Watching baseball every night, I snoozed, schmoozed and mused. I admired my guys: viral, studly, naturally testosteroney men’s men. Heterosexuals (mostly). How come baseball players—I asked my sleepy ol’ self—always have a bunch of kids: four, six, eight? I don’t. Most people I know don’t. When the TV scans the players wives’ section then you get it: they’re a bunch of foxy babes, hot cheerleader types. And in the off-season, the boys make up for lost time. Nudge, nudge. Ummmm. Naw, way too pat.
Just because you’re married to a beautiful woman doesn’t mean you get a lot of great sex or have a lot of children. Get real. Okay, answer this then Mr. Smarty Pants, why do these guys seem to have more fun? And a healthier attitude towards fatherhood, husbandhood, loverhood, bodyhood?
Here’s my current theory (5 cents please): baseball players, a micro-society of only males, are constantly touching one another like apes. The handshake is no good without the pat on the butt. The pat on the butt is preferred to the pat on the back or head. The victor gets a group hug that can almost suffocate. The off-duty boys are often draped over the rail and over one another. The hugs are often long and strong, as if hugging wives and girlfriends. And the group gropes have to get bouncy to be good. The hand-touching rituals can often become complex and personalized. In the clubhouse, the players shower together, touch some more, look long and hard at one another’s handsome bodies. Made even more handsome by artwork covering the skin. You know these men are handsome as hell.
These guys are practically more physical with each other than the crowd at a San Francisco gay bathhouse. Or, more to the point, any random bunch of heterosexuals on earth. I haven’t patted a guy on the butt in living memory. (Maybe I should start.) The last time I stood with naked men was in the high school showers forty years ago. At work say, I would not hug a male colleague or stand with my arms draped around him or go through our own private touching sequence. We’re all too inhibited. Too out of touch. Maybe we want to, but everyone would take it the wrong way. Way too gay?
No. That’s what I’m trying to say. The boys of summer have discovered that the male touch, the male friendship expressed physically is not gay at all. I bet it’s not even considered gay by the hidden ten percent who are. It’s that wholesome and positive male-to-male bonding behavior that the rest of us lost in our forest of neuroses. We envy it when we see it on TV, but we fear doing it in real life. So we collect our hang-ups and can’t get healthy sex figured out.
When the Giants won the series in 2010, Dave Righetti, in tears, kissed his pitchers one by one and told them how much he loved them. At the moment that was the perfect response. Perfect.
So here I am waiting for the love fest after the world series victory, signing off for now with an imaginary pat on the butt to you all,
Happy trials, Martin
Mutt: Was he talking about us?Jeff: If he was, would that make us so gay we’re straight?
Mutt: Yeah. Post-Gay.
Jeff: Right on!
Mutt: Did you know that rust is edible? After all, it is a form of car-rot.
Jeff: Some river valleys are absolutely gorges.
Mutt: Did you know that Spanish bullfighters use Oil of Olé face cream to beat wrinkles?
Jeff: The Hand family consists of 10 electricians. Their motto is "Many Hands make light work."
Mutt: The Irish government is wealthy because its capital is always Dublin.
Jeff: The sheep rustler who broke out of jail is now on the lam.
Mutt: We ought to rename summer "pride" because pride cometh before the fall.
Jeff: When the Lord said, "Go forth, be fruitful and multiply!" he didn't necessarily have math teachers in mind.
Mutt: When the little boy was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he said "I needed help with my homework." The reason: "God helps those who help themselves."
Jeff: You can have too much of a good thing, but since most people think puns are not good things, they can't have too many of them!
Mutt: Some people say my puns are sleep-inducing, but I keep laudanum anyways.
Jeff: What are puns?
Mutt: Never heard of them.