He stands alone in the field, large eyes staring without focus towards the rolling horizon, the early morning silence broken only by his slow breathing and quiet chewing of the same thing he has been chewing for the last ten minutes. He flicks his tail and comes back into the moment with a shake of his large, furry head.
“I don’t know man, I really can’t remember.”
His name is Bruno. He is an impressive animal standing nearly six feet high at his shoulders of knurled muscle, with horns, large nostrils, a tail, and long eyelashes, and he has been trying to remember a time when he didn’t feel judged for being something he can’t change: a bull.
“It’s always with the idioms. What about me in the china shop? What about red flags? What makes you think I like selling stocks? I don’t even have a portfolio, I’m strictly liquid these days. And what makes my shit so especially unbelievable? Yeah I know, the horses get some schtick there too, but nothing like us, not even close. Its just b.s.,” he says, trailing off as he kicks a hoof at a cow paddy, possibly his own. Seeing us trying to hide a smile he addresses his own use of that common short form. “Blatantly Stupid, man. C’mon. Not what you’re thinking.” Shouting now, scaring a murder of crows hanging out nearby, to complain about their own idiomatic treatment, it would later become clear.
Another generation of bulls, another generation of misunderstood giants, struggling against cultural norms and archetypes that are so deeply ingrained that no one even thinks to question their veracity, or what effect it has on the bulls themselves. And the answer to that question itself is complicated.
Many bulls I spoke to felt that they benefitted from some of the common stereotypes. “Hung like a bull? Hello? Not a bad thing to roll with a rep like that. Not to mention it’s visually verifiable for anyone who cares to check. I don’t hide it or anything. Be pretty hard to right? Amirite?” Said one bull who seemed less concerned with the damaging effects of the examples Bruno raised. Though even he admitted he constantly had his opinions diminished by those who referenced his headedness.
Other bulls interviewed agreed that the gate swings both ways, but that in general it was more negative than positive. “Would you like a dart in your eye?” Was the way one young bullock pointedly put it.
“People think they’re just words. And that we don’t understand them. Because we’re animals. Well. Wrong you assholes. On all counts.” Irate, Bruno took a galloping rush at the fence then. When he’d recovered his composure he asked that we leave that part out, realizing he’d affirmed yet another stereotypical phrase.
“Y’know what kills me the most? After abattoirs? That people think words don’t matter. Do you know how many people actually know a bull? Very few. Maybe a hundred thousand, in the entire world. I bet you didn’t know one before you started this series of weird interviews.” We confirmed that was correct. “So that being the case, most people simply just assume the idioms and catchphrases and sayings are true, and thus pre-judge.”
He stops for awhile as he navigates a difficult drop-stitch in a tea cozy that he is nearing the completion of. With surprising dexterity for an imposing bovine he deftly transfers his knitting from one needle to the other, and then turns to look directly at us.
“Words don’t matter? If there’s one thing I want your readers to know it’s how dumb that statement is. The people who say that use the very medium they are diminishing to make their point. It’s like expressing the folly of movement through dance, or trying to think of ways not to think. It simply doesn’t make sense. And that’s no bull.”