As Wrestling fans, we're all familiar with that condescending smile that accompanies the incredulous question:
"You watch wrestling?"
We've probably all sighed inside waiting for the follow up, delivered with a conceited, smug grin:
"You do know it's fake, right?"
The question is how to respond to these Know-nothing enquiries. The most appropriate way—the double finger salute followed by a Stone Cold Stunner—is generally frowned upon by polite society so another approach is demanded.
Genuine enquiries born of genuine interest are of course welcome. It's nice to be able to explain your passions to someone who's open-minded, interested and wants to understand.
Rarely however is this the case.
A large number of people spend a large amount of time elevating their own self-worth by denigrating others, and Wrestling is unfortunately an easy target.
The Media, on their never-ending quest to simplify, brand and pigeon-hole everything, definitely do not help. Wrestling has negative connotations and this isn't going to end unless John Cena starts taking his "Super" tag seriously and deflects meteorites from hitting the Earth.
It would be a much better World if people didn't mock those things they don't "get" but the truth is we're all like Mick Foley: All of us are looking for the next cheap pop.
The opportunity to look smart and sound funny is very hard to resist. Know-nothings are just picking on what they perceive to be an easy target, like Big Show jumping pizza delivery guys.
Know-nothings will sometimes try to belittle Wrestling fans, assuming we must be dumb based on our entertainment preferences. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.
I had a friend who collected chocolate wrappers and it took a lot of self control not to be snide and sarcastic about her hobby.
The point was, I tried.
Candy wrappers don't excite me but they make her happy so who am I to judge? It would be a strange world if we all loved the same things and at least I had a friend for whom buying presents was always cheap.
So how to answer the "you watch wrestling?" question?
Firstly and most importantly with a resounding "yes."
There's no point giving the know-nothing the upper hand. Being embarrassed about your passion is what they're expecting so be defiant, confident and brass.
We know how amazing Wrestling can be. We know the nonsense of simplistically labeling it "fake." We've seen the injuries that make the "pretend violence" jibes insulting as well as stupid.
Yes, we'd be more "normal" if we stuck to watching regular sports or reading celebrity magazines, but we'd rather watch Wrestling.
"So you like wrestling??"
"You know it's fake, right?"
"You know Sex & the City/Bourne Identity/Soap Opera is fake, right?"
"They aren't sports."
"Wrestling isn't exactly a sport. It fuses two genres in the same way great movies, books and music weld together two contrasting forms to make something superior. Like how Aliens fused horror and Sci-Fi, or Back to the Future fused Sci-Fi and comedy..."
Of course there are many ways of dealing with know-nothings. I remember hearing the words "How are you in University if you like Wrestling?" from a particularly odious guy. Lecturing him on the metafiction implications of storylines such as the WCW "Powers that be" angle while subtly hinting he had personal hygiene issues did, I admit, feel good.
"So Wrestling is like a movie?"
"No, it's like a really good movie. Only better. And not really like a movie at all. It's kinda between reality and fiction, totally unique and hard to categorize. I like the metafiction bits too."
I also recall being mocked for my Christian Cage worship by a candy-wrap collecting crazy and never has the act of discarding of vintage litter felt so sweet...
"Metafiction. Fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as fiction, exposing the fictional illusion. Like when Jim Duggan had to clean the toilets on Nitro. I can see I've lost you now. Basically, Wrestling is awesome."
There are lots of responses to the "You watch Wrestling??" question but maybe the best is to incredulously state:
"You mean you don't?"
Thanks for reading, comments are very welcome.