, , , , , , , ,

WARNING: While this is generally a very family-friendly blog, this post might contain speculations and vocabulary of a more adult nature. To be read under parental supervision!

So, another great day here in Hangzhou, one of the nicest so far. But what does it matter if I had a fine hike, the best lunch ever (oh, you’ll hear about this later!), the first game of frisbee in my life, a fascinating four-hour conversation about life, death and everything in between and a two-hour walk home with some nice pictures taken on the way? Who would care about all this when there are such important events taking place in the world as…

…you’ve guessed it: the New Zealand vs France Rugby World Cup Final!

You’re probably thinking now that this doesn’t really have anything to do with China and Hangzhou (does China even have a rugby team? What with Asian people not being renowned for their size and volume, I pity the players if it does…). Oh, but you’re wrong! The Rugby World Cup (much like football games) is what keeps the expat communities around the world together and gives them a sense of unity. Pubs all around the world today were populated not just by New Zealanders and Frenchies, but also Brits, Aussies, Germans, Poles, Irish and every nationality you could think of. I know well that as the game was proceeding in Auckland about 10 pm and I was watching it in Hangzhou about 5 pm, some of you, my dear Subscribers (all 8 of you…) were doing exactly the same in a certain dearly missed pub in Warsaw, Poland.

Needless to say, the All Blacks won, as was to be expected and desired (sorry, French people, I have an abiding weakness for the country of the Flight of the Conchords). Even though it has to be said that the French played really well, so hats off to both teams.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis Cup following his side's victory over France © Getty Images

You’re probably assuming now that I’m a huge fan of rugby. Actually, not at all (not a very popular sport in Poland yet – but I do have a cousin who plays it!). I don’t even follow all the rules. Today’s game, as I said, had to be watched by me mainly because I’m a fan of New Zealand and a part of the foreign community here. And it was an educational experience. I know now that they can only pass backwards, never forwards, and that one of the players is called a hooker.

But there were some surprises.

For example, just as they were preparing for one of the scrams (that’s the moment when both teams’ players lock together like a big turtle formation and have a pushing contest while squeezing their teammates. See how much I’ve learned?!) I was looking at the central French player, standing proudly with his legs spread, when suddenly… suddenly I saw a hand of one of his teammates emerging from between the said legs and – yes, you’ve guessed it! – GRABBING THE MAN’S TESTICLES!

‘What the…?!’, cried I, completely taken aback. Then turning to a man who was explaining the rules to me: ‘Would you be able to tell me why that guy just grabbed the other guy’s balls?’

The man looked completely nonplussed.

‘Would you care to rephrase the question?’

‘I can’t rephrase it, that’s exactly what happened!’

My agitation drew the attention of a young Kiwi sitting close by.

‘He’s not grabbing his balls’, he said. ‘He’s just helping the guy blah blah blah (don’t remember what reasons he gave as was still too shocked), so what he’s grabbing is actually his shorts!’

‘Mhm’, said I knowingly. ‘You keep telling yourself so. I always knew this stuff was tantamount to gay porn.’

It was the Kiwi’s turn to look appalled.

‘They’re not gay!’

See? Just a mere mention that a bunch of huge, bursting with testosterone men (who incidentally spend a LOT of time in physical proximity or taking showers together) might be gay is a scary thought to an unsuspecting straight spectator, as it challenges the stereotypes and preconceptions about homosexuality and makes him imagine that the next time a man tries to pick him up, he might be the size of these guys… Whereas as far as I know there’s never a problem with the idea that a female football team might consist of lesbians!

Anyway, at this moment one of my friends decided to help the poor Kiwi out.

‘Of course they’re not gay’, he said. ‘Look at the Hangzhou expat rugby team. They’re always looking for more girls to join in!’

Uhm. Well, if you look at my original question in this light and agree that they’re not gay, you begin to understand why…