Two guys walk into a butcher's

Brown & Co. Butcher. Kettering Road, Northampton

From Flickr's Creative Commons by Northhampton Museum

Many of you know that I’ve embarked on my latest project – Nothing Personal – with Andrew Newton. We’ve covered 10s of thousands of miles around the globe, crossed oceans and mountains, suffered nights on trains, planes, and buses, recorded days of interviews, and met some amazing people. Andrew arrived to Muncie last week and when we haven’t been getting him tested for malaria (that’s another story), we’ve been working on the Nothing Personal book proposal.

So far our project has been a success. Much more of a success than our recent trip to the local butcher here in Muncie.

Meat is manly, especially bloody meat surrounded by the sharp cleavers and knives that cut the bloody meat. That’s why there are few places more manly than a butcher’s.

We approach the counter of dead animal. I wait for Andrew to say something. Andrew waits for me to say something. Each of us hopes the other knows something about meat.

“Can I help you?” The woman behind the counter asks.

We look at each other and the realization sets in that neither one of us knows jack about meat.

“Yes, what steaks would you recommend for two adult males and one adult female?” Andrew says.

She stares at us. Perhaps it was Andrew’s accent and the way he puts a long “A” on adult. Perhaps it was the way we were nervously sweating as we watched our respective manhoods slip away.

“Well…ladies tend to like the New York strip and men the T-bone,” she says.

We both turn to the T-bone. It has more meat on it than an entire cow in Ethiopia. It’s huge. Taking it all in requires turning your head from side-to-side.

The head butcher steps up when he sees us floundering.

“Whatchyou fellas need?” He says with an East-coast accent and a bit of gravel in his throat. It’s a manly voice.

We turn to the New York strips, the ones the woman butcher told us the ladies liked. “Boy, those are kinda thick.”

“No problem,” the butcher says, “I can cut ‘em in half for you.”

“Oh, I can cut them in half when we get home,” I say.

“I doubt that,” the butcher says without the slightest bit of sarcasm. He grabs a hunk of meat and a sword-like knife.

Bam. Bam. Bam. Three ladies’ steaks cut in half.

We sheepishly approach the counter and pay for our pansy steaks. But as soon as we exit the world doesn’t know what transpired within.

We are just men leaving the butcher’s, carrying meat, and it doesn’t get much more manly than that.

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