TELL YOUR PUP YOU LOVE HIM

Here we have a photograph by a friend of Canadian bobsledder Ben Coakwell. I die a little death every time I look at it.

Four shirtless men on exercise bikes at a garage-door ramp

It offers a window onto a parallel universe uninhabitable by eldergays, all of whom are incapable of:

  1. being elite athletes and having three pals who also are

  2. working out on exercise bikes without considering it some kind of chore (it’s just a warmup for them)

  3. shirtlessness without a second thought – and alongside other shirtless athletes

  4. just effortlessly raising arms up no problem

  5. being one of the guys; enjoying being one of the guys

  6. being big, strong, muscular, fit, lightning-fast specimens of manhood

Instead, the eldergay (cf. The Velvet Rage):

  • grows up implicitly different (mentioned a lot because it is true)

  • understands this implicit difference and acts on it in ways that are, he fails to realize, explicitly discernible to the outside world, yea unto fellow four-year-old children

  • begins a lifetime of rumination, self-doubt, self-consciousness, and lack of instinctiveness and spontaneity

  • lives in the mind; suffers thorough separation from the body, prefiguring science-fiction brain transplants or noncorporeal alien intelligence

  • is scared to take up space (men might notice him then) and has his elbows glued to his ribs from childhood to coffin

  • is gay all along but cannot come out till his 20s and never actually has sex till that point, if then, and it too is never instinctive or spontaneous

  • cannot actually reconcile being gay – which, however mental, means nothing without physical action – with physical action

  • turns his entire life into words, with, by implication, a need to preserve everything (like the books he grew up reading all alone), leading to a focus on the future; athletes do and athletes live in the present

  • feels he cannot be accepted by men, ensuring he never is (no longer an immutable fact)

The fundamental distinction here is you can teach and athlete to read. You can’t teach an intellectual – all eldergays are intellectuals – that he has a body, let alone what to do with it. Go to the gym all you want; you cannot change your nature. An athlete “thinks with his body”: What does that even mean?

Every eldergay would gladly trade lives with an athlete even if it meant we would end up stupid and illiterate and broken down and washed up by our 30s, which themselves are not remotely immutable facts any longer either.

It is not a coïncidence that the biggest, strongest, loveliest athletes are leading every campaign against homophobia in sport. We just cannot believe a 6′6″, 260-pound rugger could be pro-gay and won’t shut up about it. We grow up dying for the approval of athletic boys and cannot process it once we got it. It’s no skin off their asses and they’re so effortlessly physical they can afford it.

Just writing all this down is a joke. It proves and misses the point. The only tool an eldergay has at his disposal to explain the lifelong prisonlike chasm between the mind and the body is another wall of words. (That is true even though athletes also now publish.) We’re pretty unhappy people. Once we and the generation right behind ours are gone, gay will be extinct.

I’m three years into a project to explicate much of this and more in what could be the first and only book youngergays buy and read. I heap onto my pile of shame with every anniversary of Andrew Wilfahrt’s death. I suppose I could tell you more about that, but only if you have a book contract and an advance to offer me, and, among others, the last real editor in New York publishing and his gay boss didn’t.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.05.17 15:40. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2015/05/17/lifeofthebody/

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