Of Masks and Men

My silence since posting several days ago is a result of exciting things happening in the Bard household. I’m implementing some of the big changes that were part of my New Year’s Resolutions. With change comes loss, which in this case includes some loss of consistency in my posting here. But I’m confident that regular readers and kind souls will cut me some slack as I’m juggling several competing demands on my time right now. And then there are the pricks out there who wouldn’t know an expression of social grace if it came all over their face and was nice enough to wipe it clean.

Cock Avenger dons a mask and shows an unconventional side of himself.
I’m just about to tick off the 3rd anniversary of starting neverland. Three years!? It seems amazing on my end to have been plugging away at this for that long. Over the course of the past 3 years, I’ve encountered a ton of like-minded wrestling kinksters for whom things I write occasionally ring true to their experiences. I never fail to find it exciting and rewarding to get a message in one form or another letting me know something I’ve rattled on about hit a note, spoke as if from the inside out, and made someone feel a connection that felt affirming and validating about what turns them on. Those are truly awesome moments. But I won’t lie to you. There have occasionally been less generous comments and emails. I’m not counting the “I disagree with you” reflections of folks genuinely exploring both the overlaps and the distinctions between our tastes. Disagreement is, in one form or another, the heart of what turns me on. A little (or a lot) of tension, mine’s-bigger-than-yours, you’re-not-the-hot-shit-you-think-you-are work wonders to make a couple of hot hunks into full-fledged fantasy men who stroke my homoerotic lusts in the ring. It’s not the guys who disagree who trip my prick wire. It’s the guys who drop comments disparaging my opinions, calling me names, and generally taking the hospitality I’m well-bred enough to offer around here and then trying to take a dump in my living room.

Surge and Magnus let more hang out with masks on
than they might with masks off.
Just as I was contemplating what to write for neverland’s 3rd anniversary, I screened a post from an anonymous commenter who referred to me as a “gullible loser.” My policy has always been to screen comments, and I’m happy to keep my house tidy and amiable by putting personal attacks in the round file. I haven’t always permitted “anonymous” comments, precisely because I think it can encourage dickishness precisely like this. Internet social etiquette is weakly enforced and built on a complete lack of consensus, so people who would probably never walk into my actual living room and call me names for some reason feel entitled to be so rude on the pages of my own blog, because they don’t have to do it face to face. The opportunity to drop a little stink bomb anonymously, divorced from even the weakest pretense of accountability for one’s behavior, seems to only increase the stink.  I round-filed this last rude commenter like I’ve done to probably a dozen or so similar comments over the past 3 years. One thing the internet is not: a democracy. And on the pages that I spend way (WAY) too much time composing, I get to show pricks out the door before they virtually step foot in this little corner of the internet that I treat as if it’s my own. I also turned the filter back on restricting anonymous comments. Sign up for an OpenID and fire away, but for those who’d like to hide behind anonymity in order to be rude, take that shit elsewhere.

Sexy Aqua fights to prevent the vulnerability that comes
with being unmasked.
As far as I’m concerned, my bordering-on-narcissitic ramblings about homoerotic wrestling work on distinctly different rules than the homoerotic wrestling that I ramble on about. In the homoerotic wrestling ring (my favorite venue), some contemptuous insults are a beautiful device for establishing motivation for two lovely hardbodies to hammer on one another humiliatingly for a half hour. In my nearly 3 years of doing this, I’ve made it quite clear that I think that a healthy dose of smooth trash talk increases the eroticism of a wrestling encounter by multiples of 10 or more. Laying down some withering insults and predicting the humiliation of your opponent is a delightful way to establish the plot that I so enjoy in wrestling. Two competing predictions of superiority enter the ring, but when all is said and done, at most only one cocky hunk will have proven his point. Corporal domination paired with crushed dreams of victory… sweet, sweet stuff!…. in the ring.  Contemptuous, anonymous insults dropped on a blog without fear of accountability or the need to defend oneself does not turn me on.

Angelo Blanco is 20 times hotter for peering fiercely out from behind that mask!
Anonymity itself similarly carries completely different meanings in different contexts. The internet offers us all an opportunity to speak with a different voice, to project a self that’s something other than how we project ourselves walking through our days offline. Hell, if you haven’t picked it up, I don’t go by “Bard” anywhere else. Like many of the masked homoerotic wrestlers who yank my crank, an assumed name has given me the confidence to be more explicit, more provocative, and paradoxically more self-disclosive than I would probably otherwise be. Pseudonyms and monikers online function in my thinking a lot like ring masks. They add a sense of mystery and can serve to take away some of the inhibitions that we might harbor about what turns us on. Like masks, they might inspire us to be bigger and brasher, turning real-life jobbers into hardened heels, or permitting straight-laced vanilla boys to express their inner fetishists or kinksters. And, like wrestling masks, pseudonyms and monikers function more to establish confidentiality rather than anonymity. You can always find me laying down the layers of my kink on the pages of this blog. I’m the one replying to emails. Anonymous commenters, whether gracious or not, aren’t fully engaged in the conversation. There’s no “there” there, when it comes to an anonymous insult tossed across the internet like a flaming pile of shit left on the door step as the 12 year old culprit runs and hides in the bushes down the block.

Would Cage Thunder be as dominating and brutal if he
wrestled sans mask?
Three years running, and without fail I always feel a little vulnerability every time I push the “post” button. Every time I publish a piece of original fiction, I have a little twist in my stomach, flinching reflexively in anticipation that my sincerity will be taken for garbage. And 97% of the emails I receive, the comments posted, and the explanations given by guys signing up for the wrestling fiction groups confirm for me that the time I toss this blog’s way is well-received by classy guys who know the difference between what happens in the wrestling ring and what happens outside of it. I anticipate that there will always be the 3% (less, really) that don’t get it. The flamers and pricks, I’m sure, will endure. But neverland is my baby, bitches, so don’t expect to see your raised-in-a-barn tactlessness show up in these pages.

The demise of Goldenrod is the unmasking of Peter Stallion.
And, more importantly, thanks to those of you out there with social grace (both those who agree and those who disagree with me at any given point). Thanks to the hundreds of wrestlers who have turned me on over the past 3 years. Thanks to the homoerotic wrestling producers and other behind-the-cameras boys who, I strongly suspect, get many, many times over the prickish crap that I get. Life’s too short to take the crap seriously, I think. And it’s much to short to fail to appreciate the good work and kind words of like-minded homoerotic wrestling fans.

3 thoughts on “Of Masks and Men

  1. Nicely put, Bard, and I sympathize. Your own commentary has never been anything less than witty, generally supportive and enthusiastic of the stuff you love, and as polite as honesty will permit about the stuff that impresses you less. Congratulations on the successes and potential successes in your 2012 resolutions.

  2. Thanks, Joe! I'm certain that you know where I'm coming from, and I most definitely count you among the classiest of the class acts around these parts.

  3. Congratulations, Bard! And thanks for protecting us from the creepy people one unfortunately finds on occasion on the internet! Nothing like unintentionally reading some random hate to ruin a perfectly good mood…

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