All the King’s Queens – Chapter 7: Carnal Delights

The walk up the stairs took almost no time at all. The guest bedrooms and the cabaret room are on the second floor. Dylan’s entire bedroom occupies the third floor, while a fourth-floor attic can be found on the northeast corner of the building. Lawrence uses it to store miscellaneous items like souvenirs, Dylan’s childhood memorabilia, artwork he no longer finds valuable, and mismatched old furniture that became obsolete when they refurnished the house shortly before Dylan’s fall from grace. But the third floor is the only place where Dylan and Melanie were planning to be for the next few hours.

Dylan’s bedroom is actually several rooms. There’s a main room where his bed is located. There’s a spacious shower and bathroom, and a separate room for taking baths. It’s basically a large jacuzzi, but a bath is a bath no matter how you take it. This is where he goes to physically unwind from a long, difficult day. Then he has another room where he stores all of his clothes. The life of a billionaire means needing several dress suits, a few tuxedos, and lots of ties, loafers, shirts, belts, socks, and hats. Lawrence figures his boss’s wardrobe is worth more than the property value of most middle-class suburban families. He’s probably not wrong about that.

Melanie and Dylan enter the bedroom, turn on the lights, and kiss once more. This time, it’s a kiss that’s in private. No one watching them. No one teasing them. Just them in this room, alone together. When their lips come apart, Melanie notices that Dylan is trembling.

“I’ve missed you,” Dylan confesses. Tears well up in his eyes.

“I know. I miss you too. Badly.”

“I…I love you.”

Melanie gazes at Dylan with her captivating green eyes. She doesn’t respond or react to Dylan’s unexpected confession of love. During their entire friendship, she’s made it clear that she’s not ever getting married again. Too many husbands. Too many fights. Too many messy divorces. Too much trauma that her kids have had to endure. Never again, she vowed to herself many years ago. That chapter has closed. For good. Dylan knows this. He’d much rather marry a girl more in his age range (Melanie is about 15 years older than him) but that hasn’t been in his cards…yet. Becoming a social pariah certainly hasn’t helped him settle down and start a family. But he’s always felt a special bond with Melanie, even if the love they share isn’t romantic or meant to become too intimate. Perhaps that’s why they choose to live so far away from each other. They fear what could happen if they got too close.

“Come here. Let’s make love.” Melanie wipes Dylan’s tears away and kisses him again, this time softly. Still wearing her pink bikini and heels, she walks over to the bathroom to remove any makeup she may still have on. She tried to remove most of it before the show started, but some residue may still be caked on somewhere. Dylan goes over to the fireplace and turns it on. It’s not a real fireplace with real wood, but it does the job. There’s no shame in having an electric one, especially if it sets the mood. He turns off the lights, opens the white silk curtains, and peers out into the fading sunset. It should be completely dark in about 10 minutes, he estimates.

Dylan has floor-to-ceiling wall windows that stretch across almost half of the entire room. Each panel is about four feet wide and 14 feet tall. A long drape of silk curtains stretches across the windows. All one has to do is manually pull them to the side to reveal the outside world. On the south-facing side there’s a small balcony overlooking Lake Washington. It’s a sight worthy of a king, or someone rich enough to pretend to be a king. Dylan is certainly rich enough, though he rarely ever feels like royalty.

After removing a few smudges of foundation from her chin, Melanie returns to the main bedroom area. Dylan swiftly comes to her. She reaches out and takes his hands. They’re as warm as the inside of the fireplace. Instead of kissing again, Melanie removes the charcoal gray blazer Dylan is wearing, plops it on the floor, and unbuttons the rest of his white dress shirt. At the same time, Dylan leans over to unfasten her bikini top. He struggles to reach his arms around her broad torso, an amusing challenge she immediately recognizes. She kindly removes the top for him, revealing her full, plump breasts. Her implants aren’t nearly as eye-popping as Peggy’s, but they’re noticeable to anyone with the inclination to look. Her tiny pink nipples stand at attention. Dylan thumbs them in circles as Melanie unfastens his belt, drops his slacks to the floor. She feels the bulge in his underwear. For all his wealth, Dylan still insists on wearing cheap Calvin Klein black underwear. He could wear something much fancier, but that assumes that he cares about such things. He does not.

Melanie lets out a quiet moan as Dylan caresses her sensitive nipples. Monique may have larger nipples (which some guys are really turned on by) but Melanie has bigger muscles, so she’ll accept that as a victory of sorts. Dylan pushes his underwear down toward his ankles, removes his socks, and kicks them aside. He is completely naked.

Still, her eyes do not leave his eyes.

Next, Melanie places her thumbs inside her bikini bottom and slides them down her tree trunk legs. Dylan watches in amazement as he gazes upon her erect clitoris. Unlike Peggy and Monique, Melanie chooses to keep some of her pubic hair intact. She lets a classy thin strip of hair run down her pelvis, which is more than the other two ladies can say they still have. Peggy waxes almost monthly and Monique shaves weekly. Melanie finds all this too bothersome. Plus, she likes to remind herself that she’s a fully grown adult, not a small child. That’s the life of being a woman in the western hemisphere.

If Peggy is famous for her ability to ejaculate far distances, Melanie is equally famous for her enormous clitoris. Before settling down into wifehood and motherhood, Melanie made a few pornographic videos when she was in her late 20s to pay the bills. This is when her famous endowment put her on the map. She may not have been able to appear in Terminator 2, but her gigantic clit found its way in adult video stores across America. All the porn she made exists either on VHS or in grainy Internet videos, so it’s been a while since the world got to regard her jaw-dropping piece of female meat. That is another chapter of her life that she prefers to never reopen. That’s done. She’s never doing that sort of thing again. If someone wants to see her naked, they’ll have to earn it the old fashioned way. Like Dylan.

Dylan obediently gets down on his knees and licks Melanie’s clit. Measuring at almost three inches in length (it’s a tad shy of three inches, a fact that disappoints her immensely), it’s been mistaken by uneducated fools as being a penis. It’s not. She’s not a man or a woman with male genitalia. No, she’s a woman, a pure woman whose femininity should go unquestioned. Melanie loves the way Dylan treats her. He has soft hands that feel like pure silk when they touch her coarse skin. And Dylan is always attentive to her needs, taking his time to physically explore her body. Standing at 5’ 10” tall and weighing 215 pounds, there’s a lot of her body to explore. Dylan intends to enjoy every square inch of her. And she intends to be enjoyed.

Melanie backs up a few feet, wanting to find the bed. She does. Dylan scoots forward to meet her. She leans back onto the bed, cherishing the feel of the cool sheets against her naked skin. After spending twenty minutes under hot stage lights, this is a nice contrasting experience. Dylan proceeds to crawl next to her, his eyes laser focused on his lover’s face. Melanie isn’t a pretty woman, but she’s not ugly either. Her eyes are kind and her smile captivating, two facets of her that make Melanie attractive enough. For a variety of reasons, you won’t find her on the cover of fashion magazines. But Dylan loves the way she looks, from head to toe. She has never really cared about her skincare regimen since she dedicates most of her time to her weightlifting regimen. So once wrinkles and lines started forming across her face, she wasn’t surprised or particularly concerned with it. She prefers to let her biceps do the talking. And she has no desire to be 25 again. Those days are over. Those days were boring. She loves who she is right now.

“God, I never tire of your skin touching my body,” she confesses.

Dylan leans over and trails a line of kisses along her breasts, stomach, and pubic area. Hearing her compliment him like that is a genuine turn-on, especially since he rarely ever hears benevolent words said about him these days.

“And I never tire of touching your body, my dear. You’re unbelievable. So gorgeous.” After running his fingers across her chiseled abdomen, he returns to massaging her engorged clitoris with his tongue. He loves pleasing her orally. It’s especially enjoyable because her enormous size makes it easy to do so. Once his soft lips caress her sensitive clit head, her gentle moans transition to audible groans. Lapping the tip with his entire tongue, Melanie lifts her pelvis up high in the air, an indication that she’s both enjoying the stimulation and ready to climax. Nothing pleases Dylan more than knowing Melanie is being pleased. He truly loves her. He may not love her like a husband loves his wife, but he loves her deeply regardless of what kind of love it is. Giving pleasure is the ultimate act of love, a mantra Dylan takes to heart. That’s why he takes great care to ensure his guests eat the best food, drink the best wine, and enjoy each other’s company as much as possible. Pleasure takes many forms, as Dylan knows full well.

“Ohhh, that’s it, yes, right there…”

Dylan grips her hips with both hands to stabilize her body as much as he can. It’s a difficult task to maintain oral contact with her sensitive parts when she’s squirming around like a restless kitten. One final lift of her hips, and Dylan knows she’s just seconds away from a satisfying climax.

When it hits, Dylan knows it immediately and stops pleasing her. He loves watching her experience an orgasm. It’s almost as delightful as experiencing one. Melanie writhes around in the bed uncontrollably as waves of orgasm pulse through her body’s core. The Ms. Athena Championship, the most prestigious female bodybuilding competition in the world, is in two months. Which means Melanie is approaching the best shape of her life. It also means she’s exhausted – both mentally and physically – all the time, which leaves little room for her sex drive to be addressed. This weekend, however, was going to be a special time where she could relax, kick her feet up, and not think about her strict diet or the endless hours she needs to spend at the gym. So while this may not be the greatest orgasm she’s ever experienced, it’s certainly the best she’s had in a long while.

“Oh baby, that was fantastic. I loved it. Thank you, sweetie.” Dylan lifts her face up to kiss it. She can taste her own juices on his lips. For whatever odd reason, she actually enjoys the way she tastes and doesn’t mind Dylan sharing some of it with her. When their lips come apart, Melanie sits up so she can remove her shoes. She purchased them in Venice several years ago, so she makes certain they’re properly removed and placed neatly next to the bed. Wanting to return the favor, Melanie suddenly grabs Dylan’s face and kisses him again deeply, making sure her tongue explores the inside of his mouth. He welcomes her penetration. She reaches down and strokes Dylan’s penis, which (miraculously) had gotten soft between now and when she first started to undress him. Slowly but surely it returns to being as hard as a rock.

At 53 years old, Melanie has had her fair share of lovers. She has three children (all adults ages 23, 21, and 18) with two different husbands (she’s had four husbands total). She’s also experienced extensively with synthetic steroids – which are still a (somewhat) taboo subject within the bodybuilding community – to help her grow her massive musculature. Melanie got really seriously into steroids after her third child was born. A few doctors warned her that this could essentially end her child birthing days. She was completely fine with that. Now that she’s a few years past 50, she knows pregnancy is no longer an issue for her. STDs still are, but she trusts that Dylan is clean. He is. So whenever they make love, they never use protection because there’s no danger involved. There’s no reason to. It makes their lovemaking more natural. And also more trusting.

By now the sun has completely set. It’s pitch-black outside. The only light in the room comes from the small fireplace fifty feet away. Still, it radiates enough illumination so that the two lovers can see each other clearly, but still leave enough mystery to the imagination. The romantic atmosphere couldn’t be more perfect, both of Dylan and Melanie observe together.

Melanie would never admit this aloud, but Dylan isn’t the most skilled lover she’s ever been with. He’s perfectly fine, but no one can ever match up to her third husband. That man was special in the sack, even though his money troubles and overall flakiness derailed their lengthy marriage. He, like Dylan, took his sweet time with her. He treated her like a Queen. Dylan also treats Melanie like a Queen, but Robert was incredibly intuitive in the bedroom. Dylan has required a bit of “coaching” throughout the years. By now, Mr. Tanaka knows what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and how to please her.

After gently placing her head against the pillow, Melanie lies on her back as Dylan trails more kisses onto her leathery skin. Melanie’s skin is as rough as Dylan’s is soft. Age, steroids, and muscle mass will do that to you. He doesn’t mind, though. She closes her eyes as his lips touch her most intimate areas. He can tell from the moisture developing between her massive legs that she’s ready. At last, after he can no longer take it, Dylan pushes his penis inside her wet entrance, little by little, until he’s fully inside her. They both gasp at the same time, as if their bodies were synced to react similarly together. Peggy may be the “size queen” of the group, but Melanie isn’t. She enjoys it whenever a man is inside her. Especially if she truly loves that man.

The heat emanating from their bodies could power a furnace. Between kisses, Dylan cannot help but groan as his manhood slides in and out of her. Like most Asian men living in America, he’s a little insecure about his size. Melanie has reassured him many times over the years that he’s perfectly normal. He believes her, but decades of teasing from cruel classmates can be hard to deprogram. Dylan has heard his fair share of racist taunts, as well as assumptions that can never seem to die off. His 5-inch penis certainly isn’t the largest in the world, but it’s not the smallest either. He’s just glad that he can say he’s a solid five inches without lying.

Stroke after stroke, thrust after thrust, Dylan’s breathing intensifies as he makes love to her. When their tongues connect, they can both taste tonight’s dinner on each other’s breath. Melanie smiles at him while she watches her lover build toward a dramatic orgasm. They don’t speak, instead choosing to allow the rhythm of his strokes to do the talking.

Dylan doesn’t want to confess the last time he ever made love to a woman. Has it been a full year? Maybe longer. Melanie senses it’s been a while for him. All she wishes is that he gets what he needs. She intuitively knows he needs this badly. She moans when his pecs slide against her taut nipples.

Finally, Dylan feels his climax impending. Heat, sweat, energy, and strong feelings of love, lust, anxiety, and insecurity all come to a boiling point the exact moment he spurts deep inside her. It goes on seemingly forever. Melanie just lays there, enjoying this moment on Dylan’s behalf. Their eyes connect. She smiles at him. He struggles to catch his breath. Sweat is dripping down his face. When he collapses on top of her, she wraps her strong arms around his toned body and squeezes him as tight as she can without hurting him. She could never hurt him. And she never will.

After ten minutes of pure silence, Dylan withdraws from her. He turns to his side and caresses her thick legs. Melanie playfully pinches his small sticky penis, licking whatever semen residue is left off her fingers. They choose to continue to not speak. The only sound that can be heard is the siren of an ambulance blaring in the distance.

The two lovers stare into each other’s eyes. They don’t talk, but the looks they share speak volumes.

***

Lawrence loosens the knot of his necktie once he believes no one will see him for the rest of the evening. It’s nearing 9:00 p.m. All seems to be in order. His boss and the three guests he’s entertaining are apparently upstairs, participating in some sort of hedonistic fun. He doesn’t know for sure and, if he’s being honest, he doesn’t particularly care. He’s not one for eavesdropping or gathering gossip-worthy material. Who would he share it with?

Right now he’s in the living room, gathering empty glasses of margaritas that have been sitting there for a few hours. Normally, Lawrence tries to keep every room in Mr. Tanaka’s house as tidy as possible, but he (rightfully so) anticipated the evening’s festivities could take unexpected turns. So he chooses to clean up after it appears everything has calmed down.

“Don’t mind me. I have a lot of cleaning left to do,” Henry says, poking his head through the door. Lawrence turns around to see Henry, still dressed in his chef’s uniform, smiling right at Dylan Tanaka’s faithful butler. Mr. Jameson is loading the dishwasher full of dirty plates, wine glasses, silverware, and a few pans. Lawrence resists the urge to ask him about the unusual way Miss Cole greeted him earlier this evening. Chances are, he won’t ever bring it up. Lawrence isn’t one for creating unnecessary confrontations.

“Excellent. I have a feeling Mr. Tanaka won’t be needing our services until the late morning. I will see you until then. Have a good night.” Henry nods to Lawrence. After loading the dishwasher, he pours a small cup of detergent into the slot, closes it, and turns on the machine for a “normal” cleaning cycle. Henry can barely hear Lawrence exit through the backdoor as the dishwasher begins to rumble. He looks up at the clock, waits for a whole minute to pass, and then scurries over to a nearby bathroom to change clothes. It’s doubtful that Dylan would be able to “entertain” all three ladies at once, so hopefully his faithful chef will score the chance to get in on the action. Mr. Tanaka is not known for being a greedy man, despite his immense financial wealth.

