Monday, November 5, 2012

Why I Love Traveling With Chiques

I dig traveling with chiques. That's why I agreed to write a chapter for author Barbara Conelli's chique travel anthology. Not because I'm a chique - quite the opposite: I like to hang with chiques. Why? Let me tell you. While running off with the girls to Europe to pretend that chocolate is a food group or escaping with the boys to Patagonia to smell each other's feet both have their attractions, guys and dolls journeying together just flat rocks.

You see, studies consistently prove that women have greater aerobic endurance and pain tolerance than men. So, a lone traveling man is highly likely to abandon the trek prematurely and whine about his boo-boos (which he will only treat with orally-administered alcohol). However, when the curves on the trail include his hiking companion, a man will push himself past many roadside bars and a couple minor strokes, until the lady suggests a civilized pause. Then, our testosterone-laden gorilla will catch his breath and belt out, "What? A break already? I was just gettin' warmed up!"

Also, hanging with a chique on the trail greatly enhances the probability of a guy being asked, "How are you feeling?" (rather than "Do you think bears have hooters?"). This forces a man to consider his heart: that unknown territory located midway between the mouth and groin, which are to a man what Paris and Milan are to women. As a result of this mobile heart scan, a guy may develop some emotional vocabulary. Thus, road trippin' with the babes can transform a man from a hardened unshaven fugitive to a sensitive travel author.

Plus, journeys often throw up situations where a guy can use his genetic strength advantage to do some good. Chivalry is no more a social construct than the fact that women do most of the breast feeding on the planet. Men have a sacred duty to place their muscles between any nearby woman and any physical threat for primal moral reasons. Nature affirms gender equality but rejects gender uniformity. Most of the men on the real Titanic did their duty without hesitation, helping women and children onto the few lifeboats, then awaiting their icy destiny with honor and dignity.

A few years ago, I was hiking in the Canadian wilderness with a flight attendant from Quebec. She often endured 48 hours of transcontinental hops with virtually no sleep then returned home to run marathons. We came to a spot on the trail where the only route forward required jumping over a slick mossy surface that descended to a lethal cliff. Previously, we'd come down some drop offs that meant we couldn't go back the way we came. I jumped first, barely grabbing the brush on the other side. I then leaned over and stretched out my arm to assist her landing. She hesitated while her fear continued to grow.

Suddenly, a tree that held up the "safe spot" she was crouching on gave way and began sliding into oblivion. Her stuck hesitation turned to frozen hysteria. She was clearly losing it, but two seconds would determine her fate. I somehow found an inner drill sargeant I didn't know existed. By hollering a rude order to "Shut up and jump ... right ... NOW!" I shocked her into leaping - more out of anger at me than self preservation.

As my arm grabbed her and hauled her up, it wasn't the biggest bicep in the world on display. Yet from her perspective, the incredible hulk had appeared out of nowhere. When she finished screaming at me for my insensitivity and calmed down, she clung to me like I was the last man on earth. I've done some bad things in my life, but that day, I was happy to be a man and to fulfill the purpose installed in me at the factory.

Women are what keep this planet from being a cold gray machine, where men go through the drudgery of efficiency, spending weekends in tattered untied bathrobes, piling up their gold coins on the coffee table, drinking whiskey from the bottle, snarling at their dogs and playing with loaded revolvers. For all the beauty in the world, thank God and women. I'm privileged to accompany the chique travelers/writers in this forthcoming anthology. Hopefully, they won't be traumatized by my presence, even if I sometimes gawk and drool. (I'm mostly harmless and occasionally helpful.) I urge readers to buy this new work, both for cool travel writing and as a tribute to those chique chiques who make life worth living.


  1. I'll have to look this up, Lyn!

    Chocolate's not a food group?

  2. lyn, I would have a girlfriend with that body.......Nicolas Cabrera Cortes

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