I just watched a bunch of kids at a school holidays kids’ club playing a tipping/tagging game – the one where originally there’s only a single “it”, but as they tag others to become “it” they all have to hold hands to make a chain, theoretically making it far too tricky for the remaining targets to avoid the ever-lengthening “it”-chain as it moves down the field of play.
Unless of course the young boys involved in the game have so absorbed the Fear Of Gaydom that they categorically refuse to hold hands with other boys (and further complicated by the icki-embarassment, although at least it’s not gay-ick, of not wanting to hold hands with The Girls either), thus making every target the singletons tagged not a valid tag, and also leaving gaps for the targets to slip through, thus ruining the whole point of the game.
And to think I initially winced when the first-tagged 12-year-old girl simply didn’t want to catch boy germs from the 20-something youth leader! At least she was obviously aware that she was being a pillock even though she couldn’t quite stop herself. My jaw literally dropped as I saw 8-year-old boy after 8-year-old boy just refuse to hold hands with another Y-chromosome owner in a truculent fashion, and then get surly when told that their tags didn’t count unless they held hands, because THAT WAS THE GAME.
Those lads are never going to be any good in a rugby scrum.
Honestly, I don’t remember anything like this sort of intense hyper-anxiety about any simple social male-on-male contact when I was growing up. Holding hands across gender-lines once out of pre-school, sure – how embarassment! Up in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! But playing any number of Phys Ed games that involved teamwork with holding hands or waists with people of the same sex – never a problem as a pre-adolescent, not once.
Where are they getting this from?