I feel pretty

October 17, 2006 at 11:58 pm (Uncategorized)

Every fall, it’s the same thing. The subdued nuance of baseball gives way to the high intensity testosterone fest of football. I have to step away from months of male bonding and look for other diversions, such as skirt wearing, lip glossing, pom pom shaking. This is a rerun, but what the hell. I’m brain dead tonight and I may be suffering feminine itch.

cheerleader.jpgBack in the day, it was not uncommon for me to lead a hockey team in both scoring and penalty minutes. On the baseball field, I was a threat on the base paths and I was renowned for spectacular, diving catches in the field.

I’ve built kitchen cabinets, unloaded trucks, poured concrete and shingled roofs for a living at one time or another. I spit a lot while doing all of these things.

I’ve been in a few bar fights and always managed to continue drinking beer after they were through. I eat red meat all the time and I like it bloody. I won’t even go into my prowess as a single man before I gave up the life.

I tell you, none of it means diddly this time of year. My brother wants to thrash me if he’s talking to me at all. Some guys accuse me of being a secret fan of figure skating and the Lifetime Channel. Lies, all of it.

I’m just not a huge football fan.

Man, you set yourself up for abuse when you make a remark like that. I don’t care if you bench press 250 pounds while rebuilding a truck engine, your manhood will come into question if you’re not rabid about football.

I haven’t done either of those things in recent memory, but you get my point. Scorn follows the man who dares show indifference about football. Witness an e-mail I received from my brother a few Sundays back.

“Tell me you’re not wearing your skirt right now and that you’re getting into this game,” he said.

Clearly, the Patriots were on and it was a nail-biter. I was out of the house and didn’t catch it. My brother, perturbed by the silence, later wrote me back.

“What, are you out shopping at the mall, Sissy?”

I’m pretty sure the guy likes me the rest of the year.

Truth is, I can’t remember what I was doing that particular day. I might have been hunting elk with my bare hands or eating glass or something. But no matter. I wasn’t in front of the screen or catching the game at a bar and thus, I was a lost cause to my macho comrades. They imagine me prancing around wearing an apron and wielding a feather duster. And that mall theme keeps coming back.

“Any guy I know who doesn’t get into football, I picture him walking behind his wife at the mall on Sundays with instructions not to take his eyes off the floor,” said the talented and surly sports writer Randy Whitehouse. “I can’t help it. That’s how I imagine him.”

That hurts. I hate the mall. If I spend more than ten minutes in one of the places, I start getting irritable. A half hour and I start committing criminal offenses. I have a very manly aversion to all forms of shopping.

It sounds like I’m back pedaling, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’m on the defensive, am I right? Stop it or I’ll cry.

But seriously. I got ulcers just like everyone else during the baseball post season. I love hockey and the rougher the game, the better. Football, I’ll catch part of the playoffs and tune in for the Superbowl.

Not enough. An absolute sin to freaks like my brother.

“I find it hard to like a guy who says he’s not into football,” he remarked recently. “I mean, really. Who doesn’t like football?”

Not long ago, he called out of breath, sounding like a man running from a pack of wild boars. It was third and four in the fourth quarter and a comeback was at hand. My brother wanted reassurance. He wanted mutual hysteria, like he gets from me when he calls during baseball season.

He was out of luck. I was watching a horror flick. The drama on my television involved some guy getting eaten by rats instead of a late press toward the goal line. My brother gently hung up the phone. I didn’t hear from him for days. I understood completely.

The guy lives for the game. He watches the off-season trading like a stock broker. He’ll quit a job if it interferes with any part of football season. He awaits Superbowl Sunday like most people await Christmas, summer or true love. When the day comes, he’s a mess. He paces the floor, suffers bouts of nausea and screams until he has no voice. I think his wife checks into a motel for the night. A diehard Patriots fan who once lived in Charlotte, he may get arrested this year.

