CHAPTER ONEMaking MasculinityAdolescence, Identity, and High SchoolREVENGE OF THE NERDSCheering students filled River High’s gymnasium. Packed tightly in the bleachers, they sang,hollered, and danced to loud hip-hop music. Over their heads hung banners celebrating fiftyyears of River High’s sports victories. The yearly assembly in which the student body votedfor the most popular senior boy in the school to be crowned Mr. Cougar was under way,featuring six candidates performing a series of skits to earn student votes.Two candidates, Brent and Greg, both handsome, blond, “all-American” water polo players,entered the stage dressed like “nerds” to perform their skit, “Revenge of the Nerds.” Theywore matching outfits: yellow button-down shirts; tight brown pants about five inches tooshort, with the waistbands pulled up clownishly high by black suspenders; black shoes withwhite kneesocks; and thick black-rimmed glasses held together with white tape. As musicplayed, the boys started dancing, flailing around comically in bad renditions of outdated dancemoves like the Running Man and the Roger Rabbit. The crowd roared in laughter when Brentand Greg rubbed their rear ends together in time to the music. Two girls with long straight hairand matching miniskirts and black tank tops, presumably the nerds’ girlfriends, ran out to dancewith Brent and Greg.Suddenly a group of white male “gangstas” sporting bandannas, baggy pants, sports jerseys,and oversized gold jewelry walked, or, more correctly, gangsta-limped, onto the stage. Theyproceeded to shove Brent and Greg, who looked at them fearfully and fled the stage withouttheir girlfriends. The gangstas encircled the two girls, then “kidnapped” them by forcing themoff the stage. After peering timidly around the corner of the stage, Brent and Greg reentered.The crowd roared as Brent opened his mouth and, in a high-pitched feminine voice, cried, “Wehave to get our women!”Soon a girl dressed in a sweat suit and wearing a whistle around her neck carried barbellsand weight benches onto the stage. Greg and Brent emerged from behind a screen, havingreplaced their nerd gear with matching black and white sweat pants and T-shirts. The femalecoach tossed the barbells around with ease, lifting one with a single hand. The audience hootedin laughter as the nerds struggled to lift even the smallest weight. Brent and Greg continued towork out until they could finally lift the weights. They ran up to the crowd to flex theirnewfound muscles as the audience cheered. To underscore how strong they had become, Brentand Greg ripped off their pants. The crowd was in hysterics as the boys revealed, not muscledlegs, but matching red miniskirts. At first Greg and Brent looked embarrassed; then theyPascoe, C. J.. <i>Dude, You're a Fag : Masculinity and Sexuality in High School</i>, University of California Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central,.