Outside, Lawrence trudges toward the staff parking garage. There are only four slots available, which is usually fine because it’s rare for more than three staff to be at the house at any given moment. Lawrence and Henry are regular employees, with Joey the landscaper showing up a few times a month and others less often than that. Mr. Tanaka will sometimes meet with his personal bookkeeper, a few professional arborists (all those exotic trees, many of which are not native to North America, won’t take care of themselves), a wealth consultant, a barber, and occasionally, his “personal trainer” who happens to be a competitive bodybuilder in her own right. The few guests who come over to use Mr. Tanaka’s home gym show up either via Uber or Lawrence escorting them onto the property. As Lawrence unlocks his car door and gets in, he reflects upon the mostly solitary existence his boss has to endure. Is it possible for him to have a more active social life? Can’t he find a part-time consulting gig somewhere? Certainly someone, somewhere would be willing to hire him. They don’t have to make a public spectacle out of it, of course. All of this loneliness can’t be good for his mental health, Lawrence worries.

“He’s allowed to enjoy a few pleasures in life,” Lawrence says aloud to just himself. “After all, what else would make life worth living?” Dylan’s butler ponders this thought – and many others – as he drives off into the night. He decides to stop off at a local grocery store and pick up a few items before heading home. As far as he’s concerned, the rest of his evening will be nice and quiet. What disturbances could possibly come his way?

Back in the house, it takes a grand total of five minutes for Henry to change out of his work clothes and into something more comfortable. He exits the bathroom wearing slick Gucci blue jeans (being Dylan Tanaka’s employee has its perks), a long-sleeve dark purple shirt, black shoes, and a modest gold chain across his neck. Henry keeps himself in decent shape, despite an insufferable potbelly that can’t ever seem to go away. No matter how much dieting and exercising he does, he can’t ever figure out how to eliminate the bothersome belly fat that doesn’t want to burn off. Mr. Tanaka seems to know how to stay slim – although Henry figures it has to be because of his Asian genes. That’s scientifically backed, right?

Yeah, probably not.

After taking one final look at the kitchen, Henry decides it’s in acceptable shape. The dishwasher is humming, the countertops are sparkling clean, the fresh fruits and vegetables are already precut for breakfast tomorrow, the coffee grounds are locked and loaded in the coffeemaker, and the dining room has been properly cleared and preset for the morning. He turns off the lights, takes a deep breath, rustles his hair slightly, and walks upstairs toward the guest bedrooms. The house boasts excellent acoustical design, meaning neither Lawrence nor Henry could hear the festivities happening upstairs in the cabaret room. Dylan’s top-notch chef hopes his boss will kindly allow him to join in on the fun.

Before he can get halfway up the long staircase, Henry sees Peggy Cole, still wearing her over-the-top Vegas showgirl costume, leaning casually against the top railing. Their eyes connect. Peggy has the largest grin on her face. Henry feels his heart almost leap out of his chest – as if their earlier encounter had instilled a Pavlovian response inside his brain.

“Oh, hello there baby,” Peggy flirts.

“Damn, girl! That’s one hell of a costume you’re wearing. How the fuck did you fit that feather hat inside your luggage?” Henry cautiously takes a few steps further up; almost as if he’s afraid Peggy’s feather outfit will magically form into a literal bird and attack him. His favorite porn star walks to him, twirls around, and laughs.

“Gee, I sucked you off a few hours ago and this is how you greet me afterwards?” Peggy unhooks her sparkly bra and throws it at Henry, freeing her enormous breasts. Miraculously, Henry catches it in mid-air. He sniffs at it, noticing Peggy’s distinguishable scent. It may not smell like fancy perfume, but as far as Henry is concerned, it might as well be. “Go figure. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, shouldn’t I?”

“Oh darling, you know I appreciate you and everything you do,” Henry says, trying to simultaneously walk up the stairs and feast his eyes on her bare breasts. “Especially what you did for me before dinner. Woohoo, that was quite an unexpected treat.” Once they stand face to face, Peggy wraps her strong arms around him, gives him the tightest squeeze she possibly could, and plants a wet kiss on his lips. The unmistakable taste of Altoids permeates his breath, which Peggy finds both charming and dorky. Henry figures if he were lucky enough to get intimate with his favorite porn star, he’d better practice good hygiene in the process.

“Shall we take this party somewhere else? Such as my bedroom? It’s not far from here. Just a few feet that way.” She points down the hall to the room where her luggage happens to be stored. All of Dylan’s guest bedrooms are spacious, well-furnished, clean, inviting, and as luxurious as any Las Vegas hotel suite. Every bedroom comes with its own bathroom and shower, plenty of closet space, dressers and drawers, a bed (obviously), and – most remarkably – a small kitchenette. It’s not quite a self-contained living unit, but it comes damn close. One probably wouldn’t want to live with just a tiny refrigerator (no freezer) and an oven with only two stovetop burners, but for a quick weekend getaway trip it’s about as close to living in someone’s studio apartment as one can get.

It takes no more than eight seconds for Peggy and Henry to hop, skip, and jump to their private bedroom. Unlike Dylan and Melanie’s intimate gathering one floor up, these two are in no mood for taking things slow. On the contrary, the moment the door slams shut the two of them are already ripping off each other’s clothes. Henry amuses himself with the thought of the uselessness of changing out of his chef’s outfit and into these “street clothes.” He supposes he couldn’t guarantee that this would happen – and that he shouldn’t have expected it to – but the thought of getting dressed just to get naked a few minutes later was something that he found funny.

Little did either of them know that at the other end of the hallway, Monique was watching them converse, kiss, and sprint away from spying eyes. Miss St. Martin is still wearing nothing but white lacy panties. She’s determined they are beyond the point of the evening where walking around the house naked (or near naked) would be discouraged. She probably could have entered the house naked and eaten dinner naked too if she wanted to be especially adventurous. It’s not like Dylan would mind. Or any of the other guests. Oh well. Maybe next time she can be so bold.

“Have fun, you two.”

Realizing she’s the only one without a partner – Lawrence is a nice man, but definitely not her type – Monique turns around and heads back to the cabaret room. She intends to take full advantage of the stocked bar Dylan mentioned. She thinks she’ll make herself an Old Fashioned, assuming there’s ice available. She couldn’t see why there wouldn’t be.

“Everyone’s getting some except for me…” Monique points out to herself. “The night’s still young, though.” Her boyfriend might object if she did anything unfaithful. Their relationship is already on rocky footing. However, he’s 3,000 miles away. And she suspects he’s strayed a few times here and there himself. That, if Monique is being honest with herself, is a reality she’ll have to deal with sooner rather than later. For tonight, “later” would have to suffice. She’ll cross that dreadful bridge when she gets to it.

Now it’s on to that Old Fashioned.

***

“Okay, gentlemen. Get packed. It’s time to go. Now. You have ten minutes to get ready. Get on it.” Stephen doesn’t raise his voice because he doesn’t need to. After a few hours of nervously fiddling around with their weapons, equipment, and photographs of Dylan Tanaka’s property, the whole group is on edge. They don’t need to shout when it’s not necessary. The time is to get serious, get prepared, and get ready for tonight’s little score.

“Yes, boss.” Roddy is the only one who verbally expresses Stephen’s command. Everyone else has scattered throughout the house, not in a mood to make small talk. Xander goes to the bathroom to pee one final time. Cortez waits outside the bathroom, wanting to do the same thing. Stephen has had his coat on all afternoon, which got irksome because of the hot, humid weather of Central Washington. But this was his chosen outfit for the evening, mostly because he could conceal his firearm inside it. A careful man who takes great pride in thinking through every possible detail, Stephen wanted to get accustomed to wearing the coat and holster so that when they arrived at Dylan’s home he wouldn’t feel awkward or too uncomfortable. He’s been “in the zone” since he woke up this morning. There’s no use getting out of character now. Not when so much is on the line.

“I’m ready,” Thomas says. Out of all of his men, Thomas is the one who has to transport the most equipment. A professional safecracker for several years – he’s lost track of how many – Thomas fashioned a suitcase and duffle bag to specifically carry his thievery gear. He learned from his mentor, a man who’s currently serving a fifteen-year federal prison sentence for stealing important documents from a local FBI office in Houston, Texas, that a professional safecracker should never just stuff their equipment into any old large bag and hope nothing breaks or wears down over time. Like a guitar case that’s shaped like a guitar to minimize damage to the instrument as it gets carried around, a safecracker’s instruments should also be transported in a case that’s specifically tailored to contain said instruments. It’s this level of ingenuity and diligence that attracted Stephen to Thomas in the first place.

“Ready, boss,” Xander acknowledges. Stephen sees Cortez right behind him. Roddy, the driver of the SUV, is warming up the car. The two hired guns go to their respective vehicle. Stephen locks up the safehouse, doubting anyone would dare break in. How ironic would it be if a house being used by thieves were itself broken into by other thieves? The thought made a mostly serious Stephen Callahan smirk to himself. Besides, there are advantages to choosing a place that’s almost in the middle of nowhere. Who would think to break into a place like this?

Once Thomas slams the trunk shut, he tosses the keys to Stephen, who then unlocks the doors of the Buick and gets in the driver’s seat. In the backseat is Stephen’s backpack, sitting inconspicuously beside a few candy wrappers and empty containers of takeout Chinese food. Despite his best efforts to maintain proper appearances, serving time in prison changed Stephen’s outlook on life. Never in a million years before prison would he ever tolerate allowing garbage to accumulate inside his car. But three years in a federal prison cell really changes your personal habits. You no longer care about cleanliness when the filthy stain of being a convicted criminal forever mars your once sterling reputation. That’s just one way that prison changed him.

“Are you ready?” Stephen shouts to the occupants of the SUV. All three men nod their heads. Roddy gives him the thumbs up. “Excellent. Let’s get moving.”

Thirteen minutes later a black Buick and white SUV are traveling 65 miles per hour down the I-90 freeway towards Seattle. The speed limit is 70 mph for cars and 65 for trucks, but Stephen doesn’t want to take any chances. Very few police patrol cars are around these parts. However, Stephen is at this moment as paranoid as one can be. And for good reason. He and the other vehicle are going fast enough to get to Seattle at midnight or so, but not too fast that they attract the attention of Johnny Law. That would be a major disruption to their evening plans. Both vehicles remain in the slow right lane during the entire commute.

Stephen and Thomas don’t say a word to each other during the long drive to Seattle. Neither men have any idea if Roddy, Xander, and Cortez are conversing in their car. Probably not. These men are all studious professionals. No need to waste energy on frivolous activities like making small talk or listening to the radio.

Now’s the time to get to work. This job is straightforward and should be fairly easy.

What could possibly go wrong?

***

Dylan doesn’t think he fell asleep, but he does know he closed his eyes and looked up at the alarm clock sitting on a bedside table and saw that 45 minutes have passed. It seems like only five minutes have passed, so maybe he actually napped for a solid 40 or so. Gosh, he’s such a stereotypical guy. Falling asleep right after sex? Yeesh.

He rolls over in the bed to snuggle with Melanie. To his disappointment, she’s not in bed with him. This prompts Dylan to sit up and investigate. A moment later, he sees the balcony screen door is slightly ajar. That must be where she is, he guesses. He then stands up, stretches his arms high above his head, yawns, and walks toward the source of a gentle warm summer evening wind sweeping into his bedroom.

Before he can go outside, Dylan stops dead in his tracks.

Wow.

Sure enough, Melanie is outside, as he suspected. It’s the sight of her that makes him freeze. Right before his very eyes, almost like an image out of a dream, is Melanie Wright standing naked on his balcony. She’s overlooking the lovely view of Lake Washington, deep in thought. But it’s the image of her that jumps out at him. She’s standing tall and proud, yet relaxed and serene. The way the bright moonlight illuminates her naked body is more picturesque than what any artist could ever conceive. None of the greatest painters could ever render an image this quixotic. They wouldn’t believe such an image could actually exist. But it does.

She’s tall. Authoritative. Powerful. Curvy. Feminine. Erotic. Mesmerizing. Captivating. She’s every word you can think of without needing to consult a thesaurus. The moonlight’s glow highlights every mound of muscle on her formidable body. Every curve, every muscle fiber, every heavy repetition at the gym is on full display right in front of him. He feels blessed to be able to witness it. Her body seems to be radiating, a gentle outer aura outlining her perfect silhouette. Her round butt. Her thick hamstrings. Her bulging calves. Her meaty triceps. The layers and layers of muscle mounds on her back. She’s a living poem. A sculpture conceived by a brilliant artist made of flesh and blood. She looks like an angel, not a human. To call her a human would be an insult to who she’s worked so hard to become. Dylan cannot breathe because the only thing he can do is marvel at her. It’s the only thing he wants to do.

In reality, Melanie Wright is deep in thought. She’s pondering her future. To be truthful, she figures she only has three to four years left of being a top-level elite competitive bodybuilder. Most of her new competitors are girls in their 30s and 40s. She’s 53, which isn’t old by the standards of her unique profession, but she can feel her age in her body. All these years of lifting heavy weights, taking steroids, eating large amounts of food, and traveling the world have taken its toll. She used to feel a sense of pride when she woke up every morning feeling sore from the previous day’s workout. But now, that soreness has transitioned into pain. Real, deeply felt pain. Her entire body hurts. All the time. No amount of painkillers will make it fully go away. It’s a reality she has to deal with every single waking moment of her life. It’s the new normal.

She started to notice it when she got into her mid-40s. She denied it at first, but after a while she could no longer ignore the fact that she’s getting older. And that means your body can’t recover like it used to. When she was in her 30s, she felt invincible. She felt like a true goddess. She believed she could do this forever, that she had no limits, that nothing could keep her down. Giving birth to children was a challenge. Raising them was another. But alas, Melanie Wright is not invincible. Deep inside her soul, when you strip away her muscles, she’s as vulnerable as any other fragile human being. Maybe that’s why she feels a keen connection with Dylan. He’s fragile too. And he does his best to maintain a strong façade. But even he has his moments of weakness. Hell, she witnessed it just a few moments ago when he tearfully confessed his love for her. Melanie still has not figured out how she’ll deal with that. How can she maintain her friendship with him without breaking his heart? She has no idea how to do that…and dreads having to eventually confront it. Like every problem that she’s ever faced in her life, there’s no way to delay the inevitable.

“What are you thinking about, dear?” Dylan asks. Melanie turns around to see him, standing behind her with innocent puppy dog eyes. He hugs her, then kisses her on the back of her neck.

“I was thinking about my future. About how long I can remain a bodybuilder,” she confesses. Dylan kisses her neck again. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

“I understand. I get it. Have you made any decision yet?” Melanie shakes her head, not wanting to look at Dylan in the eyes. She may start to tear up herself if she did. Instead, she gazes at Lake Washington’s tranquil waters, admiring its remarkable stillness.

“Sort of. I think I have three, maybe four years left. You know, of being elite. I can still compete after that, but it would have to be in a lower category. Sheesh. When I turn 60, that’s when I’ll really start to evaluate my life. That sounds like a good round number. But I don’t know. My body aches. All the fucking time. Even now. My lower back hurts. My wrists hurt. My neck hurts. My knees hurt. My ankles hurt. My shoulders definitely always hurt. God, I hurt everywhere.” Melanie remains strong, refusing to break down in front of Dylan. She knows she can be vulnerable around him, but now is not the time for that. Now is the time for her to be as strong as possible around him. “Pain is a regular part of my life. It’s unavoidable. It’s unstoppable. Every time I squat or deadlift or do lunges, I feel like my bones are literally crunching. I’m crumbling.”

The only thing Dylan can do is listen. He rubs her shoulders now that he’s aware that they’re hurting her. He kisses her delts, hoping this wouldn’t cause her any additional pain. She seems at peace right now.

“So, I may quit earlier. I don’t know. I really don’t. Not now. I don’t want to think about that right now. And not just about quitting. I have other worries. Like surgery. I know I’ll need double knee surgery eventually. God, what an awful thing to have to think about.”

“You do whatever is right for you. I want you to be happy. You’ve accomplished so much. You can retire tonight and no one would look down upon you. Least of all me. You’ve done things that millions of people could only dream of. You will always have my respect, for all eternity,” he says. “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, with or without your muscles.”

