Sunday, July 02, 2006

Friends and "Gambling-Friends."

Most of my personal relationships with women involve me pretending that I don't gamble at all.

Most of my personal relationships with other men are steeped in gambling -- gambling together, talking about gambling, whatever.

The fact is, there is a great camaraderie that comes with participating in gambling with your friends, as co-adventurers. A shared experience. An opportunity to make jokes. To tell stories. To build a feeling of togetherness and community. The intimacy that comes with being able to call someone with whom you're driving from a casino at 5:00 am 'a fucking degenerate.' It's almost a compliment in my old circle of friends. "That guy is a complete degenerate." "I am such a degenerate." "We are such degenerates."

The whole thing is somewhat illicit, even in legal cardrooms. There's a vague element of rebellion that attends the whole enterprise. Watching a college basketball game with your friend in a bar, and making inside jokes about half-points and line movements.

These are all ways that I've obtained and maintained emotional intimacy with my male friends. Now I can't do that anymore without risking my life and what little I have left to live for. And so a really big part of me is dead and buried already, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it was really sad.


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