What Society needs is a new Concept of Masculinty

Mystics versus Falmouth at Trescobaes, 31st July 2006

Next time you have what looks like a transvestite in your kitchen -- if you haven't checked recently, go now -- and you are not sure whether this person is really male or female, here is what you do: ask them to bring you over a hot dish, but don't tell them that it is hot.

-- If they pick it up, then quickly put it down, and get a tea towel or oven gloves to pick it up with, then they are probably a woman.

-- If they pick it up, and start shouting "ooh, aah, OOH, AAAAAGH" as they run across the kitchen towards you while receiving minor burns to their hands, then they are probably a man.

-- If they say "sure, OK, in a moment, I'm just doing this other thing" and then only after some considerable delay are to be observed rushing across the kitchen with their hands on fire, they are defintely a man.

The reason for the screaming and the burned hands is that the male brain is wired to resist any change of course that might imply previous poor judgement on their part. Once your man embarks on his course (eventually) he'll continue in that direction long after the warning signs say he's wrong, propelled by the subconscious hope that it might still turn out right in the end.

The reason for the considerable delay before the screaming and the burned hands is that men are unfocused and indolent.

(Sorry if that's a rather laboured intro, but I decided last August to start the report like this, and I'm not giving up on it now.)

Oh yes, the report.

We had already lost about an hour to persistent rain when one of the Falmouth guys said that they had been in touch with the weather people at some local RAF base and that a half hour dry period would be along soon, with a further band of rain to follow.

Sure enough, the rain duly abated. There was just a chance that some sort of game could be squeezed in.

A good ten minutes passed before a few of the Falmouth guys were to be seen roping the outfield to damp down surface water. A further ten minutes down the line the whole Falmouth team came out, removed the covers and then, perhaps sensing a lack of opposition, returned to the pavilion. Five or ten minutes later they came out again, and after a further delay our openers took the field. Shortly afterwards Pete, our captain, was to be seen wandering around in his umpire's coat, trying to find a second umpire.

The upshot was that by the time the guys were ready and play finally began the half hour was long since over and it was raining again, just as hard as had previously required the covers. But the guys were out there now, finally embarking on their chosen course, and so play was to continue, for as long as the collective male subconscious could will it.

Opening the bowling was Richie Kellow, apparently ten years young, and he found both swing and movement off the seam. True, things didn't start ideally for him, Matt Cook crashing the very first ball of the day almost for a straight six, but Graham soon came to his aid, giving Matt out leg before despite him being hit high on the pad, and after a step down the wicket of Cookian proportions. Comments of surprise from less experienced Mystics were countered by the more experienced: "it's always worth a big shout when Graham is umpiring."

"I didn't think he'd given me out at first, because he just chuckled, and there was a Buckneresque pause," said Matt.

Windy drove his first four through the third slip area. Even from the least experienced Mystics there came not a murmur. A waist-high full toss arrived, a delivery he had recently become more than familiar with, albeit from a different viewpoint. Sadly for Windy, if happily for everyone else, Richie soon enticed him to prod forward in error, and he went caught and bowled.

Some well-timed, nay, dismissive swats from Chris Squire produced a couple of runs but also a skied catch behind square leg.

Duncan cruelly placed one an inch above Richie's hand at slip. The rain eased flirtatiously. Sam crashed some short balls to the boundary, bringing us to a healthy 50-3 off 10 overs. Duncan started timing it, with a couple of successive fours. But the rain returned as strong as ever, and people were starting to slip around. Imminent injury proved the jolt that the collective male subconscious needed, and stumps were drawn. Windy, umpiring, led the players off at a fair old clip, considerably quicker than his running between the wickets, his momentum in these wet conditions carrying him all the way to the bar.

Our hosts had kindly laid on a spectacular quantity of pasties, scheduled to be eaten some considerable time later. Some hasty renegotiation of pasty timescales led to a splendid pool tournament between five pairs from each team, followed by our first pasty action of the tour. Any "when in Rome" feelings were soon allayed, as the pasties were fabulous, and a doggy bag was later discreetly improvised.

here was also a poker session in the clubhouse, at which George from Falmouth spanked our bottoms. Inspired by George, we repaired to Tor View for an evening of poker, at which Chrises Cook and Squire further spanked a lot of bottoms. Hand of the night was undoubtedly Annie, taking on Suzy's pocket rockets (that's two Aces) with just a Queen, and the flop no help. The last two cards came down: two Queens. Pocket rockets beaten by three Queens! We hadn't seen that many queens at Tor View since, well, the previous evening, when Four Poofs and a Piano made a guest appearance.

And despite the washout on the pitch we felt, what with Falmouth's kindness and our pasties, pool, poker and post-prandial piss-up, that our collective glass was half full.

Actually, it being hard to keep track of your beer in Tor View after a few, by the end of the night I had two beers -- one half full and one half empty. I wasn't sure what to make of that.

Postscript: in time, more people will claim "I was there" than could possibly fit at once in the Tor View common room, and a hundred different versions of the exact wording will be bandied around, but anyway, I was there, and I heard it, and my record of it, made contemporaneously if alcoholically, was as follows. Young William, endlessly curious, to Steve Berry:
William: "Steve, why are you a vegetarian?"
Steve: "I just don't eat meat. I used to, but I don't now. Well, except fish."
William: "Steve, why are you called Porn Star?"
Steve (quick as a flash): "Because I used to eat meat."

Nick Healey

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