Ponytail Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew, Act V
When I was about 8, I vividly remember having a competition with a lad called David – surname O’Toole, if I remember correctly – who shortly afterwards moved to Australia. The competition took place in school and could have been called: “Let’s see who can piss the highest against the wall.” David won. I moved on.
But many boys and men never really graduate from that game – they just play variations on it, like:
- I’ve got further with a girl than you have;
- the girls who like me are hotter than the ones who like you; then, once they’re older
- remind me what you drive again; and
- who’s your daddy?
I also get, by the way, the occasional sneering “But Shakespeare didn’t even write those plays.” Never backed up by evidence. Never by anyone who has actually read the plays themselves. But they drive better cars than me (not difficult, since I don’t drive), so they must be right, surely? You are NOT my daddy. But you ARE a ‘three-inch fool‘, to quote this play.
Overall, The Taming of the Shrew is in many places an embarrassing reminder that ‘laddishness’ hasn’t changed in at least 400 years – that men are constantly pissing up the wall against each other. No more obviously than in Act 5.