Golf And Kidding Ourselves

Thrashing About In The Zeitgeist

May 26, 2003

All sorts of people are running around shrieking and pulling out their hair because a lady golfer played in some golf contest for men. I'm trying to figure it out. Mostly I'm coming up dry. Maybe I'm just a country boy, and slow, and can't understand things that don't make any sense at all. It takes a professor to do that.

Anyway, the papers were hooting and hollering about how she was going to do real well and it was a new world and she was going to end the hedge of money that men had in sports. Of course she didn't. It was because men are bigger and stronger and like to smack things-golf balls, each other, bartenders, they don't care. A possum knows as much. So I guess people stuck their hair back on and tried to think about something else.

What I don't understand is how come people in this country, except about five with good sense, can believe things they know aren't true. Probably even doorknobs know that some kinds of folk are just better at some things. People know it too. We just don't believe what we know.

It's a talent Americans have. Most of our social policy is based on things we know aren't true. We think if we say a raccoon can sing like Elvis, if we believe it real hard and tell everybody it's true and put anybody who knows better in jail for a hate crime-why, then that raccoon will launch into Blue Moon Over Kentucky and maybe Heartbreak Hotel.

And when things don't happen that can't, we wonder why they didn't, even though we know.

I saw on the box once that this German rifle club, that was all men, let a woman join. Next thing you knew, she won the club's championship. The men were all surprised and upset and wouldn't give her the prize. Those pole-axed-looking blondes on TV got riled up and said as how it was just men not being able to admit that a woman beat them and it wasn't fair.

I reckon it wasn't. She did beat them. If they let her in, and she won the match, then I guess it was her prize. It's not a really difficult idea.

What I don't see is why the club should let women compete against men in the first place. Sure, it sounds like high principle and real fair and American, like Superman. But I notice that all this fairness is one-sided. If men wanted to shoot in ladies' clubs, or play in the women's golf tournaments, every feminist and all her litter-mates would go crazy. Na-a-wwww, that wouldn't be fair.

It seems like women want to compete with the men when they think they can win, but want protection from male competition when they can't, which in sports is usually. Now that's fair. As a trapdoor.

Now, I'm not at all sure that if women wanted to shoot, which they mostly don't, they couldn't do as well as men, or better. I shoot sometimes at ranges. A lot of women come in with their boyfriends to try it. Most do pretty well, and a fair few are wickedly good right out of the box. (My eldest daughter, for example. I'm glad she wasn't armed during adolescence.)

Suppose women decided that shooting was more fun than when Aunt Sally sat on the ants' nest, and got real good, and always beat the men. What then? I figure we'd still need to have a men's team and a woman's team so the men would have a chance. But I wouldn't think I had a right to shoot for their prize money when they couldn't shoot for mine.

Now, it used to be that women didn't think they had to compete with men. When I was in high school, everybody knew the boys could beat the girls at basketball. It was just how the world was. Nobody ever thought about it. I didn't figure I was somehow better than Gloria because I could out-rebound her. Boys and girls were different things, like birds and algebra. Nobody was mad about it.

When boys and girls did compete, like when Susie and Art were seeing who was going to be valedictorian, Susie was trying to beat Art, not the male race. When girls made better grades, which they generally did, the boys didn't feel oppressed and talk about how their self-esteem was a quart low and the teachers were against them. Girls just did better homework. It was how things were.

Now it's different. Women are always challenging men at things. When a lady golfer wants to play against the men, that's exactly what she's doing: Saying, "Gals can smack that little ball as well as guys, and I'm going to prove it." It's not individual. It's challenging men as a subspecies. Or at least that's how the media package it.

Of course if women challenge a man, or all men, the men do start thinking in terms of who's better, when left to themselves they wouldn't have. That's what competition is for: to see who's better. And if the woman loses, which she's mostly going to in sports, then women are going to feel humiliated and quietly mad. Why do it?

Of course the competition is implicitly rigged. The rules are different. If the men win, they get no credit and don't crow about it. If a woman wins, the feminists will gloat and generally be as disagreeable as they know how, which is very. The curious thing is that men don't want to compete against women in the first place. For men, that used to be one of (many) pleasant things about women: They were people you didn't have to compete with.

It looks to me as if those feminist gals have gotten women to measuring themselves by how close they come to being men. It's funny how much feminism resembles a rejection of everything feminine, almost like vicarious male-chauvinism. A woman who works sixty-hour weeks in some depressing law firm is a hero (feminists don't like the feminine "heroine") but a woman who raises her children is an embarrassment. Which is more important? Continuing the species? Or having another lawyer?

I don't get it. Like I say, I'm slow.