Friday, June 20, 2008

The Game That Made Us Men (Almost)

Editor's Note: Though all of my sociological, psychological, biological, and anthropological knowledge stems from watching Seinfeld this post will delve into the masculinity underpinnings of college male behavior in most likely a completely illogical manner. Though my knowledge of a subject is limited, I promise the readers of this blog I WON'T NOT PRETEND TO KNOW ANY(EVERY)THING ABOUT A TOPIC SOMEWHAT RELEVANT TO A STORY. Remember a double negative cancels itself out.

. . .College males are one of two things: they are either 1) naive, or 2) an asshole. None of my friends were naive. The only exception was The Puppet Master, he was both naive and an asshole, but his story is for another time. It's been difficult for me, now 24 and often thinking back to the days of college, to fully understand why college males behave the way they do, characterized best as narcissistic assholes. It has a lot to do with the combination of newfound freedom, immature young adults living together, sexual exploration, (some more than others - specifically, Once-Balding Itallion and the midget, or was it a dwarf, I'm not really sure how to tell them apart) and older guys showing us. These factors, with more, explain the alcohol, drug, and sex culture found at so many universities, but I don't see them as necessarily explaining the narcissistic asshole.

It was the weekend before our last regular season game and we already had a place locked up in the playoffs so the importance of this game was minimized. Though, we were still excited about the possibility of an undefeated season, we were also facing one of the best teams in the league and needed to assert a dominant presence over them in case we met again in the playoffs. Two friends from highschool, Whaleface and Long-Term Boyfriend, came into town on Saturday to watch The Greying Writer in a school play. We went out to grab some pizza and reclaim our masculinity after watching The Greying Writer prance around stage for two hours. Though we were glad our old chums made the trip, we informed them that not a lot of activity was going on at campus because the previous night had hosted a large party in which a lot of people made a lot of mistakes and were now deciding to stay in and reevaluate things. Whaleface and Long-Term Boyfriend suggested we all make the trip back to Louisville for a big party. It sounded like a good idea, and we had yet to visit their place. We paid the bill, tipped 8%, and returned to the dorms. We called The Athlete who immediately joined the trip. Several months prior to this he and his highschool fiancee had broken up. The previous night, Friday, he met a girl from Louisville, in for the party, and they engaged in dorm floor making out and then crashed on The Greying Writer and I's couch. It was a good site to see for a friend and we all wanted to give him the chance for a quick reunion. He called the girl, but couldn't remember her name, and set up a meeting time and place in Louisville. We loaded up the two cars with beer and yagermeister, better known as the "FreshmanYearLet'sDestroyThings Mix." We had one more friend to call before our way out who was always up for a good time, The Baseball Player.

The Baseball Player was the first of us to get a legitimate college girlfriend and they had been dating for several months prior to this weekend. He was spending the evening with her in the dorm room for a romantic night in. He brought over some movies and she bought a large Dontoe's pizza. They dimmed the lights, put on a chic flic, and held each other on the futon. This all began because she had been upset with him for a few weeks because he was spending less and less time with her and she had even said to some friends around campus, "If he just thinks he can come over at night, get a handjob and leave, he's got another thing coming." Yep, you guessed it - she was a feminist.

There have been three waves of feminism in our relevant history. The first wave began the 20th century and resulted in women's suffrage. It was a really disappointing time for feminists after struggling so long for political rights to only end up in a state of suffrage. Luckily, there were sympathetic congressmen in office at the time who didn't think it was right for women to have worked so hard and still be in suffrage, and as a result decided to give women one significant right - the right to vote. The second wave came in the 1960's and focused primarily on discrimination of women. They saw the cultural view of women inextricably linked to the political rights of women. The third wave began in the 1990's and focused on the juxtoposition with males. It sought to define the woman by comparing and contrasting females and men. Gay rights and debates on sexuality of men and women emerged and the traditional ideas of men and women began to fade. As you can see I'm a huge fan of feminism, evidenced by this extensive reasearch through a great site called wikipedia.

