Ammoniacal Masculinity: A Brief Exercise in Correlation

Monday, January 14, 2013

First Chance is a bar outside Kadena Airbase. It is, anti-ironically, the first bar one passes when walking away from Gate Two and down the yakitori vendor-, drunk-American-, and (at times) one-hundred-year-old-woman-urinating-on-the-curb[1]-lined street. Americans often urinate outdoors in this locale as well, just not on the main street, or in a word, proudly. One might stand behind a car or lurk in an alleyway, perhaps pee into a bottle that can be squirreled away in the hope that it might later be tossed at a gentleman who’s chasing one because one placed a firecracker on a gentleman’s shoe and set it afire because the gentleman was churlish to one simply because one said hello to the gentleman’s girlfriend.

—This is not essential.

—That guy was a douche.

—So are you.

—Thus the connection is cauterized.

First Chance, per the precedent set by reputable whistle-wetting establishments in days of yore, has a patronizable bathroom. I’ve patronized all over that bathroom, flushed the toilet, flushed the urinals, smelled the urinal cakes and the fiery swirl of pine and ammonia as it wafted into the musty air. I’ve urinated successfully and returned to the bar and ordered another drink or two from the bartender whose name was Poon, or Kuchi, or Tang—a name now hazy because I was too drunk when she shared it to retain anything aside from its euphemistic quality. I did not patronize First Chance often. It wasn’t until I’d returned to Okinawa after six months in Saudi Arabia for Operation Enduring Freedom that I began drinking so much each night before I made it out the gate that First Chance’s appeal was [insert word here].

See, First Chance is a biker bar. There were large, bearded men with cuts, and at least one pool table; ‘80s metal honked out the half-blown speakers. There were also Marines. The only one of those things I was interested in surrounding myself with was the music. Not because I have anything against bikers or Marines, but generally, bikers and Marines have something against me. On this particular night, I’d drunk a fifth or so of Jack Daniels in order to pre-game before bumbling up the steps to First Chance and slumping down at the bar where vagina-euphemism took my order and scowled at me for laughing at her name.

—I don’t want to imply that my laughter was appropriate. But if my name meant, or sounded similar to the Japanese word for, a donkey’s asshole, then I would understand if a Japanese man or woman laughed when I told him or her who I was. I would welcome their laughter; I would shout my name at the top of my lungs as I skipped down the street. Because if all it took to make someone laugh was the combination of sounds my name’s made of, there must be something inherently good about that.

—Why does there have to be?

—I’m the mommy; that’s why.

Vagina-euphemism served me a smashed asshole.[2] I drank it, and then wobbled to the bathroom and pissed for such a spell that sweat beads rolled off my nose, and my kidneys ached so intensely that I feared I’d pass out if I didn’t stop urinating. Rather than risk drowning in a public toilet that brimmed with my own urine, I cut off midstream, zipped up, and slogged back to the bar. There I ordered another drink and discovered that upon sitting I’d relieved myself to completion—right down my leg and into my shoe. The bartender placed another drink before me, and I thanked her, sa-lu-ted her. I drank it slow, letting the urine dry some before I stood and marched past the bikers and Marines who no doubt wanted me gone long before I’d insulted the bartender and pissed my pants.

In those moments of silence and wet-leggedness, the cooling urine gluing my jeans to my thigh and my shin, and my urine-soaked sock warming my toes, I proved to myself that I was not yet masculine enough to piss my pants and not be embarrassed. But behind this paper and ink, I’ll tell anybody that as an adult male I’ve pissed my pants. I’ll tell you this because I don’t give a fuck, and if not giving a fuck isn’t masculine, I don't know what is.

[1] Okinawa has the world’s largest percentage of centenarians.

[2] I cannot locate the recipe for this drink.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013