Monday, May 07, 2007

Commenting makes me gay

One of the suggested reasons reparative therapists offer for homosexual attractions is a long-established disconnect from masculine acceptance. That's why they have guys running around learning how to play sports and feel good about it. It's a theory that has often been criticized (sarcastically), but one that makes a little sense in my mind.

I hated church ball as a kid. I would rather go to the dentist than throw a basketball (or any ball, for that matter) with an audience. And, I suppose the surprising thing about this is that I'm not too bad of a ball player. I'm not great... my skill development stopped in about the third grade when I quit wanting to play sports pretty much at all... but I do quite well in things like racquetball.

Anyway, as a kid I was invited (half-heartedly) to play with the teachers' quorum team. When I gave it a shot, I was horrible, and the other kids being of the appropriate maturity level for a set of average 14-year-old boys weren't particularly supportive. I didn't go back and they didn't pursue me; or if they did it was obviously half-hearted. "Hey, -L-, if you want to play, we'll certainly sacrifice our chances of winning and cheer you on in a condescending show of supporting our ridiculous teammate." Yes, there's some pride operating there, but I should be given the same concessions of 14-year-old maturity that I give my teammates, right?

So, here I am twice the age and still suffering from caring what other people think. The authors of the blogs here on my sidebar are generally nice to me, even when I'm a ridiculous fool. I appreciate this and it fosters a community spirit that allows openness and honesty without fear of being hurt for it. It also fosters quick and blameless changes of opinion rather than a, "you said something false in writing and in public and now your humiliation will be celebrated" view.

But, when I go out into the bloggernacle proper, I think I freeze up a little bit. I let jeering and obnoxious people keep me from speaking up. I defend myself and my views with a fervor that I later easily admit to myself is ridiculous and counter-productive. In short, I get the same types of insecure feelings I got when I attempted to throw a baseball as a teenager.

I know I've been on quite a kick of blogging about blogging for the last several weeks. But, what can I say? It's been on my mind, and writing this stuff makes me get over it, it seems.

14 comments:

drex said...

I know what you mean. Especially in reference to church ball, because I always hated it. I'm a running man, not a ball player.

I'm quite different online, though. I have over 7 years of experience on internet forums, and within some of those forums I rose to power because I figured out how to talk to people online, how to butt into conversations, and how to not care when people don't like me. To an extent. I'm a fairly fragile individual when it comes to tapping my emotions. But I've found that respect from others comes from holding my own and sticking to my guns.

As for being a ridiculous fool, I find that only real fools look down on those who occasionally play the fool. Life isn't fun if you can't be topsy turvy when the time calls for it. Ridiculousness is actually a trait I look for in my friends. For me it's a large piece of humanity.

-L- said...

From being out to parents to commenting online, you have a lot more confidence than me and I admire you for it. :-)

Stephen said...

I grew up playing soccer just like every good German boy. When we moved to America, I started playing basketball too. It wasn't until about 14 when I realized I sucked at both of them...

I guess my point there is, I don't put much stock in the theory that my lack of interest in American Football and my homosexuality are related... I can follow soccer like a professional sportscaster.

As for Bloggernaccle(sp), don't worry about them. They're just... prudish.

Samantha said...

I don't care if you play sports, I don't care if you grunt when you speak or walk around with a toothpick in your mouth while you grab your crotch, but The Great -L- must never stop talking online. That's just the way it is. And if you make a fool of yourself, it had better be absolutely unforgettable.

Oh yeah, and no matter how ridiculous you might think you sound, I'll back you up any day--and I'll make up statistical data as well, if you want me too. :)

playasinmar said...

I know you've had vary good experiences with your counselors.

I know you don't like being pestered about seeing a reparative therapist.

And I know you appreciate your blog being a space where you can say crazy things and not get taken to task for it.

But the idea that how typical American adolescent males typically spend their time has anything to do with your orientation is just foolish.

-L- said...

Oh, you can take me to task, you just have to be nice about it. And I'll give a response with as much logic behind it and credibility as your challenge:

nuh uh.

Scot said...

So, here I am twice the age and still suffering from caring what other people think.

In defense of caring about what other people think, I’m not sure how strong it’s felt but it can be a very good thing. I’ll shamelessly care what other’s think, particularly people I love, respect. But there is value too in caring about the thoughts of detractors, especially when they have some control over your fate, or are, as in this case, trying to diminish something you care about.

I know it can go overboard, particularly when in the teen years and for long-standing reasons. But even if the urgency of that motivation wanes there will always be good reason to care what others think (not that I think you're saying there isn't). We’re a social species after all, and need each other. It’s not gay; it's not suffering; it’s human ;-).

SG said...

Samantha said it best - you must never stop blogging!

But I know exactly what you mean about sports. I used to be pretty good at racquetball and a couple of other things. But if they could add a "Throw Like a Girl" event to the Summer Olympics, I'm certain I'd be a medalist.

Abelard Enigma said...

But the idea that how typical American adolescent males typically spend their time has anything to do with your orientation is just foolish.

I'm just about as clueless about sports as you can get :) And there are enough people like that in the Mormon queerosphere to cause me to suspect that there is some sort of correlation.

But I do agree that making a bunch of gay guys play sports will not make them straight - the very thought of it makes me want to laugh (especially if I envision myself as one of those playing).

-L-, the title of your post is "Commenting makes me gay". Uh, isn't that kind of why we're all here?

playasinmar said...

Ours is a world where young, straight men hunt, fish, play soccer, date, attend school, and ballroom dance...

...and so do young gay guys. What's so special about sports?

Stephen said...

I'm just going to point out that the whole not adolescent males not playing/liking sports and being gay is about as textbook an example of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" as I can think of... I'll refrain from building a full case against it.

Max Power said...

Wait, you are good at raquetball but suck at other sports? Me too! It must be a gay thing. I will now suspect all people I know, who play raquetball, of being gay.

Forester said...

Count me as another gay man who has no interest in sports. I am still scarred by my adolescent years in gym class, being the last one picked and really hated being forced to play basketball and football.

Just the other day I got dragged into a sports conversation. I tried to bluff my way through it with little success. I can't believe that I still have to deal with this. I always feel like such a reject when I have to say "Oh, I don't follow sports".

I have two very athletic and competetive brothers-in-law. I hate it at Thanksgiving when we get together to watch sports and play the traditional family football game. It sucks.

Marc said...

Hmm.

Sports = competition

Competition from an evolutionary standpoint, is the means by which you get the girl. You gotta dominate to be the alpha male, so to speak.

If your target is other males however, your most populous competition is females.

Kinda makes sense to me that gay men tend to smell good, dress well and lift weights rather than making other men feel like incompetent fools via display of dominant force. What's the point?

Even worse is that vicarious feeling of domination from watching "your team" on TV.

I can't keep a straight face in sports bars. Or like Forester said, the "traditional" family football game watching on Thanksgiving. All the futile huffs, woofs and hollers just crack me up.

Plus, I suck at sports. Add me to the list. Haha.