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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bad, Minton

They say a headline has got to catch your eye, or it's basically a worthless piece of shit. And I've got to say, the "New York Times" had me, hook, line, and shuttlecock with the effective combination of "Badminton" and "Sexist" on Friday morning.

Of course, "Badminton" and "Sexy" would have been much more effective at garnering my immediate and undivided attention, but, hey, what are you going to do? It's not a perfect world. If it were, we'd all have badminton courts in our backyards. Hell, we'd all have backyards.

Anyway, the full title of the article was "Badminton Dress Code for Women Criticized as Sexist". Apparently, the Badminton World Federation (also known as "BWF", which is also the noise a 500 pound man in corduroy trousers makes when he sits on a Herman Miller aeron chair) has deemed that competitors in professional women's badminton "must wear skirts or dresses... [to create a more] attractive presentation".

Here's what struck me about all this.

People still play badminton?

Honestly-- I was stunned. I had no fucking idea. I mean, pants, skirts, nun's habits or lederhosen-- I just can't believe that there are actually people out there still playing that fucking silly sport. I mean, it's just... silly.

The tiny, innocuous-looking racket (excuse me-- racquet?) looks like an appropriate sporting implement if you're an eight-year-old. And you're hitting a... a shuttlecock. There's not much more I can or need to say about that.

I was under the obviously mistaken impression that badminton went out-of-style with things like sock-garters, the gramaphone, music by Franz von Suppé, and cars that rode on wooden wheels and/or bicycle tires. I guess I just never realized that modern man engaged in this sport that I thought had been forever relegated to the days when sepia-hued people all moved around in stop-motion animation like they were on crystal-meth.

Now that I think about it, of course, I remember playing badminton in high school. Well, I can remember trying to play badminton in high school. Before you start assailing me with unfounded accusations of snobbery and you start asking me annoying questions about the size of the crest on my navy-blue blazer, I went to public school, thank you. Admittedly, it was a public school in an appreciably affluent suburb of Philadelphia, but it was a public school nonetheless. And we just happened to play badminton.

And, when we weren't doing that, we did ballroom dancing. I, um, used to waltz with a girl named Estelle to the methodic strains of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose." And Estelle was at least two inches taller than 11th grade Mr. Apron. Thank you very much.

I never understood anything about badminton except for the fact that you weren't supposed to let the shuttlecock hit the ground. In that respect, in my mind anyway, the game was rather like hot potato-- you were just supposed to keep the fucking stupid thing in the air. It was like a yarmulke, in that respect, a holy object that, if it ever hit the floor, you were supposed to get very upset and contrite and kiss it and shit. I never kissed a shuttlecock, which is good, because that sounds nasty.

I've kissed many a yarmulke, though, because those fucking things just never stay on your head. You know what I mean?


  1. In your (continued) defense, I went to an incredibly poor and horrible public school and we still played badminton. My understanding of the rules is about as complete as yours.

  2. Wasn't there some rule that if you beat the gym teacher, he'd give you an automatic A for the course? What was his name...?



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