Stretch the Rules

Among many things I like about wrestling is the way literal and figurative language come together in the discourse about it. NWA commentator Gordon Solie, an unwitting inspirer of this blog and of my love of the hyperboles of pro wrestling, often worked the word stretch into his remarks, often literally in describing an abdominal stretch, among his descriptions of many elongating holds, but just as often metaphorically in talking about the long stretch or a stretch of the imagination. Solie often worked the multiple senses of words and turns of phrase in sly, insinuative echoes, often collapsing the separation of sport, aggression, and even (or so I imagined) sex.

Again and again, I hear (or read about) people denying the erotic component of wrestling--almost solely in reference to single-sex contests (but the tune changes, I find, in talk about mixed-sex matches ... for some reason). But the close physical contact and the fetishizing display of an opponent's abject bare body have always been their own arguments for my erotic appreciation of the sport and spectacle, whether by design (in gay underground wrestling) or veiled (perhaps even by naive and unintended implication, in more mainstream, straight-identified venues).

To my mind, one man's total command of another man's body is the epitome of both machismo and sensuality. Grunting stretches have always been supercharged in my imagination and thus remain a constant in my erotic fantasies--swaying me much more than flights off the top ropes or punches to the gut ever did. Or is that too much of a stretch?


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