This final compliment makes Melanie turn around to face Dylan. She traces a callused finger across his jawline. She can feel his stubble. Melanie knows she’ll burst out into tears if she didn’t do something to take her mind off of what’s nagging at her. So, she leans over, kisses Dylan, and picks him up. Dylan gasps when his bare feet lift off from the balcony floor. Melanie carries her lover back to bed. Soon, she plops Dylan onto the soft sheets and mounts him. The first time they made love, he was on top. Now, she’ll be on top.

Melanie wastes no time. She reaches down to stroke Dylan’s soft penis. It only takes a few caresses to get it hard. Then, she raises her massive body above him and slowly lowers herself onto his erect manhood. Once he is fully inside her, Melanie moves up and down as languorously as she possibly can. She’s lucky her leg muscles are strong enough to support her weight and maintain her balance. Dylan reaches out to stimulate her clit. This adds to her pleasure. Lightly pinching her hard feminine endowment with two fingers, he is committed to making sure she comes as many times as she desires this weekend.

Dylan leans his head against the pillow after the initial waves of orgasm rush through him. God, she feels so wet, so hot, so ready for him. Melanie feels the heat rising from their bodies. She’s convinced there’s more heat coming from the two bodies intertwined on this bed than there is in the fireplace that’s still roaring away. Melanie closes her eyes, trying to soak up every moment of this experience. She’s not sure how many more like this she’ll have with Dylan, so she better make it count.

“Oh God…” Dylan cries out. He’s not there yet, but he’s damn close.

Melanie also feels the built-up tension of her own climax looming. She didn’t come the first time they made love, so she’s committed to orgasming this time around. Dylan seems close, and she’s not far behind. It helps that he’s also stimulating her clit at the same time. Their delicate dance takes them higher and higher, until neither of them can hold back much longer. She tightens her vagina around him, hoping this final move pushes them both over the edge. He keenly notices her hotness surround him, beckoning him, breaking the boundaries between them.

“Ahhhhh!” Melanie gasps.

Miraculously, Dylan and Melanie climax together. This has never happened before. Dylan empties himself inside her, pulsating until his spasms come to a joyful end. Melanie’s vaginal muscles contract around him, adding to his sensations. She grabs Dylan’s wrist and pulls it away from her oversensitive clit, not wanting more stimulation at this moment. It would be too much for her. They stay like this for several minutes, Melanie truly wanting this moment to last forever. While standing on the balcony, she also came to the conclusion (and wisely chose not to say this to him out loud) that she’ll eventually need to break off their relationship. Not now, but soon. Meaning this could very well be the last time they ever make love. Ever.

So she wants to make it count.

The truth is that Dylan has gotten too close to her. In her heart, she knows that she also profoundly loves him. She doesn’t want to be hurt again and rush into another foolish marriage. Dylan genuinely touched her heart. That scares her. Frightens her. This is why she must break it off now until it becomes too painful for the both of them. And more pain isn’t something she needs in her life.

At last, Melanie collapses on top of Dylan. She doesn’t crush him but comes pretty damn close. Dylan doesn’t mind 215 pounds of woman being on top of him. There are worse ways to go. He looks over at the fireplace, impressed by how beautiful the flickering light of the flames fills the entire room with a pitch-perfect orange glow. Dylan never understood all the hype around fireplaces until this very moment. They do add to the romance, as he’s just joyfully discovered. He has no doubt that he and Melanie look like they belong on the cover of a romance novel.

“Now I really need to take a nap,” he confesses. Melanie reaches down to tickle his scrotum. She licks his right nipple, which sends shivers down his spine. “Well, that certainly will help keep me awake. Thanks for that.”

“I am to please.” Melanie moves on to lapping his other nipple. Eventually she stops fondling his scrotum and shifts toward rubbing his tired shoulders. It’s as though she wants to massage all of his emotional baggage away as if he were both symbolically and literally carrying heavy burdens on his shoulders. “You’d be a terrible host if you just passed out while your two other guests are wide awake, since they’re both hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. Besides, it’s not even 10:30. The night is still young.”

Dylan sits up, kisses her once more, and returns the favor by lightly pinching her nipples. She seems to enjoy it, closing her eyes to better drink in the sensations. “You’re right. I would be a terrible host to fall asleep before we got to even open the bottles of champagne. I’m pretty sure we have a few bottles chilling in the refrigerator. Henry and Lawrence should both be gone by now, so we don’t have to worry about our, uh, modesty, so to speak.” Dylan stands up and walks to the bathroom. It’s a surprise that it’s taken him this long to have to pee. Melanie stretches her arms out before getting up to close the balcony screen door. It’s not cold out, but that doesn’t stop Melanie from being concerned about wasps or flies (or worse, spiders!) getting inside the house. She doesn’t live here, of course, but she still feels a slight bit of responsibility to ensure Dylan’s home doesn’t get as unkempt as a yuppie bachelor pad.

As Dylan exits the bathroom – still naked – Melanie finally starts to wonder what Peggy and Monique are up to. Drinking scotch? Watching television? Staring at their phones playing Temple Run? One could only wonder…

***

“YAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSS! FUCK YEAHHHHHH!!!”

Peggy screams at the top of her lungs as Henry relentlessly pounds into her. No more than seven minutes earlier, Peggy and Henry were ripping each other’s clothes off inside the privacy of her guest bedroom. Now, their clothing (Henry could have sworn he heard something rip) is strewn lazily across the floor. It’s a good thing Lawrence vacuums the carpet at every chance he gets.

Just as Monique is hanging out by herself in the cabaret room making a cocktail, Peggy could not stop making out with this tall handsome black man who happens to be both a great chef and a loyal customer. Once they were both completely naked, Peggy raced to her purse to take out a condom wrapper. It was a normal type of condom, not an “Extra Large” packet that she figured a man like Henry would need. She gave Mr. Jameson’s penis a few sensual strokes with her hand, which was all it needed to fully wake up. Peggy then ripped the foil with her teeth, took out the oily piece of rubber latex, and rolled it onto his erect manhood. His claim that he’s a solid 7.5 inches seems accurate to her. Most guys lie about that sort of thing – especially the guys with whom she talks to during her webcam shows – but Henry isn’t a lying type. Besides, what’s the point of lying when you don’t really need to?

After sheathing him, Henry stuffed his face inside her plump breasts. He’s a “boob guy” and is not afraid to admit it out loud. Eventually, they found themselves on top of the bed. Laying down on her back, Peggy spread her legs wide open, inviting Henry inside. He did not hesitate to go in for the kill. After several minutes of pounding into her with no finesse or absolutely no inclination to take things slowly, he can feel his orgasm impending. Peggy also senses her vaginal muscles tighten in anticipation of a toe-curling climax. Sure enough, they both find the release they are looking for after Henry pounds into her one final time.

“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUUUUUUUUUUUCK YAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!”

Henry and Peggy, like the other couple who were simultaneously making love one floor up, climax together. Henry curses like a drunken sailor as his orgasm drains all the energy from his body. It’s been a long day of running errands, prepping, cooking, cleaning, and waiting for his boss’s three distinguished guests to arrive. He needed some sort of release to burn off all the pent-up tension that was residing inside his body. Doing the dirty with his favorite porn star is exactly what the doctor ordered.

“God damn, baby. That was the best fuck I’ve had in a long, long while,” Peggy says slightly out of breath. While Henry was doing most of the work, she took it upon herself to provide the vocal soundtrack to their mating ritual. Well, they were using protection. That doesn’t mean they weren’t engaged in a mating ritual of sorts. “Good job, baby darling. I really needed that. Mama really, really, really needed that.”

“Really? I’m sure you get plenty of dick whenever you want it. But I appreciate the kind words.” Henry rolls over on his back, sweat dripping off his face. Peggy playfully slaps Henry on the chest to scold him for the implications of what he just said.

“Hold on, are you calling me a whore?” Peggy heartily laughs, clearly not offended. “You’re right. I do get plenty of dick. All the time. But I’m talking about good dick. Good, hard, thick, ruthless dick like yours. I don’t get that all the time. Most of what I get is pretty forgettable. But not you. I’m going to fantasize about this for a long time.” Henry has never heard his penis be described as “ruthless” before, so he’ll accept the compliment. He stands up to go clean up in the bathroom. Peggy watches with amazement at how quickly a man’s penis can go from being as hard as a rock to as soft as a pair of socks the moment after he ejaculates. She also cannot fathom why it takes guys 30 minutes (some older guys need upwards of an hour!) to get hard again. Why can’t men be more like women, who can keep going and going and going until they get tired of orgasming? What’s the deal here? Well, that’s why God invented vibrators, she supposes. They keep pleasing her until the batteries run out of juice.

After disposing of the condom, peeing, and washing his hands with plenty of soap and hot water (even after having sex, Henry still washes his hands like a professional chef who just handled a whole bucket full of raw chicken), Henry returns to the bedroom, only to find Peggy lighting a joint. She doesn’t smoke marijuana all too often, but it’s perfectly legal both in Nevada and Washington State (she purchased it at a pot shop close to Treasure Island in Vegas) so she might as well get high when she’s allowed to. She also has a small amount of cocaine hidden inside an empty tube of lipstick. The TSA agents never catch her with it if she puts the tube inside a small makeup purse. She doesn’t think she’ll snort it tonight (Dylan isn’t known to be an avid drug user since alcohol and muscular women are his vices of choice). However, one can never accurately predict the future.

“Want a hit?” Peggy offers. Henry nods his head, takes the joint from her, and inhales. “I’m lucky it’s legal where I live. It’s legal here too. But not everywhere. So I got to use my supply when I can. I’m constantly flying across the country, so I have to be careful.” Almost like a magical elixir, Peggy feels calmer than before. She could just be exhausted from traveling and getting pounded by Henry’s huge cock. But chances are the cannabis is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

“I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t travel too much, so I don’t think about it. Plus, I don’t smoke that much. Mostly when I’m hanging out with my homeboys.” Henry returns the joint to Peggy. She takes one more hit before extinguishing the flame on an ashtray and putting it back in her purse. After letting the CBD do its thing, she gets up, closes the window (she doesn’t want the smell of pot to linger inside Dylan’s gorgeous mansion), kisses Henry on the cheek, and places her hands on both of his butt cheeks.

“Let’s go see what Monique is up to. I don’t want her to feel lonely.”

“That’s a good idea. Let’s go.” It is at this moment that Henry realizes he still doesn’t have his boss’s permission to be here this late, especially to hang out with his party guests. Mr. Tanaka is a pretty chill dude, so he can’t imagine he’d be upset at him. Still, it’s considered taboo inside the world of personal chefs to fraternize with your client’s friends without their permission. Henry knows a few chefs who got fired because of that. Let’s hope he isn’t breaking any rules so he doesn’t suffer a similar fate.

Several moments later Henry and Peggy walk into the cabaret room, still as naked as the day they were born. Monique is sitting alone at the bar, sipping on an Old Fashioned made of sugar, bitters, and Macallan 15; while checking her phone for unanswered text messages. There are a few to respond to, but she feels a bit too drunk to answer them properly. She turns around when she hears the doors open.

“Yoo hoo, Monique baby, are you here? We have another special guest with us. You remember the tall beautiful black man who cooked our dinner tonight…” Monique pokes her head around the corner to catch Peggy’s attention. She is surprised to see both Peggy and Henry are still stark naked, not even having the decency to put on a bathrobe or anything. And to think Monique at one point felt weird just wearing panties! She stands up to greet Miss Cole and Dylan’s talented chef. “Ah, there you are! Ooohhh, I see you’ve helped yourself to a drink. Goddamn, I could use one myself. Henry baby, are you an expert mixologist in addition to being a fucking great cook?”

Before he can speak, Henry awkwardly looks at Monique, noticing that she’s practically naked, while he’s fully naked. It seems strange at first, but Henry doubts anyone was under the impression that Dylan’s dinner party wouldn’t include casual nudity at some point. He’s not running a bed and breakfast for Benedictine monks, for crying out loud. Henry and Monique exchange smiles, which appears to be enough to break any embarrassing tension that may exist. Peggy, not surprisingly, dashes toward the bar to fix herself a simple rum and Coke. She opens the freezer to find a tray full of ice cubes ready for her to steal from.

“Good evening, Miss St. Martin. I see the fun has already started around here!” Henry jokes. Monique giggles at Henry’s attempt to put her at ease with humor. It works.

“Oh, it has. It sure has. We just gave Dylan a fun little show an hour ago, or whenever it was. It was delightful. You should have been there, Henry darling.” Monique returns to sipping her drink, trying her hardest not to look down at his enormous penis. Henry considers fixing himself something – an Old Fashioned sure does sound delicious right about now – but decides against it. Maybe later.

“I have no doubt it was amazing, and, uh, very entertaining. But I had chores to do downstairs. Those dirty dishes ain’t gonna clean themselves, if you know what I mean.” The Olympic athlete raises her eyebrows to communicate agreement. By then, Peggy returns from behind the bar and sits down on a bright red sofa. Unconcerned for her nakedness, Henry makes a mental note that he should tell Lawrence later this week to scrub the surfaces of every couch, chair, and barstool in this room. That would benefit everybody. Especially future guests. He’ll decline to provide an explanation, though Lawrence should have no problem figuring out why.

“You deserve a break, and um, a little fun,” Peggy says while sipping her drink. It is stronger than she had anticipated. This is a good thing. “Speaking of which, where’s Dylan and Melanie? Are they doing what I think they’re doing upstairs? Naughty, naughty!”

“Ha, it’s not like you’re so innocent yourself,” Henry reminds her. “You know what? I could use a drink. It’s been a long day at the office, if you catch my drift.” As Henry saunters over to the bar, all three of them hear the doors swing wide open again. This time, Dylan and Melanie walk through, hand-in-hand like old lovers, also completely naked. They also didn’t seem to think putting on something would be necessary. Dylan stops dead in his tracks when he sees his faithful chef approaching the bar, apparently ready to make himself a cocktail.

“Good evening to you all, thank you for letting Melanie and I enjoy some private time together,” Dylan begins. “Well, well, well. Henry! I’m glad to see you. Pleasantly surprised. I thought you had gone home by now. Who will feed your cat?”

“Oh, I think he’ll be just fine. Good evening, Mr. Tanaka.” Henry and Dylan also share an awkward moment of silence together. Both men have endlessly discussed their mutual love for female bodybuilders, however this love has only come in the form of casual conversations around the kitchen. They’ve never done any “intimate” activities with Dylan’s guests together, so this is certainly breaking new ground (for both of them). Sensing his chef is probably feeling more awkward than him, Dylan thinks it would be a good idea to verbalize his approval of him being in their presence.

“Good evening, Henry. I’m so happy you can join us! If you’d like, I’d love for you to stay with us for as long as you want to. You can definitely spend the night in one of the guest rooms if you don’t feel up to driving home. After all, you’re supposed to be back here in less than 12 hours, so you might as well stay.” Henry appears to be genuinely reassured by his boss’s kind invitation. This brings a smile to everyone’s faces. “I think we have a few bottles of champagne in the fridge if anyone is interested in popping a couple of corks of some bubbly.”

“Thanks, Dylan. Thank you for inviting me to stay,” Henry grins at Peggy. She puckers her lips to give him the “kissy, kissy” motion. Dylan, still holding hands with Melanie, could not help but look down quickly at Henry’s prodigious endowment. Dylan had no idea what Henry looked like down there. He didn’t want to stereotype, naturally (especially when enough people casually stereotype men like him), but one can be excused to just assume certain things are true whether they are or not. When men happen to be naked around each other – gym locker rooms are a prime example – subtly glancing down at another guy’s junk to see what it looks like is a common pastime. There’s (usually) nothing overtly sexual about it. It’s just casual research to see what other dudes are packing down there and how you compare to them. That’s it. Dylan cannot help but do the same in this scenario. He’s unsure if Henry is doing the same. In fact, he’d prefer that Henry not do the same.

