Skip to main content

A NEW BREED OF BROTHERLY LOVE


I had a hard-on watching UFC last night. I didn't notice it till after the bout was over. For those of you who don't know, the Ultimate Fighting Championship stages fights in an octagon steel cage where two half-naked men can be as vicious as they want to each other. There are few rules. No hair pulling or groin shots. But the standard prohibitions of boxing and other contact sports - no kicking while down, no elbows to the nose, no kidney punches, etc. - are absent. There is something so visceral, so primeval about watching two guys - savage brutes, is the more accurate term - kicking the shit out of each other. 

I sometimes surf YouTube videos of street fights just to see guys knock each other out. Kimbo Slice was my favorite fighter to watch. He was a street fighter literally, beating up anyone who was dumb enough to challenge him to a brawl. And Mr. Slice also made it to the UFC. He even had a professional boxing career - until last year when he passed away at 42 of a heart condition unrelated to fighting. 

My friend Pete turned me onto UFC back in 1994 around the time of the inaugural match. He was studying Jiu Jitsu and I had dabbled in Kung Fu. The Gracies, a family of brawling brothers from Brazil, dominated the sport early on amidst public outcry that the brutality be banned. The brothers would strangle into submission men twice their size or more. The early matches had the feel of chess, if sweaty and played on the floor. It was all about technique. Although some fighters, unskilled in the sweet science of grappling, lost teeth and consciousness in the first minutes of the first round. Later iterations of the sport have focused more on punching and kicking, and only when the fighters are exhausted do they drop to their knees and "ground and pound." And only a true connoisseur of the sport can appreciate two grown men, marinated in their own body fluids and wearing skivvies, locked in a twisted version of the modern hug while a burly man in black hovers over them to scrutinize form. A new breed of brotherly love I guess.

When I was twelve I used to masturbate beneath a blanket on the couch while watching baseball, just so nobody would find me out. In a family of six bathroom time is at a premium, and locking yourself inside with the water running for fifteen minutes raises quite a few eyebrows. So I took matter in my own hands literally. But popping a boner watching grown men duke it out is like ... nothing I've ever experienced. So why the semi? How could I be aroused by all that gruesomeness and gore? It's not as though I'm attracted to the fighters themselves. Indeed they are some of the ugliest bruisers in professional sports, though some were once handsome. God didn't these men monsters. Getting pulverized did. The result is so many flat-noses, cauliflower ears, Neanderthal-esque furrowed foreheads. Of course the bodies of most of these modern gladiators look as if chiseled out of marble. There are exceptions. Tank Abbot, now retired, needs to go easy on the greasy. Just don't tell him, or he may do to me what Mr. Slice did to him! 

I am no pug myself. Aside from brief forays into martial arts as a youth at my mother's behest, I've hardly ever been in a physical altercation. Once when I was in 8th grade I met a bully after school to chastise him for picking on a classmate, and after exchanging insults we clenched arms but never got so far as to throw a punch because my friend's father broke it up. And for the two or three brawls that occurred on sports teams I was on, I was either not at the game or not on the field. I took this as a sign I wasn't supposed to get physical, in the violent sense. 

So I really don't know how to explain the dance in my pants. Maybe I just needed to pee. Anyway, sitting there with my woody, salivating, pulse racing, hyper-alert, I thought, "This is how I used to feel as a teenager whenever a sex scene would come on cable television." When my parents weren't around, of course, because in most households convention still prohibits sex-starved minors from beholding the deed on TV. And yet here is UFC on one of the basic channels, and parents don't ban their kids from viewing, and nobody gets stigmatized for watching these animals knock each other senseless. You can't watch a real sex scene as graphic as Ultimate Fighting - rarely do X-rated actors shed blood, and if they did I for one would look away - but if you watch porn you do so while looking over your shoulder with one ear on the door, poised for an unwelcome visitor to barge in your room.



And yet, sex is just sex. What happened to "make love not war." Maybe society's general aversion to gratuitous hanky-panky is because the intercourse is just pretend. The actors locked in passionate embrace don't love each other any more than street fighters locked in rage's embrace do, so their staged antics mock those lovers who do have real feelings. While the UFC fighters are really causing brain-damage. And yet the WWE is pretend, and it does just fine, ratings-wise. Indeed it's one of the most popular spectacles on TV! 

The things humans embrace and the things we deplore are among life's greatest mysteries to me. I'm just poised for the day that "real sex" airs on TV. I know one person who'll tune in. Oh wait, that too has been done before. It lasted for 29 years before its final episode aired in 2009. I actually remember watching the show on HBO, and liking it! Maybe we should bring legitimate love-making back to the general audience. Or maybe it's about time I stop being a spectator and participate in all the fun and games myself. Just as long as she is no Tank.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…

EVERYTHING'S INTENTIONAL

There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…

SOUL CYCLE

This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …