Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

The Morris Team Incest Taboo

Ironman Matt was flirting with me the other night after Morris practice, as is his wont because he's a big tease, but this time I pointed out to him, "You know, this doesn't mean as much since the Morris Team Incest Taboo kicked in."

And this is true. I remember reading years ago that when colleges first started housing students in co-ed dormitories, the fears that this would result in constant orgies were countered by studies that showed that when living in close quarters a sort of incest taboo develops among opposite-sex residents. Of course you can point to specific counter-examples, but in general it seems that there is room for a finite amount of familiarity, and once you fill that space with one kind there's not much left for the other, at least in these group and community situations.

This is a good thing, because otherwise imagine what would it be like to be the gay guy on a team of sweet straight men, as I was for quite a few years. These are nice men, and handsome men, and dancing well is quite an intimate undertaking. These are also men who are free with physical contact, at least among the team members. If the instincts and attractions over which I have no control had kicked in, it could have been a somewhat frustrating experience. Kind of like high school, before I knew any other gay people.

I don't know if the Morris Incest Taboo exists for anybody else, but it definitely does for me.

We talked about this for a little that evening, and folks pointed out that the incest taboo does not seem to take hold in mixed-gender teams. The intimacy and camaraderie that can result from a team becoming a team has yielded all sorts of soap opera difficulties among the members of those teams, all around the country. I've even heard it said that one of the reasons why some people prefer dancing on single-sex teams (which are less common in the US than mixed teams) is because this allows people to avoid those entanglements and realignments and the inevitable drama that results.

I really have no data on all-female teams in this regard.

On the whole, I'm not sure if Ironman Matt was relieved or disappointed at my announcement. He does so love to be desired.
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