I have just come back from Spain, perhaps the most homophobic country in the world. Either that or they are all closet homosexuals with a deep-rooted insecurity and some sort of need to “fit in”.
Sounds rude right? Well it was all fine till I went for a bull fight, or, as they like to glamorously call it, a Corrida de Toro. I always knew the correlation between big cars and the penises of men who own them but this public drama of complex egos, this mayhem of the morons, this fiesta of fragile fools is something that could keep even Freud up and perplexed for a very long time. No other society in the world I can think of feels so desperate a need to prove their virility and power in a manner more degrading, self-degenerating, uncivilised and illogical. And all this under the blinding garb of tradition, honour and other such words that bullfighting enthusiasts obviously love to cite but have no clue to their meanings.
The term “Bull Fight” is only half true: that there is a bull involved. Outside of that, it isn’t much of a fight. Taking candy from a kid might be considered a stiffer challenge with higher betting odds, especially given how kids are nowadays, with cable TV and wrestling and what not. Bull-fighting, in comparison, is like driving with the seat belt not off but just a tad loose in a Styrofoam car. I think a mechanical bull ride could be more dangerous. This made even American football appear gruesome, forget ice hockey or rugby or worse yet, Aussie rules football.
The ‘suit of light’ that most matadors wear is something that even Elvis would have refused to wear. And don’t even get me started about the slick-back enough-gel-to-hold-the moon-together look.  In fact, outside of a drag night, or the Love Parade, the getup is absolutely hideous. Even the Mardi Grass is sober by comparison! Not to mention how tight pants to fight raging bulls seems quite an irony in itself. I am sure it was intended as a dark joke ages ago but people never caught on and today it has become ‘tradition’! For the level of bravado required to execute such a mass-scale hoax, a pink tutu and matching ballerina shoes might be more fitting. It would also be a whole lot more macho! Brokeback Matador anybody!?
But moving onto the technical side of things, there are three stages to this circus of casualties, each separated from the other by a trumpet sound. In the first the torero sums up the bull before the horse-mounted lancers stabs the neck muscles (of the bull, not the torero) to weaken it and further assure that our star performer doesn’t get an un-prescribed colonic at the ends of the bull’s horns.
The next stage has these other clowns with lesser gaudy suits (if there exists such a superlative possibility) prance about with these barbed sticks called Bandilleras and stick them into the bull’s flanks, right around where the horsebacks did their bit of stabbing. Not only do they dress like clowns, they even act like one. Their job description would read something like this: “Run comically, dress funnier, stab a bull with candy-stick -like blades, but most importantly taunt the bull with heckles and shouts only to run behind the barn and hide when it charges. Repeat as often as possible.” No wonder their kids don’t take them to school on “What does daddy do for a living” day. If I had to wake up every morning to report for a job like that, I would willingly step in front of the bull!
Next comes the bull-killing stage. Now I do feel that bull-fighting is an equal opportunity employment industry otherwise who else would employ these morons who take being blind as bats to a whole new level. They have a sharp sword, the bull has gaping wounds and a few litres of blood less in its body. Yet they manage to make a strike that barely manages to subdue the bull and at best give it some mild acidity. They aim for a bull the size of a truck with a heart the size of their head and still miss getting it right. Hitting the ground would pose a bigger challenge. Instead the bull is left thrashing in agony and pain, waiting for a slow torturous bleed to death. Nothing fun about that.
Given that the surety quotient is so high, it was quite funny to see people enact this drama of commenting on how the bull turned and what “strategy” the matador would have to apply to bring all this to a ‘happy ending’. Some comment on how a certain bull has a strong lift of cut or prefers to attack from the right. They also look at how the matador is swaying and releasing the cape to the rhythm of the charging bull. This is as much intense drama as “Madame Butterly” is porn!
But even worse than the cruelty being meted out to these poor helpless critters is the sheer boredom of it all. It is like watching a dramatic Bollywood flick – no matter how unreal the situation, our hero will always come out alive. Statistics that night showed that five of the six bulls were tortured to death; only one was lucky enough to manage to injure the small-pricked twat. So, basically, in most cases the outcome is rather boringly predictable. But modern day sports aren’t about that. They are about drugs, endorsements and fierce competitions, technical disqualifications and modern-day histrionics.
So, for shits and giggles, and for the sake of bringing this ‘traditional’ sport up-to-date, here are a few pointers to make the Corridas way more interesting and entertaining.
•    Give the matador a handkerchief instead of that big colourful cape.
•    Before releasing the bull into the arena, give him two shots of Viagra with some, well, Red Bull.
•    Spray oxen pheromones on the toreros’ suits.
•    Put half a sleeping pill into the Matador’s meal before the Corrida.
•    Sharpen the bulls’ horns.
•    Out of the six-eight bandilleras they use to stab the bull, make two with plastic ends but don’t reveal this little piece of detail to the Matadors.
•    Disguise a rhinoceros as a bull.
•    If the bull wins, it too should get to keep the matadors’ ear, or left testicle, or both.
•    Put super glue on the sword and the cape before handing it to the matador.
As a sommelier I used to feel that my job is perhaps the least important of all in the world. If God ever had to diminish the number of people in this world, he would surely start with sommeliers because we really don’t make much of a difference in the larger scheme of things. Hard and even futile to be pairing wine when a clear majority of the world is still battling hunger and malnutrition.
But watching these insecure sissies dressed like out-of-job jesters in their dramatic displays of cowardice and cruelty has re-instilled a new confidence in my kin. We are way above them in the pecking order. Unless he starts working at a call centre and becomes less annoying, the only good matador is a dead one, a more useful form that the poor animals should be fed on. Then these matadors too can feel a sense of service and we can safely salute these martyrs of altruism and bravery as dogs come and drag them out of the arena by their gonads, amidst blaring trumpets of course. Till then there will remain plenty of bullshit in the arena and I don’t just mean the stuff that comes out of the poor animal’s behind!