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Alas, I’ll never be wooed into poetry


May 2, 2011
By Ian Robinson

The poets say that spring is a time of rebirth and renewal.

Yeah, right.

Poets say lots of stuff.

For most of us, the only thing we see in the spring when we peel off our parkas around April is the rebirth of the need to wear jeans about two inches bigger around than were required in the fall.
You may not recognize that, particularly if you’re a guy, because us guys can get by by wearing the untucked shirt of accurate body image denial.

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Or by leaving the top button of our pants undone behind the belt buckle.

We fooled ourselves by telling ourselves the bloat was just gas, or it was because our salt intake was so high from all the potato chips we ate during the late-season NHL games that we were retaining water.

Note to guys: It’s not the salt on the potato chips.

It’s the freaking potato chips.

And the 200-a-calorie-a-bite chip dip you slathered on them.

And the six beers per game you used to wash them down.

And if you’re a Calgary Flames fan, you probably needed a six pack of Jose Cuervo tequila to wash the memory of your team’s horrific regular season out of your frontal lobes. (Here’s a local joke that doesn’t travel well, but I like it anyway: Didja hear all the golf courses in Calgary are burning? There’s Flames all over them.)

The salt? Least of your problems, fat boy.

Women have got the stretch pants thing going for them and besides, most women seem to own three sets of clothes anyway: A little hefty, normal sized and starve-herself-for-six-months-cause-she’s-gonna-make-her-ex-jealous-because-they-were-both-invited-to-the-same-wedding-and-you-are-totally-going-to-regret-breaking-up-with-me-cause-I’m-so-smoking-hot.

Women have it worse than guys when it comes to the weight thing. Skinny women with six-pack abs think they’re a little chunky. Meanwhile, a five-foot-10 guy who weighs in at a deuce and a half just thinks he could stand to lose five pounds or so and that he’s “naturally big boned.”

Bottom line: No amount of poetic language is going to make that summer fat look good.

Anyway, I hate poets even more than I hate spring.

Any guy who has ever tried to woo a girl—hold on a minute.

Who the hell uses the word “woo?” Poets, that’s who, and they’ve gone and insinuated a completely goofy word like that into the genuine vocabulary.

You start out saying “woo” and the next thing you know, you’re running around saying “alas” and sometimes even “alack.”

On the other hand, normal guy talk isn’t anything to write home to mother about, either. One normal guy doesn’t look at another and say about a girl, “You trying to woo her?”

Nope. One normal guy says to another normal guy, “You trying to hit that?”

Back in the day, I once heard a guy say about a woman he wanted to “woo” that she “looked like the kind of girl who could throw a hog over a four-foot fence.”

And meant it as a compliment.

Guys are weird.

Anyway, the reason I hate poets is that they’ve raised the bar so high for guys.

Boys and girls get exposed to real poetry around the same time, in high school. And the most of the guys go: Geez, this sucks. Can’t we do some math or throw a ball around or something?

And the girls go: Aw. That’s so beautiful.

Poets are everything women want men to be. Sensitive, eloquent, able to share their feelings…and in iambic pentameter, no less.

That’s another reason to hate poets. Somehow the term “iambic pentameter” has managed to worm its way into my brain like a spirochete and taken up permanent residence.

Damn freshman university English, anyway.

And where the hell did “spirochete” come from? Oh. Yeah. Grade 10 biology. I can’t believe how much crap they managed to stuff into my head in school that I never—ever—use.

Iambic pentameter doesn’t even sound like a kind of poem anyway. It sounds like something you sort of need but that sometimes gets removed in the aftermath of an automobile accident.

“Good news, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. Your son Bobby is going to be fine but we had to remove both his spleen and his iambic pentameter.”

Anyway, after we’re all exposed to poetry for the first time, women walk around waiting for some guy to turn up and “woo” them with lines like: “But hark! What light from yonder window breaks? It is the moon and fair Julia is the sun!”

And what do they get from the men in their lives?

“I love you, baby, ’cause you make the best gravy this side of Denny’s.”

“You got a great ass for a woman who’s had three kids.”

“Ya know, if you turn the lights down low and I squint a little and close one eye and put on somebody else’s glasses…you kinda look a little bit like Julia Roberts. Not Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, but one of them lame movies where she cries a lot.”

I kind of think it would be better for all of us if they just quit teaching poetry in high school.

Alas.