Despite much progress over the years, there are still many men who appear to live in mortal terror of being sodomised, as if such things happened randomly in the street like beestings.
As a warning to their fellow neurotic brothers, they often feel the need to point out potential danger situations where, but for the grace of God (choose your own), you too may be drawn into the web of homoeroticism and find yourself anally violated.
They deem the most effective method to be one of “point and laugh”, with a dollop of sniggering derision thrown in for good measure.
With the world gripped in Olympic fever, an unnamed sports journalist at YahooNZ was busy gripping something else when he published a wrestling photo gallery on Tuesday headlined “The dodgiest looking Olympic sport”.
There are 22 shots in the gallery, and our anonymous scribe chooses to introduce it with the following paragraph:
“Olympic sports have garnered much attention over the last couple of weeks – and some of the photographs have been outstanding. Unfortunately some photographs just make some sports look… well, dodgy!”
Oh, gold. To steal a line from Billy Connolly, you should get yourself an agent, pal. No need to sit there in the dark handling yourself.
My friend, writer Steve Attwood, shared this article on Facebook with the following commentary:
“A classic example of media and institutional homophobia.
Yahoo puts up a series of photos from the Olympics it says are “dodgy”. Why are they dodgy? They are all of male wrestlers captured in wrestling holds that look vaguely sexual. There are no other examples of “dodginess”, no photos of other sports, or of women, or of men and women. So it seems their criteria for assessing a photograph is “dodgy” is because the photos in their eyes look like men having sex with each other.
In reality the only value this article has is not one of adding to the enjoyment of sport and its achievements, but simply to serve as an illustration of the seedy sexist homophobic mind of some sports writers!”
Sydney’s Alan Cadogan, winner of Mr Australasia Bear this year, is a keen wrestler. I sent him the link, and gave him a call to see what he thought of it all.
“People that joke like that about the sport have either never tried it, or never properly watched a match,” he says.
Alan is a member of the Harbour City Wrestling club, a gay-friendly team that has been around since the early 1990s. They run weekly training nights, participate in tournaments with other clubs, and internationally in the Gay Games.
“I’ve seen people scared away from wrestling after watching a match,” he says. “It’s a scary and intensely physical fight. It’s not a couple of guys in lycra having fun together. It’s confronting, it’s every bit as confronting as boxing, or rugby league.”
That said, the Harbour City Wrestling club is not full of muscleheads. There are a range of shapes, sizes, personalities and body types.
“I’ve heard guys in the club say it’s given them confidence as well as fitness. One of the interesting things about being a gay wrestler is that it’s good to be that close to another male and for it not to be remotely sexual. It’s given them confidence to learn a contact sport that helps them feel safer on the street at night.”
So what about those “dodgy” photos, then?
“They’re captured in the moment. Wrestling is a fluid movement, it’s a struggle. You can show all sorts of weird positions in a snapshot – think of those Aussie Rules pictures with guys losing their pants,” he points out. “If someone’s got their hand on your thigh, it’s not because they’re feeling you up, it’s because they’re about to throw you to the ground.”
We’ve all got dirty minds, though. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen friends gleefully sharing photos on Facebook of Olympic athletes receiving their medals where their bits are clearly visible through their kit.
“If there’s anything sexual in it, it’s in the mind of the spectators,” Cadogan says. “Women’s beach volleyball is an Olympic sport, and women are required to wear a two piece outfit. I presume that’s because sex sells on TV. I don’t think any of the women out there playing are thinking about how objectified they are with a two-piece outfit. They’re just out there winning at volleyball.”
But you wouldn’t find some spotty oik at Yahoo referring to women’s volleyball as dodgy.
So far, the article has attracted one comment, from ‘Hijaz’ of Malaysia, who sums things up rather nicely:
“Dodgy looking olympic sport? seriously yahoo…… Wrestling, boxing and pankration were the first contact sports to be in the olympics, some respect would be nice to these athletes.”
After being involved in individual sports like weightlifting and swimming for a number of years, Cadogan says that wrestling has given him the camaraderie of being in a team, in addition to the best workout of his life.
“It’s absolutely the most intense workout I’ve ever done. There’s nothing that compares, even though it only goes for a few minutes.”
Oh Christ, *please* don’t make a masturbation joke out of that last sentence…