October 2006 (v9 i2)
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UT student not incensed by ‘Horns Down’ gesture
by Drew Baelle, Staff Writer

DALLAS — Psychology junior Jason Epstein was neither insulted nor incited to anger when a University of Oklahoma football fan inverted the “Hook-em Horns” hand gesture outside of the Cotton Bowl at the Red River Shootout. Epstein, who transferred to UT as a sophomore and is unfamiliar with the University’s football traditions and lore, interpreted the OU fan’s gesticulation as “uninvited flirting” and proceeded into the stadium feeling “violated and confused.”

“Can’t a UT student attend a football game without being relentlessly hit on by the opposing team?” Epstein asked as he rifled through his wallet for a bill large enough to pay for the 12-ounce Miller Lite he had seconds-ago purchased. “I came to Dallas looking to see a friendly rivalry play itself out on the gridiron — not for a date with a man. Especially not one wearing those shoes.”

Although Epstein considers himself a “pretty open-minded guy,” he found the idea of being solicited for a same-sex date at a football game between two traditionally conservative schools “an affront to [his] sensibilities.”

“When that gay guy made the gesture with his hands that I assume pantomimed two dudes having sex in a Chevy, he basically took the focus of the day off the football game and onto his extremist political agenda. This event is about testosterone — I want to cheer for my team, drink whiskey from a flask and get arrested for public urination and assaulting a police officer on Lower Greenville, not participate in an emotionally-charged political debate.”

Oklahoma fans, known for adopting nuanced versions of other schools’ expressions of spirit such as the “Horns Down” gesture or the wearing of Harvard ties with informal dress shirts, have until recently been successfully galvanized by the antithesis of school pride. With their intentions now being mistaken for homosexual advances, however, some OU fans are considering adopting unique salutations of their own.

“I hadn’t ever considered that the Horns Down would be confused for hanky-panky,” confessed Abraham Smith, a third-year education major at the University of Oklahoma. “I thought it was pretty clear that when we point the ‘horns’ down, it means that we think that’s where you’re going — down. If you want to add a religious twist, it could mean that we’re going to send you to hell. Or maybe that we simply don’t respect you. I definitely don’t think it’s a sign of affection, though.”

Testing his theory, Smith proceeded to execute the gesture on his girlfriend, second-year classics major Amber Harris, and was met with a string of profanity aimed at the University of Texas followed by a loving embrace.

“I guess the true meaning of the insult has been lost over time,” Smith conceded as he rolled up the sleeves of his denim dress shirt and adjusted his Harvard tie. “Or maybe we just love to hate.”
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