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Jell-O Wrestling Food Fight Fun

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

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Defeat in the Jell-O ring is bittersweet
(Tod Seelie)
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Gatlin Guns vs. Our Lady of Perpetual PMS

Spring is on its way and the weather is starting to warm up. Many people turn to cold treats -- think Jell-O -- to beat the heat. But while most people eat their Jell-O, others like to wrestle in it. If you find yourself in New York City this weekend, consider taking part in a round of Amateur Female Jell-O Wrestling. One Sunday a month, women from all walks of life don costumes and wrestling personas and take each other down in slippery goo. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch is a regular in the ring, and she shows us the ropes:

Gatlin Guns gets ready (explicit language)

I'm a Jell-O wrestler and proud of it. I know what you're thinking, but this is no Ft. Lauderdale "Girls Gone Wild" -- this is a place to dress up in costume and be a superhero. And the Jell-O? Well, that's to make sure we don't take ourselves too seriously. Amateur Female Jell-O Wrestling is my refuge from the real world. I'm a recent college graduate, and I constantly struggle to get ahead. But once a month, when I come to wrestle, I can let go of the daily grind and act like a kid again.

The event takes place at Arlene's Grocery, a funky bar in Manhattan's Lower East Side. It looks like any other venue, except for the wrestling ring. It's a large plastic kiddie pool on top of old mattresses. Inside, an inch of bright Jell-O awaits the smack-down.

We learn stunts and safety techniques before the match. This event is as much performance as it is fighting. In the ring we show off fake moves in between real ones. Like when I yell, "Clothesline!" and hold my arm out, the other girl runs into it and knocks herself over. We'd let guys wrestle too, but they just don't get it. The one or two times Jell-O wrestling founder and referee Dana Sterling let guys wrestle, it got serious way too quickly. "When one guy pushes another, the other pushes back harder," she says.

But we girls take care of each other. There's an unspoken code of conduct: Be safe, be silly and cooperate -- or get out of the ring. Wrestlers come to compete for a few different reasons. Like two-time champion Melissa Melly, aka Strawberry Shortcake. "There, I can be myself, I can let loose and I can just be trampy and nobody cares."

She says she also wrestles to set a good example for all of the other BBWs (Big Beautiful Women) in the world. Other wrestlers, like Nina Jafferji (wrestling pseudonym: Fire Angel), wrestle to get out aggression. Tonight, Alisa Taylor wrestled for the first time as Frida Tortilla -- so she can die a happy woman.

But me? I wrestle because I want to win. Tonight I'm Gal Friday, a disgruntled office assistant in business casual. I wear a blue collared shirt and tan skirt. Perfect attire for filing, or flipping. In real life, I'm also the office grunt -- always the worker bee, never the queen. But not today. Today I'm the one giving orders. When I stand tall in that inflatable pool, ankle-deep in warm Jell-O, I am the alpha female.

In the first part of the tournament I blow past contestants Frida Tortilla and Dana Sterling. It's tough, but I'm clawing my way to the top. Next, I face Data Crunch, a first-timer visiting from Los Angeles. Data Crunch throws off her floppy disks and rolls up her purple sleeves. An expert at running cables, she nails me good with a clothesline to the chest. I stagger to my feet, and swing her around the ring by her long dark braids. She puts up a fight, but I'm a skilled office assistant and well-versed in crunching data. I take Data Crunch down.

I'm starting to feel a little sick. I'm sure I've had more than my suggested serving of Jell-O. But we've come to the last match of the night -- finally, I fight Top Shelf. She is a lush with a thing for fishnets and gold lame. The tattoo on her arm reads "fierce." She gnashes her teeth and flexes her muscles. But she can't scare me. I'm ready to go.

I knock over Top Shelf, but she drags me down with her. Body slam! It hurts, but I lunge back. We lock arms in a huddle. We both gasp for breath. And then she asks, "Do you mind if I win?" Do I mind? And give up when I am so close to the top? But there's a desperate glimmer in her eye. She's asking me -- asking me -- to win. And she's so polite! We do some more flips before I give in to the soft Jell-O beneath me...

I wanted to win so badly, but this event is about community. It's about taking care of your sister. It's not easy for me to accept defeat, but here at Amateur Female Jell-O Wrestling, it's cool to be a loser.


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Tim Stretch

    From Ridgecrest, CA, 03/24/2009

    The match versus "Top Shelf" is on You Tube. Well worth watching. Not sure about your reporter Anna aka "Girl Friday" agreeing to lose though, she starts about equal to top shelf, but is comprehensively beaten in nearly all the match! Good job Anna though

    By Kathleen Modrowski

    From Brooklyn, NY, 05/13/2008

    Anna Boiko-Weyrauch's tussle in jello is also a statement on patriarchy and power relations. Would that our leaders in the White House settled their scores in the gooey stuff rather than on the battle fields of the world.

    By Suvi Hynynen

    From Brooklyn, NY, 05/13/2008

    Oh that sounds simply amazing! What girl power! Great job on the story Anna!

    By Liz Burdick

    From New Paltz, NY, 05/12/2008

    Anna Boiko-Weyrauch is awesome!

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