Fact is, the majority is on his side. I’m in the minority. On Superbowl Sunday, I’ll be watching. But I’ll have an even pulse rate and I probably won’t break any furniture. My friends will pretend not to know me. They’ll make jokes behind their hands about how I probably spent the day watching a Lifetime special about figure skating.

Then their wives will send them to the store for toilet paper and carpet deodorizer and the real world will come crashing back in again. Spring training will mark the approach of baseball season and we’ll all get along again.

And not a minute too soon. This skirt is killing me.


  1. jarheaddoc said,

    I hate football. Real men don’t play a sport like that with padding. What a bunch of pussie. Play it naked and kill each other, then call yourself men. Other than that, get off your cel-phone and shut the fuck up

  2. Linda said,

    Just one word from me: rugby.

  3. jarheaddoc said,

    Play some of those games that the Aztecs did, where the winner used the skull of the loser as a drinking cup and then call yourself a man

  4. AO said,

    Nice legs.

  5. AO said,

    Not to mention your pom-poms!

  6. K2 said,

    I like the way the fabric of his shirt is stretched by his firm and perky bumps. And that open mouth — it’s like a neon sign flashing “insert here.”

    I’m still realing over the Bears’ comeback on MNF. My VIkings are 2 games back of ’em, and a loss would’ve really helped our playoff chances. Denny Green blew a gasket over that loss, rightly so.

    Oh, and Mark, I know you dream about tight ends and wide receivers.

    Best line in football broadcasting ever, “Man, he really pentrated the hole and came down his back side to get the sack.”

    Hey, not to be weird, but check out the story I heard last night in the disappearing-phone-booths-turned-cell-phone-vitriol blog. Unreal.

  7. "The Weasel" said,

    Flammer…. Why is your beard blew. (Oops, I mean Blue)

  8. Mainetarr said,

    My hubby Chris must be feeling pretty, he saw the B section and thought he was Roch. He said, “wow, that’s a good picture, I don’t remember taking it.” I looked at it and said, “That’s because it’s not you, you bonehead, that’s Roch.” In those tiny little circles, they kinda looked alike.. LOL

  9. Mainetarr said,

  10. K2 said,

  11. AO said,

    MT, I’ve heard Roch described as a lot of things but pretty isn’t one of them. Ha.

  12. "The Weasel" said,

    I just learned to speak Somali. Now I need to learn Burundi? Next they’ll want me to learn English. Bastards……….

  13. LaFlamme said,

    Now that you mention it, I AM pretty hot.

  14. AO said,

    Yeah, I think it has something to do with those knees.

  15. K2 said,

    Notice the calluses on those knees? Like shoe-leather.

    Any feedback on the scathing cell-phone-yackers-must-die piece? I wonder if any of the guilty party will have a self-awakening and hang up, but I doubt it. I think it’s also about people’s lack of conscientiousness or a heavy dose of cluelessness.

  16. Linda said,

    Mark, if you have any sewing or knitting to catch up on. our local fabric and yarn store has two big sales a year: first Sunday of hunting season, and during the Super Bowl.

  17. LaFlamme said,

    Every store I went into today, I heard thanks from the clerks. If I’d been thinking quicker, I would’ve walked in with the phone pressed to my ear. Ah, irony.

  18. "The Weasel" said,

    You could have impressed a lot of people……

  19. AO said,

    Weasel, that was the best laugh I’ve had all day. 😉

  20. Linda said,

    Very funny ! Reminds me of a yuppie asshat I saw downtown years ago when cellphones were still kind of a novelty: he was sauntering along talking into his phone (which was about the size of a bowling shoe) and — you guessed it — it rang. What a jerk.

  21. Linda said,

    Mark, you are a really great guy and I respect you a lot, but in spite of that, I have to say that’s one truly gruesome picture. I mean, if you are going to photoshop yourself, can’t you get a neck? You have one in real life after all … and jeez, when you’re leading a cheer, SPARKLE! you look like you just woke up from your worst nightmare. That’s not going to get the fans pumped.

    Just a little friendly advice, hope you don’t mind.

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