Sunday, February 19, 2012

Straight Men Playing with Knives

For as long as I live, I will never completely understand straight men – not the kind who feed a comedian lines, but the ones who knock their women over the head with a club and drag them back to the cave. To me, most straight men are just cave men with a better wardrobe.

For example, I like to watch a football game on occasion, but I don’t throw food at the TV screen or wear a jersey or even care who wins or loses. I just like the science of the game. But, straight men can talk about a particular football game until the key players have retired and had their knees replaced. There is a guy who comes into the gym every morning, and for forty-five minutes argues with the guy at the front desk about a football game. Not even the past weekend’s game, but one game that has him irked beyond belief. The Super Bowl was two or three weeks ago – who remembers – and this guy still comes in and argues about every play that occurred. I have never seen him workout. He stands there holding his gym bag and yelling about this pass or that tackle or this kick. He reminds me of what a restaurant owner I know always says, “The customer has gone home and already shit out his dinner, and you are still complaining about him.”

As long as we are talking about football, I have to complain – big surprise. For a sport that is full of man on man contact with lots of bone crushing, blood spurting and grunting, what is up with Astroturf and stadiums with roofs? I watched a game a month ago (I don’t know who was playing, I switched channels and the game was on, so I stuck with it for an hour), and one team was wearing pristine white uniforms. It was the third quarter, and no one had a mark on him. Not a blood stain, not a mud stain, not even a wrinkle. You call this football? Where’s the mud? Where’s the rain? Where’s the snow? And they call us sissies. I had an electric football set as a kid (the NFL Electric Football Tudor Board Game), and my players that got dirtier than these guys.

Remember those electric football games. Basically, you set up the teams, put the felt football in the quarterback’s bent arm, flicked a switch, and the damn thing vibrated until you couldn’t make heads or tails of who was doing what to whom, but you kept setting it up and flicking the switch because at seven years old, it took you so little to entertain yourself and you liked things that vibrated.

Now, I like staying clean as much as the next guy, but football today is hardly a sport. Every time one of these spotless players catches a pass or makes a tackle, he has to do some kind of dance followed by a fist pump. This is when I scream at the screen, “Stop your showboating and get on with the next play!” And with the curse of instant replay, we have to watch this spectacle over and over again. With the money they are making, they need to play in all kinds of weather and get dirty and bloody and break a few bones. What is amazing is golf is more manly than football these days. These overweight fashionably challenged country club members will take their shoes and socks off to stand in a bacteria filled pond to get the right shot from a bad lie.

Where are our modern day gladiator? They are playing baseball. Thank God for baseball. At least they still have dirt on their uniforms and skinned knees, but I am sure it won’t be long before they come up with Astrosand, too.

Bet you didn’t know a flaming queen would know something about sports? I just don’t talk about them. When the game is over, it’s over, much like my relationships.

Back to straight men. As you know, I am taking Krav Maga, and as usual with my obsessive compulsive personality, I have rearranged my schedule, so I can take a class every other day because God forbid I should miss one, or I would end up doing my Wonder Woman circles and have a mini-nervous breakdown. I could give Rain Man a run for his money.

What this class has done is really expose me to straight men in a group setting, and it is fun to observe wildlife in its natural habitat. The last time I was around so many straight men in a group setting was when I played football, but that was a long time ago in a universe far, far away. I always played center with the quarterback's hands always up my crotch. No wonder I miss the game so much.

There may be some gay men in the Krav Maga class, but I’ll be damned if I can figure them out. I have the worst gaydar of anyone on the planet with the exception of my friend Charles. He compensates for his bad gaydar by assuming all men are gay and then figuring out who is straight.

How bad is my gaydar? When I lived in Mount Pleasant, I had a neighbor, cute guy, who was always working in his yard shirtless and had the complete gay look. We would talk every time Serena and I would walk by, and he would chat with me when he walked by my place. I asked him to dinner, and he said, “What is this about? You know I am straight.”

I answered, “I know you’re straight, I was just asking if you wanted to grab a bite sometime.” As I walked away, I cursed myself for once again having bad gaydar. And honey, this is the least embarrassing situation in which I have found myself.

So here I am in this class, and I have taken classes at all different times, so I have been exposed to many straight men or so I assume. There are also quite a few women in these classes, but with one exception, I am sure they are all straight. My lesbigar is much better than my gaydar. After all, I drive two lesbian magnets.

