When it comes to masculinity, America has feelings. We males are supposed to be aggressive yet easygoing, equally adept with a slap on the back or a punch to the kidney. We should like large quantities of meat, as well as drinks that double as drain cleaner. We must be hairy of head and voluminous of bicep. American culture communicates these requirements in many ways—Hollywood, men’s magazines, gym teachers—but perhaps no vehicle is more effective than that hallmark of pay-per-view: pro wrestling.
This summer, that I might finally attain masculinity, I attended my first pro wrestling event, “The Best in the World” hosted by Ring of Honor. As I understand it, ROH is the Off-Broadway of the professional wrestling scene. It’s for those who find the WWE “too commercial” and desire more artistic integrity in how men in speedos fake-punch each other.