“Damn, I feel a bit overdressed for the occasion,” Monique observes. “It’s like I stepped into a motherfucking nudist colony, or something!”

“I don’t know girl. Everybody here is naked…except for you!” Peggy scolds Monique. Feeling a combination of peer pressure and reckless abandon, Monique accepts Miss Cole’s challenge and strips off her white panties. The four others cheer her on. She tosses her underwear carelessly to the side, not giving a rat’s ass where it lands.

“Now girl, we’re really at a motherfucking nudist colony!” she announces. This elicits even more cheering from her compatriots.

“Between these walls of my humble abode, we might as well be in a nudist colony,” Dylan says while opening the refrigerator to take out a couple bottles of chilled champagne. As he requested, it’s a Bollinger Special Cuvée, just like his fictional hero, James Bond, would drink. After popping the corks and fishing around the cupboard for five tall champagne glasses, Dylan gleefully pours everyone a generous amount of bubbly. The image of five naked people, three of them muscular women, crowding around a home bar drinking overly expensive champagne must be quite an amusing sight for someone not familiar with the circumstances. Dylan decides to propose a toast.

“To friendship, great company, a better future, and finding your inner light,” Dylan declares as he lifts his glass above his head. The four others mimic their host. “We may not yet know the source of that light. That is for all of us to discover for ourselves. But rest assured. It’s there. Somewhere. We are all unique souls traversing through this rock in outer space toward an unknown destiny. May it be a good one. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’re all fortunate to have been able to cross paths with each other. Deeply, profoundly fortunate. Cheers.”

“Cheers!” everyone repeats. Dylan and his four guests drink from their frothy glasses.

“Motherfucker, that’s some good ass shit!” Peggy proclaims. “Dylan honey, you know how to live life to the fullest. Yessssssir!”

Melanie wanders off to the A/V booth to turn on some music. Apparently, the jazz mix they started playing earlier for their performance had expired long ago. Dylan thought the music would play on a continuous loop, which apparently is not the case. She quickly searches through a playlist of Top 100 hits, selects a few artists, and begins playing it for all to hear.

“Oooooohhh baby girl! I love me some Missy Elliott! Get it!” Monique puts her glass down on a nearby table and starts to dance all by herself. Henry decides to join in on the fun. Melanie sashays toward Dylan, grabs his hand, twirls him around as if they were at a midwestern dance hall, and sways with him to the beat. Their chests join together, Melanie noticing Dylan’s heartbeat rapidly picking up the pace. They lock eyes, kiss, and continue to rock side-to-side to the song’s beat as Peggy joins the other two in creating a makeshift dance club right here in the cabaret room. Dylan feels Melanie’s firm glutes, which is enough to make his heartbeat quicken its tempo even more. How could it not? He wouldn’t be surprised if he got another erection right here in front of everyone. That wouldn’t be out of place for how the evening has gone so far.

If he were to get hard again, he and Melanie would certainly know how to deal with that particular situation. For now, he’s content to just enjoy the music and dance along with his four friends.

Little did anyone in this room know that this would be the highlight of their evening. The festivities would soon come to a crashing halt. Not yet, but soon enough. Unbeknownst to any of the five naked partiers in attendance was the fact that as they were dancing the night away, five armed thieves were caravanning over Interstate 90 at 65 mph with Dylan’s home as their intended destination.

Beauty is Overrated

Stephanie Marie definitely isn’t overrated.

“Beauty,” as it is traditionally defined, makes no mention of emotions, feelings, or involuntary intuitive reactions. Yet, the concept of beauty – especially the way we use it in everyday conversation – goes way beyond aesthetics.

For example:

Merriam-Webster’s definition of beauty is “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”

“Gives pleasure to the senses” is a great way of phrasing it. There are, after all, five senses – with sight being just one of them. One can appreciate a rose bush by admiring its beauty, then leaning over and smelling its scent. But you probably wouldn’t want to eat it. And roses don’t make any noise, so there’s nothing to hear. And be careful before you touch it! Those thorns can be prickly.

So one can admire a beautiful thing with more than just one sense. Two or three, perhaps. But there’s another sense that is almost never acknowledged. A sense that is, if you think about it, arguably more important:

The emotional sense.

The sight of a beautiful person can make you feel many things. Lust, longing, exasperation, infatuation, nervousness, giddiness, curiosity, etc. Perhaps the reason why a beautiful person has such power over us isn’t just because of how they look – it’s how they make us feel.

Coco Crush is so damn beautiful.

And this has less to do with who they are and more to do with who we are. Or what we’ve gone through, or what we’ve experienced, or what we’re currently dealing with in our personal lives. For example, you could be minding your own business at the grocery store. You just need to pick up a few items – green peppers, celery, a red onion, and a few quarts of beef stock – for tonight’s dinner. You should be in and out in a hot minute. Suddenly, out of nowhere you see a gorgeous young lady perusing through the salad greens section looking for fresh spinach that isn’t too soggy. She’s beautiful. The most beautiful person you’ve seen in a while. The way she walks, moves, and behaves is like poetry in motion. But you’re not just captivated by her immense beauty. You’re reminded of your high school crush, the one who “got away.” You’re reminded of your own loneliness and your burning need for someone to cuddle with tonight when you’re watching late night TV. You’re reminded of how special this planet can be at times, when a flawless work of art can literally appear out of nowhere unexpectedly and make your heart stop beating.

You know she’s physically beautiful, yet she’s more than that. She makes you feel things. Strong things. Things you wish you could forget. Things you wish you could capture in a bottle and uncork whenever you want to. Things you cannot explain, but you know in your heart is as real as a rainstorm. In other words, “beauty” isn’t just an aesthetic. It’s an experience.

This helps explain why many of us love female bodybuilders so much. We aren’t just attracted to their muscles, curves, strength, confidence, and inspiring stories. We love them because they make us react in ways that are both predictable and inexplicable. We love them because we cannot stop loving them. They’re an unquenchable thirst. A hunger that never ceases.

We can look at a picture of Cindy Landolt and notice many things. Her face is pretty and her muscles are poetic, but her appeal goes way beyond those things. We sense raw energy radiating out of every pore of her immaculate body. It’s almost visible. It’s nearly tangible. To look upon her is to feel like you’re in the presence of a Divine Being. She’s often labeled a “Goddess” by her fans (myself included) and for good reason. She looks too good to be true. The fact she actually is a real-life human being adds to her mystique. How can someone be that beautiful? It’s difficult to wrap our minds around this reality. Yet it’s true. Cindy makes our minds rattle in a million different directions. And it’s not just because of her obvious beauty.

It’s because of her – and many other female bodybuilders – effect on our psyches.

Amanda Ferre looking absolutely gorgeous.

Female bodybuilders are alluring for reasons that go beyond what you can see on the outside. It’s not just their unusually large muscles that capture our attention. When we regard upon a beautiful female bodybuilder, our daydreaming activities go into overdrive. We want her to pick us up and toss us to the ground like a ragdoll. We desire to touch her muscles. We want to ask her to flex her biceps while we measure them with a sewing tape measure. How big is she? When she flexes at maximum capacity, how large can she grow? 16 inches? 18 inches?

Uh, 20 inches?

Is that even possible? Has any woman in the history of the world ever developed biceps that exceeded 20 inches? Maybe, but I’m yet to have seen it. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before, of course. Renné Toney supposedly holds the record at 21 inches. I highly doubt too many other women have been able to match that, let alone exceed it.

God damn. The very thought of a woman having 21-inch biceps is mind boggling. It’s inconceivable. It’s beyond belief. Yet, she did at one point in her life attain such a measurement. Guys who are insecure or full of self-loathing will immediately scream at the top of their lungs “Steroids, steroids, steroids!” But those of us who respect female bodybuilders and don’t hate ourselves will instead react with “You go girl!”

See the difference?

The same could be said for Tina Lockwood’s thighs. Or Becca Swanson’s career achievements. Or Nataliya Kuznetsova’s entire existence. Or what Shannon Courtney was able to do at such an early age. These ladies defy our expectations of what the female human body is capable of doing. In their own way, they’ve set the bar higher and higher than any of us (or most of us) thought was even possible. To react with derision is unfortunate. It probably says more about the person choosing to think that way more than anything else. But thankfully, for every troll who types mean comments like “She’s probably got a dick” or “She’s actually a man” on a random YouTube video, there are thousands of other people who treat these women with the respect they deserve.

Isabelle Turell makes me react quite irrationally.

How funny it is that female bodybuilders can make us react in such two completely opposite ways. We react with either scorn or praise. Disgust or lust. Hatred or eternal adoration. Dismissiveness or uncontrollable fandom. There’s basically no middle ground. At all. It’s truly a fascinating phenomenon to witness.

This is why “beauty is overrated.” We value beauty because it’s obvious. It’s plain to see. It’s simple to explain. It doesn’t require any thinking. It’s all around us all the time. You don’t need to travel far to see a billboard, television commercial, print advertisement, or pop-up window that features a beautiful person – male or female. It’s deeply engrained into our multimedia landscape. Sex sells, as the adage goes. Heck, it’s so pervasive it’s easy to not notice it.

Yet, beauty unto itself is fairly limited. A pretty face can be forgettable. A shapely body you see in a magazine may draw your attention momentarily, but it’ll fade off into the distance once something else replaces it. The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? The sound of your favorite song playing over the PA system? The feeling of cool air cascading off your face on a sweltering hot summer day? All of those things can replace the memory of a beautiful magazine cover model because she’s a dime a dozen (no offense to her). Her beauty is considerable, but it’s not enough. We want to feel something. A connection. A memory. An involuntary reaction.

A nameless Victoria’s Secret underwear model cannot compete with Isabelle Turell or Lindsay Mulinazzi. The nameless model looks nice but doesn’t elicit any emotional reaction out of us. We notice their beauty and move on with our lives. Isabelle and Lindsay, on the other hand, make us want to beg for their attention. Get down on our knees and worship them. Shell out hundreds of dollars in cash to purchase their merchandise. Praise them as queens or goddesses. Use hyperbolic language when describing them. Travel to the furthest ends of the earth just to meet them for a single hour. Stay up late watching videos of them when we have to go to work the next day. Do things we normally wouldn’t do like set up a muscle worship appointment or fantasy wrestling session – all in secret, naturally.

Beauty in complete isolation is neat. But it does not give us a complete picture of the situation. Some people – and this includes non-bodybuilders – have a pull on us that almost seems magical. Remember your grade school crush? I sure do. I still think about her. I recently stalked her on Facebook and saw that she’s happily married with a newborn child. She’s kind of pretty, but not nearly as drop dead gorgeous as I thought of her at the time. In this case, distance and time did not make the heart grow fonder. Quite the opposite. But I clearly remember being 12 years old and not being able to keep my eyes off her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. She was sweet, smart, nice, and good looking. I was enchanted with her.

We all have similar stories we can tell. Many of us have current stories in similar vein that we can tell. Crushes are exactly that: they crush us. They shatter our ability to think rationally. They stomp all over our sense of self-preservation and force us to act foolishly. We are enthralled by them, taken in by them, infatuated with them. It’s strong. It’s focused. It’s nearly unbreakable.

And when it does break, it tears our hearts in half.

Do you know what this ultimately means? It means beauty is not just overrated, but somewhat misunderstood. We give pure physical beauty more credit than it deserves. It can initially capture our attention, but it’s not enough to keep us tuned in. We need more if we want to continue to be playing the game. We need an emotional bond. A cathartic connection. A spiritual awakening. We need our heartstrings tugged at in addition to blood flowing to our private parts. This isn’t just explained by love or lust. It’s something else. Something…less tangible.

Now, comparing your schoolyard crush to your adult fascination with female bodybuilders is not completely analogous. They are two different things. Yet, the general idea remains the same. They both have us in the palm of their hands. They control the situation, not us. They have the power. All the power. It’s not even close. It’s more than a magic spell. It’s more mysterious than a love potion because this is completely organic. It’s natural. No special sauce is needed.

What kind of beauty is unforgettable to you?

Go back to the beginning of this article and reread Merriam-Webster’s definition of “beauty.” Notice the word “spirit” at the very end. That’s significant. Do not trivialize this. To “pleasurably exalt the spirit” is quite a turn of phrase. It seems to connotate a religious awakening; a divine experience that transcends the mortal body. This is why we tend to use ethereal language when describing female bodybuilders. It’s just like a religious experience. A conversion. A death and resurrection all happening at once.

Beauty is overrated because it places too much emphasis on the person who is being described as beautiful. This isn’t a knock against them, but rather an observation that what really matters is the person experiencing the beauty. What are they thinking? Hoping? Dreaming about? Fearful of? Wishing would happen with all their might?

The fact I’ve been writing about female bodybuilders and female muscle fetishism for seven years now – yes, it’s been that long – is proof that FBBs have a profound grip on me. It’s everlasting. Sure, sometimes it wanes for a bit, but it never goes away. I don’t think that’s even possible.

FBBs are important to me and will continue to be a massive part of my life. The same is probably true for many of you too. And the reason this is true isn’t just because FBBs are physically beautiful creatures. It’s because they have the keen ability to draw out wild thoughts and fantasies from us. They make us act irrationally. They cannot leave our imaginations. They’re living rent free in our heads – and we are grateful landlords who refuse to ask for back payments.

Because it’s not just about how beautiful they are. It’s how beautiful we make them out to be.

Beautiful Monsters

Monster - Isabelle Turell
Isabelle Turell is one beautiful Lady Hulk.

Growing up I’ve always been a huge Godzilla fan. I was first introduced to the franchise when I saw the original 1954 film on VHS as a little kid. Yes, it was the American version featuring English dubbing and Raymond Burr unnecessarily shoe-horned in for no good reason other than to give U.S. audiences a white person to identify with, but it was nevertheless the landmark film that introduced the world to Godzilla. Despite Perry Mason.

As if the Big Fella himself wasn’t enough of an attraction!

I may have been eight or nine years old when I first watched it. Then I saw several of the “Godzilla vs. <Insert Name of Random Kaiju>” movies. I believe those films are known as the Toho Showa Era. Some were better than others. I always loved Mothra and King Ghidorah (this may sound blasphemous, but I was never really a fan of Mechagodzilla), and will appreciate the underrated Gigan.

And yes, I am secretly a fan of the horrible 1998 Roland Emmerich film starring Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Sue me.

Just kidding. Don’t sue me. I have very little for you to take…

Do I like other monster movies? Of course. King Kong is a classic. I think the original 1933 film holds up pretty darn well. It’s not just a “classic movie” that deserves recognition because it’s historically important. It also works as a solid piece of entertainment. Even for our modern standards. There’s something refreshing about seeing a puppet move via old-time stop-motion animation instead of everything just being animated by CGI artists in a dark sterile room.

Both Godzilla and King Kong are not just silly monster movies. They’re allegories for societal fears of the time. Yes, the filmmakers insist that King Kong isn’t a racist archetype of black men in America, but you can insert your own meaning into a story about a wild animal being captured in the jungle and brought to “civilized” society only to run amok and go on a rampage. At the end of the day, King Kong can be interpreted as a warning against the Western world exploiting the Third World (or “exotic” world) for glamour and fame. Or it can be an allegory of immorality of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Allegory.

Godzilla is more obvious in its messaging. It’s a parable of the Atomic Age and a metaphor for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s critical of nuclear weapons, the fallout of nuclear testing on the environment, and the foolish nature of the U.S./Soviet Cold War. Godzilla is the offspring of humanity’s destructive nature, a constant reminder that death and destruction only begets more death and destruction. Not less. It was Japan’s way of coping with the traumas of World War II – both the traumas they suffered and the traumas they caused.

Monster - Godzilla
Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Need I say more?

Like Frankenstein’s monster, Godzilla is the result of mankind playing God. In this case, mankind created massive weapons of war and decided it can be the judge, jury, and executioner for no other reason than they believe that “history is on their side.” Sound familiar? To a smaller extent, the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park movies serve the same thematic purpose.

