Day 17: Playing pétanque at Bryant Park is BTS

Civilization, Freud would have you believe, would not exist without the sublimation of our erotic impulses into more productive realms. Had our forebears simply decided to bang like rabbits 24/7, we would still be cave-dwelling barbarians stuck in hunting-and-gathering mode. Although they celebrated sex and sexuality in a frank, voracious way, the ancient Greeks did manage to skip an orgy or two to pen The Odyssey, mount the world’s first Olympic games and erect architectural marvels like The Parthenon. Reportedly a virgin his whole life, Antoni Gaudi – whose art nouveau masterpieces are sprinkled all over Barcelona  — would not have been able to conceive a Sagrada Familia half as extraordinary if he did so in the missionary position.

Then there’s Isaac Newton, mathematician, scientist and bona fide virgin, who had his apple – and could have eaten it, too, but knew better. Although he didn’t take a bite like Eve did, he was certainly fixated on it and came upon “a mode of proving that the earth turned round
in a most natural whirl, called ‘gravitation’; And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
 since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.”

It is said that civilization has since advanced; apples can now either be a product of genetic engineering or a technology-savvy cult presided over by Steve Jobs. To this day, however, the human libido continues to be far more indomitable than the human spirit and is a headache to drive away. But when one happens to be at Bryant Park on a weekday noon this summer, one might just find the perfect outlet: Pétanque. It’s a type of game where the goal is, while standing with the feet together in a small circle, to throw large, heavy metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden target ball (jack). Most games are played in teams, and are staged on the gravel area near the Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street corner. I felt right at home with the pétanque players and their balls, who were evidently the Rat Pack when pitted against the Driving-Miss-Daisy-ish crowd of chess and backgammon players only thirty feet away. (Apparently, pétanque is big in France; I can imagine my Parisian man-friend playing the sport when he’s not preoccupied with his baguette.)

You can up the ante with game strategies like “pointing” when a player throws his ball to have it roll as close to the jack as possible, and “shooting” when a player aims for the ball of an opponent, hoping to move him out of a favorable spot. Now you ask in exasperation, “Why all this fuss about balls?” It’s not just about balls, my dear. When you think about it, pétanque is a metaphor for the pursuit of Mr. Right when you first encounter him in a social situation – whether a party, benefit dinner or an orgy – and he’s being preyed on by other admirers (all of whom inferior to you, of course). Let’s say Mr. Right belongs to a secret society of one. Play your balls right and you might very well end up with a member — for one night or, if it’s the jackpot you hit, possibly a lifetime. 

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2 Responses to “Day 17: Playing pétanque at Bryant Park is BTS”

  1. Good thing people took breaks from banging like rabbits otherwise where would we be now?

    and wouldn’t it be nice if we all hit the jackpot?

  2. *the storyteller Says:

    It’s not just about balls, my dear. When you think about it, pétanque is a metaphor for the pursuit of Mr. Right when you first encounter him in a social situation – whether a party, benefit dinner or an orgy – and he’s being preyed by other admirers (all of whom inferior to you, of course). Let’s say Mr. Right belongs to a secret society of one. Play your balls right and you might very well end up with a member — for one night or, if it’s the jackpot you hit, a lifetime.

    Hands down one of your best entries ever =) And thanks for the tip, L… I sure could learn a thing or two from BTS now more than ever 😉

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