Back to topic, the more I have thought about the role of feminism in our culture, the more I see it as linked to the narcissist asshole emerging in the college male. College, for most men I think, becomes one of the first settings where we experience an entire culture of strong, independent woman who are no longer defined by the males in society. It's not scary for us, but I think as a response we attempt to assert our masculinity in this environment. This is seen through the forms of beer drinking as a competition, many drunken fights, seeing sex as a conquest, bragging about drinking, partying and sex. It's quite juvenile, immature, and quite surreal when looking back after the experience, but it's fun and is a defining moment in the journey to adulthood. With that said, we are still assholes for at least a couple years, if not more.

So we decide to call up to The Baseball Player, ten minutes after he has left to spend the night with his girlfriend, without any regard for his need to patch things up with his girlfriend and his intense hatred of having to miss a good time with the guys. We are literally sitting in the cars outside of the front door of the girls' dormatory. I make the call:

Me: [name redacted] what are you doing?
The Baseball Player: Watching a movie, just got some Donatoe's.
Me: We are on our way to Louisville for a big party. You want to come? We are sitting outside.
The Baseball Player: On man, I just got up here.
Background: What? Who is that? [name redacted]?
The Baseball Player: Who's going? Is this a big party?
Me: Me, The Greying Writer, Whaleface, The Athlete, Long-Term Boyfriend. Yeah, real big.
The Baseball Player: Hold one one second.
Background: [inaudible conversation lasting 10 seconds]
The Baseball Player: I'm in. You guys got beer?
Me: Yeah and yager.
The Baseball Player: Fuck yea. Hold on one more second.
Background: [inaudible conversation for three seconds]
The Baseball Player: You guys want some pizza for the rode?
Me: Fuck yeahs, we are right downstairs.

As I tell the guys the story we all begin laughing, but it's when see The Baseball Player, running out of the dorm with a beer and a pizza box in hand, that we absolutely lose it. He hops in and we take off to Louisville. Asshole . . . yes. One of the funniest things I saw in college . . . yes. We were men, drinking the night away with little regard for others.

The following Wednesday we began the game in front of a raucous fraternity crowd cheering on their brothers against the undefeated team. We built a 7 point lead and were never really challenged much throughout the game. Most significantly though, during the second half The Insane Fifth-Year Senior was hounding the point guard in a man to man full court press. The point guard got upset and when he had to pick up his dribble he pushed The Insane Fifth-Year Senior. We all knew this was not something he should have done. The Insane Fifth-Year Senior snatched the ball from his hands and threw it at his face. They pushed and got nose to nose in a battle of whose masculinity would hold up longest. The fraternity on the sidelines came onto the court and their biggest player intervened. We all rushed to the center of the court where the altercation occurred and began pushing and pulling, all the while talking more shit than a Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson movie (Don't forget about Money Train). Everything settled down, because no one really wanted to get sucker punched in the face a la Carmelo Anthony, Jermaine O'Neal, and Kermit Washington. We won the game, but most of us were much more pleased with the effort displayed during the altercation. The narcissist asshole persona is useful in sports and would be useful in the playoffs. Luckily for 11 college males it wasn't hard to channel.

The party in Louisville wasn't much fun and we all became pretty bored by 1 am. We headed back to the dorms and continued to get plastered while watching Martin Lawrence's You So Crazy standup. The Athlete climbed in through a window at about 5 in the morning after a horrible night where the girl's car broke down, was pulled over by the cops, and without the effect of as much liquor, had a much harder time "connecting" with her. The Baseball Player and his girlfriend did not last much longer and he pursued other endeavors that led to much better sexual stories shared over drinks in the dorm room.

We have all grown up a lot since graduating college, and though by no means are accomplished adults, we have a better sense of understanding and can put our actions from those years into perspective. But at the time we had just finished an undefeated regular season, were considered the best team entering the playoffs, and had large amounts of alcohol to consume and girls to fondle.


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