For American and Japanese audiences, King Kong and Godzilla are monsters who represent hidden fears that can’t always be talked about in academic terms. We all know that Nuclear War is a bad thing. Yet, when we go to the cinema and watch images of cities being destroyed by a humungous uncontrollable man-made creature, it makes the threat of Nuclear War seem both more frightening and intensely personal. We caused this mess; and we are therefore the ones who can (and should) clean it up.

In this way, movie monsters are fictional representations of our own deeply ingrained fears. King Kong is a critique of how far mankind will go for fame and fortune. Godzilla preys on our fears that we will be the cause of our own destruction. We need these monsters because they make our fears seem real. They are the physical manifestations of our nightmares. They are the nexus of bedtime stories ripped straight from the headlines. It’s a cathartic form of punishment to see helpless human beings be murdered by the millions by creatures we either created or kidnapped. And when we leave the theater we feel a sense of guilt relieved and a valuable lesson or two learned.

But monsters don’t always have to prey on our fears. They can also tap into our hopes and dreams. Our ideals. Our best intentions. Godzilla isn’t always the villain. Sometimes he’s the hero defending Earth from alien kaiju. In a twist of fate, Godzilla is the savior we need. He’s a horrifying monster, but he’s our monster. He’s on our side. So monsters are not always a negative thing. They can also be an asset.

Take female bodybuilders, for example.

You knew I was eventually going to get back to them, right?

Like King Kong, Godzilla, Jurassic Park’s Tyrannosaurus Rexes, and slasher killers like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, female bodybuilders are also monsters. They’re beautiful monsters. Gorgeous monsters. Flawlessly angelic monsters.

And strangely enough, they tap into both our deepest fears and highest aspirational dreams.

Monster - King Kong
Got to give some love to King Kong too.

At casual glance, it’s a bit strange why straight guys would be attracted to muscular women. Most people assume that men would be naturally repulsed by female bodybuilders. And many are. But many are not. Conventional wisdom tells you that guys wouldn’t like female bodybuilders because they would make them feel inadequate. The sight of a woman with bigger muscles than you’ll ever achieve is enough to make you feel insecure, lazy, and a pathetic excuse-maker.

I mean, if she can get that big, what’s your excuse, buster?

This probably explains why guys are so quick to yell “Steroids, steroids, steroids!” in YouTube comments as if they were Jan Brady from The Brady Bunch. They need to remind others (and themselves) that the reason why these ladies are so big is because they’ve become so through unnatural means. It provides them psychological comfort knowing FBBs “cheat the system” by taking anabolic steroids that infuse them with an unnatural level of male hormones. And this, in turn, makes it easier to build so much muscle mass.

So if they see photos of Alina Popa or Nataliya Kuznetsova and scream “steroids!!!” as loud as they possibly can, that’s enough to protect their fragile egos from being shattered by a complete stranger they’re peculiarly stalking on Instagram.

In other words, for these Female Muscle Haters (FMH), FBBs are an attack on their masculinity. Or their title as the “Stronger Sex.” Female bodybuilders are monstrous to them not because they look freaky or weird, but because they remind themselves of how inadequate they are. They have a constant need to be better than women at every aspect of life (including professional and personal achievements) and treat every woman who is superior to them at something as a threat. It’s a sad commentary on how many people view the world, but that’s the way it is.

But for Female Muscle Fans (FMF), we choose to put our egos aside and embrace these strong beautiful ladies. We celebrate their impressive achievements and cheer them on to get bigger, stronger, and more famous. We don’t feel threatened by them. Rather, we feel an odd sense of empowerment by them. We know that we’re not as strong as them, but we don’t feel emasculated by that fact. We feel turned on. We feel – and this will sound strange to anyone who isn’t initiated into female muscle fandom – stronger because of them.

Stronger, you say? Oh yes.

Female bodybuilders inspire us to be better. They are the living embodiment of “strong independent women” that too many people claim to be but really aren’t. They give us a warm tingly feeling inside that cannot be explained. They are a reminder that women are not destined to be the “weaker sex” and that men can lose the label of being the “stronger sex” if they get complacent. It’s both scary and empowering to know that our destinies are in our own hands. We control who we are and what we become. Nobody else. That can be frightening because it makes us responsible for our own failings.

Monster - Jay Fuchs
Jay Fuchs is both beautiful and a Goddess you don’t want to anger.

Female bodybuilders take the initiative. They refuse to make excuses. When they fail, they learn from that failure and adjust accordingly. Nothing is given to them on a silver platter. They have to earn their muscles, going as far as having to work harder than men if they want to achieve the same level of muscularity. And the bodybuilding industry is doing them no favors either. They’re on an island, swimming upstream in a hostile and indifferent world.

And so when they do achieve eye-popping physiques that make our jaws drop to the floor, we are turned on by them even more knowing how damn difficult it is to look that way. I’ve written before that female bodybuilders “earn their beauty.” It feels more meritorious. An average-looking woman who isn’t born with natural beauty can transform herself into a Supreme All-Powerful Muscle Goddess by following a strict diet, workout regimen, and supplementation schedule. She can go from being an ugly duckling to an Unstoppable Muscle Queen Who Slays Her Enemies through means that are totally within her control. That’s true empowerment.

Charlize Theron hit the genetics jackpot and was born naturally drop-dead gorgeous. Not everyone is so lucky. However, bodybuilding is one way (certainly not the only way) that someone can transform themselves into a more physically beautiful person without having to resort of cosmetic surgery. I love Kathy Connors dearly, but unlike Miss Theron, she was not born with natural beauty. But right now, Miss Connors is a Devilishly Sexy Muscle Siren through her own blood, sweat, and tears. And I applaud her for it!

This is why female bodybuilders tap into both our deepest fears and highest aspirations. Depending on how we choose to view the world, FBBs can make us feel either inadequate or inspired. Emasculated or empowered. We either reject their uniqueness or we embrace it. We see their muscled physique as either a reminder of our own weakness or a celebratory example of human perfection personified. We love them for who they are or we hate them for who they remind us we aren’t.

Who knew female muscle fandom could be so complex?

That being said, like all cinematic monsters, female bodybuilders are not inherently grotesque or beautiful. Those are labels we attach to them. We could look at Godzilla as the destroyer of humankind or we can look at him as a mere animal – granted, a very large animal – doing what all animals do: try to survive. Is Michael Myers a mindless psychopath who kills people because it’s in his nature? Or is he the product of a sick and twisted society that treated him like dirt and murdering hapless teens is his way of avenging that miserable childhood?

Monster - Bride of Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein was created to make sure the Creature didn’t get too lonely.

Perhaps this leads to an obvious conclusion: Monsters reveal our inner most fears because deep down inside, we’re actually afraid that we deserve the punishment that monsters levy upon us. When Godzilla stomps all over downtown Tokyo and kills scores of innocent people, it’s actually poetic retribution for mankind’s carelessness with regards to the environment. Or, a valuable lesson that man’s militaristic nature will eventually come back to haunt him. Peace begets peace, while war begets more war.

The vitriol aimed at female bodybuilders can be harsh, but not unexpected. People can be terrible when they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. Calling them “man-like” or “gross” or “freaky” may hurt their (and our) feelings, but in today’s trollish culture we must come to expect such idiocy.

Some FBBs use their haters as inspiration. Others choose to ignore them and instead focus on the people who genuinely love them. I think this is a more healthy route. Indeed, female bodybuilders are Beautiful Monsters. They are truly polarizing. Either you love them dearly or you are viscerally repulsed by them. Your reaction to seeing a photograph of a muscular woman can cause you to post bigoted misogynistic comments or unzip your pants and masturbate. I’ve received plenty of emails from fans who claim they’re “addicted” to female bodybuilders and that this fetish is so strong it’s causing their relationships with friends and family to break down.

Oof. I usually recommend they step back, take a deep breath, and seek the assistance of a counselor. That’s not healthy. That’s not fandom. That’s an obsession taken way too far.

It’s really bizarre that FBBs can elicit such totally opposing reactions.

Sexist hatred. Uncontrollable lust. Blatant misogyny. Animalistic sexual urges. Vitriolic comments. Fascination bordering on unhealthy obsession. Regardless, all of this leads to a much more disturbing but ultimately truthful assessment:

Perhaps female bodybuilders are not monsters after all.

We are.

Nostalgic for Naughtiness

An old issue of Women’s Physique World featuring Shelley Beattie and Sharon Bruneau.

Every man who was once a teenage boy with raging hormones should be able to identify with this scenario:

You borrow a copy of a dirty magazine from a buddy at school. Or you steal it from a grocery store with the stealth skills of a Special Ops commander. Or you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an old issue of Playboy or Hustler sitting in a garbage can or recycling bin. No matter how you acquire said dirty magazine, it’s a prized possession that you will guard with your life.

Your brothers and sisters cannot know about it. Your parents especially cannot know about it. So it must be kept a secret from prying eyes, forever fated to be stuffed in your sock drawer or underneath your mattress. The only time you can look at it is at night under the cover of darkness. Bring it to school and you risk one of your teachers discovering it, confiscating it, and telling Mom or Dad about it. Talk about bad news. Can’t possibly risk that. No bloody way.

But what’s in that dirty magazine that’s so damn intriguing? It’s simple: Beautiful girls wearing very little (or no) clothing. Just a few short years ago, girls were disgusting creatures who were annoying, bad at sports, and had different hobbies than you. Today, it’s a whole different story. Girls are enigmatic creatures who make you feel wiggly inside. You cannot help but stare at the ones who were the prettiest or had the shapeliest bodies. And you definitely struggle to stop staring at the ones with big boobs. Oh boy…

But your magazine offers a special glimpse that you cannot possibly have while sitting in math class. Your treasured magazine shows you a whole new side of the female species that you’ve only just begun to discover. You finally get to see what a pair of breasts look like. You finally learn why Dad married Mom in the first place. And, you finally find out what girls have between their legs that you don’t.

This scenario should be especially familiar with those of you who are older than 30. However, as the Internet Age rolled around, teenage boys don’t have to sneak dirty magazines into their bedrooms in order to get their “fix.” Pictures of gorgeous naked women are only a simple Google search away (not to mention a furious effort to delete one’s browsing history before Grandma next uses the family computer). So as time goes on, one presumes this familiar scenario will become less familiar.

Will you accept this rose from Raye Hollitt?

Nevertheless, for those of us who love female bodybuilders, there’s an added dimension to our story of how we discovered what turns us on. In addition to conventionally beautiful lingerie and fashion models, we were also introduced to pretty women who sported a bit more muscle mass than usual. So not only were we smuggling copies of Playboy into our coat closets, we were also sneaking in contraband fitness and weightlifting magazines.

Sure, the majority of those publications featured big burly men. But on occasion, we got to feast our eyes on ladies with big burly muscles.

Oh baby.

In today’s modern world in which everything you can possibly think of can now be accessed through the Internet, it’s becoming easier and easier to indulge in your vices in complete privacy. Private web browsing has been a helpful tool in hiding your fetishes from anyone who also happens to use your computer. Granted, you still need to be cautious when you’re at work, but when you’re sitting at home you can be as freaky as you want to be without a single soul knowing about it.

Yet, with all this erotic material readily available at your fingertips, doesn’t it seem like the “old days” were a bit more, how shall we say it, “naughty?”

What is meant by that is the general feeling that back in the days when images of beautiful muscular women were rare, the few opportunities we got to feast our eyes on them seemed much more exciting than they do now. Today, we can easily scroll through hundreds of female bodybuilders, fitness models, and athletes on Instagram, Tumblr blogs, and fan websites without breaking a sweat. No need to sneak in magazines underneath your Mom’s watchful eye. No fear of Dad finding out. Also, no need to research where you can find these photos, which in our youth we treated as precious commodities like gold, diamonds, and crude oil.

With search engines and social media making our beloved ladies more easily available than ever before, why do simple Google searches fail to send that same tingling sensation down our spines that peering through old photos of Rachel McLish late at night in our bedrooms once did? Is it because we’re older and more accustomed to seeing photos of gorgeous muscular women, or is it something deeper?

Let’s explore the latter. It is not beyond comprehension that part of the reason why our adolescent brains were kicking into overdrive was because, well, the clichéd phrase “raging hormones” exists for a reason. So is it fair to say that as we get older our hormones get more under control, thus we become less fanatical in our desire to ogle beautiful women? Maybe, but that doesn’t appear to be the only answer. For the female muscle enthusiasts out there, another explanation must cover the territory of the “forbidden fruit.”

As if peering at photos of beautiful women weren’t scandalous (relatively speaking) enough, being turned on by photos of muscular beautiful women is a whole other story. Now we’re crossing into “weird” ground, not just “scandalous.” It’s not embarrassing to admit you’d like to tap Pamela Anderson (especially if you grew up in the 90s), but it would definitely raise a few eyebrows if you declare proudly that you’d also like to screw Kim Chizevsky. Especially if the people you were with knew who Kim is and what she looks like.

Talk about awkward.

But awkwardness is exactly the point. We’re embarrassed because we don’t want others to find out about our attraction to female bodybuilders, but we’re also somewhat embarrassed for our own sake. We start to wonder if something is wrong with us. We ask questions such as: Am I normal? Am I secretly gay? Why don’t more people feel the same way as I do?

But even those questions are starting to diminish. The Internet has played an integral role in breaking down almost every social taboo you can think of. You can easily locate like-minded individuals who are into the same “unusual” stuff as you. Do you enjoy drawing Game of Thrones fan art? Or writing Harry Potter fan fiction? Or immersing yourself into “Furry” culture (don’t look it up if you aren’t prepared to truly find out what it is)? Well, finding other people who are into the same things as you has never been easier. This is quite a blessing, especially if you are prone to wondering whether if you’re alone in the Universe. Odds are you are not.

The statuesque Bev Francis.

The same goes for female muscle fetishism. For all its flaws, Saradas.com is a popular forum for discussing and sharing content related to female bodybuilding, sessions, fantasy wrestling, and the like. You can easily connect and communicate with people all across the globe who enjoy the same female muscle-related activities as you. This level of connectivity with souls spread around the planet is unprecedented. Yet here we are. What a time to be alive.

However, despite the ease of which we can access photos/videos of muscular women and meet people who share our common interests, why does it seem like (to repeat the question articulated earlier) the old days were much naughtier? Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s not beyond the stretch of the imagination to say that once something becomes mainstream, it starts to lose a little bit of its juice. Granted, female bodybuilding is still (and probably never will be) not considered mainstream, but within the world of Internet subcultures, anything can be mainstream if you look in the right places. What’s the deal here?

The best explanation has to be the fact that before the Internet existed, most of us truly didn’t know if other people felt the same way about female bodybuilders as we did. Before Google allowed us to discover information faster and easier than before, we had no idea how many other people (if any at all) shared our fascination with them. It’s not just loneliness. It’s the fear that nobody else is crazy enough to get turned on by a woman with big muscles. And if that’s the case, isn’t the next logical conclusion that there must be something “off” about us?

Hence, our uncontrollable and unexplainable attraction to female muscle felt supremely naughty. And not just naughty in a moral sense, but also in a psychological sense. We didn’t know if our brains were working properly. That’s taking naughtiness to a whole new level.

The other explanation is the supply of female muscle-related media. Back in the pre-Internet age, our exposure to FBBs was limited to magazines, bodybuilding contests on television, and your old dusty VHS copy of “Pumping Iron II: The Women.” That’s about it. So the few instances in which we could find new photos of female bodybuilders were few and far between.

That made the experience all the more exciting. The rare occurrence when we could get our sweaty hands on a brand new issue of the latest fitness magazine seemed like a quasi-religious experience. It was as if we had found a Golden Ticket in our recently purchased Wonka Bar. We felt as giddy as if it were Christmas morning. But instead of a new bicycle or autographed football, it was a magazine chock full of images of powerful women with bulging biceps and massive quads. Hell, this beats the experience of tearing up presents underneath the decorated tree by a mile!

Who wants to lift with Cory Everson?

Back when the product is scarce, we appreciated it more. Now that the product is available in abundance, you’d think we would appreciate it more, but we don’t. Ironically, an overabundance of the product actually ends up making us appreciate it less. Thirty years ago, we had to risk life and limb to sneak a copy of a bodybuilding magazine into our rooms without our parents detecting it. Today, we can skim through endless Instagram feeds of scantily clad female bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models with our only concern being whether we’ll run out of battery power.

