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They've gone from wild to mild, but here's why I'm not giving up on our boys' trips

We've been going on these trips for close to three decades and while they've changed significantly, long may they continue, Adam Lucius writes.

If you've had the misfortune of watching the Zac Efron flick Ricky Stanicky, firstly I offer my sincere condolences for the 115 minutes taken from your life.

Aside from John Cena, playing the role of a masturbating-obsessed crooner, it hasn’t got a great deal going for it.

No need for a spoiler alert here because I'm not about to tell you how it ends – partly because I can’t really remember as I was eagerly awaiting the end of the dishwasher cycle.

But of all the unlikely scenarios this movie throws up (Rotten Tomatoes rated it a lowly 47 per cent, for what it's worth), the one that struck me as the most implausible was the lengths three of the central characters went to just to conceal their "boys' trips" from their partners.

They conjured up a plan so convoluted and far-fetched it belonged in the movies (cough, cough).

But, maybe, this is what it takes to get a leave pass in some homes.

Adam and his friends at the pub during their most recent trip (left) and on a trip years ago (right).
Adam and his friends have been going away to the same place for close to 30 years. Source: Supplied

I recently returned from a few days away with five of my closest mates, and our respective partners seemed more than okay with it.

Perhaps we should be paranoid but I'd like to think it's more a case of wives and girlfriends recognising the importance of this annual gibber-fest and leaving us the hell to it.

Trip has changed a lot over three decades

This trip of ours – to the mid-north coast town of Crescent Head – has been going on for close to 30 years.

Those early days were pretty full on.

It was an all-out assault on surf, booze, golf, fishing and gambling involving up to 18 blokes crammed into a three-bedroom house.

They were great times with even greater hangovers.

A group of men near two parked station wagons get ready to go surfing.
The trips were once a mix of hard drinking, surfing and golf. Source: Supplied

These days we set a more sedate pace.

There's still a bit of surfing - of dubious quality – a round of golf has been replaced by putt-putt, there's more "unleaded" beer in the fridge than the full-strength stuff and most of us are in bed by 10.30.

The future of these trips has been up for discussion in recent times.

Do we move locations? Cut back on the time away? Invite partners and families? Shelve it all together?

But after I returned home, I realised this tradition must continue in its current form.

Why our trips must continue

When I walked in after the drive back from Crescent, my wife and three of her closest friends were seated around the kitchen table working their way through a couple of bottles of wine and what the fancy people call a charcuterie board.

I gave the missus a kiss, said my hellos to her friends, dropped my bags and retreated to another room, leaving them to recommence their lively conversation.

I wasn't meaning to eavesdrop – trust me on that one – but I couldn't help overhearing how their kids were going, the struggles with elderly parents, job issues, clumsy husband stories and kitchen designs.

Women are so good at organising catch-ups which double as free counselling sessions.

They get it all off their chests and go home a lot happier for the experience.

Men not so much.

Sure, we're open to discussing the Rabbitohs' poor form and arguing the merits of a 16-can craft beer slab against its 24-can domestic counterpart.

Three men, seen from behind, walk along a beach.
These days the boys' trips are more sedate. Source: Supplied

But move into areas deeper than that and you risk losing the crowd.

Our Crescent Head trip at least provided a forum for some to get a few things off their chests while letting each other know where they're at in life.

It didn't touch the depths women seem to reach easily but was therapeutic and much needed for some.

Think of it as Dr Phil on surfboards.

Long may it continue.

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