Sunday, January 17, 2010

Glowerful! Sneeriffic!

Somewhere between the 86 tram stop and the Dan O'Connell Hotel on Princes Street, on the side of an otherwise non-descript warehouse, you'll come across a gigantic, scowling, demonic visage. As you get closer, you'll see that the demonic visage is attached to a body, and the body is attached to a tennis racket, and the whole performance is below a sign saying 'TENNIS WAREHOUSE', or something like that. It makes you wonder what they pack there: scowling tennis players? Who would be likely to be attracted by such a model, after all?

Being summer, there are tennis matches popping up all over the place where these kind of high-performance, world-class scowls happen all the time, and where scowls are traded back and forth, over a net, by professional scowlers. A ball and racket may be involved as well - but judging from the photographs in the paper, scowling is the main game. Here's how it must happen: A opens up with a forceful, vaulting grimace, and B returns that grimace with equal force. A shoots a glare back to the opposite side of the court, but B catches it in time and fires back a sneer. They return withering glance for dismissive pout with increasing force and energy, hoping to exhaust the other's stock of disgusting, disgraceful, and disastrous facial expressions, and thus gain victory, until one of them comes up with a facial expression so furious, so animalistic, so bestial, so wild and untamed that it stops the other in its tracks. Ugliness followed by more ugliness: that's what competitive sport is about, after all. That, and banging sticks into hairy rubber balls.

It's alarming to think that all this leering and snarling must come naturally to all these tennis players. Obviously they have to train for it and prepare their noses and mouths and eyes for the forthcoming contortions. But still, the endless parade of impersonal pouts that appear in the paper does make you wonder: maybe these tennis players simply live their life between leer and grimace. Maybe it's the rest of us, giving a smile here, a frown there, and tilting our eyebrows back and forth, that have got it all wrong. Maybe we really are just obscuring our natural uglinesses with these artificial attemps at beauty. Maybe it's when we're at our most relaxed that our faces blossom into the most extraordinary, gargolyian growls and Gothic grotesqueries and barbaric gawps. Maybe tennis players really are leading the way as role models should.

Not that I follow tennis or anything.


Dan the VespaMan said...

And don't forget the grunting and yelping too. I'm a big fan of that and believe we should all make loud involuntary noises when we do anything.

kae said...


Legal Eagle said...

Yes, I KNOW THOSE POSTERS. Most disturbing. Enough to turn one off tennis for life. No wonder my Dad's efforts to turn me into a tennis player FAILED.

TimT said...

I recognise something about that poster, too - not sure if it's the scowl or the face I've seen on telly.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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