(This picture has been hot on the forum recently. I just wanted to honor it in some way.)
The fanny pack should have made me keep on walking. The gold chain should have made me not take a second look. The zip-up shirt with its hand warming pockets on the sides should have made me turn around and run. Then, there was the almost unibrow that was a sure sign of someone that was not aware. There were so many reasons to not notice the guy. It’s like he was writing a manual for all the things a gay man should not do. The dinner party was full of good-looking men – classy men - who would be what all my friends would call a ‘perfect catch.’ So, why did my gaze – as well as my thoughts – keep returning to the Neanderthal-like man that kept staring at me for all of the pre-dinner drinks part of the party. And now the dude was walking over to me. I had been talking to two beautiful specimens who both decided to get another drink at the same time, leaving me alone and open season for anyone. I panicked as I saw the guy most people at the party were shunning set his sights on me. It was too late, however. I couldn’t have gotten away without making it rude.
“Solomon,” he said, holding out an ape-like hand.
“I’m sorry?” I responded.
“Solomon,” he said, again.
I stared at him, baffled.
“It’s my name,” he answered, laughing.
“Oh yes, I see,” I replied. Pause.
“And your name?” he asked.
“Oh goodness. Sorry. I’m Paul,” I said, extremely embarrassed. A longer pause.
“This is nice,” Solomon said.
“What is?” I asked, glancing around to see if there was anyone who could save me from this awkward conversation.
“This,” he said, waving his beer bottle (at a dinner party!) at the crowd and room around us.
“Oh yes. It is. They always throw nice parties,” I answered and then took a long sip of my vodka soda in order to freshen my buzz and maybe prevent him from saying anything else.
“I’m a powerlifter,” Solomon added, dashing my hopes for silence.
“I’m sorry,” I said, again, after swallowing the alcohol.
“I’m a powerlifter,” he repeated.
“I don’t understand,” I responded.
“It’s what I do. I compete as a powerlifter,” he explained.
“What does that mean . . . exactly?” I questioned, knowing instantly that the nerd factor was about to shoot off the charts. Oh, how I longed to be saved from this misery.
“It means I go to competitions and lift heavy things. Trying to lift more than anyone else,” he said, smiling.
“You mean like those big round stones and cars without wheels. Things like that?” I asked, remembering briefly stopping on some sports station to see such a thing when I was channel surfing late one night.
“Yep. Stuff like that,” he said.
“Oh. It . . . um . . . looks . . . heavy,” I stumbled, looking for something to say – which made him laugh.
“It is,” he replied. “What do you do, Paul?”
“I’m a professor at a university,” I answered, slightly proud of some imagined status this job gave me.
“Is that heavy work, too?” Solomon asked, but I missed the joke.
“What? No. I teach,” I answered.
“It was a joke, Paul,” he said. “I guess not a very good one, though.”
“Oh yes, I see. Sorry,” I responded quickly, feeling like a fool. “How do you know Stewart and Barry?”
This was the couple hosting the party. I was hoping to find a way out of this conversation and thought bringing up their names might miraculously make one of them appear to steal me away or something like that. Solomon either didn’t notice my discomfort or ignored it. He took another sip of his beer. I still couldn’t believe he was drinking from a bottle and a catered affair.
“They call me sometimes for in-house visits,” Solomon said, with a smile that seemed naughty and innocent at the same time.
“What does that mean?” I asked – completely missing the subtlety of his answer.
“Well, they sometimes invite me over to do shows,” he answered.
“What kind of shows?” I continued, now fully focused on our conversation. This seemed like some kind of juicy gossip.
“Well, Barry likes feats of strength and Stewart likes to wrestle,” Solomon replied – as if this kind of information was normal or nothing more than something you’d describe like a Tupperware party.
“You mean you’re a hustler?” I whispered, amazed at my own brashness. “I didn’t realize they were into three-ways.”
“No, no you misunderstand,” Solomon said, laughing a little. “It’s not that at all. There’s no sex involved . . . well, there probably is after I leave. Stewart and Barry have a strength fetish and I’m really strong. I come over and help them live out some of their fantasies.”
“You mean like role playing?” I whispered even softer, making what we were talking about seem very wrong and pornographic.
“Not usually, but I guess it could,” Solomon said, and it looked like he made a mental note to check on that idea with the two men at a later date. “Let’s do this a different way. When you fantasize sexually, Paul, what do you think about.”
“That seems like a personal question,” I snapped back.
“Only if you’re hung up on stuff like that. I think we all fantasize – especially men. It’s how we rein in our urges and control our libido. I’m personally into middle-aged guys with dad bods and receding hairlines. Can’t tell you why – it’s just what turns me on. So, what about you, Paul?”
“I don’t know . . . I guess I’ve always been into macho men with mustaches that look like they’re from the seventies. When I was young I had a thing for the swimmer Mark Spitz,” I answered truthfully, without even thinking about it.
