Ah, the smell of pigskin. The grunting rush of man-meat pounding together while joints crack and cartilage oozes, bodies thrown against the ground, grass-stained asses and Gatorade hair. Does it get any better than this? Let's hope so. It's Super Bowl Sunday and I'm an indifferent mess, at best a thought balloon — or Goodyear Blimp — drifting over my own personage with hypercritical narration that reads, "Why can't you be more of a man?"
Except it's not a thought balloon at all, but rather my other half.
"This house sure is a mess," Alan mutters from his horizontal point of couch judgment. I protest, half-heartedly. "I'm not mollycoddling you," he conjures a certain Ringwald. "Everybody else mollycoddles you; I'm here to toughen you up!"
It's not a coincidence that Alan and I first met on this, America's most violent of corporate holidays. It was a coincidence eight years ago — the thumb-wrestling under the Parliament House pool bar, the drunken wrestling in the backyard at a Super Bowl party, the making-out wrestling in his boss's bed, followed by the unforgettable slapstick of him falling ass-first into a planter outside the house, all ending up with both of us in his bed and somehow without our cars, wrestling — but now it just seems like cheap irony. This is the thrill of victory and the smell of rubbing his feet.
"Just kidding!" he smirks. "God, you can't even take a joke!"
No, but I can be one. The best boss in the world, my editor Bob Whitby, is throwing his own sports celebration at his house, and because everything about me screams "sports!" I'm totally going. But what does one do at a Super Bowl party when he's not making out and wrestling and steering his life off the road of independence? Well, when one is gay, one brings his own vodka and plays his part.
"I just did the gayest thing!" I saunter up to the gathered throng of emotionally stable people. "So, I was at Publix, and when I was reaching for a chocolate bar at the checkout lane, the little lock on my Tiffany bracelet got caught and flew off! So there I was, drunk and crawling around the floor while the staff was literally moving the lanes around for me and rolling their eyes. And I was like, ‘It's $300 dollars!' And then the checkout girl found it in a box of pink marshmallow puffs. Right?"
"Was it the gay Publix?" Bob's eyes roll.
"So, that was probably the third time that happened today …," etc.
The hockey match played with soccer bats doesn't even start for more than an hour, so this blowing of my gay wad right at the front end probably isn't the best strategy for sustaining my party worth. So I sit down, pour a drink, light a cigarette and do my best to become one with my surroundings. Look, I'm a tree!
Somewhat creepily, the Leone-Morricone sonic spaghetti of Once Upon a Time in the West is wafting over the whole affair like a soundtrack of dusty doom, visualized in the smoke coming from the smoker that is smoking half-chickens. My branches are rustling.
"Are those eerie sounds of suspense coming out of your manspace?" I quiz Bob's crotch.
He points his chicken spatula away from his turgid brush and up toward the second floor of his free-standing garage, which is his actual manspace, a sort of rec-room-cum-office rigged up with couches and giant, gender-specific multimedia effluvia. Before long, there's a gaggle of us crawling around Bob's manspace and making it our own. (You know, like crabs!) Inevitably, the terms "Rock" and "Band" are uttered sequentially, and any illusions that I could avoid this horrid phenomenon by simply turning my nose up and speaking my age are shattered with my mouth bleating the words "You're so fucking special!" into a microphone. Because I'm a creep.
Also, apropos of nothing, I'm subsequently a side-saddling Richie Sambora to music-head Justin Strout's riveting Jon Bon Jovi cowboy. Oh, and I ride ….
By the time the game begins, I'm not even gay anymore (well, after Jennifer Hudson). Something has given out, my Facebook status has changed, I've been dulled down into the hue of Everyman, baking babies and nursing supper. There's a red team and there's a white team, and I'm rooting for the red team because red is angry and I am angry and I'm a man and try to stop me now, motherfuckers!
"Kill 'em! Kill 'em! Kill 'em!" I grunt as a pile of Cardinal cartilage overtakes a Steeler. "Kill that fucker dead!"
Copyeditrix Jessica cocks a brow at me in horror and syntactic surprise. I am no longer conjugated correctly. Must. Leave. Middle. America. Now.
"We gotta get out while we're young, 'cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!" Whitby and I howl a rasp through Springsteen's halftime crotch surprise. I'm not young, but I am out.
Back at home, safe in the gay arms of Animal Planet's absurd Puppy Bowl V, I catch textual wind that there's been a problem back at the manspace — a horrible, horrible conundrum of emasculatory proportions. Just as the winning touchdown was being caught, the DVR switched the TV over to something not so manly at all, not at all indeed!
"Who wants a Cleeeean Houuuuuse?" screeched my beloved hibiscus-head Niecy Nash on the Style Network, defiling Whitby's manspace. Oh, I do. Mine's a email@example.com