Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New York is an incredible city, in part because there's so much to do. Just last Sunday the choice was between a water pistol fight in Union Square, a barbecue/blues fest at the pier, and Turkish oil wrestling in Central Park.

The discerning resident, then, has a mental checklist that separates the wheat from the chaff. Me, I sort through all the possibilities with this primary thought in mind:

Will there be lots of shirtless Turks wrestling?

Luckily, one of Sunday's choices just happened to qualify. Bright and early I was off to Central Park, where a crowd six or seven deep surrounded a makeshift ring. We waited impatiently in the dust and heat, and finally the wrestlers appeared. They acted more like rock stars than semi-naked athletes, but maybe it's hard to look nonchalant when you're oiled up like a Christmas goose. I thought it was odd that there were nine of them, but the organizers insisted that they didn't need any volunteers whether or not they're wearing their lucky leather shorts.

The object of the sport is to get your opponent's shoulders to touch the ground. Usually this involves jamming your hands down their pants to get a good grip, jerking them off-balance, then kicking their legs out from under them and hoping they'll land on their backs. The wrestlers proved as adept as kittens, though, twisting in mid-air and, like four of my ex-husbands, always landing butt-side up.

I watched for about an hour, but slowly the wrestlers lost steam and the matches were about as exciting as sweaty, grunting chess. I headed to the food court and downed a platter of souvlaki, shepherd's salad (mostly diced cucumber), and baklava, then hit the road. The afternoon left me with a plethora of happy memories, but also one nagging doubt. How did these guys ever get this sport going? I mean, I've suggested pretty much this same activity to various guys over the years to consistent unsuccess. I'm thinking the Turks must focus on the camaderie, the athleticism, and the cultural significance rather than the thrusting of greasy hands down each other's pants.

It started off looking like a Turkish Fear Factor.

If there were a God, this is what my cocktail parties would look like.

"Hang on -- you got some lint in here."

And all my dad taught me to do is whittle.

Make up your own sexy scenario. Mine always involve dirty Florsheims.

It's a lot easier to control a guy when you've got your hands down his pants. But you knew that already, right?


David said...

Next time something like this is happening, send me an email!!!


RomanHans said...

What, I should let you know every time I'm going to watch greased, half-clad men wrestle?

Check your email.