When I was 9 years old, NBC started a great series on Saturday evenings called Saturday Night at the Movies. Post-1950 films from Twentieth Century Fox provided the sole content. I loved the show and my parents often let me stay up and watch it.
Every March, an annual event in Indiana pre-empted the telecast for four weeks. The Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Basketball Tournament aired instead. The local NBC affiliate didn’t do this out of kindness to its local viewers. Quite simply, the tourney got better numbers. I watched with my family. Hell it was even a great date as my brother brought his girlfriend to watch with us sometimes.
March Madness has filled my life for as early as I can remember. The Tourney was a turning point in the Indiana Calendar. A new Champion was crowned, spring would start just after the tournament because we would have one last snowfall during the tourney and it meant May and the Indy 500 was very near. Madness. I enjoyed its contagious delirium over the years which warped into college until recently. Oh sure I still enjoy watching but I no longer suffer as I once did with the losses and exult with the victories. You see, I’m on estrogen.
Indiana University is back in the Sweet Sixteen and tomorrow night they play Kentucky. It doesn’t bode well for Indiana and prior to me being on estrogen and being ruled by testosterone as I was, I would get crazy trying to figure out a way to beat Kentucky. That’s right I would get crazy as though there were something I could do, BY WATCHING THE GAME, which would affect the outcome. So it was with me and testosterone. It is like that for everyone? No. If you’re a man and your brain is wired for the big “T” you’re fine. In my case it is apparent now that my brain was wired for estrogen. What can I say? It happens.
To say I am a basketball fan would be a gross understatement. I grew up wanting to play professionally like any Hoosier but in Junior High it became apparent that I would not be a player. I accepted and later embraced my role as a fan. Over time I developed favorite teams but as I got older the games were harder and harder to watch and live through the up and downs of a season that might include playoffs or tournaments. Then estrogen came into my life.
Now I love watching the games and I can actually leave the result behind me. If the team I’m rooting for wins, I realize, afterwards, I still don’t have a job. If the team loses (which is more often), I realize there was nothing I could do to change the game!!! And I still don’t have a job. More importantly, I don’t sulk around the apartment for days sometimes weeks like I use to do. It’s almost immediate acceptance of either outcome. For me, that’s very healthy.
Estrogen isn’t a wonder hormone that cures all ills. As I stated, evidently my brain was not wired to be a man. When estrogen “took over” I became more relaxed and my priorities changed sometimes vastly so. Example above about my team losing and I reallize I still don't have a job. Priorities!!! I’m still very “emotional” as I was when living as a man with testosterone coursing through my veins. Only now, I don’t let my emotions rule my life which is what would often happen. I would make unsound decisions and have senseless reactions to the smallest things. Am I cured of that? Of course I’m not. But now I will actually shut up and listen to more reasonable suggestions. My jealousy has gone way down. I can hear someone talking to me and accept criticism. Not everyone agrees with me and what I write in this column. But I actually value comments pro or con. Am I just as opinionated as I was? You’re damn right I am. But I really listen to the other side of an argument. Now I know sooner whether or not another person’s opinion is sound or just “emotional” like most of mine use to be.
And that reminds me as I watch men and I remember how I use to be as a man unintended or not and now I see that MEN are SO emotional. Lately this "emotional state of men" has been made manifest by an assault on women and most particularly women’s judgment. It seems to be coming from mostly white males. Those white males seem to be mostly Republican and their justifications for this onslaught sound groundless and ever so stupid. Why? They’re scared. I can understand that.
The world I grew up in Indianapolis, favored the white male Republican and sometimes the right leaning Democrat. They were the head of the household, they disseminated the news every evening, they coached the teams, they stood in the pulpits and they ran the government at all levels. People of color and especially women in roles of leadership were an anomaly.
Imagine if you’re a white male and you wake up one morning and an African-American nay worse than that a person of mixed race is the President. Your wife is making more money than you are and sports are dominated by everyone who isn’t white. For most men this is all cool but for some it's just too much to bear anymore. Rush, Glen, Sean etc. become their sirens and when recently (2010 elections) the tide changed in thier favor they decided to act out and get the women and these people of color and don’t forget the gays, under control. Paint that President to not be one of us. Be relentless. Don’t allow the truth to derail you. This is a matter of your salvation. You must restore order before it’s too late. Well, it’s too late.
Women, people of color and even the LGBT community finally started getting the respect and the rights they have waited for years, decades, centuries yay even millennia to become a reality. It’s hard fought and justly won and is not going to go away. Justice once realized never can be forgotten. Women have now and should have control of their own health which includes their own judgment on birth control. People of color should be allowed to vote their hearts and minds without ridiculous impediments. And all people should be allowed to find love without constraint. As I said in my last blog, love does not see gender. Love only sees love.
So white males of the GOP enjoy March Madness all this weekend and obviously look forward to a great Final Four and eventual champion. Baseball will begin soon where hope springs eternal, at least for the first few games. Stop trying to roll back the logical and justified progress of change. It makes you look fearful. That’s not a good look for testosterone.