In the locker room at YMCA. (Chase those singing villagers out of your head.)
An awkwardly arousing wrestling match of sickening and exciting starts in my stomach at the sight of male flesh exposed everywhere – some of it arranged in piles, some in wrinkles, some in slabs, some in shapes. But really, there are only two categories: The men who should never take their clothes off, and the men who should never put their clothes on. And this man, who can’t take his clothes off or put his clothes on around those men.
But shoes – I can do shoes. Unlace, loosen, but not remove. I am not even making sock contact with that floor. How absurd it would be to have athlete’s foot and not be an athlete.
Belt – I can do belt. Unbuckle, slide, brandish. Just try to challenge my manhood, just try. I’ll wrap this belt around your neck so fast – unless you’re into that – in which case I’ll beat you over the head with my iPod. It’s a 20G. The fucker is old and heavy. You’re not into that, are you.
I’m warily eyeing my pants when I realize this is like the nightmare where I haven’t studied and there’s a test. This metaphor is shrewder than any Shakespearean heroine. I haven’t been in a locker room since HIGH SCHOOL – that crock-pot filled with fear and seasoned with hormones.
My High School had a Young Men’s Christian Association. Not affiliated with the national organization, they focused less on being Christ and more on being an ass. They excluded me to identify them. I identified me by their exclusion. It wasn’t a fair trade. But I got out of there. And I got in here.
I’m thinking about all of this and still looking at my pants when I think I should look up. I do.
None of the men are looking at me.