I decided to record this post on my phone whilst attempting to paint the window frame in our bedroom. I was thinking I would be clever and try to paint and talk at the same time, although I found it rather difficult to concentrate on two things at once, or maybe that’s just a man thing. When you paint without any background noise your mind tends to wander slightly, and this meandering thought process made me think of a recent event and a meeting I had a few years ago with a distant cousin at a family function.
Now I hadn’t actually seen this cousin of mine since we were at school together, and a lot had changed in that gap of 35 years. Both of us had lost most of our hair and we had divorced our first wives; apart from that, we really had nothing in common. To encourage the conversation he asked me what football team I supported. My response to him wasn’t what he really expected. I simply said, “I don’t.” He looked at me, and as if to clarify my response, He said. “You don’t what?” I replied “I don’t support a football team,” He laughed and slapped me on the shoulder and laughed again as if it was the greatest joke he had ever heard. He then nudged me with his elbow, winked his eye and again asked me which club I supported. I repeated again that I didn’t support a football team.
What followed next was like a scene from Monty Python where the guy in a bar tries to awkwardly extract personal information about his wife from an unwitting victim. “Is she a goer, no what I mean, a goer, nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean. Like sport does she, nudge nudge, sport, is she sporty?” And so forth… Now this type of odd behaviour continued with him winking as if I was concealing information from him. In the end I said, “Steve, I don’t support a football team, I don’t like football, never have and probably never will.” The look on his face was priceless. You would have thought I had asked him if I could to sleep with his daughter. He was truly, deeply and worryingly shocked. After a short period of time he said, very slowly, “You-don’t- like-football?” I shook my head and tried to look ashamed, for his benefit. “So what do you do then?” He asked, believing in his mind that everyone supported football and if they didn’t, they obviously couldn’t function in society.
Now here’s where the conversation could have gone a number of ways. I could have told him that I enjoy very kinky sex with my wife and that we live a Dominant and submissive lifestyle, but that would have been a wasted declaration I can assure you. I could have said that I enjoy watching rugby occasionally, having played it at school, but again the statement would have been wasted as clearly he didn’t see there being any other sport apart from football. So I made the big mistake of asking him what he meant by, ‘what do you do then?’ He shook his head in mock surprise and made a bold statement., “Well, everyone likes football.” I knew this was coming of course and simply said, “Well, I don’t.” Now I know he still thought I was joking because every now and again he would spin around to see if he could catch me out; As if suddenly I had produced a football scarf from my pocket and wrapped it around my neck, waiting to yell, “HAD YOU!” He finally wandered off disappointed in the knowledge that his older cousin was obviously damaged in some way.
I have found that through most of my life, if you weren’t part of the ‘football scene’ you were generally excluded. I apply this to school, social groups and employment. At work on a Monday morning the guys in the kitchen would talk about ‘The Match’ at the weekend, they would name players, moves, tactics and in Scotland, religion often slipped in as well. As for me, I have no part in this temporary group or any wish to, however, I am invisible until the football chat finishes. I should point out that the main reason for disliking football is that I cannot kick a ball straight. Picking it up, running and slamming into another human being suited my 6’2″ stature far better!
However, this post isn’t about football, thank goodness. It’s about some people’s narrow minded perspective, like my cousin, and how easily one can be excluded from a normally inclusive group by the change of topic.
As many of you know, Missy and I recently started a free on-line chat group for Dominants and submissives. We started our journey a few years back following another online site, however, it wasn’t particularly inclusive and targeted mainly middle class couples that conformed to one stereotypical dynamic. The acronym YKINMKBYKIOK only worked in theory and as such we saw friends alienated for their lifestyle choices.
I therefore concluded today, as I washed the paint off my brushes, that being narrow minded about life actually narrows your opportunities regarding relationships more than anything. People create opportunities, not the other way around, and to exclude people from a social group that they are part of only reduces your opportunities to learn and develop new skills; A bit like painting, dictating and avoiding undercoating your iPhone!