I don’t get manliness. While I respect it in all of its forms there are things that confuse me. Case in point: the Garlow Hot Wing Debacle of 2011.
My husband Jonathan was in the habit of getting together with his man buddies and doing man things. This one particular week the challenge was simply this: eat the spiciest hot wings you can stand.
Armed with a carton of milk and an iron will my husband bested his friends and ate a pound of something called ‘6/10 flame’ hot wings. He later came home and bragged to me about how hardcore he was for eating all that spice.
Once he got home he sat down beside me while I was beading and told me the tale of his manly victory.
“I handled those wings. Nobody else could do it. I am the man, “he bragged to me. I lovingly kissed him on the cheek, being careful not to kiss his lips lest they be burned away from residual hot sauce.
“Whatever makes you happy dear,” I said. And I patted him on the back and returned to my beadwork.
A few hours went by, and then suddenly as we were sitting in the living room a certain queasiness began to take hold.
“Man, my stomach doesn’t feel right,” he said.
“Uh oh Jon! I’ll bet it was them wings. That’s too much spice,” I said to him in my best ‘I-told-ya-so’ tone.
“No. It couldn’t be. I’ll just have a glass of water. Maybe I’m getting a flu,” he said, trying to make up an excuse.
About two glasses of water and twenty minutes later my very manly husband was looking really green. “I just think I need some fresh air,” he reasoned again. He stepped out onto the balcony and took some deep breaths, leaning forward and balancing himself on the railing.
‘Oh no!’ I thought. ‘He’s gonna barf. This is gonna be epic!’
Now I don’t know what it is about people of my generation but barfing stories are some of the most entertaining tales. Perhaps it is the endless ‘Wayne & Garth’ references of ‘hurling’, ‘blowing chunks’ or ‘spewing’, but for some odd reason barf stories just make me laugh.
And I know, I know, it’s absolutely inappropriate but regardless of that knowledge there is something innately funny about seeing grown man come undone because he’s going to unswallow a pound of hot wings.
Jonathan came back in from the balcony and slid the door shut behind him. A look of impending doom fell across his face. He was pacing back and forth, breathing in and out and by this time he began to sweat.
“Just go to the bathroom and try to get it over with dear,” I said. “It will be better once it’s out of you.”
Suddenly he stopped. He halted dead in his tracks and locked eyes with me sharply. I stared back at him, frightened, watching for his next move. This was it. The moment had come and there was no turning back. This man was about to lose it all and recant his dinner right in the middle of the living room.
He dashed off like a blaze of glory, running to the bathroom.
“Go! Go! Go!” I shouted after him as he ran.
Now I have been a mom for many years. I have held up my babies as they battled stomach bugs but I was not prepared for the man barf.
This was not your average puke. This was more like a gale force scream at the top of his lungs, evicting the offending nutrient out of his body and into sewage system of our city. It was like a spiritual battle whereby he rebuked the hotwings out of his body. I was not ready for this.
I didn’t know what to do! Part of me was terrified because I didn’t know what he was doing or if he would survive it. The other part of me couldn’t help but burst out laughing at what was actually happening in my home. Was he screaming out his puke? Was this actually happening?
When he was done he came crawling back into our bedroom and I was laying on the bed, tears streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard.
“Ugh. Some came out my nose,” he said.
I burst out laughing again. “I’m sorry!” I repented to him as I wiped away the tears. “I’m glad you’re okay. But that was insane. Here.” I passed him some tissue.
“Thanks,” he answered back humbly and he blew his nose to evict the final piece of six flame wings. “I am never eating chicken wings again.”