Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Observations from Watching Straight People Bowl

Something that yuppie heterosexual groups of friends like to do is play co-ed sports together. Sometimes this phenomenon occurs in organized sports' leagues, and other times this occurs in less formal settings. One such frequent informal setting is the bowling alley.

This past weekend, I observed firsthand the heterosexual gaggle phenomenon that is Co-Ed Bowling While Drinking.

Their evening progressed in several stages, and based on this sample size of 6 (3 male, 3 female, just like the Brady Bunch), I'm pretty sure that these observations hold true for all heterosexuals. It's only logical.

So, here we go:

1. Arrival

Upon arriving at the bowling alley, the male and female parties will grab their alley, rent their shoes, and select the appropriate bowling balls.

Unlike their working-class counterparts, yuppie heterosexual gaggles do not bowl frequently. Therefore, they usually are not good bowlers. Bowling, you see, is really sort of a pre-"going out" activity or a respite from "the bar scene," where alcohol can still be involved. Like the gaggle I observed, the unofficial motto of the night is "Let's just get drunk and have a good time."

2. Tips

Something that the male half of a straight couple likes to do is give his female partner "tips" on how to do sports. In mini-golf, this takes the form of standing behind the female partner and, by guiding her arms on the golf club, physically showing her how to properly hold and swing the club. (This technique is also observed at batting cages.) The role of the female half is to laugh at the appropriate times while making a show of how weak and awkward she "naturally" is with a sporting utensil. Sports are ha-ard.

In bowling, the "tip" usually involves the male partner demonstrating how to glide down the alley floor while "properly" releasing the ball in "perfect" bowling technique. His solid score of 115, compared to the female's 101, technically makes him a bowling expert.

Drinking continues.

3. Game Play

The male competitors will continue drinking and pretending that they're "just having fun." Secretly, each male is "in it to win it" and wants to get the highest score and corresponding alpha male-bragging rights that come with it.

The female specimens will continue drinking and, despite being "girly" and non-sporty will have similar scores as the men. Several times, in fact, after uncoordinated-ly lolling the ball down the lane, you will hear a crescendo-ing "ohhhhhHHHHHHHH" from the male specimens. This crescendo means that a girl-thrown strike could be imminent. High-pitched squeals of joy will confirm that yes, a strike did, in fact, occur.

This occurs less often as the drinking continues.

4. Drunken Confrontations

After a few hours, the novelty of "bowling" has worn off. Although "Karen" is up, the males are in their own corner drunkenly talking about man things while the females are off drunkenly talking about "girl stuff."

At this point, we see a particularly interesting stage of female drunkenness: The Truth Comes Out Stage. Apparently, something about "Karen" has been bothering "Stacy" for awhile and now, in the bright drunken lights of the bowling alley, is the appropriate time to share that frustration. To put it mildly, "it's time to start telling the truth [about something?] 'Karen.' Mumble mumble [authoritative drunk voice]." At this point, "Karen" will roll her eyes and realizing that it's her turn to bowl, pick up her ball and heave it down the lane because "Stacy" really ticked her off.

All parties will hereupon realize that a Serious Drunk Confrontation has just occurred and will immediately feign interest in the bowling game to distract from the awkwardness. "Karen" and "Stacy" will avoid eye contact with each other and will break up the man-talk to engage their respective boyfriends in whispered conversations about The Confrontation. And so ends a fun night of wholesome bowling.

So, what did all of this confirm for me?

Drunk Co-Ed Sports are Life. The rest is just details.

Yes, those are my brief observations upon watching a heterosexual gaggle bowl the other night. Looking back, I suppose I paid more attention to this gaggle and their goings-on than the 3 games I bowled which, of course, explains my shoddy scores. That I wasn't completely focused on my game is rather disappointing since "being competitive at things that don't matter" and "being good at sporty things" are definitely things lesbians like.

Oh well, fun times.

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