Art by Marc Hendrick
Art by Marc Hendrick

The Tournament of Masculinity: Lids

Tim drank six stubbies on the back lawn, unbuttoned his Country Road chambray, held it proudly above his right shoulder.

He turned — bare chested — to the rest of the lads, suggested that perhaps it was time this became a “lids off” party?

Every one laughed at the concept and four or five of the men got involved immediately, unbuttoning and pulling of their shirts and t-shirts.

A chant of “Lids off! Lids off!” materialised amongst the shirtless, quickly gaining them more numbers.

As the divide became more distinct, the chant changed to a more pointed “Lose your lid! Lose your lid!” directed at those still wearing shirts.

One by one — some willing, some reluctant — lids were removed until the backyard was little more than beer containers, discarded shirts and bare-chested best friends.

The chant changed to “twirl your lid” — and the men picked up their shirts, spun them overhead like colourful cotton helicopters.

The chant changed to “swap your lid,” and the men exchanged shirts and paraded their costumes, spun through the garden like young thespian gods.

The chant changed back to “lids off”, briefly tapering to let the men have a sip of beer or a wee by the back fence.

Someone then started the chant “repurpose your lid” — and the men wore their shirts as pants and skirts and capes and bandanas.

The chant changed to “worship your lid” and the men threw their shirts into a pile in the middle of the garden, leapt around them like a maypole.

The chant changed to “sacrifice your lid,” and the men piled the shirts onto the gas barbeque, danced around it — eyes wild with drink, torsos lit by moonlight — as the smoke rose and the coloured cotton and polyester blends flared with heat, melted together as one.


jreJames Ross-Edwards is a regular contributor at New Albion.