7 For Seven Fiction Friday: "Men's Retreat"

"Book the conference space in the nice but not too nice dining hall upstate."

“men holding hands”

On the first Friday of every month, “7 For Seven” publishes a new short story by Brady Gerber. This month’s story: “Men’s Retreat.” Read on your browser. If you enjoy what you read: Tip for coffee and share this dang thing.


“Men’s Retreat”

by Brady Gerber

Great Idea #7,327

Book the conference space in the nice but not too nice dining hall upstate.

Great Idea #7,328

Realize that the dining hall is easy to get to from the train, perfect location well done high five.

Great Idea #7,329

Manage to invite over 20 men (my brothers this weekend!) all through word-of-mouth, marketing skills improving sick.

Great Idea #7,330

Send out email itinerary for this weekend’s retreat, I’m good with details, great details, needs title.

Great Idea #7,331

“You Matter, Too: A Weekend of Strong Men Celebrating Strong Men Against Racism.”

Great Idea #7,332

Remember to wash hands.

Great Idea #7,333

“Oh, there will be dip!”

Great Idea #7,334

Have a nuanced yet assertive counter to Steve’s response on the email thread relating to why no black people were invited to the retreat about fighting racism. Great question, Steve! Well, of course, it would make sense for an African American, or more than one African American, to come to a thing like this. We [as in I wink wink ha ha I’m in charge] definitely thought about it. I slept on it. Multiple nights. And I think a black perspective is really important. We’ve been seeing them a lot in the news lately. They’re in the spotlight. Which is great! Their voices have not been heard for so long. It’s about time, right? This is so good. What we’re not seeing is dudes and guys like you and I taking action and talking to everyone else about what we need to do. We need to be in the spotlight, too. You guys. We need to step up and hold each other accountable. This is hard. It’s OK! We’re learning. No one taught us how to do this. This is not our fault. We’re trying. We should be proud of ourselves. We should be proud of trying. THAT’S what this weekend is about, Steve. It’s about all of us. Men supporting other men. Thank you all for coming!

Great Idea #7,335

“Almost forgot! BYOB and BYOC. Chips, I mean! Bring chips. Haha. For the dip.”

Great Idea #7,336

Sneak up behind wife and lick her neck and breathe sexily into ear, tell her she’s so freakin’ freakin’ hot, loves when I do that.

Great Idea #7,337

Compliment Betty’s very bad finger-painting and tell her she’s Picasso, explain who Picasso is.

Great Idea #7,338

“No, YOU’RE the best, sweetie,” nailed it, good dad.

Great Idea #7,339

Give constructive wife feedback about how she looks when she puts her hair up like that (again!), keep doing it and it’ll hurt her scalp, I think! Looking after her. Doesn’t look good, her sister can pull it off but not her, working on being honest, expressive.

Great Idea #7,340

“Luv u deer :)”

Great Idea #7,341

“*Dear, sorry babe :)”

Great Idea #7,342

Fill up car with gas before trip, no need to stop, repeat “we gon' be alright” chant get into mood.

Great Idea #7,343

Get to hall early to set up everything, being proactive and productive, I’m the best.

Great Idea #7,344

Greet each man individually as he enters hall, make strangers feel comfortable.

Great Idea #7,345

“Jeremy! So sorry, my mistake. I’m sorry I called you Kevin,” show vulnerability.

Great Idea #7,346

Kevin, how do you do!”

Great Idea #7,347

Gather everyone into large circle so everyone can see each other and hold hands, see men holding hands, no need to fear the male body, a very good circle.

Great Idea #7,348

“I want you all to know that each and every one of you is brave for coming here. You’re already better than 99% of all the men in the world. You’re trying. And for that, you are special, and you’re 80% there.”

Great Idea #7,349

Give everyone five minutes to discuss how they’re fighting racism, encourage brainstorming for new ideas from fellow good and caring men who want to be intentional.

Great Idea #7,350

“OK, well, uh, hmm, it sounds like we’re all a little stuck on what we should be doing right haha OK. OK! That’s alright,” break tension, stop party from turning into bummer town USA, population us!

Great Idea #7,351

“That’s a great point, Steve, I could share what I am doing to fight racism. But this weekend isn’t about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about this circle. Think of me more as a moderator a haha right, my dudes?” take that Steve, you fucking toe, life is full of conflicts, aggressively tackle mine like a wizard.

Great Idea #7,352

Bring circle back to order (Steve!) slam plastic chair and yell, be bad cop, don’t call real cop, not necessary!

Great Idea #7,353

“Yes, that’s a great idea, Paul, let’s not leave this building until we all together come up with just one thing that we all can do going forward to fight racism.”

Great Idea #7,354

“OK, I think we’re all pretty tired, and surely we can’t come up with any ideas on an empty stomach!” good to let the gang have lunch, know when to chill-lax ha ha?

Great Idea #7,355

“Well, I think that was a little too much good food amirite haha now we’re all sleepy!”

Great Idea #7,356

“Gentlemen, I know we technically haven’t come up with an answer, but you know what, we already have one. You each are the answer. Just you being here means that you are aware that racism exists. Most men don’t even know that. But you are not most men. You came because you know that racism is a problem. That is the first step we all must take. And today, we all just took that first step. Congratulations, fellow fighters. Now return home and remember to be mindful of what you now know.”

Great Idea #7,357
Downplay applause and cheers, appear humble, I am king of the men.

Great Idea #7,358

“Break out the dip!”

This is the latest short story published by Brady Gerber and “7 For Seven.” Sign up for the newsletter here.