This is a good thing, right? Of course it is. But human nature being what it is, we can’t help but sense a diminished sense of giddiness living in today’s media-saturated environment. Our love for female bodybuilders seems cheap. Easy. Casual. Maybe not mainstream, but certainly less-out-of-the-ordinary-than-before. Female muscle fetishism has lost some of its naughtiness. What should we make of this?

Well, not much. But this does provide a valuable lesson about the relationship between cultural acceptance and modern communications technology.

People tend to react viscerally to things that are unusual, even if they aren’t necessarily “weird.” Unusual is simply anything that is not usual. But the more common it becomes, the less unusual it is, and the more “normal” it seems. This is not rocket science. This simple observation is also true for female muscle and our reaction to it. We think it’s strange to see women with big muscles precisely because women with big muscles are rare. But as our definition of “mainstream” starts to veer away from legacy corporate advertising and toward more grassroots-based media, the doors to almost anything will swing wide open.

The list goes on regarding things you once never saw but now can see whenever you feel like it: Plus-sized models, South Korean soap operas, documentaries about dwarfs (not the Lord of the Rings kind), Bollywood movies, Japanese pop music, Australian rugby matches, Brazilian cooking shows, cosplay conventions, Facebook groups for people who identify as “Gender Non-Conforming,” and so on. And yes, this includes photos, videos, blogs, and communities dedicated to female muscle. Almost anything you can think of is out there for public consumption.

An iconic female bodybuilder, Rachel McLish.

You just have to know where to look for it. Because not all of it will appear right under your nose when you least expect it.

Maybe this is why our love for female bodybuilders seems less naughty in today’s world than it did in yesteryear’s world. It’s not mainstream in the traditional sense of the word, but the very concept of “mainstream” is being challenged like never before. The Internet has allowed for the proliferation of subcultures and subcultures within subcultures to meet and convene in ways that were unimaginable even twenty years ago. And that’s not a long time ago, in relative terms.

Hence, we may be reaching – or have already reached – the point where the familiar scenario outlined in the beginning of this article will no longer be familiar to the younger generation. Those of us in our late 20s and early 30s might be the last cohort who remembers sneaking dirty magazines into our bedrooms. Today, this is a thing of the past. Those days are over. Everything we love is now digitalized. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.

Laurie Noack Gibson by the swimming pool. Want to jump in?

But what we can conclude is that for lovers of female muscle, this is a fantastic cultural development. Our access to beautiful muscular women has reached unprecedented levels. Well, actually, our access to anything you can possibly think of has reached unprecedented levels. As much as this can be a cause for celebration and popping the champagne corks, there is something tangible that’s been lost. That rush of adrenaline we all felt when we were scared out of our wits about being caught with muscle magazines has now been replaced with remembering to delete your browsing history. Ho hum. Boring!

Or is it? Is feeling naughty – and by extension, guilty – really a positive thing? Or does it only serve to suppress our natural desires and keep us shackled to society’s stringent standards? The answer to this is impossible to fully know, and perhaps we’re just being prisoners of nostalgia. We want the next generation to experience the same things we did when we were younger…for no other reason than we enjoyed it.

But will they? Maybe all this sneaking around wasn’t healthy at all and that society will actually benefit from being more open about sexual attraction, desire, and impulses. In this case, we should applaud the trends we’re currently witnessing.

But one suspects that being naughty, no matter what form that takes, will always be with us. And if that’s the case, does it matter how crotchety old fogies like us think about it?

Sthenolagnia vs. Cratolagnia – Which Best Describes Me?

What about Yaxeni Oriquen turns you on? Gee, where do I start?
What about Yaxeni Oriquen turns you on? Gee, where do I start?

Here are two vocabulary words most people in the general population have never heard before: Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.

Don’t even ask me how to pronounce either word. Consult an online dictionary instead. Or just take a wild guess. Whichever works for you!

I’ll admit that I never heard of these words before I became an official female muscle fan. So if you consider yourself an admirer of muscular human beings of the feminine persuasion, allow yourself the opportunity to improve your vernacular.

Sthenolagnia is defined as the “sexual arousal from displaying strength or muscles” while cratolagnia is “sexual arousal from strength.” Anyone who thinks muscles are sexy should be able to identify with one of or both of these concepts.

So what’s the difference, exactly? Good question.

People who are attracted to large muscles (regardless of the gender of the person displaying these muscles) aren’t necessarily attracted to the same thing or for the same reasons. Human sexuality is very diverse and difficult to put into neat boxes. This is why we must have honest discussions about what we like and why we like what we like.

Often, sthenolagnia and cratolagnia could be considered interchangeable when discussing muscle fetishism. But that is not the case. Being attracted to muscles and being attracted to displays of strength – while definitely related – are not necessarily the same thing. Here is a brief breakdown of how these kinks are different.

Muscles as an Accessory vs. Strength as an Action

Someone who likes a person with big muscles is attracted to the way they look. The shape of their bodies is very arousing and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

For example, someone can love the way Alina Popa’s body looks without ever having to see her bend steel or pick up a person and carry them around. Her musculature, symmetry, awe-inspiring definition and good-old-fashioned sexiness (she is a very beautiful woman regardless of her physique) are enough to make many men consider her attractive.

The stereotype that men are visual creatures may play a role in this. Sexual attraction develops from what the eye can see. A beautiful woman can make a man turn his head, stare at her as she walks by and subsequently run into a telephone pole.

The same goes for an aesthetically gorgeous muscle woman. Debi Laszewski would make many men turn their heads if they saw her walk by. Especially if she’s wearing a tight dress that generously shows off her muscular curves and high heels and allows her legs to shine! Expect many fender benders if she traversed her way across a busy crosswalk.

If Brigita Brezovac walked down a busy street, there would be plenty of auto accidents.
If Brigita Brezovac walked down a busy street, there would be plenty of auto accidents.

On the other hand, someone who is attracted to big muscles may get turned on by seeing how this person uses their big muscles. After all, what’s the point of having superhuman strength if you never use it? You don’t work that hard just to sit around and not utilize your gifts.

Some men fantasize about a strong Amazonian woman picking them up, carrying them around and demonstrating her physical dominance. Whether you get turned on by having your inferiority complex put to the test or because you love feeling helpless in the hands of someone who’s supposedly a member of the “weaker sex,” witnessing (and experiencing) a woman displaying her strength is what it’s all about for you. Power is sexy. Feeling helpless can also be sexy. For men who agree with these premises, watching a female bodybuilder show off her amazing strength could very well be their personal definition of “Heaven.”

You might equally be turned on by a woman displaying strength who doesn’t physically appear to be strong. A slender woman dressed as a dominatrix or a corporate boss comes to mind. Strength doesn’t just mean muscles. It also means mental, emotional and sexual strength. So, one could theoretically experience cratolagnia with a non-bodybuilder. All you need is a female (or male) who isn’t afraid to flaunt his or her dominance and an appreciative audience to enjoy the spectacle.

Social Taboos at Play

There are also certain social taboos that explain why people experience sthenolagnia and cratolagnia.

Let’s consider the concept of women being the “weaker sex.” If we accept the premise that, generally speaking, women are biologically weaker to men, we should also acknowledge that examples contrary to this would be considered out of the ordinary. Also, things that are not ordinary are usually found either revolting or highly intriguing to people.

We are intrigued by what is not usual. Social taboos exist because there are certain social phenomena that elicit strong emotional responses from people. These responses could be disgust, anger, annoyance, confusion and often times, arousal. So, consider the taboos a female bodybuilder presents:

Her body shape doesn’t conform to our traditional standards of femininity.

Her physical strength goes contrary to what we know about basic human biology.

Her large physical stature contradicts our common conceptions about male vs. female gender roles.

Her open willingness to display her muscles and strength is unusual for most women’s behavior.

Her muscular physique places her in a role usually occupied by a man.

Her strength breaks down barriers that customarily separate men and women.

Some of us get turned on by defiance. Defiance gives us power. It’s our way of rebelling against whatever social constructs we oppose. If it’s true that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” then people get turned on by a female bodybuilder’s muscles because they love the power being demonstrated by her in such an open fashion.

Not only is she physically powerful, but she’s mentally and emotionally powerful. Her self-confidence, limitless work ethic, remarkable self-discipline and indifference toward her “haters” are attractive. If she’s willing to rebel against gender stereotypes, human physiology and mass media messages, what isn’t she willing to do?

Think muscles on a woman isn't sexy? Take a look at Alicia Alfaro and prepare to have your mind blown.
Think muscles on a woman isn’t sexy? Take a look at Alicia Alfaro and prepare to have your mind blown.

There are many men who are secretly tired of always being in control. They’re sick of being counted on to be the “strong one.” They’d rather someone else do the proverbial heavy lifting. That’s why many powerful men prefer to be the “sub” in a D/s-BDSM roleplaying scenario. For once they want a woman to be in charge. He wants to relinquish power for the time being. Being weak turns him on. Seeing the woman become powerful also turns him on.

And all of this is still very taboo.

The Brain is the Ultimate Sex Organ

Essentially, this discussion boils down to this truth: female bodybuilders are both physically and intellectually beautiful. Their physical beauty comes in their perfectly sculpted bodies that we see at the gym, on the streets, at bodybuilding contests and on the Internet. A female bodybuilder’s physical beauty, while not universally acknowledged, is a force to be reckoned with.

Also, a female bodybuilder can also be intellectually beautiful. Her willingness to break social taboos, rebel against certain cultural standards and march to the beat of her own drum is very arousing to many of us. The brain is the ultimate sex organ, right?

Strength, therefore, comes in two forms: physical strength and intellectual strength. Physical strength is self-explanatory. Intellectual strength is something else entirely. It takes someone who understands what hurdles someone has to go through and appreciates their accomplishments. A female muscle fan gets it. They understand how insanely difficult it is for a woman to “look like that.”

Betty Viana wants you to come to bed.
Betty Viana wants you to come to bed.

Anyone who openly defies society and lives a lifestyle that’s so foreign to most people is as tough-minded as they get. And bulking up isn’t easy for women. Not nearly as easy as it is for men (and for many men, it’s still not easy!). So to understand the sacrifices and hard work necessary to transform from a normal-looking woman to Yaxeni Oriquen gives you an intellectual erection.

You have permission to use “intellectual erection” all you want. It’s on the house.

So…Which Best Describes Me?

To answer this question, consider all the reasons why you find female bodybuilders (and athletes) to be so captivating. Is it purely physical? If so, physical in terms of aesthetic or action? Or is there a sociological explanation as well?

Generally speaking, it’s probably safe to say that you might be experiencing sthenolagnia if your attraction to FBBs is purely due to your love for their hard, beautiful muscles. Their socially taboo bodies make you go crazy. Watching them use their muscles in a practical way is a bonus, but not a must. Simply put, YOU LOVE HER MUSCLES.

If your love for female muscle goes beyond that, then you might be in the cratolagnia category. It’s not enough to look at their gorgeous physiques. You want to see their strength in action. You love their hard-earned bodies and defiant attitude toward society’s narrow definition of beauty. You appreciate their accomplishments both from a physical and intellectual standpoint. Simply put, YOU LOVE HOW STRONG SHE IS.

This goes to show that not everyone is attracted to female muscle for the same reason. It’s not just because of muscles, muscles, muscles and more muscles. Yes, muscles on a woman are very sexy, but so is her brute strength, dedication to her craft and eagerness to live her life to the fullest.

Nuriye Evans, an undisputed Muscle Goddess if there ever was one.
Nuriye Evans, an undisputed Muscle Goddess if there ever was one.

Muscles and strength can mean two different things to different people. Anyone who knows even a little bit about the bodybuilding lifestyle knows how difficult and grueling it is. It’s a cutthroat business. The dieting, lifting, supplementation and scientific approach to reorganizing your life’s schedule can be exhausting – especially if one is pursuing bodybuilding as a profession.

Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.

Two words you probably can’t pronounce. Two words you certainly did not grow up learning about.

But now you know a little more about this glorious world of female muscle, female muscle fandom and the reasons why we love our buff, strong and powerful ladies. It truly is a mesmerizing world once you jump in head first.

So immerse yourself into it as fully as you can. You never know…you just might find yourself using these two words in everyday conversation!

Respecting Those We Lust After: The Sexual Objectification of Female Bodybuilders

Dina al-Sabah, the Muscle Goddess from Kuwait.
Dina al-Sabah, the Muscle Goddess from Kuwait.

I love female muscle.

That should be obvious to everyone. I really love strong women. I love the way they look. I love the giddy feelings they give me whenever I look at pictures of them. I love meeting them in person for muscle worship sessions. I love talking to them about their careers, their lifestyles and the sacrifices they’ve had to make to achieve their immaculate physique.

But there’s a problem here. A problem I feel compelled to address both honestly and openly.

Am I objectifying them?

It’s a fair question. Do I merely lust after these women instead of “admiring” them as world-class athletes? Is my attempt to intellectualize my respect for female bodybuilders just my way of hiding the fact that I really think of them as sex objects instead of human beings? Am I dehumanizing these women whenever I have lustful thoughts about them?

All fair questions. And all of them deserve to be discussed in detail. I’m a big proponent of open, productive dialogue. So let’s begin this discourse!

Of course, I’m biased (because I’m talking about myself), but I don’t believe I’m objectifying the very women I’ve spent the past few years writing about. But let’s first discuss semantics. What exactly does “objectify” mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “objectify” means “to treat as an object or cause to have objective reality.”

Simply put, in regards to interpersonal relationships, it means when you treat a person not as a human being but as tool for your own personal benefit. In popular vernacular, “objectify” usually connotes sexual objectification. When someone treats another person as merely an object for their selfish sexual gratification, that person is objectifying the other. This is considered dehumanizing because you don’t care about their feelings, thoughts and/or point of view. You only care about what they have to offer you personally.

Countless books and academic dissertations have been written on the subject. I highly encourage you to read more about this if you’re truly interested.

But on the other hand, it’s perfectly normal to be sexually attracted to someone. Human beings have desires they cannot control. I didn’t choose to be smitten by the beauty of my high school crush. It just happened. Yes, I liked her for different reasons too (she was very smart and we came from similar cultural backgrounds), but her physical beauty was what initially attracted me to her. Everything else I liked about her I discovered later once we got to know each other.

The object of my desire, Monique Jones.
The object of my desire, Monique Jones.

The same goes for my love of female muscle. I love muscular women. I love the way they look. I think muscles on a feminine form is beautiful. Beautiful beyond words. Beyond description. I’ve written many essays discussing why I love female muscle and how psychologically impactful they’ve been on me. Many of my readers share this love with me. Just take a moment to read some of the comments on my articles.

But my love for female muscle isn’t just aesthetic. It’s also emotional. I think it’s brave to sculpt your body to a standard that completely contradicts what society at large preaches to us. I’m a strong believer in the social benefits of women lifting weights at the gym (there are also obvious health benefits too). I think our world would be a much better place for all of us if we encouraged the “strong is beautiful” mantra instead of “skinny is beautiful.” The latter has faced significant backlash in recent years. The former is just starting to emerge.

So, where does that leave us? How is it possible to humanize someone that I can only see from a distance?

I will admit that there is a fine line between objectifying a woman and being sexually attracted to her. Obviously, I will never actually meet most of the women I’ve come to love. I’ve only met three female bodybuilders in my life, all from participating in muscle worship sessions with them. So for me, it’s hard to get to know someone you simply…can’t ever get to know. Unlike my high school crush that I eventually mustered the courage to ask to the Homecoming dance during my senior year in high school, I will have virtually no chance of meeting and interacting with any of these FBBs.

But that’s not my only “way out.” I realize that an FBB is a human being, no different than you or I. I fully understand that a muscular woman doesn’t exist solely to satiate my own personal fetishes. Even the three FBBs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting I treated with the utmost respect. I tried to be kind. I apologized to one who had the misfortune of having a lot of cancellations before coming to Seattle. I know many of these women may not even like doing these sessions, but they do them because it gives them a consistent source of income. Travelling takes you away from your friends and family. It’s tough to financially support yourself when you’re involved in a career that isn’t terribly lucrative.

