Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Olympic Dream

These past two weeks I have spent a great deal of time watching sport. The Winter Olympics somehow draw my attention away from everything else going on in my life and focus me on the accomplishments of athletes that I don't know at all. But the past couple days of the Olympics, despite Canada's incredible successes, have been quite frustrating for me. Because of women.

I often wonder if women are fully aware of how frequently they are objectified by men. Particularly those women who are on television - the ones that, somehow, we are convinced don't really exist. We (well, many men) talk about them as they perform their greatest skills for us; we say things that we would never say to their face, and somehow think this is ok.

But, this post is hardly about the Olympics, hardly about women, and certainly not about television. Like all other things on this blog, this post is about me - and how I have had to traverse the aisles of heterosexuality over the past couple weeks listening to my friends and my brother rave about the hot Canadian women's curling team, the ugly Finnish hockey team, and the incredible body of Lindsey Vonn.

There are times that it seems like a dick-waving competition to me at times. Like, "look at me, I still have a sex-drive, and so do you, and are drive is similar, so lets talk about it really loudly."

The story I am about to share with you is not a dick-waving competition so much as it was a subtle moment in a hetero-sexist environment that always reminds me that I am not like the rest of this planet.

Last night I was at a local bar with two close friends of mine. One is aware of my sexuality, the other isn't. While discussing the Olympics (it is the topic that has been on everybody's hearts and mind for the past two weeks), they manage to get onto the topic of Canada's two-woman bobsledding team. They managed to comment on their physical appearance, and both admitted (with more courtesy than most I have heard) that they were attracted to these athletes. And they discussed this for quite some time.

And I was quiet - for the 5 minute conversation on how attractive women in tight spandex suits are.

The entire time wishing I could chime in on what I thought about the two-man bobsledders. But I didn't, for fear of how the people sitting around us would act. And because I am very capable, and well-trained, in the game of hiding my sexuality from the world as the world discusses theirs. Because I have never really been able to talk about sexual desire with men before. And because the pub that we were in is, like most pubs, equally male-centric as it is beer-centric. Because I don't mind people talking about their sexual attractions, I just wish I could do so. Fearlessly.

After, while talking with my friend that knows that I am gay, I shared my momentary discomfort from when the two of them had discussed the physical assets of some women on some athletic team participating in some kind of big-deal international competition of sports. I told him I felt trapped in silence - as though I was choking on words that I wanted to share but couldn't.

And I don't think he understood. Because he responded by saying that he wanted to have me jump into these conversations... so that he could make-fun of me for my input. Offer some kind of humorous response.

I appreciate that friends make fun of each other - but all I could think was, 'but, you didn't make fun of our friend for his moment of sexual vanity...'

Like I said, a story of just one of those many reminders I experience everyday telling me that I am of the "other". I am not of this world.