Novelist Joshua Dagon is the author of Into the Mouth of the Wolf, The Fallen, and Demon Tears. For more information, please go to www.joshuadagon.com. To contact Mr. Dagon, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This past weekend I attended the 2011 Mr. Olympia Contest and Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center where, being a mere five-foot-nine and only one hundred and eighty pounds, I must have—in proportion to the other expo attendees—looked like a hobbit with a camera.
I was actually very excited by this event. A friend went with me and we both descended upon the convention center with the full expectation of filling bags and bags with free samples of fitness products. After thoroughly sweeping each vendor’s booth, feeling very much like children collecting candy at a Halloween party where the theme was Too Many Muscles! Enough With the Muscles Already!, we left with our arms loaded with hundreds of performance-enhancing compounds—the legal kind. We had protein bars and antioxidant drinks and tissue oxygenators and whey cookies and amino acid jelly beans and vaso-muscular volumizationalazines [or something like that], all of which do pretty much nothing and taste just like construction putty. Whoo hoo!
I’m not sure how I feel about the latest web site designed for use with modern hand-held devices through which a stunningly easy means is provided for relatively anonymous sexual activity to be achieved between guys and any other available guy(s) who may quickly be reached by skateboard. One such system, designed for use on a cellular telephone with advanced GPS features capable of launching intercontinental missile bombardments, is called “Grindr.” [Proper spelling has, evidently, been scarified for hand-help Internet devices in order to free up essential memory space desperately needed to send Facebook updates that are crucial to everyone interested in the fact that you feel a sneeze coming on but have decided to continue with your life despite your impending sinus crisis—I believe there’s even an appropriate smiley face icon to accompany that exact status.]
Ever get to a club on a Saturday night, dance for hours and hours, socialize for more hours and hours, dance for still more hours, and then, even though the party is still going strong and the music is perfect just decide to leave? Me either.
For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been traveling across the United States visiting various national points of interest, such as Denny’s restaurants and gas stations. I’ve been trekking from state to state with my father. We’re pulling a fifth-wheel camper roughly the size of a blimp hangar. [My room is in the East Wing, just upstairs from the bowling alley.]
Flipping through a recent issue of Out Magazine, I happened upon an advertisement for Calvin Klein Jeans. In it, there are four very young models, three of whom are male. Each is wearing nothing but a pair of denim pants, including the single young model that is obviously not-so-male, whose bosoms are strategically obscured.
I am a bit ashamed to admit that, being a gay man and initially responding hormonally, my reaction to the layout was somewhat narrow-minded. Why on God's great earth is there a girl in this photograph? was my brazenly narrow-minded hormonally motivated initial reaction.
For at least twenty-five minutes I attempted to interpret this photographic statement. I doubt I'd have had so much trouble with the impression if the advertisement had appeared in, say, Details or GQ Magazine. But no, this was Out Magazine! I know because I flipped back to the cover several times to make sure I wasn't accidentally reading Esquire or Popular Mechanics or The Journal of Psychiatric Injuries and Abnormalities. No such luck, though. It was undoubtedly Out.