On a personal level, I recognize their humanity and never feel I am entitled to receive whatever I want from them. I hope other people who interact with FBBs do the same.

Dana Lynn Bailey is a living legend.
Dana Lynn Bailey is a living legend.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to preach some “holier-than-thou” message and condemn anyone who made a mistake and treated a muscular woman with rudeness. That is not my intention at all. Rather, I’m just trying to wrap my mind around rationalizing my love for female muscle without falling into the trap of “objectifying” them.

Let’s put it this way: the concept of misogyny. Misogyny is “the hatred of women.” I am far from being a misogynist. But as any feminist critic will tell you, there is a long list of behaviors and attitudes that can be construed as “misogynistic.” Unfortunately, when discussing sexuality, gender relations and feminist theory in general, too often the discussion becomes a shouting match instead of a productive discussion. It’s easy to label men like us as misogynistic because of how much we lust after FBBs.

Is my love for female muscle linked to some deep-seeded hatred for women? Do I love them because they’re women who are more like men, whom obviously I believe are far superior? The answer to these questions is a resounding “NO!”

A great shot of Roberta Toth.
A great shot of Roberta Toth.

My love for muscular women has nothing to do with the fact their physique makes them “look like a man.” It’s easy to slam a person as “objectifying” a muscular woman when you don’t see the world from their perspective. If anything, we’re anti-misogynistic because we love these women for being empowered, powerful (both physically and mentally), determined, goal-oriented and not caring what the rest of the world thinks.

But I digress (boy, what a cliché!) This can be a little extreme. I don’t think too many people who criticize men who love strong women truly believe they actually hate them to any degree. Instead, I think the main criticism we face mostly comes from the accusation that we fetishize these ladies. For example:

White men who only date Asian women are always accused of fetishizing them:

You don’t like them because of who they are. You like them because you love their Asian features and behaviors. You don’t care about them as a person. You only married her because you can’t get enough of her slanted eyes, black hair, slim figure and golden yellow skin. You keep her around because you expect her to be subservient and satisfy your every sexual desire unconditionally.

We’ve all heard this before. And this is just one example. There are plenty more out there. Suffice to say, men who love muscular women might also be slandered for feeling the same way:

You only like them because their muscles turn you on! You only like them because you find their bodies attractive, not them as people. The only purpose a female bodybuilder serves to you is to help you satisfy your personal sexual gratifications. They’re a fetish to you, no different than watching porn or seeing young girls in Catholic school uniforms.

And so on. We’re not fans of these women. We’re creepy, animalistic chauvinist pigs. The fact these women are physically strong means nothing. If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. If you put muscles on a woman, it doesn’t change the fact you’re unequivocally objectifying her.

I really love Lindsay Mulinazzi.
I really love Lindsay Mulinazzi.

But let’s hold on for a moment. All judging aside, there’s nothing wrong with being enamored by someone’s physical beauty. It’s nature. It’s natural. It’s a product of hormones, biology and generations and generations of reproduction. Also, there’s nothing morally reprehensible about being physically attracted to someone. Man or woman, gay or straight, it’s all part of human nature. But how you treat a person, however, is a whole other can of worms.

That’s really what this entire conversation boils down to in a nutshell (wait, can you really boil something down to a nutshell? I may have meshed two idioms into one…). How you treat a person. The Miss America pageant is criticized for putting attractive young women on display for no purpose other than to give male viewers something pleasant to look at for a few hours. The Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League)? Infamous at best. Misogynistic at worst. But nevertheless, no one watches it for the “sport.”

I will admit this is a difficult subject to broach. This conversation hits a lot of us on a gut level. It’s hard to separate my personal desires from my yearning to communicate fairly and objectively. So here is how I will approach this issue:

Objectification, at its core, is a personal thing. Try as we may, we can never know what’s in someone’s heart. Are there men out there who treat FBBs only as sex objects and not as people? Yes. Are there people (men and women) out there who detest FBBs because of their outdated definitions of “femininity?” Yes. Are some female muscle fantasies (for example, wanting to hurt, degrade or humiliate an FBB) shared by some of us rooted in misogyny? Yes, it’s quite possible.

Diana Tinnelle Stanback is someone I've recently discovered. Why haven't I known about her longer?
Diana Tinnelle Stanback is someone I’ve recently discovered. Why haven’t I known about her longer?

I’m not here to deny that objectification happens. I’m not going to argue that misogyny is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, both are still prevalent in our world.

But…we’ll never know for sure how someone feels. What lies in your heart is something no one else will ever know. I know in my heart that I’ve never dehumanized a muscular woman. I treat them as people, not toys. But no matter how much I try to convince myself of this, there’s always that lingering bit of doubt in my mind.

The sport of bodybuilding is all about aesthetic and judging this aesthetic. It goes against what we’ve been taught about how to treat people. A judge at a bodybuilding contest judges a competitor purely based on what their body looks like. How nice they are, how smart they are, and how hard they’ve worked to get to this point doesn’t matter. What matters is how they appear in your subjective (though based on predetermined objective criteria) viewpoint. This goes counter to our culture that teaches us not to be shallow and judge someone on their looks. But within the context of the sport of bodybuilding, this type of judgment is completely justified.

A bodybuilder willingly puts themselves out there to be judged. This requires a level of self-esteem most of us do not possess. So if you really like how they look, is that such a bad thing? After all, their livelihood depends on improving their body’s appearance. If fans out there love the results, what’s the harm?

So we’re in a strange situation where we’re discussing people who willingly put themselves out there and dedicate their lives to shaping their bodies to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. While a bodybuilder’s chief objective isn’t to maximize their sex appeal, inevitably they’re going to enhance their sex appeal whether they like it or not. True, they’re athletes, not models. But when you sculpt your body to superhuman proportions, eventually somebody’s going to notice!

The lesson to be learned is simple: treat others as you would want to be treated. The Golden Rule is as old as time, but it’s stood the test of time for a reason. It’s a damn good rule to follow!

Don’t treat a female bodybuilder like a piece of meat. If you ever encounter one, treat her with respect. Don’t expect her to do certain things for you or allow you to do certain things to her just because you saw a video of her doing similar activities to a paid actor. Recognize their humanity. Accept that it’s perfectly okay to find her sexually attractive, but don’t allow this attraction to warp your perceptions of them.

The Blonde Muscle Goddess Cindy Phillips.
The Blonde Muscle Goddess Cindy Phillips.

Essentially, don’t be a jerk. You’ll be fine if you always act as kind and respectful as you can.

Will some people continue to ridicule you? Of course. Will certain folks still insist there’s something fundamentally “wrong” with you? Naturally. Just tune them out. Only you know what’s in your mind and heart.

The issue of sexual objectification is a tough one to tackle. Human history is chock full of battles between people wanting to be acknowledged as human beings and people who refuse to treat them like that. This still continues today.

People are people. We are all people trying to make our way through this confusing universe. Our time is limited here on planet Earth. We shouldn’t make things harder on each other if we can avoid it.

So embrace your female muscle fandom. And show your appreciation for these ladies and all their hard work. It’s the most respectful thing you can do.

The Wow Factor

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.
Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

I’ve finally figured it out. In all my years of my female muscle fandom, I’ve never really been able to put into succinct words why I love muscular women so much.

Sure, long essays can explain the bread and butter of why I find female bodybuilders and athletes so appealing. I can even post a ton of photos of my favorite FBBs for all of you to salivate over. But that still doesn’t even begin to describe why exactly we love them.

But now I’ve got it figured out. Finally.

Simply put:

The Wow Factor.

That’s it. The Wow Factor. “Wow” is a word we use to describe something so amazing, Earth-shattering, incredible and astonishing that no other monosyllabic utterance could do it justice. Wow. You could substitute that for “whoa,” but let’s not confuse our female muscle fandom for the vernacular of California surfer dudes or college stoner kids. I’m talking about something else here.

Wow. Just…wow.

The Wow Factor is my best way of describing it.

Women like Debi Laszewski are so damn beautiful that “wow” is the only way I can properly react when I see a photo of her. Yes, “Damn girl” or “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn” are also sufficient substitutes, but I’m not interested in catcalling Ms. Laszewski like a dirty-minded construction worker on his lunch break.

I’m interested in communicating what’s on my mind. And “wow” is the only thing on my mind. Is there any other way to put it?

How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?
How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?

But it’s not just about putting your feelings into words. It’s describing your gut reaction the moment your brain processes what your eyes have just seen. The millisecond your mind realizes that it just saw an image of a strong, gorgeous woman showing off her hard work in all its erotic glory – you can’t possibly articulate what that feels like. No way. It’s a feeling that hits you on a level that goes way beyond mere “attraction.”

It’s not just lust. It’s not just turning your head when you see a pretty woman walking past you and thinking to yourself, “That’s one fine looking lady.” That happens all the time (at least, it happens to me all the time!). The Wow Factor goes way further. The Wow Factor isn’t an everyday occurrence. The Wow Factor changes the way you think. It changes the way you look at women (all women, not just those of the muscular variety). It changes the way you behave. It changes your paradigm.

This Wow Factor explains why bloggers like me continue to post pictures and essays about female muscle nonstop. This explains why guys like me are willing to pay $350 for an hour-long muscle worship session with a complete stranger in a hotel room. This explains why we can’t get enough of those glorious FBBs and their immaculate beauty.

The Wow Factor is a visceral gut reaction you can’t control. Here’s an anecdote for you. As strange as it sounds, sometimes I occasionally forget why I love female muscle in the first place. It’s sort of like a professional baseball player who’s played for 10 years in the league but lacks passion because he plays for a terrible team. But the moment his team catches fire and he’s playing in Game 7 of the World Series, suddenly his childhood love for the game returns and he’s playing with rejuvenated energy.

He suddenly remembers why he loves the game. The nervous energy. The thrill of competition. The joy of victory. The heart-wrenching depression of defeat. That child-like love for the game all of a sudden returns in that moment when you’re actually playing for something.

A rising star, Jill Rudison.
A rising star, Jill Rudison.

I sometimes get like that in regards to my female muscle fandom. I know I love strong women, but all it takes is a singular image of Alina Popa flexing her large, beautiful biceps wearing nothing but a microscopic thong bikini, and…I suddenly remember why I think Ms. Popa is a gift from God. I’ve always known that, but The Wow Factor hits me like a semi-truck blindsiding me out of nowhere and I’m instantaneously reminded why I feel the way I feel.

It’s a feeling that causes you to stare at your computer screen with your jaw dropped to the floor and your heart ceasing to beat. It makes me forget that other women exist in this world.

Lisa Cross. Denise Masino. Lindsay Mulinazzi. Angela Salvagno. Victoria Dominguez. Nikki Fuller. Yvette Bova. Amber DeLuca. Autumn Raby. Gayle Moher. Lauren Powers. Annie Rivieccio. Brandi Mae Akers. Jill Rudison. Shannon Courtney. Desiree Ellis. Jana Linke-Sippl. Lora Ottenad. Brenda Raganot. Monica Martin. Gracyanne Barbosa. Juliana Malacarne. Karen Zaremba. Michele Levesque. Sheila Bleck. Monica Brant. Lisa Marie Bickels. Lenda Murray. Iris Kyle. Julie Bourassa. Kris Murrell. Sondra Faas. Vilma Caez. Kris Clark. Melissa Dettwiller.

The list goes on and on and on. This doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Pick anyone on this list and spend five minutes doing a Google Images search on her. I guarantee you’ll be hooked within seconds. You’ll be completely enraptured by her power, beauty and strength. Her feminine prowess and physical stature will make you as hapless as a little puppy dog. You’ll totally forget why you used to ogle at the rail-thin supermodels in the Sears catalog (if you actually at one time did that, I’m really sorry!).

The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.
The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.

This is what it’s like to experience The Wow Factor. You’re struck by a lightning bolt and feel like there is no definition of “beauty” other than what you’ve just witnessed.

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason why there’s so much animosity against female bodybuilders. Haters (who are, pardon the expression, going to hate) have never experienced The Wow Factor. They’ve instead experienced The Ew Factor. The Gross Factor. The Utterly Disgusting Factor. The Why-the-Hell-Would-Anyone-Want-To-Look-Like-That Factor. It saddens me when people choose to shut themselves out from a certain part of life. True, no one has an obligation to like female muscle, but why say “no!” when instead you can choose “sure, why not?”

It’s clear to me that someone who says they’re repulsed by female bodybuilders say that mostly because deep down inside they’re insecure about themselves. They don’t feel secure in their masculinity. They don’t feel secure in their femininity. They react negatively to what they don’t understand or want to understand. They insult others because the only way for them to feel good about themselves is to bring down everyone else. This is a vicious cycle that especially comes out on the Internet. Anonymity brings out the worst in us. There’s no harm in expressing your true feelings when nobody knows your name. Insecurity and a forum for acting upon that insecurity can be a hurtful combination.

One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.
One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.

It should be obvious to anyone who follows the sport of female bodybuilding that the industry is pushing our favorite ladies off to the side and telling them “we don’t want you as much as we did in the past.” People may have wanted to see you on the cover of magazines thirty years ago, but that’s all changed now. Iris Kyle will never be a sports superstar. No way. We don’t care how many Ms. Olympia titles she’s won. We don’t care how dominating she is in her sport. None of that is relevant. What speaks is dollars. And, quite frankly, she doesn’t bring in the dollars like others can. Sorry. You lose. Better luck next time.

Does this make you angry? To anyone who’s experienced The Wow Factor, it should.

Additionally, The Wow Factor affects you in one other way: It makes you defensive whenever you feel like your passions are being attacked. How many times have you been told that female bodybuilders look “gross?” How often do you read articles about the decline of female bodybuilding and you just want to throw your computer against the wall? Does replacing the sport with pole dancing competitions make you want to face-palm over and over again till your forehead turns beet red?

These reactions are classic examples of wanting to defend what you love. The Wow Factor makes us feel as though any attack on a strong woman is also an attack on us. Insult the sport of female bodybuilding on a public forum? Expect fans from across the world to fight back. Someone wants to deny Alina Popa’s right to climb the mountaintops and finally win the Ms. Olympia? In no time will you see her countless fans defending her on her behalf.

Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.
Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.

Though this negative energy can be seen as a bad thing, anything can be used for something positive. Being angry and defensive all the time will get you nowhere. A more constructive use of these emotions is to become pro-active. There are a lot of things we can do to make sure female bodybuilding doesn’t become extinct. Write letters. Send e-mails. Boycott those who vigorously marginalize the FBBs we idolize. Buy books and magazines promoting female muscle. Open your wallets and hearts to the women we adore. Openly support these athletes as if they truly are our best friends. Don’t let society dictate what you find beautiful. Do what you can to make these amazing athletes more mainstream.

What if one day female muscle becomes more mainstream? Imagine a world where gorgeous women like Larissa Reis are seen in the media as often as we see Kate Upton. Think about how awesome it would be if we can turn on the summer Olympics and instead of being perplexed by the presence of strong women, we can just sit back and enjoy watching her hard work being proudly displayed on the world’s brightest stage.

Instead of thinking to ourselves, “Ew!” we can have a more complimentary reaction:

“Wow.”

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Eleven – The Girl Next Door

I return home at 2:30 p.m. after getting off my shift and doing an arms work out. I didn’t see Monifa after I saw her deadlifting, so I’m assuming she finished her work out before I got done washing those God-forsaken towels.

The walk back to my apartment was hellish because to the rain. I didn’t bring a jacket because, judging from the conditions earlier this morning, I didn’t think I needed one. That’s a testament to how unpredictable the Seattle weather can be on any given day.

I live on the seventh floor of my apartment, so I have a pretty good view of the neighborhood. But today the view isn’t terribly spectacular.

As I exit the elevator and proceed toward my room, I notice the unit next to mine is being cleaned out by the building staff. I see Pablo, our resident maintenance man, repairing the drywall in unit #724 (I live in unit #725). He looks hard at work.

