ll probably get along with and who you won’t.” In other words, it creates commonality.
So, I guess my question is, why is the ability to quote movies the main thing that you guys feel like you need to have in common in order to be friends with each other? I don’t immediately feel the need to quote Dirty Dancing upon meeting a new potential girlfriend, nor would I be impressed if I asked a girl how her mom was doing and she quoted some line from The Graduate. That wouldn’t be cool; it would be weird.
I really think that some men need to work on developing an original emotional vocabulary that allows them to express themselves outside of badly written movie scripts. It’s a real, palpable problem for the confused women like myself who are consistently put in the position of having to observe these severely stunted interactions. I’m actually concerned about the emotional future of mankind.
So men, what do you have to say for yourselves? And quoting a movie in the comment section does not count as a legitimate response.