February 17, 2006

The World's Twirliest Boy Contest

If next week's Women's Figure Skating final is the competition to decide the World's Top Princess, last night's Men's Figure Skating final is more like the World's Spinniest Boy fight.

Once again, Matt Savoie of Peoria somehow emerged with his dignity intact, dressing like a wandering Russian lyric poet of the 1840s, which is a more artistically evocative look than the usual drag queen-in-training costumes. Most of the other skaters hadn't gotten the memo about how "lyrical" is not the same as "flamboyant." Silver medalist Stephan Lambiel's outfit of zebra stripes in front, flaming orange tiger stripes in back, and blue sleeves was particularly painful to look at. [Results and video here.]

Easy winner Yevgeny Plushenko was less objectionable looking than most, but I don't quite get why the judges were so mad about him. It seems like this vaunted new high tech scoring system is taking us back to the quasi-rigged scoring of the 1970s and 1980s, when the consensus favorite usually won if he didn't screw up too embarrassingly. In the 1990s, upsets became more common as judges penalized drastically for falls. But, in 2006, they only deduct 1 point for falls, which doesn't seem like enough.

Particularly egregious was the pairs competition in which the Chinese silver medal-winning team attempted a quad spin throw that practically maimed the poor girl. They had to stop the music for five minutes while she recovered. It was brave of her to continue at all, but penalizing them less than 1% for such a catastrophic failure that they had to stop the competition is hardly enough.

I thought the best performances in the Men's long program were by American Evan Lysacek and and super-limber Canadian Shawn Sawyer, who can lift one skate over his head like the best girl skaters.

Speaking of super-bendy guys, I went to the Nissan L.A. Open golf tournament on Thursday. Opening rounds are placid affairs, but John Daly remains an amazing show. John looks like he would wear about a 54-Large suitcoat these days (if ever wore a suit), but, even though the grip-it-and-rip-it man will turn 40 this spring and must be 50 pounds overweight, he is still the double-jointed prodigy of long-hitting he always was. He winds up on his backswing like a watch spring and then uncoils so fast he hits the ball astonishingly hard. Daly combines flexibility, strength, and an elegant short game, with the worst mental resources in all of golf, a golfing Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbin's scatterbrained pitcher in "Bull Durham").

The Thursday crowd at a golf tournament is made up of hard core golf fans. It looked over 90% male, unlike the weekends when it might be 20-25% female. Something that I might not have remember except from the comparison of coming home and watching the Twirliest Boy competition is this: Although golf is not a contact sport, and thus is not considered a very tough sport, almost no effeminate men play it at all. In 35 years of playing golf at public courses in major urban areas, I've never been in a foursome where I thought one of the men even might be gay. That's rather remarkable.

Of course, the golf course is a lousy place to meet girls. Michael Blowhard asks why straight single men insist on spending their time where single women are scarce on the ground:

Are arty and "aesthetic" activities inevitably suspect in the eyes of straight American boys? If so, why? And my own favorite question: Given how much easier it is to find eager and willing girls if you have some arty interests, why don't more straight American boys come to their senses? Are they, like, gay?

Well, no, but it does seem like Americans are particularly inept at meeting the opposite sex. We seem to think it a matter of principle not to do what the opposite sex likes to do.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

No comments: