Real Men & Terry Cloth Robes
following humorous article was written by one of our
talented guests . . . Be prepared to laugh!
Scripps Howard News Service
In order to be a real man, every man must
challenge himself. |
This was my mantra as I finished a three-day
backpacking trip in North Carolina's Pisgah
Forest last weekend. The true test of a man,
I thought, is how far he is willing to push
his physical and mental boundaries. Real men
do the things that others will not consider.
The trail was not too strenuous, the
distance not too long. It was simply a
three-day hike in the woods, much less
challenging than many treks I have faced
before. But there was a monster waiting for
me at the end of this trail, an experience
I've never encountered before, and one for
which I was not wholly prepared.
I've spent weeks in the woods, but this
would be my first night in a Bed and
It was a compromise with the women on the
trip _ balancing our time in a tent with a
stay in Asheville's Crooked Oak Mountain
Inn. In order to motivate everyone on the
trail, we planned to follow three glorious
days of mountain climbing, dehydrated food,
and iodine-tinged water with one night of
frilly pillowcases and canopied beds.
Humor columnists are not the most outdoorsy
people in the world, usually because most of
us rarely leave our parents' basements. I am
the rare exception; the joke writer who can
tie a taut hitch. I can treat a snake bite,
scare off a grizzly bear, and put a chicken
to sleep in the palm of my hand. I sleep
comfortably with knotted roots pressing into
my spine. I can handle rain, heat, heights,
bugs, and very pointy stickerbushes. But I
cannot handle doilies.
So, obviously, I signed on for the
backpacking but not the pampering. For me, a
perfect trip is topped off by a night in a
$30 motel room with a shower, cable, and
pizza delivery. I am a simple man. I don't
need no stinking doilies.
And so, obviously, I tried my hardest not to
enjoy the Crooked Oak Mountain Inn.
When we arrived, I noticed three things
right away. There weren't really any
doilies. The pillowcases weren't overly
frilly. And our massive, plush, inviting
king-sized bed did not have a canopy. It was
immediately clear that this was not going to
A half-hour hot shower washed away more of
my doubts, along with three days of
accumulated dirt and stray granola. I
stepped from the bathroom to find a pristine
white terry cloth robe waiting on the bed.
This, I thought, would be the greatest
I made certain the blinds were drawn and the
door was securely locked. Holding my breath,
I pulled on the robe. I attempted not to
sigh too loudly. I failed in this attempt.
Later in the afternoon, a few frosty mugs of
locally-brewed amber ale reaffirmed my
masculinity. I sat on the porch, taking in
the mountain view, while trying not to think
of the terry cloth robe in my bedroom.
And in the morning _ oh, the morning _ I
discovered our motive in choosing this
particular B&B. The owners both happen to be
professional caterers. And an omelet made
with havarti, spinach, tomato, and dill
happens to taste better than instant oatmeal
and a cold Power Bar.
We left clean, well-fed, relaxed, and
looking far more human than when we arrived.
Against all my intentions, I had actually
enjoyed the stay. It was truly a test of
manhood, and more than that, a learning
Real men, I learned, challenge themselves.
They push their boundaries. And, on
occasion, real men wear terry cloth robes.
(Ben Grabow writes for the young, the
urban, and the easily amused. Contact him at
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,