Men’s Men

I’m coming out of the closet and declaring to the world: I really don’t like Football Guys.

This is not to say that some of the men in my life haven’t played football, on official school teams, even. But I feel safe to say that they were not Football Guys (Hominus footballis).

This morning there was a pack of them at the Starbucks counter. Wearing their Cowboy football outfits, hulking shoulders straining the shirts, coach-type guys in civilian clothes yukking it up with them. They surveyed the world with macho good spirits, believing they are the gods of their doman. Oblivious to the irony of the caramel macciatos (macciatoes?) cradled in their large hands.

I can’t really explain why they irritate me.

Maybe it goes back to those formative years of high school. The Football Guys were my antipode: the popular brawn to my outcast brain. They lumbered through the halls with witless, charming smiles, sure of their place in the world. A place won through size and aggression.

Both of my men who once played football didn’t stick with it and bailed before the later years of high school, which I think demonstrates their enormous good sense. David quit because of the physical damage. And because basketball was more fun. He still has neck problems from ramming himself into those tackling dummies. Kev will probably argue with me about this post, but he bailed for theater in the end, which was infinitely sexier to me.

I know there are the gals who go for the Football Guys. But I was never one. I wasn’t much of a cheerleader, either, and bailed on that after my twelve-year-old go at it. Chanting and doing the hokey-pokey while the boys played just didn’t seem like that much fun. Especially when the angry male coaches yelled at us for being in the way.

I suppose the Football Guy epitomizes to me everything that is unattractive in the male. Where men vilify the extreme female: the vanity, the irrationality, the emotional manipulation, I dislike the brutality, the extreme competitiveness, the machismo-fueled ego. I know football players can be smart men, but I think that’s not a part of themselves they’ve chosen to develop. Truly, not all football players become Football Guys.

It’s interesting to me that American football hasn’t really caught on with the rest of the world. It remains a sport that is uniquely ours. One wonders why that would be. Why we’re the only culture that thinks it’s neat.

Why are we the ones stuck with the Football Guys?