Year in Review – Favorite Moment #3

With three days left in 2009, I have three more favorite moments in blogging to document as I look back over 2009. Unquestionably, a series of favorite moments for me has been my ongoing series “
What Turned Me Gay.” My WTMG posts have generated the most comments, by far. I sort of stumbled into the recurring theme of a retrospective on my youthful development into a Mo with a wrestling kink. Little did I know that what turned me gay turned so, so many of you gay as well.

I’ve lost track of my first entry for What Turned Me Gay… I’ll have to dig around in my archives to see what happened to my fond memories of seeing bodybuilder Bob Paris on the cover of a muscle magazine when I was an adolescent. From Bob to Billy Jack Haynes to Robert Conrad, what I’ve rediscovered about myself is that my past is littered with objects of lust who confirmed and reconfirmed for me that whatever else I was to become, I was, without a doubt, a gay boy who got off on seeing hard bodies hammering on one another.
From Jon-Erik Hexum to Miles O’Keeffe to Steve Reeves, in my youth I was delighted by a steady stream of gorgeous men with big muscles showing plenty of skin.
From the 1984 mens gymnastics Olympic champions to Greg Louganis, the athletes, the actors, the characters and grapplers all enflamed my imagination and engorged my… lust for gorgeous men. And frankly, there’s something liberating about the realization that some of these guys would probably resent being named on a list of things that turned me gay. Just like me being gay, it doesn’t matter what they think or believe or want. It just is.
I realize that text is not the most effective avenue for communicating sarcasm, but I sincerely hope that readers have been able to detect my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. In fact, I don’t believe any of these fine, fine men get credit for turning me gay, because I don’t believe that I ever made a “turn.” I believe I have always been gay, so there was nothing to be changed, and there’s most certainly nothing for me to be changed back into. If “What Turned Me Gay” tells me anything, it’s that I have always lived in a world filled with beautiful men catching my eye, arousing my erotic imagination, and getting me in touch with the joys of passionate lust.
I don’t know how many more objects of lust from my youth I’ll be able to scare up in the coming year. What Turned Me Gay may have to get retired soon. But as I look back at all the studly stars and hardbody wrestlers who “turned me gay,” I lift my glass in a toast: for every moment that they made my pulse quicken, for every flash of muscled beauty that made me light-headed, I’m a better man today for it. Ching, ching…

What Turned Me Gay (again, not really)

It hardly needs mentioning that Steve Reeves must bear some of the responsibility for turning me and at least a couple generations of us gay. In my childhood, Hercules movies ran and re-ran on television on Saturday afternoons (often alternating with the aforementioned Tarzan flicks). Of course Hercules was also portrayed by actors other than Reeves, such as the very memorable Three Stooges Meets Hercules.

But it was Reeves’ ridiculously handsome face and dizzyingly, perfectly muscled body that fueled some of my earliest sexual fantasies. His torso was almost always bare and oiled up. By definition, he was perpetually engaged in grunting tests of strength. And, the coup de gras, he almost invariably wrestled in every movie. Watching Hercules grappling, dominating, and possessing his opponents must get a great deal of the credit for my lifelong obsession with wrestling body-beautifuls. In Hercules Unchained, Reeves fights an extended battle with the pro-wrestler Primo Carnera. Hercules is such a dismissively cocky heel in this scene! Bearhugs, full nelsons, cocky carries… all seeds planted in the fertile imagination of a gay boy.
In addition to cementing the homoerotic images of wrestling, Reeves’ Hercules also taught me the joys of body worship. In the 1959 Hercules, beautiful but lesser young men literally throw themselves at Hercules in adoration. As Hercules watches perched on a rock above, soldiers in training spar and exhibit their feats of strength and athletic prowess (9:14) in an effort to catch Hercules’ eye. One elder observes that the young men “have all become fanatics since Hercules arrived” (9:41) . The one eager young man who pole vaults up to Hercules’ perch (0:06) is clearly in love, desperate to worship at the feet of the bodybuilder demigod. “I wanted you to notice me!” he says passionately (0:20), despite his father’s disapproval. Like the good muscle Daddy, Hercules both disciplines and encourages the young cub who offers himself to the son of Zeus. In the sequel Hercules Unchained, as Ulysses tries to convince the amnesiac Hercules who he is, Hercules strips his torso bare and stretches across a table for an oil massage. Lustful body worship, infatuation with the cocky muscle stud, the eager bottom offering himself to the dominant top, the passion of sweaty, body-to-body wrestling… all the wonderful lessons that Hercules taught me as a gay boy.