Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In hindsight, I could have earned my tourniquet badge.

You know you really have nothing to say when you begin with, "I read an article once...".

I read an article once, a few winters ago, in Esquire magazine. Written by a man, the article was about women. (I could say here it was a short article but I won't. Too predictable.) In it, he wrote about a sort-of test he gave women on first dates. It tested their sense of humour, or lack thereof. He also used it as a measure to see if he had any chance at all of getting lucky.

The test was a joke. If his date laughed, things were looking up. If she didn't laugh, he'd likely be going home alone. Soon.

The joke, more of a statement really, went like this: Never trust an animal that can bleed for 5 days and not die.

He was of course, talking about women.

I admit, I laughed when I read that joke. I thought it was clever and funny. But keep in mind, I have often been accused of behaviour more in keeping with a man, than a woman. I was, after all, Grade Nine shot put champion. Looking back, that moment of brute strength pretty much ruined me for ever being considered desirable. Men lust after cheerleaders, not shot put champs that could laugh at a crude joke.

Am I betraying the sisterhood when I say love being with men? By being, I mean hanging around, even fully clothed. I like their simplicity. I like their suits. I like their five o'clock shadows. And except for that post-hockey, pre-shower, dead muskrat aroma, I like the way men smell. I also like the ease with which men hang out together. Watching football. Playing golf. Fishing. Growing up as a tomboy, and until this very day, I love being one of the guys.

Maybe it's because women are too complicated. We have too many holes. Too many emotions. We read too much into things. Or maybe it's because I loved my Dad. Who the hell knows. I know you reach a certain stage in life when it's not cool for a single woman to just hang out with guys. That's called being a slut, even though that may not be the intention. I really did want to play pool! But then at the nursing home, it'll be cool again. Especially when there's only one guy left.

I played in a women's doubles tennis match this past weekend, and it made me realize I actually should have been a man. I like to hit the ball hard. I like to sweat, get the job done, then go home and have a few cold ones. I don't need to hang around and cuddle.

This weekend, one of our opponents arrived quite late, then had to leave the court mid-match for a good 15 minutes. She didn't have equipment failure. Or an urgent message from Bernie Madoff. Nor did one of her children fall off of the jungle gym and break a limb. Our opponent left the court to take a feminine hygiene break.

This would never happen in a men's match. Men would stick to the rules. Besides, if a man was bleeding so profusely he had to leave the tennis court, he would die. Or he would seek the comfort of a comely nurse with a heaving bosom. Then he would go home, take a Midol, crack a beer, and then die. Simple as that.

At the time, I was sympathetic, and of course, gracious under pressure, all the while gritting my teeth, thinking my usual, "what the fuck". Had the tables been turned, would this ultra-competitive woman have allowed such a breakage of the rules? By the time our stigmata-inclined opponent made it back onto the court I was so mad I couldn't see straight. I started swinging at the ball like I was the one with the raging hormones, a big red zit, and serious blood loss. In hindsight, I should have reeled off that joke before play resumed. Just as a test.

Let's remember, this wasn't Wimbledon. Was the need to prove oneself so great? Some folks might congratulate this woman for forging on regardless. Folks that don't know the rules of the game. Some bra-burning, Birkenstock-clad, no scents freaks might even say, "good for her".

I say, it was bloody rude.

Look at the calendar. Geezus, by the time you are old enough to play in the Women's "Never Going to See 29 Again" category, you should know your body. You should know a light day from a fucking tsunami. Even Jack knows to stop, tuck and roll when the big blue box arrives in the bathroom. Be prepared. Why do you think the Boy Scouts of America have that as their motto! Every 28 days a man needs to be just as ready as we do. To run.

Fifteen minutes or more, of my time, on a sunny weekend, was wasted. Fifteen minutes I'll never get back. Time that could have been spent climbing trees, or riding a white horse in a white bikini, or at home with my feet up, watching the game, scratching my tennis balls.


I know I am supposed to be talking about small businesses but I really couldn't think of a business to tie in here except for maybe the NSLC or Shopper's Drug Mart or the Boy Scouts and they all seem to be holding their own (!) in the recession.