Is Pool A Guy’s Game?
For many young billiard players ripping off the green baize, which is the woven wool, or wool-nylon blend, used to cover the upper surface of a pool table, is their worst nightmare. But, the horrifying reality of having to justify a bad stroke to the bar and billiards owner cannot compare with the chilling effect of loosing face in front of friends or girlfriends. Many years before the billiards fans favorite movie, “The Color of Money,” starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman, numerous youngsters attempted to conquer adulthood while learning to play pool.
Even prior to Al Pacino’s in “Carlito’s Way”, characters that needed to make a statement as being masculine, in times sophisticated, but always cool, were pictured as amateur or professional pool players. Movies, songs, and books, used this type of men as their aggressive and yet sensitive male prototype, was particularly tempting for young men who desired to associate with that kind of male image. During the late 80s and early 90s, young adults, in an effort to imitate their beloved icons and achieve some of their tremendous appeal, have spent hours in bars holding a hardwood stick (cue) and playing continuously billiards games. By holding the larger circumference end of the cue, called “the butt,” the male players pointed the leather chalked tip attached on cue’s “shaft,” its smaller circumference end, to the ball of their choice –usually the white one–and upon choosing a specific angle for their strike, attempted ultimately to hit a colored ball from the table’s surface. The powerful feeling they experienced when their hit was successful, made up for all those long practicing hours. Indeed, even the most inexperienced of those young men managed, after multiple attempts, to succeed in striking a few balls correctly into the pool tables’ holes.
Hanging around bars and bonding in front of billiards tables with friends, college classmates and later business associates, is a practice men typically enjoy having; especially those who come from western-type of cultures. Moreover, the scene of a man holding a cue and using a chalk between each shot, to increase the tip’s friction coefficient, is one of the most masculine scenes a western type of woman might be able to think of; apart from the one in which a man rides a heavy motorcycle, like the famous Marlon Brando scene.
Based on habit, or even subconsciously, men usually select to play a pool game and practice their thinking and sticking abilities surrounded by other male friends. Typically, women’s feminine side is portrayed as more delicate and thus, playing a game of pools with a female friend leads men to play less harshly or taking the role of a pool game’s teacher. Since this is the generally accepted stereotype, men are always appearing as conquerors and women as conquered. Perhaps, the ancient game of control between sexes has found to the game of billiards, yet again, another interface to denote its powerful existence.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of pool table resources
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