Playing the Dating Game

Fag, er, flag on the play! A discussion of homoeroticism in sports, and a newly single guy happily digs into the babe buffet.

Q: Some buds and I recently brought up the topic of homo-eroticism in sports. The main sport of conversation was rugby, but you could almost apply the same gay undertones in the more obvious sports like wrestling and swimming, and perhaps even boxing and baseball. In rugby specifically, I heard there are a lot of “traditions” that seem, well, gay. One tradition I heard about had to do with building team camaraderie by having the whole team strip naked and pretending to do an elephant trunk walk. You know, where one elephant grabs another’s tail with their trunk and then they walk in succession, but there’s only one obvious “tail” for a guy to grab — you get the idea. There’s a lot of similar “traditions” in rugby, and my question purely out of curiosity is, do these contact (and non-contact) sports have some roots in some dude-on-dude action? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. – Raunchy Ruggers


A: During high school Latin, for all the sleeping-with-your-sister stuff we learned the gods engaged in, we didn’t get much into juicy real-life behaviors. Like the fact that the ancient Romans were rumored to have some wickedly gay orgies. Or that the ancient Greeks played sports in the buff, supposedly to encourage appreciation of the male form. (In fact, the word gymnasium comes from the Greek word gymnos, meaning naked.)


With that history in mind, rugby – in all its nut-hugger-shorts wearing, groin grappling, 10-man-scrum piling, group-showering, drunken-game-playing glory – indeed can set off the gaydar. Sending it into overdrive is the Dieux de Stade, the annual calendar in which members of the French rugby team pose nude or close to it, and traditions that involve various states of nudity. Though I couldn’t confirm evidence of the “elephant walk” you mentioned, I did dig up several others that are swishily suspicious. The “zulu warrior dance” (post-match, players strip naked and dance around while teammates throw beer on them) is one; another is the “soggy biscuit” (involving a cookie, several players and masturbation. Google it yourself for yourself if you think you can – hint, hint — stomach the raunchy details.)


But whether these traditions are as you put it – gay — is where it gets a little fuzzier. Mark Simpson, a British journalist and former rugby player, made this distinction on an interview with the BBC: “That’s part of the problem about the word homoerotic. When you say something is homoerotic, it doesn’t mean it’s really gay. It just means it has to do with the male body, and there is an erotic dimension.”


It’s worth noting that Simpson is, in fact, gay. Which brings me to wonder, along with my sports nut friend M., who’s also gay, if all this talk is really just wishful thinking. M. wonders: “I would be curious to know the sexuality of the writer. I just think most gay guys fantasize about the hot straight athlete turning to the ‘dark side’ so they want to create curiosity.”


A few final points: Sports is one of the few social arenas where male intimacy is encouraged. At the same time, homosexuality isn’t — especially in chest-bumping sports like rugby, football and baseball. All of which tends to create a simmering cauldron of testosterone and tension – often masked as team-building — that manifests in various ways. But enough talking about all this. I’m off to flip on the telly and ogle over hot football players in tight pants slapping each other’s asses in the endzone.


Q: I’m a 25-year-old working guy who has just gotten out of a loooooooong relationship. Getting back into the single scene again has been surprisingly fun. I’ve been dating around for the first time in my life, honestly, and it’s helped me feel like a total stud! But I’m not ready to settle down quite yet, though I have met some women I’d like to keep seeing. What’s the rule on this? What if I want to start sleeping with one of them – do I have to disclose that? Help me – the rules have changed since I’ve been out here. – New on the Scene


A: Welcome to the most ego-boosting phase of dating: The Feast, a delicious time when besotted suitors fall at your feet. (The flip side, of course, is The Famine, when the flow of females dries up like the Sahara.) To savor The Feast as long as possible, be just honest enough about your other dalliances without providing any unnecessary info that encourages speculation, jealousy or competition. There’s nothing more irritating than a guy who drops obvious hints that he’s seeing other women. If you’re already booked, say you have plans; if you’re pressed further, say a they’re with “new friend” – just truthful enough. Sex makes things a little stickier, so hopefully by the time you get to that point, you’ll have narrowed down the herd.


One last tidbit to chew on: I’m not sure how long you were in a relationship, but you guys aren’t the only ones who pride themselves on having more than one candidate in the rotation. Until you’ve had the exclusivity talk, don’t assume you’re the sole dish on a gal’s menu.

1 Comment »

  1. THANK YOU for reminding this guy that girls can juggle potential mates too. Even some of my girlfriends don’t get it. They’ll ask me if a guy I went on a date with is dating around and my response, because I’m dating around myself, is that it’s currently irrelevant.

    Comment by A. Baumgarten — January 27, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

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