Stuff Gay People Like: Pretending to like football
February 2, 2012 | 3:00 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 4:01 pm)
Nobody denies gay men can plan a party. When Super Bowl season comes around, the whiff of opportunity is cheddar and brie, chopped cilantro, artichoke dip, white wine and microbrewed beer.
And so we gather friends and loved ones around an enormous living room flat screen (have we mentioned every gay man over 30 has a flat screen?) to pop the corks and dive in, even on Gay Standard Time which means guests are still arriving 15 minutes after kickoff.
But lets be real. Except for those rare occasions when we have the fortune of cheering our own town’s team – or cheering against Texas – we’re not in Super Bowl season for the football. We’re in it for commercials, to be wowed by soundtracks and hilarious product plugs with a $2 million production cost, and we’re in it for Madonna’s halftime show to see what song will be blasted as a techno remix in the clubs for the rest of the year. When the actual game comes on the screen we’ll take the chance to grab another drink or run to the bathroom.
We’ll decide to root for the “underdog” since we see ourselves as the world’s underdogs, which in this case is either the team that has gone longer without winning the championship or the team with a lower score after the first quarter.
Or perhaps we’ll Google each team’s host city to figure out which one is more gay – lets put it this way: whichever city would be less likely to rally behind Tim Tebow.
And through it all, we’ll blast to the world what enthusiastic sports fans we are. We’ll Facebook it, we’ll Tweet it, we’ll tell our friends and add it to our Web profiles. Yes, we are all so revved up for the big game! We can’t wait to see who kicks ass this year! We want you to picture us revved up with testosterone leaking out of our pores (see Fig. 1) Even if it’s the first one we’ve planned to watch since last year’s Super Bowl (see Fig. 2).
We’ll do it to prove that the stereotypes about gay people are wrong, or if they’re not wrong, that we, at least, are not stereotypical gays but normal mainstream Americans.
We’ll do it even though most of the gay world – and most “normal” Americans – are performing the same ritualistic pretend-we-are-excited-about-this-crap that we are. Since gay men are brilliant in theater, we’ll probably do a better job making the case than most straight people do (Except for when we poll our friends on whose quarterback is cuter).
There are sports a few gay men may actually watch on purpose: basketball and soccer are, respectively, far more urban and cosmopolitan than America’s suburban pastime. They’re far more fast-paced and surprising, far more likely to end with a nail-biting finish, and far less likely to evoke traumatic memories from childhood. Basketball and soccer pros are reliably easy on the eyes, too.
Beyond that, we share a special kinship with the kids condescendingly referred to as “soccer fags” by the football jocks in our high schools.
And if we happen to be gays who happen to love those sports, you bet your ass we’ll play that up whenever and wherever we get a chance to talk about it.
But it still stands – the most awesome moment in American football history was, in the mind of a gay man, not a touchdown pass but the moment in 2004 during Super Bowl XXXVIII when Janet Jackson’s nipple popped out and introduced itself to the world, sending the Religious Right into a frenzy. We’ll never forget that game.
But who was playing who that year? Hell if I know.
**NOTE** There have been a lot of fun responses to this column. If I got one from you, I’m glad you really do like football. If you want to know more about where the topics on this blog come from, please check out the Frequently-Asked Questions (LINK) page, particularly the second topic.
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