The Depiction of Homosociality in Modern Times (AKA Go Watch Top Gear)

Top Gear is phenomenal.

No, no. Not the American one. If you’re going to watch Top Gear than it has to be the British version with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The fact that I know their names when there are entire series of TV shows which I can watch without picking up on the names of some of the major characters is a feat in itself, but there is something so endearing about the entire Top Gear show. It’s not just the crazy challenges or the incredible locations that they go to with their cars and it’s definitely not the cars themselves which draw me to the show. I’ve watched almost every season of Top Gear that is on Netflix (you can’t see me, but I am shaking my fist at Canadian Netflix) and I still don’t know the difference between understeer and oversteer.

I can understand that they’re not good, but aside from that the only difference I can pick out between the two of them is that one has under in it and the other word has over in it.


What draws me to Top Gear in the end despite their lampooning of politics, liberals, homosexuality, race, feminism, patriotism (the list for this is endless) and short people are the three hosts who run around like little boys on a playground, beating each other over the head with sticks.

Jeremy is the one who stands on the top of the slide, proudly declaring that he is not only the tallest, but the fastest (when he goes down the slide) while Hammond would be the one who is climbing on the monkey bars or rigging. James May, bless him, is sitting in the tire swing and calling the other two idiots for exhausting themselves with all their climbing when all they need is a good length of chain and an old tire. This is the image that pops into my head whenever I end up watching the show.

The lap times don’t interest me, the celebrity guests only catch my eye once in a blue moon, but the relationship that these three men have with each other is endlessly fascinating to me. Homosociality is not something which I get to talk about often, but is endlessly fascinating to me. As much as I love reading and writing about the relationships of homosexual men and women, homosociality is just as fascinating.

Fiction used to be rife with overt Homosociality. There is no need to look past Ford Maddox Ford’s “The Good Soldier” or Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” to see the way that Homosociality wasn’t only encouraged, but celebrated. It’s hard for me to think of overt examples of Homosociality in the modern world aside from what I see on Top Gear.

Well, I guess there’s that whole Bro thing. Oh and the Avengers as well. And Batman. And Inception. Oh, Shutter Island too.

I stand corrected. The more that I think about it, the more examples that are coming to mind such as the Sherlock Holmes remakes (where both the movies and the BBC series mercifully did not take it into their minds to dumb down Watson to make Holmes seem that much more brilliant) or television shows like Supernatural.

I love you, brah.

However, I’m still struggling to think of a recent work of literary fiction where Homosociality ran rampant like it used to (Harry Potter does not count). Maybe it’s just that the medium has changed and that rather than adventure stories, adventure movies are were homosociality gets to shine.

After all, for the most part it was portrayed in novels as men doing manly things together and experiencing great depths of emotions either due to or simply while in the company of another man. There is always the token woman thrown into the mix to dismiss the possibility that this close connection could translate into romance, a tradition which continues into modern times. Catwoman in Batman, the crazy wife or Ariadne in Inception and the Black Widow in the Avengers movie. Thankfully, in all of these movies the role of the woman is not relegated to the Beloved as it was in Conrad’s work, but the more I think about it the more I can see these parallels.

This is going to keep me going for awhile.