Granted this is a self-defense class, but I cannot be the only person in this class who is taking it for its fitness benefits, or do all these people find themselves in situations every weekend where they need to defend themselves in a fight? The instructors always talk about bar fights.

“OK, you find yourself in a bar, and a guy throws a punch at you. This is how you deflect the punch.” They speak as if everyone goes out on Saturday night and finds himself in the middle of a brawl. My favorite was the instructor who said, “Last Saturday, I was at the Green Turtle, and this guy wanted to fight me. He went into a wrestling stance, so I kicked him in the face.”

Who are these people? You kicked a guy in the face? Do all straight men have to learn these skills? Is this why in straight bars they use plastic cups and in gay bars they use fine crystal?

I find all this fascinating. Do straight men go out looking for trouble? Do they grunt like Tim Allen? Maybe it is because they don’t shave their balls. Having all that hair down there must make them angry.

Gay men don’t get into fistfights. In all the years I went to gay bars, I only saw one act of violence. A guy threw a beer bottle at his boyfriend during an argument. He missed because he threw like a girl. Everyone scooted out of the way, and he was escorted out. No punches were thrown, and we went about our business and continued dancing to C&C Music Factory’s latest hit. I think they only had one hit.

But, here is my theory. Straight men are very possessive of their girlfriends. If a guy even sees another guy looking at his girlfriend, he immediately feels threatened and goes into attack mode and what culminates is a fistfight. For gay men, if another guy looks at your boyfriend, you feel flattered because he is obviously jealous of what you have, and what culminates is a threeway. So you see, straight men use their fists, and gay men use their penises.

When straight men do a threeway, their biggest concern is crossing swords. For gaymen, it is the lighting.

Another thing I have never understood is why straight men like me so much. Seriously, other than middle-aged Jewish women, since my college days, this has been one of my best demographics. I have not been in the closet since Mary Tyler Moore tried three times to launch a variety show, so they know I am of the pink persuasion. The instructors know I am a flamer. One of them, a creative writing major in college, just bought my latest novel. They never have a problem touching me when showing me the proper way to throw a punch or kick a guy in the face. I have noticed they are hesitant to touch any of the other guys in the class. I am also the guy who took ballet and modern dance from the only two straight instructors in South Florida. They loved me.

See why my gaydar is so screwed up? I don’t know if they are being friendly or coming on to me. Even at my jobs, the straight guys always love me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am comfortable in my own skin and can talk auto mechanics and sports with the best of them. I confuse them. Who knows?

But, as much as they love me, I will never fully understand them, and yesterday, I really was confused.

The subject at the end of the class was what to do if your opponent has a knife? Seriously? Are these guys going out every Saturday night and reenacting scenes from West Side Story? Oh my God! I get it now! Oh, wait a minute; it can’t be that easy.

Anyway …

The instructor told us how many people are stabbed and don’t realize the attacker had a knife until it is all over because it happens so fast. Then he talked about these knives you can pull out of your pocket that open immediately. He asked, “How many of you carry a knife to work?”

There was a show of about eight hands. Some of the people in the class are in law enforcement, but don’t they use guns? He then said he has co-workers (notice the plural) at his day job who play with their knives all day.

I had to ask, “Where in the hell do you work that people are playing with knives?” He just smiled.

Can you imagine walking by a co-worker’s desk and seeing him play with his switchblade? Maybe, If you are a receptionist in a meth lab.

One cannot enter the government building where I work with a peanut butter sandwich without being questioned because apparently the biggest threat to national security is peanut butter bombs.

A few weeks ago, CVS had a sale on batteries – buy one get one free. I ran over there at lunch time, and I bought six packages of batteries. Upon entering the building, I was questioned as to why I bought so many batteries and why I was bringing them into the building as if it is any of their damn business.

“They were on sale.”

“But sir, I don’t understand why you need so many?”

“I'm single, and I don’t get out much.”

They let me go through. Yes, I buy a lot of batteries.

So, bringing a knife to work would be completely out of the question. Or would it? I think I’ll put a cleaver in my backpack tomorrow and see what happens.

If you play with knives at work, follow me, get on my email list, tell your friends.

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