Old School Man: Going on a Bender

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Picture taken at 9:45 AM on a Wednesday

There was once a time when a man would go on a bender for a few days, week, even a month and dive into a booze fueled haze in a hotel suite filled with women of questionable morals. The reason behind why he went on a bender could have been good or bad news, over a broad, news of a old war buddy checking out or just because he damn well felt like it.

After days or weeks of consuming excessive amounts of scotch, expensive food, non-filtered cigarettes and trashing hotel rooms this Old School Man would wash the smell of stewardesses off in a hot shower, have a straight razor shave, throw on something double breasted and made of camel hair, pop the top of his convertible and drive home or to the office and walk in like nothing happened.

For the kings of the Old School Men like Dean Martin, Steve McQueen, Brando, Elvis and Lee Marvin this was just what they did between making Hollywood movies, dating models, racing cars, hanging out with presidents and buying Cadillac's.

And as satisfying the experience of going on a solo Bender is, it was hardly a one man tradition for them, whole groups of silk suit wearing Old School Pimps like the Rat Pack would buy multi-million dollar mansions on the outskirts of Las Vegas so they could go on month long benders with showgirls and starlets.

Steve McQueen’s Mug Shot for Driving Sauced He Drank so Much the Cops were Forced to Arrest the most Famous Movie Star in the World, in Alaska, in the 70’s That’s Bender Drunk

Hell - Some of the best foggy memories of my life are of going on benders either alone with a bottle of single malt in a cheap hotel in Southeast Asia or with my boys in some corner of the world. To this day the Bender is a damn serious tradition in the Military and Contracting community and a necessary tool for writers like myself.

What 30 day leave, end of deployment, pre-deployment or day off in-country with a few bottles of booze that were smuggled on base is complete without blow-out benders ending with legendary story’s like throwing a coke machine off the palace roof?

Before going on gigs me and my boy Tom M. would follow in the footsteps of thousands of Old School Men and hop across the US/Mex border into Juarez with a pocket full of cash and go on 48 hour long booze and senorita filled Benders before stumbling across the border broke and hungover. And when I headed back stateside at the end of my contract for out-processing I would grab a few random guys I met in line while turning in our kit and hit up Mexico for a quick 24 hour Bender before settling back down to civilized life and waiting for the next gig.

Lee Marvin in Mexico Wearing Leather gloves, Fedora, Pinstripe Suit, Smoking Non-Filtered Smokes, Drinking Tequila, Corona and Eating out of an Iron Bowl

I could literally write a 90 thousand word article just about all the Benders I have been on over past decade of working and traveling around the world. Renting out entire clubs Rat Pack style with a group of guys I worked with after an 8 month long run in Iraq, getting in a fight with Boys to Men in Indonesia, me and three of my boys literally drinking all the booze in a bar in Bangkok, Hold Em' games in Baghdad with 10, 000 Dollar Pots and passing out in Singapore and waking up in Cambodia (and those are just the ones I can publicly write about).

Now just to make things clear, a true bender is not going down to your local Applebee’s and pounding 10 Skinnybee Margaritas, picking up a slightly overweight gal and passing out in the bathroom of a two bedroom cream colored apartment to the sounds of your roommate playing xbox live. Nor does it have to be 300 dollar cigars, 50 year old scotch and expensive hotel rooms filled with hookers... err, I mean models.

You FAIL at the Bender (and you may like penis)

The Bender is more a concept that a hard working man can go and blow off some steam, forget about the world, bond with his brothers and have some self-indulgent fun for a short time without everyone they know planning an intervention when they come back home.

These days if a man goes off with is buddies for a weekend in Vegas or checks into a cheap hotel with a bag full of booze and drops off the grid for a bit people think he is some sort of alkie that needs to spill his guts out to a bunch of chain-smoking, coffee drinking junkies at a 12 step meting in a dank church basement.

Can you imagine Elvis coming back from a Bender in Hawaii and opening his front door at Graceland just to see a bunch of low-rise skinny jean wearing dudes and non-gluten eating gals there to ambush him with an interdiction about his drinking trips with the Memphis Mafia?

"I am going to pick up another case of Vodka, some OJ, bottle of Bruit and a 19 year old gal - Back in 5"

He would pull out his chrome plated .45, shoot everyone, make a peanut butter and banana sandwich, throw on a Stars and Stripes gee and karate chop 80 boards in half. If that happened to Lee Marvin he would just go out to his Shelby, pull a flamethrower out of the trunk and burn the house down with everyone in it. Then go eat a bacon and mayonnaise sandwich on white and wash it down with a pint of Bourbon.

These days the bender is a dying tradition, being replaced with men going to the spa and getting a non-happy ending passion fruit and menthol scrub massage, followed by a wheatgrass shot at the local vegan co-op and picking up his poodle (a ‘service dog’ for his anxiety) from the dog stylist.

I challenge the modern Old School Men reading this to not let this revered Old School tradition go the way of the dodo bird and slapping your secretary on the ass. Grab some booze, cash, channel the spirit of Steve McQueen and go on a god-damn bender. And feel free to share you Bender story's in the comments.

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~James G Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and going on year long benders