Underground Diaries, Part 5
Following is the second of my three articles on gay rodeo for Yahoo News Underground:
The 2006 L.A. Gay Rodeo made me limp (but only because I hadn’t worn boots for a while and I was on my feet for hours). Otherwise, I was good to go, as I sensed plenty of cowgirls and boys at the rodeo were. Even if we weren’t all good to go the same direction, I could still feel plenty of good-to-go magic in the air. This, in spite of the fact that many of the cowboys and girls were fairly beaten up.
Then, at some point, while limping along attracting more attention than I had in ages, it dawned on me: The good-to-go air wasn’t there despite everyone being beaten up. It was there because they were beaten up… Because they were limping!!!
It was a eureka moment: Rodeo people — it can’t matter whether they’re straight or gay — rodeo people — participants, fans, either way — rodeo people have a thing for limping, a limping thing, a limping fetish. THEY HAVE TO!
People are always limping at rodeos: partners, lovers, husbands, wives, tricks, trampled bull riders, bucked bare-backers, gored clowns. Everyone at the rodeo has an animal-induced injury or three — a trick knee, a broken pelvis — that forces them to limp like a fallen warrior.
And other rodeo people just eat it up! And the best-loved limp is always the same because it’s the limp everyone is limping. It’s that hunched-up-shoulder, Marlboro Man, “I just smoked a pack of reds to get my blood going,” American badass limp.
And my guess is, limping is such a badge of honor, such a rodeo right-of-passage, that sometimes when you’re at the rodeo, even if you don’t have to limp, you limp anyway. Not that I think every rodeo limper is out there going “Wow, I feel hot limping past the clown.”
I’ll wager some people at rodeos start limping simply due to proximity: It’s like when you’re around someone from the South and you just naturally find yourself talking with a Southern accent.
Still, you can bet it’s crossed a few style-conscious rodeo-ers’ minds that it’s cool to limp. And there are those in gay and lesbian communities who tend towards style-consciousness.
Maybe I’m just flattering my limp. Maybe people weren’t checking me out at all. Maybe they were wondering what was wrong with me. I’m sticking with my working theory, which is: You go to the rodeo and want to attract some attention, limp.
As to the claim of this article’s subtitle that traditional rodeo is even harder on you: In traditional rodeo, you have to stay on the bulls and broncs longer. That, and the animals tend to be bigger and more pissed off (at least at the pro level). Maybe a more apt title might have been: Gay rodeo makes you limp, traditional rodeo makes you limper…
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