Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And when the rainbow jerseys arrive it shall be complete

I always sniggered (quietly, behind my hand) about the amount of latent homosexuality in the Australian football codes. You know the line: all those fit, hard-bodied men, sweating together in and out of their tight shorts, gripping and wrestling each other for a living. It's got to be more than one-in-ten in the national leagues, right? But of course, the Australian male hegemony being what it (still) is, of course no-one is openly gay in professional football. Not in such a way that it was ever discussed.
Until now.
In case you didn't know, Matthew Johns, former NRL player has been stood down from his job for his part in a group sex scandal. Turns out it's fairly common practise for NRL players to have group sex with a woman - "team bonding" is a phrase often let slip here, like a sly testicle from ill-fitting shorts.

I'd like now, if I may to set a reading exercise (does the fun never end?!). Read the following passage taken from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled 'Defiant rep star says group sex romps will keep happening'. At the end, I'm going to ask an open question which I believe, if I'm right, might just change the ugly, ugly face of Rugby League in Australia.

THE comments of one senior NRL representative player indicate how difficult it could be to change the sexual behaviour and attitudes of elite league players.

He warned group sex among NRL players would continue regardless of a warnings from chief executive David Gallop that unsavoury sexual acts would put their contracts at risk. The representative player told the Herald that his colleagues were left stunned by Gallop's hardline stance when no player had been convicted of sexual assault, adding that the caution would quickly be forgotten.

"It's fine for David Gallop to come out and say you can't have group sex but the last thing blokes will be thinking about on a Friday night at the club is David Gallop," said the player, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I don't know how a chief executive can come out and say we can't have group sex if it's consensual. It's like discrimination because that is a person's private life. It's like saying you can't be homosexual, or you can't have such-and-such sexual preferences. How can he tell us what we can do in our private lives?

"We already have so many rules: we can't drink on these days, we can't go to these places, now we can't have group sex. About the only thing we can do these days is go to club functions, and just hang around other players. That's just isolating us more from the rest of the world, and it could lead to even more violent acts."

Are Rugby League players finally coming out of the closet?
Read the passage again, but this time bear in mind the fact that while these players appear to engage in a lot of group sex, there aren't any women mentioned. Based on this, I firmly believe that the NRL is on the threshold of throwing open the flimsy plywood doors, tossing aside the coathangers and shoe racks and announcing to the world "We're here! We're queer! We have group sex with each other!" Imagine that. Out, proud and scoring tries. I reckon the NRL fans and clubs would breathe a collective sigh of relief: no more scandals, no more 'How to treat women nice' classes, no more lies! Just good, honest, consensual sex between large groups of large men without the apparently tricky and complicated inclusion of a woman.
Of course, the game itself may suffer from the channelling of all that built-up homoerotic tension away from the playing field ...

15 comments:

  1. Well they DO shower together...

    Best line - "....a phrase often let slip here, like a sly testicle from ill-fitting shorts." Love your work.

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  2. Since you are a South Austraolian you may be forgiven for not knowing about Ian Robewrts. Otherwise, excellent post. The women don't actually seem to be thought about much at all -- there's much repentance for infidelity but none at all I've seen for ruining a young woman's life, even though no law was evidently broken.

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  3. Still always looking for the subtext I see. You should go watch the new star trek movie.

    Tagging the post "pineapple juice"... you were just hoping someone would notice that, weren't you?

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  4. Kath - They don't just shower together, they shag together!

    Jono - That's my point! I think that there are no women! Or won't be in the near future, once they can all just realise that the women are actually getting in the way of the team bonding group sex.

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  5. Dan - I am usually on the hunt for a subtext, but can you picture a hotel room full of naked men (and maybe one woman) having group sex and tell me that's not gay?

    Pineapple juice? I don't get it.

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  6. I clicked the link and read the whole article, instead of your edited version. Women ARE mentioned. It was said that players are often propositioned by the women who then regret their actions the next morning. That's probably true too. I have no problem with that if the women are older and know what they're getting into, although I still think they shouldn't be debasing themselves like this. (diseases people!) I do have a problem when a much younger woman, still a star struck teenager gets herself involved in such a way, and when drunk is used by the team, she probably only had her eyes fixed on her particular hero, but when drink is involved, things can and do go wrong. In those instances it would be great if the players simply put the girl in a taxi and sent her home, but again, they were probably already drunk too... (on the other hand, I've known drunk men who couldn't manage sex because they were drunk). There's probably more to the story. About the group sex thing, if no-one's getting hurt and it truly is consensual, who am I to stop them? but what about their families? Wives and children. How do they feel about these things? Do they know? Are they going to feel hurt and betrayed when they find out? will there be family breakups? This is a whole messy can of worms for sure.

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  7. All right - you got me. I actually deleted the one sentence with the word 'women' in it to make my argument funnier. But I still stand by the homoerotic overtones of a bunch of guys standing around, having sex.

    I'm not attempting in any way to belittle the experience of the women involved, I just want to draw attention to ridiculousness of a culture so brain-fucked by its own masculinity that it needs to wallow in utter degradation (of themselves and others) in order to maintain itself.
    And, wouldn't it be fucking great if they did all suddenly turn gay? What would that do to the brains of every footy fan on the east coast? Could the sexual revolution begin in a hotel room on tour?

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  8. Jimmy Somerville loved rugby...obsessive fan...maybe he could lead the ad campaign?

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  9. I'm not going to get into an argument about consent or not. The lustful eyes of fans get taken advantage of, there's no doubt in that, but footballers are human. Now before you jump in and pummel me with your fists - I'm not condoning what they did; I'm not saying they did the wrong or right thing. Footballers need to know that these things will come back to bite them. They're not the smartest people around, but they still need to think about any possible repercussions - they are in the public eyes.

    Franzy, homosexuals in football, you must be mistaken. Why would they want to play football, getting rub downs, showering with the other boys, getting to "tackle" the opposition, generally just jump all over them. You've got to wonder about the Peter Filandia incident, the John Hopoate incidents. It's no surprise footballers don't come out more often, society isn't exactly the supportive of the unexpected

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  10. Sorry, wrong link.

    Oh and you thought I'd forgotten.

    GTH: The perfece life that footballers are in, the good money, the lifestyles, but unfortunately there's nothing ever that perfect.

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  11. Miles - I'm not so much in favour of an ad campaign, more a league-wide epiphany: "Hey ... we can still have group sex ... but without the scandal ... Mattie, come here a minute."

    Shippy - I don't actually have a problem with footballers getting laid per se - good luck to them. But the fact of their humanity shoudl probably mean that they don't treat other humans like the mechanical bull at the pub.
    I just think it's such a small step from having sex with six of your closest mates and some lady you just met at the pub, who may very well sue the lot of you in the future, to just having sex with six of your closest mates.

    GTH - You're well on the right track ...

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  12. I guess not all groin strain injuries are suffered during the actual playing of football eh?

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  13. very good blog, congratulations

    regard from Reus Catalonia Spain
    thank you

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  14. Franzy, you don't understand. It's true that the fact that a woman in the room is irrelevant compared to the fact that they are all having sex together. But someone has to be on the bottom. And what are they going to do, draw straws?

    Also, the picture is a reference to William Blakes poem 'The Sick Rose' about the contradictory nature of the concept of an unhealthy sexuality. Honestly, I can't believe no-one has mentioned this yet... thought it was obvious to everyone.

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An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32