Turkish oil wrestling

Image via http://www.theapricity.com
Image via http://www.theapricity.com

A sport to satisfy the female gaze

By Rebecca Peterson, Staff Writer

Ladies, does it make you uncomfortable when you see guys watching women’s volleyball tournaments for the sole purpose of watching women bounce around in booty shorts? Personally I find it a little galling that while skimpy shorts are mandatory for women’s teams, men are not held to the same standards. Would I watch a men’s volleyball tournament if they were all in booty shorts? Absolutely, and gladly.

As, I imagine, many others would. In the meantime, there’s oil wrestling. What is oil wrestling, you might ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Wrestling, with copious amounts of olive oil applied to the wrestlers. It’s the Turkish national sport, no less.

So already, you might imagine a bunch of greased-up, shirtless men wrestling, and you might be thinking, “No way.” Way. And it gets even better.

In classic wrestling (which I don’t watch, aside from with casual interest in bars while waiting for my chicken wings to arrive), you win by holding down your opponent for a certain amount of time. Not so in oil wrestling. Not so at all.

The wrestlers are required to wear a loose style of pants called a kisbet, hand-stitched and made of calfskin (not booty shorts, sadly). The way one wins oil wrestling is by grasping one’s kisbet. Best way to do this is to stick one’s arm through another’s kisbet.

Not getting it? Let me sum it up for you: oil wrestling is a sport wherein a number of shirtless men oil themselves up and win by sliding their hands down each other’s pants. And it is delightful.

Apparently, this sport is pretty ancient, dating back to the days of Sumer and Babylon. All joking aside, it takes a lot of strength to win. The images I’ve seen show men occasionally tossing one another around with ease. I can barely keep hold of my phone without dropping it—I couldn’t imagine doing the same with a 200-pound, oiled-up human.

Despite it being an ancient, national sport, what strikes me about it is how fun it looks. Apparently the matches are less a brutal competition, and more a challenge that showcases one another’s abilities, based in mutual respect.

Here’s hoping the sport catches on in other countries, maybe making it to the Olympics if we’re all very lucky. In the meantime, to the Douglas Athletics Department, I say this: if you’re looking for a new sport to take on, I have a suggestion. And I’ll personally provide the olive oil.