FUN AND GAMES

I Went To Wimbledon And All I Got Was This Breast-Baring Shirt (For Your Daughter)

When I was 10, my parents forced me to go to tennis practice with my old brother for an entire summer. I played Nintendo, not sports, so I hated the whole experience, and kinda hated tennis ever since. It’s not that tennis isn’t sufficiently gay with its translucent shorts, over eager ball boys, and backhanded serves, it’s just that it lacks the raw appeal of, say, Roman-Greco wrestling or men’s synchronized diving. Nevertheless, I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Wimbledon tennis sports complex (the “Disneyland of Tennis”) — including the court grounds, gift shop, and museum — and found that perhaps there’s a lot that queer fans can appreciate about tennis, especially if they have the balls. Pictured: The 2010 Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.
The five gayest things in the Wimbledon Gift Shop
1. White chocolate tennis balls bon-bons filled with caramel – For just six bucks you can even buy small pink balls that taste like strawberries and cream (the semi-official food of the Wimbledon tournament). Just pop ’em in your mouth, suck ’em, and enjoy the sweet creamy taste. 2. A wine decanter and glasses set with champagne flutes – Each glass has the Wimbledon logo laser cut into the side just so your doubles partner can remember where elegance comes from when they’re busy getting smashed on Mad Dog. 3. A bright gold backpack that will make you look like an elegant pimp – Nothing screams “tennis enthusiast” more than a backpack made of gold lamé. The sturdy back would seemingly go well with a wide-brimmed zebra hat, platform shoes, and a gold topped cane perfect for dominating your court of sweet bitches with a velvet backhand. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, sugar. 4. A slutty pink and yellow t-shirt for your stupid baby – Raising your daughter into a full-fledged tennis groupie starts by buying her an ultra-tight t-shirt with Wimbledon written in cursive across her breasts. Nevermind that your one-year-old can barely say the word “tennis” let alone remember things that happened five seconds ago or watch an entire set without pooing themselves. If they don’t start learning to appreciate the game now, they never will. 5. Fresh unused balls – There’s something about the smell and feel of a tennis player’s balls that really gets one excited for the game. They’re light yet fill the palm of your hand. They’re a queer yet familiar shade of chartreuse. And though they’re hollow inside and come in sets of three, they have an ample bounce rather nicely and can take a good pounding, whether served on a clay or grass court.

Five queer tennis fun facts that I stole from the Wimbledon Museum.

1. The Brits discovered tennis in India and (like so many other parts of Indian culture) they stole it and made it their own. But instead calling it something effete like “tennis”, the Brits gave it the infinitely more masculine names “Battledore” and “Shuttlecock.”

2. The Wimbledon tournament started in 1877 as a way for the tennis club to raise money to replace a broken piece of lawn equipment called a “pony roller” (which sounds like a dance move or a nickname for a guy who’s into pocket gays). The club members needed a whopping 10 pounds (about $15) to fix the pony roller which pressed down the grass on the tennis courts and so they held a 4-day tournament and charged each person 1 shilling (about 8 cents) to attend. In the end, they raised about 17 pounds. The first winner of Wimbledon was 27-year-old Spencer William Gore who — balding, bearded, and dressed in English finery — looked about 50 years old.

3. Not to be shown up by the Irish who had planned to let women start playing in their national tennis tournament, Wimbledon started admitting female players in 1884 (seven years after their first game). The prizes for the women included a silver hand mirror, a hand brush, and a flower basket — very practical, non-sexist prizes for demure ladies — just the sorts of things a champion like Martina Navratilova would want.

Female players also had to wear about 10 extra pounds of clothing to play tennis including a corset, a white gown, and a weighty ball apron. Women couldn’t breathe normally in corsets or lean down to pick up balls so they regularly passed out on the court from heat exhaustion. Luckily, the club kept smelling salts on hand to revive fainting players and keep them playing like robots.

4. The word “love” in tennis (which refers to a score of zero) comes from the French word for egg (l’oeuf), since a zero resembles the ovoid shape of a chicken embryo. It’s kinda weird that a huevo signifies nothing in the sport and even wierder that the French don’t use the word when playing tennis either.

5. Lesbian tennis champion Billie Jean King won the first Wimbledon ladies title when the tournament went from an invitational into a professional sporting event in 1961. She has since been succeeded by amazing tennis lesbian Martina Navrátilová.

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2 Comments*

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    With such snarky attitude and contempt for tennis, why on Earth did you bother/waste time visiting Wimbledon? Perhaps you would have had a better time visiting the Tower of London where you could have laughed hysterically while viewing Anne Boleyn’s jewels while reading the recounting of her execution.

    ***********************

    Certainly this year’s tournament was not engaging. Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams so dominate play. The Isner/Mahut match was amazing; the Williams sisters’ loss in doubles shocking; Nadal manhandling Andy Murray unexpected; still an enjoyable tournament to watch.

  • NadalFan

    I love Wimbledon.I can not wait to start.my favorite is Nadal.

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