Monday, February 13, 2023

wasn't there

Mark Evanier got asked a stupid question: "I'm expecting your usual infallible Super Bowl prediction that you won't be watching but I'm curious why. You're an American Male. How can you not be interested in football?"

I could have been asked the same question, and this is a perfect example of what's been frosting me about being a male, or for that matter being American, my entire life. Even as a child, I was never interested in most of the things that boys were supposedly interested in - sports, cars, dogs, saying naughty words ("telling dirty jokes" isn't accurate - most weren't funny, they just had naughty words in them), beating each other up, harassing girls. I just wanted to stay in the library and read a book, and for that I was called 'weird.' I didn't want to be a boy if that's what boys were, but I wasn't a girl either (these days I wonder if, in that situation, anybody might raise the idea that I was), so what was I? The answer, I eventually realized about the time I reached adulthood, was that there are more types of male, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

(One reads many reports of this kind of alienation from males who turn out to be gay, but I wasn't gay. To be sexually attracted to these males one found socially repulsive? That must be even more dissonant. I liked girls: I liked them as people, and I found them attractive. So one difficulty I was spared at least.)

At the same time I wasn't comfortable being a let-it-all-hang-out, hail-fellow-well-met American either. I'm an extreme introvert. I envied the idea of being a repressed Brit instead. It took me a while to get used to the idea, once I started meeting Brits socially, that many of them envied the idea of being loose and wild and American.

Ironically, I'm less uninterested in American football than in most other spectator sports. It has a plot - except for the half-time kickoff, every play arises from what happened in the previous play, unlike other sports which frequently clear the board of everything except the score. I understand most of the rules and can follow what's going on. But I only actually look at it when it's on a tv in front of my face in someone else's house, so I hardly ever do so. And any players I've ever heard of have long since retired.

For me what the Super Bowl means is it's a great time to go out shopping, because the stores are deserted of crowds. That's the only reason I have any interest in the question "What time does the game start?" I went out on some errands yesterday, and then picked up some takeout dinner and then went to a chamber music concert (review later).

When I got home, B. reported that she hadn't seen Tybalt in hours. (Don't worry, she had Maia.) Within a couple minutes after that, he was in my arms, demanding to be held and cuddled. See above list again: cats, those are the pets for me.

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