My Mom, who is the smartest woman I know, says about men, “Men love to fight. If they can’t fight with guns, they fight with words.”
“Why?” I would ask. “Why do they love to fight?”
“It’s fun!” She says. “They love it!”
Well, as she is about so many things, of course my Mom is right once again.
As a boy I was cruel, vicious and sadistic, just like most of the other boys. That sucks, but it was normal, and there were lots of boys worse than I was. There was a Professional Bully class and a Professional Victim class. Being the oldest, I lucked out and got to be a Bully. My younger brother was much worse than I was, and the favorite Victim was my youngest brother. My youngest brother is still pissed about all the shit we did to him. I’ve apologized over and over, but he still wants more.
The other day he asked me why we did it. Did we disrespect him in some way. Of course not! I at least actually respected him a lot on every level. Well then, why bully him?
“Because you were littler! You were smaller, so we picked on you.”
“Yeah, that’s it, huh? Just like animals,” he said.
Exactly. Males are animals, wild animals. I got to play the Victim role a few times myself, and it wasn’t much fun, but it never sank in much. We even tortured animals, but we stuck to bugs (mostly pests at that) and fish we caught, so I don’t feel too bad. When you start torturing mammals, you’ve got issues. I’ve still got a sadistic little boy inside of me, just like most men do. I haven’t killed him, but I like to think he’s locked up most of the time, or at least on a short leash.
Some men never let go of the grinning 13 year old sadist. You see it all over the Internet, the Net Bullies. Almost always males, between teenage and 50 or so, sometimes older. The older guys don’t seem so mean, probably because their testosterone is going down. It’s bizarre to see grown men, sometimes with PhD’s and good jobs, acting like sadistic schoolboys on Usenet, bulletin boards and chat sites.
This is really worse than what we did as boys. When we tormented my brother, we didn’t tease him and run away. We would stand right there and tease him, hopefully provoking him to hit us. Then we’d nail him back. I have some respect for a bully who sticks around.
The Internet Bullies are nothing but Pussies. They’re hiding behind their computers saying shit that they would never dare say in meatspace, because if they did, they’d cause a shouting match or maybe even get their ass kicked. So like complete Pusses, they hide behind their computers and bully each other, because there’s no consequences to their bullying.
That’s like sucker punching a guy and then running away as fast as you can. If you’re going to bully someone, at least stick around long enough to give the victim a chance to fight back. That way you retain at least a hint of honor.
My dad never watched any sport besides baseball. So that was the only sport that I ever saw on TV growing up. In our neighborhood was a softball field, and one of the highlights of summer were the games kids would be playing there. So softball and baseball were the only sports I grew up with any appreciation for, although I myself didn’t play.
I had little curiosity about sports; in fact, the best way to get me into passive-aggressive mode would be to force me to play sports. You would be begging me to get the Hell off your team before it was over with.
The only other sport that snagged a little bit of my interest was boxing. And that was all because of a gleam in my mother’s eye – a gleam reflecting the glory of Muhammad Ali. I believe my mother was in love with Muhammad Ali. It wasn’t just the look in her eyes; she sounded positively girlish talking about him. That alone suggested to me that there was something very special about him.
I just couldn’t get into what Muhammad Ali did. In the ring, that is. Two guys circling each other. Swinging at each other. Jabbing each other. What was even more curious to me was the audience. They loved it. They ate up every moment of it.
What was so great about two guys fighting?
I later learned that boxing has a nickname: The Sweet Science. This is a sport in which two men are to fight each other with fists until one of them can no longer continue. Yet, what’s going on here is said to be “sweet.”
Hitting, punching, and knocking out…mmm.
As most people know, boxers used to fight bare-knuckled. Gloves weren’t required until 1867, with the Marquess of Queensberry rules. And yet, before that, two guys could go at each other for hours.
The longest bare-knuckle boxing match took place in Australia in 1856. It lasted for 6 hours and 15 minutes. This is just breathtaking to me, that two people would endure such punishment. Nevertheless, to the fighters and the spectators, the whole thing must have been incredibly “sweet.”
I’ve been told that men go at each other on Internet forums, goading and savaging each other verbally for hours. It’s not bare-knuckle fighting, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take stamina. Fighting and tearing each other down in this way is “fun,” I’ve heard – like any other sport.
And I believe it. It doesn’t seem to matter what the arena is – put a bunch of guys in it and watch the sweetness unfold.