Friday, October 5, 2007

friday's word: wrestle

ignatius borg vs mike bennett
iggy borg vs. mike bennett, 1960s british pro wrestling

res ‘l

to compete in an unarmed physical contest of strength, flexibility, balance, + strategy, in an attempt to subdue or throw an opponent

figuratively, to debate or to struggle mentally

foreplay—roughhouse can arouse sex partners through skin-on-skin contact, pulse-quickening exertion, + mutual muscle worship—usually such play only approximates the sport of wrestling, + sometimes it follows a prepared scenario of posing, taunting, mock aggression, mock suffering, +, less commonly, a mock rape.

fetish—when roughhouse takes the place of traditional sex acts, it is called a fetish—fixation on certain actions, like bear hugs, headscissors, + sleeper holds; certain gear, like singlets, jockstraps, + wrestling masks; or certain situations + role-playing, like pro-wrestling, ‘grudge matches,’ + wrestling in jello, mud, oil, or other highly tactile substance, distinguishes a fetish when guys need it for not only arousal but also climax—or, for true fetishists, as a substitute for arousal + climax.

“we stripped naked + wrestled on the plank floor, rain coming in on us, roof tarpaper flapping above us like a sail. i think that was the day we discovered sixty-nine, though here i am probably editing memory shamelessly.”
--paul monette, becoming a man, 1992

“professional wrestling appears to violate basic principles of masculine performance in a number of ways. first, it relies on the display of male bodies that are presented alternately in extravagant costumes + almost naked. second, these male bodies in performance are seen to touch + embrace, to make a show but not a reality of hurting another man, to dominate + to submit to one another in ways that resemble nothing so much as clichés of sexual engagement. fiercely heterosexual + heterosexist in its discourse, professional wrestling thus converges on the homoerotic in its semiotics. on the surface, professional wrestling may be profoundly conservative, representing truth, justice, + the dream of the ideal american man. at the same time, however, it is highly transgressive, offering its spectators ways of reading + engaging that extend well beyond the surface.”
--sharon mazer, professional wrestling: sport + spectacle, 1998

“although scantily clad men grabbing, throwing, + attempting to mount each other in spectacles of dominance resounds with obvious homoerotic overtones, pro wrestling has a long history of playing + preying upon gay themes + stereotypes. homosexuality + pro wrestling first flirted with one another back in the ‘50s, when gorgeous george emerged as televised wrestling’s first major star. regaled in a sequined robe, sporting artificially shaped blond curls laced with gold bobby pins, +, as announcers put it, ‘powdered to perfection,’ gorgeous george started his matches only after a valet had sprayed his opponents with disinfecting perfume. his prissy behavior would set the standard for decades to come for the rousing of fans’ homophobic jeers.”
--vadim, the village voice, 3-9 may 2000

“many homosexuals like to wrestle before or during sex—for some it’s a virtual substitute for sex. whereas some men like to know from the outset the role they will play during a particular sexual encounter, others are only truly excited when there’s a struggle to determine who will be ‘top man,’ which is tantamount to saying who will do the fucking + who will get fucked…, while winning may be thrilling, in wrestling, defeat can be pleasurable.
“the pleasure is not only one of vying for position. it comes also from the sensuality of two strong male bodies engaging in strenuous physical exertion. back muscles flare, biceps bulge, sweat flows, buttocks become rigid with strain….
“for more than a few, this interest in wrestling may have evolved out of their adolescence when, for many gay youths, the closest they could come—or allow themselves to come—to physical contact with another youth was through wrestling, in either its spontaneous sense of ‘just fooling around’ with another guy on the grass, or more formally in school gyms….
“….climax is sometimes achieved through fucking + sucking, though some wrestlers like to end up in a clench—jerking off.”
--dr. charles silverstein + felice picano, the new! joy of gay sex, 2003

“the gay/straight lists of things thread through our culture, forming the yin + yang of american society. tennis is gay; golf is straight. wrestling is gay; football is straight.”
--cathy crimmins, how the homosexuals saved civilization, 2005

“’your average fan wants to express all those homophobic feelings because … well, just think about it,’ the wrestler john chavez explained. ‘here you have two guys in their underwear holding each other in locks, all sweaty + everything. even the real manly man looks kind of gay grabbing some guy’s crotch. + the fan, instead of being out with a girl on a saturday night, is there with a whole bunch of guys, watching other guys. + when he thinks about that, like, unconsciously, it makes him feel a little weird. so he’s thinking, “if I beat up a gay guy—that proves i'm not gay.” since he’s not supposed to do that, it’s just as satisfying watching someone else do it.’
“chavez went by the name angel, which took advantage of his mexican heritage but also of a certain softness + delicacy in his demeanor. though not actually gay, chavez worked the clichés of fey boy-toy homosexuality for all they were worth, becoming known as ‘the hardcore homo.’
“why, then, did fans cheer + not jeer him?
“’i don’t know,’ said chavez. ‘they’re supposed to hate me, but they don’t. i’m getting a shine.’
“’a shine?’
“’a pop, a rise out of the crowd.’
“’so to speak.’
“’and,’ he said, ‘I'm always getting hit on after shows.’
“’as a joke?”
“’for real!’”
--thomas hackett, slaphappy: pride, prejudice, + professional wrestling, 2006

old english ‘wræstlion’ from ‘wræstan’ = ‘to twist, shove, pull’

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