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Old School Man: Going on a Bender

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


  1. A real hoot of a read James! It is sad to see my generation overpopulated by metro sissy boys.

  2. I believe my testosterone level just skyrocketed, and it was already pretty high naturally (and perhaps due to the new air compressor and nailgun I used all weekend.) Clearly I shall have to up my bourbon intake in honor of your screed and paean to all things man…

  3. Hilarious! Makes me wanna buy a case of booze and call some buddies together – but, reality is, I have to work in a few hours…..

  4. Ill drink to that!!

  5. Fuckin´aye mate, I´´m on a bender right now in Boca Chica Dominican Republic.

    It´s ten in the morning and I´m on my 4th Presidente beer and two Hydrocodones right now with a big fucking smile on my face because I got a 27 year old hot Haitian chick, and got another smoking hot dark brown 21 year old Dominican meeting me at noon at my dive hotel.

    God Bless America, beer, and mostly, sweet sweet poontang! FUCK POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, REVOLT AGAINST IT.
    Rangers lead the Way,

    Mikey D

  6. Sounds like some of the Benders we went on together in Qatar and Iraq back in the day – Good to hear you are still kicking and livin’ da’ life bro

    ~James G

  7. ABSOLUTELY GODDAMN RIGHT!!!!!! .45s, hard booze, and chicks of questionable virture. I remember my magical days in the PI when we would leave the range after shooting most of the day, drink cases of San Miguel, and bang hot chicks all night. Pimp ass photo of Lee Marvin also, it has everything in it that would make a metrosexual whoozy.

  8. Best bender memory. Coming to in the Cafe Dumonde after three days in New Orleans. A beignet was coming towards my face in my right hand, and a cafe au lait was in my left hand. My left hand, along with my head, ached pretty bad, but my asshole didn’t. So, I just assumed everything had worked out.

  9. I bet your nuts are so big that you too have a hard time fitting into modern men\’s slacks.
    My (our) benders are slightly different. You see I\’m an AMERICAN of MEXICAN descent/ genetics.. (not latino, hispanic, etc.) We just start quietly drinking for some or no reason at all and it escalates from there. It starts innocently enough, then before you know it, friends and cousins show up like it\’s some kind of latin burning man. 3 weeks later…. people eventually find their way home, get deported, arrested, whatever. The nice thing about being a MexiCAN, is when you start drinking at 8am on a Saturday morning, no one asks “What\’s wrong?” If anything, they just ask if you want more beer or tacos :-)

  10. Excellent Read! Just got back from a 3 day bender with the boys in NYC. Good fucking times.

  11. Hell yea. I’ve been on a 30 year bender. Grandpa taut me right.
    ” Live every day like it’s your last” and ” How the F&*^ are you to tell me what to do”
    Rock on Grandpa in that huge bender in the sky. These next 12 are for you.

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