If you haven’t seen the trailer for Brokeback Mountain yet, you’re obviously homophobic. Or you’ve got no indie cred. Either way, you should check it out. It’s about two cowboys who “bond” over a “sheepherding job” and end up “having butt sex.” Staring Jake “Even I Like My Sister Better” Gyllenhall, Heath “Performance of My Career, Yes Even Better Than The Patriot” Ledger, Michelle “Duckman” Williams and Anne “I Can’t Stop Getting Ugly” Hathaway, this movie promises to be the most underappreciated movie of 2005, or at least banned in several Red State Loews.
What’s my point? Well for one thing I really enjoy giving actors and actresses derogatory nicknames, even if I really like them. Also, I like making extremely obvious jokes about movies that I will undoubtedly end up seeing and enjoying in the theater. But most of all, I’m making a not-so-veiled reference to my Hawaii vacation, which, while not an unexpected smash hit, was certainly the most unexpectedly gay vacation of the year.
She was not with us.
These guys definitely could have been.
Let me backtrack. I don’t think I mentioned this, but The Girlfriend didn’t go with me to Maui. She did, however, not talk to me for a week when she found out that I was going with three of my best friends – John, Scott and Matt. And no, Matt is not a hip gender-bending nickname for a girl named Matilda. I went to Hawaii with three guys. It looks even worse when I write it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are several situations where this would be totally normal. Say, if we were all professional surfers and we were going for a pro tournament. Awesome. Or if we were drug lords going to check in on our cartel. Fine. Maybe even if we were middle aged scratch golfers going to enjoy some of the most beautiful courses in the world. Fantastic. The only thing is, we’re not any of those things. We’re three 20-something guys who routinely overpack for vacations and have been known to say things like, “Seriously, The Notebook was friggin SAD.”
We couldn’t afford golf. Seems nice.
And if you’ve never been to Maui, you should know that it is populated by three different types of people: retirees, honeymooners and vacationing families. The “locals” don’t count because for the most part they are homeless hippies who arrived back in 1970 and haven’t found a way off the island since, or 27 year old, mildly attractive girls who thought moving to a sparsely populated island and having a permanent tan would do wonders for their self esteem. To say that we stuck out is like saying that my mom would “stick out” in an episode of “Fear Factor.”
It began with us joking that we were staying at the Seinfeld’s retirement home Del Boca Vista, albeit a more Canadian version because of the 10 or so people we met down at the barbecue pit, 10 of them were from Canada. (Hawaii’s new marketing slogan: “Hawaii – the only American state Canadians can tolerate.”) Then, as we would be out taking pictures of each other on the beach, in bars, etc. (yes, I’m laughing while I write this), it became impossible to ignore the fact that we looked ridiculous asking Bob and Cindy, recently married in Ohio, to take our picture in front of the sunset. So instead of trying to avoid it, we embraced it.
Cut to montage of vacation scenes:
1. Me on the phone with The Girlfriend:
Me: “Tomorrow me and the guys are getting picked up at 3am and taken to the top of a volcano to watch the sunrise. Then we’re going to rent bicycles and ride down the side of the volcano. You know . . . like a day trip.”
TG: “Oh . . . you mean a gay trip.”
2. Matt is sitting on the couch watching TV. Scott, John and I are standing in the living room with our shirts off putting on sun block before going to the beach. Matt looks up, pauses, shakes his head and says, “Jesus, I feel like I paid money for this.”
3. Scott and Matt are sharing a king size bed. Everyone has just woken up and ambles into the kitchen for coffee.
Scott: “Yo, did I molest you last night?”
Matt: (rubbing his eyes) “No, not at all.”
Scott: “Awesome.” (They high five.)
4. I always asked Scott to put sunblock on my back . . . because he was just better at it.
Me: “Scott, can you do your thing here?”
Scott puts sunblock on my back
Me: (cowboy accent) “I wish I knew how to quit you . . .”
Kind of like a sunset we saw.
Then one night we drove up to Lahaina (tourist central) for dinner and, as luck would have it, ANOTHER beautiful sunset. As we sit on a cobblestone wall overlooking the Pacific, trying to look more Esquire-contemplative than Dawson’s Creek-sappy, my friend Scott asks a family walking by if they wouldn’t mind taking our picture. The wife, southern, clearly drunk and clearly a woman who dries and reuses paper towels, grabs the camera from Scott just as my friend Matt is walking by. Then this happens:
Matt: “Aww, isn’t that precious . . . are you guys enjoying the honeymoon?"
Crazy Wife: “Yes, they are . . .” (under her breath) “dick.”
Now, let’s say that maybe, initially, this insane woman didn’t know that Matt was a friend of ours. She obviously believes 100% that we are gay and, in fact, on our honeymoon. And she, this southern, drunk woman, is whole heartedly DEFENDING OUR HONOR! We’re all shocked. But then:
Matt: (walking over to us, whispering) “Did she just call me a dick?”
Crazy Wife: (obviously overhearing) “Yes I did. Dick.”
Awkward laughs all around, except from her husband who, the entire time, has a look on his face like, “As long as it’s not me . . .” We try to brush it off and convince this increasingly insane woman, who may or may not want to fight Matt (and who still has our camera) that we’re all friends and Matt is not actually a dick. Matt sits down with us to get in the picture.
Crazy Wife: “OK, everyone smile. Except you’re not in it. I’m cutting you out because you’re a dick.”
(Cut to scene of Matt throwing her in the ocean like Jazzy Jeff being thrown out of the Banks mansion.)
None of us can tell if this woman is serious or just a master of dark comedy. Also, none of us can tell if she has any concealed weapons. So we smile, take the camera back and she says, “You all have a nice vacation.” As the family walks away, Matt smiles, waves and replies, “You too. Blow me.”
This is not where we stayed.