Friday, April 20, 2012
Why We Wrestle
Then, last night I saw a brief trailer for the new Disney movie Chimpanzee in which two little chimps are wrestling.
Is wrestling merely a hold-over of primate behavior? An instinctual need to dominate a playmate (or lover?) and to be dominated?
Well, if I were an academic I might embrace that theory. But the truth is that wrestling holds a fascination for me and others not just because we are descended from the apes (like some sort of vestigial tail or something--we can't get rid of it) but because it meets a series of fundamental needs.
1) Wrestling = Sex. For my entire life I have seen wrestling as an expression of sexual desire. As a kid I actually was embarrassed to see wrestling on TV or in movies -- or even in a comic book (to me, comics were like porn). It was not until I was an adult that I calmed down and began to be able to place wrestling in its proper context of sex and/or sport.
2) Competition. Growing up a gay kid, I was intimidated by larger, more athletic kids. I wasn't a big guy. I'm still not a big guy. Although I am fairly well-defined muscularly speaking, I am not a large person. Still, even as a kid I loved to dive on my friends and try to subdue them. I had one friend in particular who was much taller than me and quite a gifted athlete. I can't tell you how many times I would just jump him and try and wrestle him to the ground. Best part: he didn't mind.
3) Physical Boundaries. Wrestling provides us with a definitive view of our physical boundaries. A lot of guys (a lot of women, too) have an ill-defined sense of their self. They do not know what they can and cannot do physically speaking. Wrestling provides an opportunity to see exactly what you are capable of doing in terms of attempting to move another human body around a mat or bed while that body is providing resistance.
4) Body Closeness. Wrestling provides a means of engaging in body closeness that does not necessarily involve kissing and hugging and sex. It allows you to explore another person's body in an extremely intimate manner without the overt postures and mannerisms associated with making love. I would even go so far as to say that erotic wrestling provides an escape from the typical sort of homosexual sex in that it is an alternative form of love-making that avoids demonstrations of affection. I like that.
5) Dominance and Submission. Okay, back to that ape-thing. As we all know, sex has a mental component to it. Wrestling (erotic wrestling) is like that, too. We cast ourselves into roles of victor and vanquished, heel vs. jobber, stud vs. weakling. We want to see ourselves, physically, in a situation that leaves us either helpless before a more accomplished and athletic superior, or the victor in a battle over another foe. Those scenarios play out in an unending series of situations: tough guy/weakling, heel/jobber, tough guy beaten by smaller guy. For me personally, I love the idea of being beaten by someone who I should be able to beat. Someone slightly smaller or who might be perceived as weaker but who pulls out the victory and makes me submit. I think that goes back to high school where I was beaten in a match against this kid who everyone sort of despised. There was something intensely sexual about him beating me in front of my friends. Forcing me to the mats. Humiliation.
There you go. My reasons for wrestling. So, what are YOUR reasons for wrestling?