Muscle Shirt Guy
by Mark D. Green

It's not the first time I've seen him out. I've no idea if he recognizes me, but I definitely recognize him: the slightly creepy fitness trainer from my depressingly heterosexual gym. The one where my shaven head (such a big deal?) and tattoos make me stand out from the baseball cap wearing popular kids who flirt with each other by the water cooler. Where the blond girls pound the Stairmaster with unsmiling determination, as if every step brings them one step closer to a nice boyfriend with a Beemer and job in the financial district. 

He's wearing one of those muscle shirts that guys who can't fit into regular clothes wear. And he's dancing up close to some tiny, flawless Asian girl, the kind that makes you wonder if you're being racist by writing them off as lifestyle accessories. They're grinding in that sexual way that makes me feel mildly uncomfortable when I'm rushing hard, bouncing from hug to hug, kissing my friends, boy and girl, and swearing loyalty that will last longer than a hit of x-- and sometimes does. 

1015 Folsom has the best sound system in San Francisco, the best lights, the name DJs, the worst over crowding. The worst crowd, period: drunken, leering, obnoxious fucks sweating it out in black leather jackets, slipping their girlfriends x, then looking ready to pound anyone who returns their girls' wide-eyed smiles. The only way to make it though a night at 1015 is to get higher than you planned to be, hang on tight to your friends, and wait for someone like DJ Digweed to drop the track that finally takes your head off. 

But tonight the guy with the WWF body is persistently in my peripheral vision dancing stiff-shouldered, but with obvious crotch-thrusting intent. And finally, he leans into me, the eye contact no longer incidental. I brace myself for some awkward dialogue, some mutual recognition, "Seen you at the gym" kind of thing. 

Instead he just nods at barely five feet of long black hair and tiny black dress, and says, "cute, isn't she?" 

I shrug a polite yes. 

He leans in closer, "Before we got here, I had my finger on her clit. For an hour. She loved it." 

I look down at her, short even next to me and feel, however inappropriate, pity. And wonder what makes someone say that to a complete stranger, as if the boast made the sex act complete. And I dance all the way across to the other side of the dance floor and wonder for the 100th time, why the hell I come here. 

The next time I see him in the gym, I start pedaling the exercise bike just that little bit faster. 

Copyright © 2000 Mark D. Green. All rights reserved.

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