“Well there you go. Barry and Stewart are into strength. I lift heavy things to excite Barry and Stewart and I get down on the floor, oil up, and wrestle like the Greeks – only we’re not nude. How do you know them?” Solomon continued as if all of this was just a normal conversation.
“Um . . . I went to college with them. Somehow, that seems like a really boring answer,” I said. “They met when they were freshmen.”
“That’s cool,” Solomon said and took another swig of his beer. Another long pause, but this time it was because I was thinking.
“Have you won many strength competitions?” I asked, amazed that I was now falling into a comfortable conversation with this man.
“Almost all I have entered,” Solomon said and took a slight step closer to me. Another pause.
“Um . . . what kind of strength feats does . . . um . . . Barry like?” I asked, suddenly noticing the room was getting warmer.
“Lots. But he likes it most when I lift him over my head – like he’s my barbell,” Solomon answered, staring into my eyes. “Stewart loves it when I pin him to the ground and don’t let him move.”
Some seismic shift happened within me. It was humongous and simple at the same time. I spoke, but it barely registered that it was me trying to say the words.
“I . . . uh . . . I think…” I couldn’t finish my thought so I just took another long gulp of my drink.
Solomon didn’t take his eyes from mine. The man’s size was just now becoming a reality for me. He had the kind of chest that made me think of couch cushions or gigantic pillows – only his massive things were clearly not soft. His gut protruded out with a solidity that was intoxicating – like a thick concrete wall. His torso seemed so much denser than regular human beings. His arms were like veiny bowling balls. It was like I was seeing Solomon for the first time. His body was a magnificent work of muscled art. The man couldn’t have been better built even if Michelangelo had carved him from a perfect piece of marble.
“You were going to say something, Paul” Solomon said softly.
“I . . . think . . .” I stammered, but that was all I could get out.
I stared at his handsome face. A strong wide nose that somehow made him look even more muscular. Dark brown eyes covered with furry eyebrows and thick lashes. And a beard that made me think of Samson, Hercules, or even a younger Zeus. God, his shoulders were so wide and thick and his neck was like a stone column. His eyes beamed with something akin to sunshine or pure joy. He somehow made me completely comfortable even though I was having so many crazy feelings for the first time.
“I think . . . um . . . that I would . . . uh . . . like to be . . . you know . . . lifted . . . by you,” I said and sounded like a junior high kid on his first date. I had lost control of my own body – it simply knew what it desired and was asking for it.
The pause that followed was excruciating. I panicked that I had crossed some line or said something wrong. Come to find out, the big guy was just letting the intensity of the moment build.
“I’d definitely like to lift you, Paul. I’d like to show you what I’m capable of,” Solomon said and it seemed like he was a snake charmer and I was the cobra. “You wouldn’t be any struggle for me at all.”
“Oh . . . my . . . oh fuck,” was the gibberish that came out of my mouth in response – fully realizing he could easily lift my heavy frame.
Solomon moved closer to me and it felt like a mountain was advancing. I found myself staring at his arms and thinking about how they would easily lift my forty-seven-year-old, normal, slightly overweight body high above his head. The feelings that thought caused to shoot through my body were new and unexplored territory – I was a little dizzy with excitement. That’s when I suddenly remembered him saying he was turned on by middle aged guys with dad bods and receding hairlines. He had been describing me. My eyes widened. He quickly figured out what had shot into my head.
“I think you’re really hot,” Solomon said, smiling in a way that made my knees almost buckle. “And I have to say that I hope lifting you will lead to us having sex.”
It took me a while to focus. My body and mind needed time to calm down from what he had said.
“I . . . uh . . . never knew I had this . . . um . . . fetish before,” I said sheepishly.
“You had never met me before,” Solomon replied, smiling a devilish grin.
He was still the guy with the multiple zippered fanny pack. He was still the guy what could be viewed as having one eyebrow snaking across his forehead. He was still the guy wearing a gold chain as if he were part of the Italian mafia. And he was still the guy with the pocketed, zippered super tight 70’s disco shirt. But none of that mattered. He was huge, strong, and gorgeous. And he was also going to lift me – a thought that gave me a bigger thrill than I ever would have expected or even known before I met him. Barry and Stewart had a photographer walking around the party taking random shots of everyone – mementos we could take home. The guy came up to the two of us right at that moment.
“Hey, you two love-birds, how about a picture?” the man asked.
“Oh, we’re not a…” Solomon began, but I interrupted him.
“We’d love one,” I said loudly as I slid my hand into Solomon’s. My move caught the big guy off guard – something that made me smile even more. He gazed at me with eyes that were suddenly a little watery. He tightened his big hand around mine. We both looked at the photographer, smiled, and he snapped the picture. That was five years ago and that exact photo still sits on my desk at work. Students often ask who’s the hot guy in the picture with me and I proudly tell them he’s my husband. A few of the jocks from my classes have even recognized him as a world-class powerlifter. They have commented on how strong he is and how he can lift amazing amounts of weight. I always confirm what they say is true and then secretly think about what he likes to lift the most.