“So, is this it?” Dixon asked.
“This is it,” I explained.
“I have never been to a bachelor party,” Wilson said. “So I guess I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t expecting this, though.”
“Well, you have to understand,” I said. “I moved out here to New Jersey, so there aren’t a lot of places that we could do a party.”
“Oh, the place is fine,” Dixon said, as well he should have. I’d rented out the back room of Hanover County’s best Indian restaurant, and we were chowing down on a plate of vegetarian samosas, with the promise of a stunning onion curry to come. “I just, you know, figured there’d be more people, that’s all.”
“That’s the other thing,” I said. “We decided to keep it a small, family wedding, so that cut down on the guest list. Just our closest friends.”
“I just figured that you’d invite more people, that’s all,” Dixon said. He had knocked back his second locally-sourced hard cider and was reaching for a third. “Bring the whole wolf pack back together.”
“Don’t say ‘wolf pack,'” Wilson said. “It’s unnecessarily anthro-centric.”
“You know what I mean. Like, where’s Hampton? You and he used to be tight.”
“Antarctica,” I explained. “He got a National Science Foundation grant. He wanted to come, but he couldn’t justify the hit to his carbon footprint.”
“And Colton? I miss seeing him. I thought for sure he’d be here.”
“Zhe is at a critical stage of zher hormone-replacement therapy,” I explained.
“You have to be kidding,” Dixon said.
“My understanding is that zhe is adopting an intersex identity. So zhe gets to keep zher genitals the way they are, just accentuating other parts of the female gender expression. Zhe didn’t want to be a distraction.”
“That’s too bad,” Wilson said. “Zhe should have known that we wouldn’t have been uncomfortable with zher new genderqueer identity. Anything that breaks the restrictions of the gender dyad, I’m in favor of.”
“So you’re telling me Colton has, like, what, big giant boobs or something,” Dixon said.
“Zhe is going by ‘Coltrane’ in zher current identity,” I explained. “But, yes. And long hair and fingernails. It’s quite the transformation.”
“Holy crap,” Dixon said. “I’m afraid to ask about anyone else.”
“Let’s see,” I said. “Lachlan is in Israel on a kibbutz. Kendall is shooting a documentary in China on the environmental impact of the Three Gorges Dam. And Cornwell is in rehab up in Minnesota.”
“Do you even look at social media?” Wilson said.
“No,” Dixon said. “Hey, I had a tough four years at Brown, and then grad school at Wharton. I had all I could do to keep up with my studies.”
“I forgot,” Wilson said. “Mr. Ivy League over there.” About half our classmates from prep school had gotten into Ivy League schools. Wilson and I hadn’t–I’d gotten into Amherst, but he had to settle for UConn, and was a little touchy about it.
“So, are you going to grad school?” Dixon asked.
Wilson took a long pull on his third hard cider.
“Oh, what, sore subject?” Dixon asked.
“It’s not fair,” Wilson said.
“What’s not fair?” I asked. “Besides, you know, the whole rest of the world.”
Wilson grimaced. “You’d think that graduate gender studies programs would be more inclusive, but they’re not. Tried to get into Berkeley, and UCLA, and Wisconsin, and they all turned me down.”
“Why?” Dixon asked. “Couldn’t be because you’re part of the patriarchy.”
“It turns out that there’s math on the GRE,” Wilson said. “It’s ridiculous. You don’t need to do math to be able to study gender. Anyway, my scores were too low, or that’s what they said. I know the real reason, though.”
“Sorry, Wilson,” I said.
“That’s just it. The name.”
“What’s wrong with your name?” I said. I actually was kind of looking past him when I said that, wondering when they would get here with the curry.
Wilson. As in, you know, Woodrow Wilson. Nobody wants somebody named after a slaveholder in their school.”
“Wilson wasn’t a slaveholder,” Dixon said. “He was President, what, sixty years after the Civil War.”
“He was, too,” Wilson said. “He was born in the 1850’s, in Virginia. His father owned slaves, so technically, he did, too.”
“Well, technically,” Dixon said. “So what.”
“So that’s a reason not to let me into their post-grad gender studies program,” Wilson said. “My name might be a trigger.”
“So change it,” I said.
“Or change something else,” Dixon said. “You could ask Colton for pointers.”
“At least I’m trying to help make society a better place for women,” Wilson said. “I mean, I’m not running for Congress or anything, but I’m doing my part. You’re just greasing the wheels of capitalism.
Where are you even working, Dixon?”
Dixon’s face went read. “I’m a marketing analyst for a government contractor,” he said.
“What does that mean?” Wilson asked. “Raytheon. I bet you work for Raytheon. Or Monsanto. Come on, spill.”
Dixon stammered something like, “Student Loan Marketing Association.”
Wilson came out of his chair. “You work for Sallie Mae? Holy crap, Dixon. I owe you guys eighty thousand dollars.”
“I’m sorry,” Dixon said. “I voted for Bernie in the Pennsylvania primary.”
“And that makes it right?” Wilson said. “I’m on my third deferral. I applied to work as a mailman last week. There’s no way I’m ever going to pay this off, and you work for the bastards. Holy crap.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “We’ll pass student loan relief. It’ll be fine.”
“It’s going to be fine,” Dixon said. “Okay? Calm down. We’ll have some Indian food, and then see if there’s a strip club around here somewhere.”
“Strip clubs objectify women,” Wilson said. “Or don’t you understand that?”
“Not if the women choose to dance,” Dixon said. “Then it’s empowering. I dated a stripper once in Philly. She found it to be an assertive expression of her feminist side.”
“Not if they’re forced into it by economic circumstances,” Wilson said. “Like you would have out here in the middle of nowhere New Jersey. No offense, Justin.”
“None taken,” I said. “But I’m running for Congress, so I can’t hang around strip clubs.”
“This is the worst bachelor party ever,” Dixon said. “No real booze. No strippers. No wolfpack.”
“We’re enjoying each other’s company, and these fine vegetarian samosas, and the curry will be here soon,” I said. “It’s fine.”
“I guess you’re right,” Dixon said. “It’s okay. I am looking forward to meeting your husband tomorrow, so there’s that.”
“You mean wife,” I said.
“Is that like that zher thing? Are you like the husband and he’s the wife?”
“I am marrying a woman,” I said.
“Oh. Sorry. I just assumed. You know. Now that it’s legal and all.”
“I’m not homosexual, Dixon,” I said. “We’ve been over this.”
“You are holding up the traditional gender dyad,” Wilson said. “And she’s having a baby, so you’ll be taking your place in the patriarchy.”
“Somebody has to,” I said.
“Is that directed towards me?” Wilson said. “Microaggression.”
At that point, the onion curry finally made its way to the table, and we finished our dinner (which I had to pay for, of course) and we all made it back to the hotel without any further hard words. Emma made it back to our hotel room about four in the morning, after what I later learned was a hard-charging bachelorette party that made it all the way to a male strip club in Newark. Fortunately, the wedding was in the early evening, so we had just enough time to sleep off our respective hangovers.
The wedding was beautiful. I kissed my new bride in the candlelight (which helped keep down the overall carbon footprint) and we walked together up the aisle, ready to start our new life together.
******
Check out the previous installments:
Last year:
Week Forty-Nine:The True North
Week Fifty:The Garden State
This year:
Week Four:The Brain Trust
Week Six:The Snow Day

Week Seven:The Coin Flip

Week Eight:The Wicked Witch
Week Eleven:The State Dinner
Week Twelve:The Maple Leaf Rag
Week Thirteen:The Large Endowment
Week Fourteen:The Transit Authority
Week Fifteen: The Ten Forty