The Annotated Brian Bosworth

Editor's note: Every Monday, Oxford University wordsmith Dennis Hans dissects for XFL fans the obscure cultural and historical references of Brian Bosworth, the delightfully droll UPN color commentator. This essay is reprinted, without permission, from Funk&

"It's like prom night at the Mustang Ranch: Everybody's getting banged." -- Las Vegas Outlaws vs. Memphis Maniax

Greetings and salutations, XFL aficionados. Before we get to this week's inscrutable quote, please allow me to clear up a misconception:

I am not -- repeat, not -- bitter over losing out to Locke Peterseim in the competition to pen "The Annotated Dennis Miller" column for Only one of us was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, but if pedigree matters not to the Britannica brass, who am I to argue? In any event, allow me to be the first to congratulate Mr. Peterseim on a thoroughly adequate performance this past season elucidating for the masses exactly what Monday Night Football's twit-wit was talking about.

I am delighted to report I have landed on my feet and have been entrusted by the good people at Funk& to write "The Annotated Brian Bosworth." As devotees of American-style football know, Mr. Bosworth, is the color commentator for UPN's XFL Game of the Week, and it is my honor to attempt to decipher his obscure, confounding and ever-so-clever references.

This week's bon mot was delivered at the end of the second quarter of the contest between the Las Vegas Outlaws and the Memphis Maniax, at the midpoint of UPN's 8 to 9 p.m. family viewing hour. As the players exited the field after a fiercely fought first half, Mr. Bosworth observed, "It's like prom night at the Mustang Ranch: Everybody's getting banged."

The literal-minded viewer may have conjured up an image of a fenced-in prarie lot filled with colts, stallions, fillies and mares. After all, Noah Webster points out that a mustang is "the small, wild or half-wild horse of the American plains, descended from Spanish stock." A ranch, he notes, is "an establishment maintained for production of livestock under range conditions where grass is the main source of feed."

Frankly, a mustang ranch is the last place one would expect to hold a "prom" -- an American colloquialism meaning "a ball or dance at school." The word prom itself is short for promenade, or should I say promenade's fourth-most prominent definition: "a march of guests into a ballroom constituting the opening of a formal ball."

Proms are supervised by school faculty and staff, who would tend to discourage any musical forms, such as speed metal or death metal, likely to inspire a good deal of dance-floor banging to and fro. Besides, metal enthusiasts rarely proffer or receive prom invitations and would look askance at one of their kind who accepted an invitation.

So what exactly is our man Bosworth getting at?

The careful reader will have noted that my transcription of Mr. Bosworth's quote capitalizes "Mustang Ranch." This, I must confess, is my (highly) educated guess. A judgment call, if you will. And why not? Funk& would not pay me a considerable sum if it did not wish me to exercise said judgment, which tells me Mr. Bosworth is not referring to any old ranch of mustangs, but the world-renowned "Mustang Ranch," which features horseplay of an altogether different sort.

The Mustang Ranch is a legal brothel not far from Las Vegas, Nevada, home of the XFL Outlaws. For our young readers unfamiliar with the term, a brothel is "a house of prostitution"; a prostitute is "a woman or man who engages in sexual acts for money as a livelihood." Thus it is humans, not horsies, who are mounted at the Mustang Ranch, which remains a popular post-prom destination for male students denied a bit of what-not by their dates.

At the Ranch, neither patrons nor employees are "banged" in the literal sense ("struck or beaten resoundedly"), though British gents on holiday often drop by for a spanking -- particularly if we've been naughty. No, it appears the wily Mr. Bosworth has dipped deeply into the Adults Only section of American Popular Slang and retrieved a synonym for "sexual intercourse."

For the benefit of young readers (and here we take our leave of the language of Mr. Webster, for he offers none), the act of sexual intercourse commences when the excited male inserts his elongated and engorged willy into the aroused female's moistened shepherd's pie. He then thrusts to and fro for a spell (in the case of high school seniors, an average of one minute and 27 seconds). Because of the extraordinary recuperative powers of the adolescent male, he may repeat his abbreviated yet climactic performance as many as eight times in the course of a single sojourn to the Mustang Ranch, assuming sufficient funds.

In summation, when Mr. Bosworth exclaimed, upon intermission, "It's like prom night at the Mustang Ranch: Everybody's getting banged," it is our considered opinion his intention was to honor the footballers for knocking their foes on their bums and competing with the vim and vigor of a schoolboy humping his first harlot.

Jolly good, Mr. Bosworth!

Dennis Hans is a freelance writer who has taught American Foreign Policy at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

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