“Good day, Pablo. New tenant?”

“Yes, sir. She’s moving in today. But I didn’t know about this drywall problem until the boss told me about it an hour ago. This shit is going to take all day to fix.”

“That sucks,” I say to him, unlocking my door. “Who is it? A family? A couple? A loner like me?”

“It’s a girl. A black girl. Very cute. You’ll like her.”

A black girl? Who’s new? It can’t be…

“Did you catch her name?” I ask casually.

“Nope. But I don’t think she’s married. She’s only bringing her cat with her. Why? Are you looking for a girlfriend?”

I laugh. “No, no. Of course not. I just want to say hello to her whenever I run into her. It’s nice to know her name in advance. How cute is she?”

Pablo puts down his tools and looks at me straight.

“Very cute. So hot. She has a fine ass. Fine ass, my friend. I’d tap her in a heartbeat.” Pablo then starts to do an obscene dance that I’m guessing is intended to simulate sex.

“I’m sure you would. And your taste in women is very similar to mine. Maybe we could both tap her.” I’m not usually that crass, but sometimes I get a little overzealous after working out. All that panting, sweating and extra blood flow does something to my mind.

“Oh yeah, like takes turns, right?”

“Uh huh. We’ll see how that goes. Take care, Pablo.”

“Take care, hombre.”

Cutting our conversation short, I slam the door shut behind me forcefully, so to tell him I’m retreating into my own little world and I am no longer interested in talking about “tapping asses.” Gee, what if Monifa is the girl who’s moving in next to me? That would be epic.

Monifa is one hell of a gorgeous woman. She’s not nearly as buff as Cindi, but she has a whole plethora of redeeming qualities: She has a beautiful face (honestly, one of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen!), a curvy body, large breasts (I consider myself a “leg guy,” but her breasts are something special), gorgeous black skin, toned muscles, abdominal muscles that can hold their own against any female peer (like Cindi) and enough booty to last a lifetime.

I have no idea what “enough booty to last a lifetime” means exactly, but you get the picture. Her butt is FINE. And it definitely deserves all capital letters.

But enough of that. For all I know, some other woman could be moving in next to me. What interests me at the moment is lunch. If I recall correctly, I have leftover lasagna in the refrigerator as well as a half-eaten take-out box of chow mein from a Chinese restaurant across the street from Wellford Fitness Center. There’s a 20-something Chinese girl who works there who’s one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life. She’s also shorter than a midget (that’s an exaggeration, but I highly doubt she even cracks five feet tall).

Hm…I think I hear the lasagna calling my name.

Ryan! Eat me! Eat me before I turn black and you have to throw me away!” the lasagna says to me. Believe it or not, there once was a time when I buried a container of clam chowder in the back of the refrigerator and forgot about it for nearly a year. When I discovered it, it became not green, but completely black.

And, it smelled like nobody’s business. Seriously, I wanted to puke after looking at it. Luckily, I did not. But I do not envy the garbage man who had to toss it in the back of his truck the next day. Ew.

Putting a slice of lasagna on a plate and placing it in the microwave, I set it for two minutes and wait. In the meantime, I reflect upon the beautiful specimen that is Monifa Okendu.

Wow. As if having Cindi in my life isn’t enough, I now have someone else I can fantasize about when I masturbate before going to bed. I consider women of all colors to be beautiful. Of course, ugly people (both men and women) exist across the entire ethnic spectrum, but I find a beautiful black woman to be especially pleasing to the eye. I have no idea why, I just do.

Maybe it’s because you very rarely see a black woman dating an Asian man. You see more of the other way around, but Asian guys tend to either stay with Asian women or venture out into the land of the paler skin ladies.

I wonder how many Asian guys have married a female bodybuilder. Who the hell knows?

Cindi is a Latina and she looks very exotic. Light brown skin and silky jet black hair (with streaks of gray sprinkled all around), Miss North makes for one hell of a woman. Even without all her gorgeous muscles, her 6’4” height is enough to make basketball coaches drool at the possibility of her playing center for their team.

Ding!

The lasagna is done. Finally!

After taking it out of the microwave and grabbing a fork, I plop down on my sofa and turn on the TV. Flipping through endless channels with nothing interesting going on, I decide on the safe choice of ESPN. Maybe I can catch highlights of all the action around the NFL yesterday.

The Seahawks lost. No surprises there. The Patriots wiped out the Bills. No surprise there. The Rams barely edged the Packers. That’s sort of surprising. I guess it’s true what they say about football: on any given Sunday, anybody can win.

Speaking of “winning,” who would have thought a month ago that I would be with a female bodybuilder like Cindi North? Who would have thought that I–”

Wait, am I still thinking about her? Holy shit. She can’t leave my mind. And let’s be serious for a moment: I’m not exactly “with” her in the traditional sense. We hooked up via Craigslist. In fact, we haven’t even officially “done it” yet. I just came on her face and she thanked me by giving me oral sex; which felt amazing, by the way!

Then she let me come on her abs. How hot is that? Yowzzzaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I hear outside my door Pablo striking up a conversation with somebody. And from the sound of it, he’s talking with a woman! Holy smokes, it could be her!

I put my plate of lasagna on my computer desk and run to my front door. I close one eye and peek through the little hole in the middle of the door. I see Pablo holding a drill and an orange extension cord but the person he’s talking to is hidden from view. Dude, just move to the left a little! Or maybe the woman he’s chatting with should move within my line of sight.

I could make the excuse of checking my mail. I could do that. But the mail carrier comes at 4 p.m. every day. Checking my mail now would make no sense. Hm. I could always–”

Suddenly, Pablo enters back into the apartment, presumably to finish working. But where is the woman? I don’t see her! Maybe she went back into the apartment with him. Are they about to have sex?

Wait, that’s ridiculous! Pablo is there to repair the drywall, not to participate in a conjugal visit. Whoa, my mind can wander into some unusual places sometimes.

You know what? It’s stupid of me to just stand here and peek at her like a horny middle school boy peeping at girls during gym class. I’m a man! I can just walk into the hallway and say I heard people talking (which is true) and that I want to meet my new neighbor (which is also true) because I’m a friendly guy who wants to welcome everybody to the neighborhood (which is not even close to true. I hardly know any of my neighbors. We all sort of live in our own little worlds independent of each other).

I’ll do it. I’ll just open the door, poke my head in her apartment and say “hi.” What’s the harm in that? People do it all the time to meet their new neighbors. I should handle this like an adult.

I open the door and step outside. Closing the door behind me, I creep over to unit #724 and poke my curious head inside. I see Pablo diligently working, but nobody else. Was I imagining their whole conversation together? I probably was–”

“Oh, hi there!”

I turn around and see Her. The same woman I saw at work earlier today. Monifa Okendu. I take a look at her from head to toe. She’s dressed in gray sweat pants, a tight black shirt (that gratuitously shows off her large, beautiful breasts), a blue denim jacket and a bright orange scarf around her long neck. The last time I saw her she was dressed in a pink spandex bra and a pair of tight pink shorts that left very little to the imagination. I nearly fainted at the sight of her curvaceous, jaw-dropping figure.

And she still doesn’t look half bad.

“Hey! Monifa, right?”

“Yes. You remembered my name. Is your name Tim?”

“No, it’s Ryan.”

“Sorry. Excuse me. I’m new in town. I’m meeting a lot of people for the first time. Forgive me.”

“Oh, no. Don’t be sorry. I completely understand. It’s difficult trying to remember everybody’s names. But now you definitely remember mine.”

“Do you live here?”

“Yes. I live in this unit right here. Are you just moving in?”

Pablo is still hard at work. I’m not sure if he knows we’re having a conversation right here in the hallway. Otherwise, I’d expect him to come on out and crack an inappropriate joke at our expense. He’s the kind of guy who would do that sort of thing.

“I am,” Monifa says, taking a quick peek into my unit. “I guess now we’re going to be next door neighbors. How exciting!”

Exciting? I was thinking the exact same thing. Dear lord, she has an incredibly BEAUTIFUL face! Yikes. It’s perfectly angular with sharp features that accentuate her flawless facial characteristics. If Cindi’s beauty is her strength, Monifa’s beauty is her…beauty. My God, what a beautiful woman!

“This is going to be very exciting. Is it just you moving in?” I hope I’m not being too forward by asking her this.

“Yes. Just me. Are you married?”

“No, not at the moment. Just me. Living the single life!” How lame is that response?

Monifa laughs. She has a strong, deep voice that gives her authority. I wonder if she ever uses it to her advantage…

“Well…” Monifa begins, “while he’s working on fixing my dry wall, I have no place to stay. Do you know of any good places to spend a few hours around here?”

Should I invite her into my room? Hell no! That’s being WAY too forward. I think I’ll recommend D’Angelo’s Café to her. It’s close, safe, serves good food and Sam shouldn’t be there. At least, for Monifa’s sake, I hope not.

“You can go across the street to D’Angelo’s Café. It’s a great local coffee shop that serves some very good pastries. You’re probably in the mood for something to eat, so you should get one of their grilled sandwiches. I haven’t tried a lot of them, but I’m sure they’re all delicious.”

“Thank you Ryan! I really appreciate the advice. I think I’ll do that. Want to join me?”

I almost fell down in disbelief. Monifa wants me to join her? Of course I will! It’s not every day a woman with superhuman beauty asks you to join her for coffee (I understand that Cindi also asked to meet me at a coffee shop, but that’s beside the point). I think I’ll take her up on this offer.

“Sure. Sounds great. Let’s go.”

“Great!” Monifa says. Her silky black skin almost makes her glow like an angel. I think she actually is an angel.

As we turn to leave, I lock my door and see Pablo out of the corner of my eye, deep inside Monifa’s apartment. He gives me a quick wink. I wink back. He gives me a wicked smile. I return the wicked smile.

We have an understanding.

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Ten – Monday Morning Blues

Good God. Is it Monday already?

I look at my alarm clock and see it is 4:58 a.m. I turn it off before it decides to ring.

Shit. Garfield the cat is right. Mondays do suck.

My shift at Wellford Fitness Center starts at 6 a.m., which is when the gym opens to the public. That means I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to give myself enough time to eat breakfast and get some coffee in me.

I usually make my own coffee. Today is no exception. I only buy already-brewed coffee on Sunday mornings when I make my weekly trek across the street to D’Angelo’s Café. This is partly the reason why I didn’t order anything at the espresso bar when I first met Cindi. Why pay two dollars for coffee that I could make for myself at a much cheaper price?

After a hearty breakfast of Wheaties and a bagel with cream cheese, I chase down a cup of iced coffee (I’m too lazy to heat it up in the microwave) and head out the door.

Five minutes later I enter through the back door and put on my dark red Wellford Fitness Center t-shirt that’s sitting in my employee locker. Believe it or not, the company gives us four pairs of these shirts in order to prevent us from wearing the same shirt all week. I think this is a good policy. Gyms smell bad enough. We don’t want the foul stench of employees making things worse.

I usually feel a bit depressed on Monday mornings (who doesn’t?), but today I’m feeling especially down-trodden considering my week ahead. I have five whole days before I see the Goddess Cindi again. I wonder what time she gets up every morning to start her workout? Is she an early riser, or does she workout in the afternoons/evenings? I should ask her the next time I see her.

It is my turn today to man the front desk. I’m in charge of the front desk from 6 to 9 a.m. From 9 to noon I clean and do laundry (we provide workout towels for everyone).

As the clock approaches 6 a.m., I see our first customer of the day show up. And right on schedule. It’s Dale, a 40-something businessman who’s always here right when we open. Dale and his wife are both former college athletes who have raised two ridiculously athletic children. Their daughter is currently training for the Olympics as a gymnast and their older son is a high school track star. No big deal.

I unlock the front door at the stroke of 6 and let Dale in, who waits outside patiently like always.

“Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning to you, Ryan.”

I scan his membership card and he strolls toward the locker rooms. Next I see Frances, an elderly 80-something woman who does water aerobics every morning. The class doesn’t start until 7, but she likes to be here early so she can read the newspaper before her workout.

“Hi Frances. How are the grandchildren?”

“They’re rude and they don’t listen,” she sheepishly says. I scan her membership card and wisely choose not to ask any more questions. She’s always in a pissy mood. But she seems to have a positive relationship with her grandchildren, so I’m a little taken aback that she thinks they’re rude and don’t listen.

Us whippersnappers are a real pain in the butt, aren’t we?

“Have a good workout,” I tell her as she leaves.

Frances doesn’t respond.

Somehow, my feelings aren’t hurt. My heart will go on.

Minutes later more people start to come in large groups. We’re talking people ranging from the very old to people my age looking to become as buff as possible. Try as they might, but they’ll never have anything on my Cindi. She’s buffer than anyone on the planet.

“My” Cindi? Am I claiming ownership over her? She should claim ownership over ME. She deserves that much.

As it approaches 7:30, the gym finally becomes lively with the noises of chit chat, treadmills running at full blast, the clank of 45-pound metal plates rubbing against each other and the usually grunts and groans of people getting a quality workout.

My mind starts to wander. What is Cindi doing right now? She’s definitely at the gym. She has to be. If she works out early on a Sunday morning, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t be at the gym earlier on a Monday morning.

“This sucks,” I tell myself out loud. It sucks that I have to wait five days before I can see her again. God, she’s like a drug. I’ve only met her once and I’m already at the stage where I can’t get her out of my mind.

Cindi North, you Beautiful Muscular Temptress. You’ve cast a spell on me. And I like it. A lot.

I giggle when I think about our first sexual encounter together. I totally prematurely ejaculated all over her face. I was humiliated at the time, but I can laugh at it now. It’s true when they say that time heals all wounds. But everything was totally worth it when she performed oral sex on me later. That felt divine. Absolutely divine. And I got to come on her eight-pack abdominal muscles. That was ridiculously hot.

I continue to daydream until I hear a woman’s voice call out to me.

“Excuse me, sir. Uh, excuse me?”

I immediately wake up from my mini-daydream.

“Uh, sorry. What is it? How may I help you?”

I look at the woman speaking to me and I almost stop breathing when I see her.

Hot damn.

She’s a young black woman who looks to be anywhere between 25 and 30. She’s fairly tall, maybe between 5’10” and 6”. She’s wearing a bright pink sports bra and a matching pair of tight spandex shorts that leaves nothing to the imagination. She has very dark skin that looks as black as night and as smooth as silk. Her angular face looks very exotic and unbelievably beautiful. I’m not a world-renowned traveler, but there’s something in her look and in her voice that tells me she wasn’t born in this country. I don’t know. But she’s simply gorgeous.

“I’m new in town and I have a free one-week pass. Do I give this to you?” she asks politely.

Her voice does sound like it has a slight African accent to it. I struggle to look at her face once I take a peek at her large, plump, bountiful breasts. Unlike Cindi, this woman has breasts. And very enticing. I want to squeeze them right now. But that would get me fired.

“Yes, you can give that to me. Can I see it?”

She hands it to me and I see that it’s legit.

“Alright, this is good for exactly one week, so it expires next Monday. Let me scan it for you.” I scan it and give it back to her. I take a quick look at her midriff and see she has a modest four-pack of abs developing. After I scan her paper card I look at the computer and see her name is Monifa Okendu. That’s a name you don’t hear too often around here.

“Thank you,” she says.

“Alright, have you ever been here before, Monifa?”

“No. I just moved here yesterday morning.”

“Oh! Welcome into town. Where are you originally from?”

“Ethiopia. But I’ve lived in New York City for the past three years.”

“In that case, welcome to Seattle. Would you like someone to give you a tour of our facility? I can ask a staff person to show you around.”

“Thank you, but no thanks. I think I can find everything I need just fine.”

“Alright. The women’s locker room is on the opposite side of the men’s locker room to your left. You will have to provide your own locks, however. Did you bring your own today?”

“Yes.”

“Good. It’s wise to do whatever you can to prevent against theft. We’re usually pretty good around here, but you never know. So, we offer workout towels for all our clients, including guests. Just drop them off in this box after you’re finished. Any other questions?”

“I don’t think so. Thank you very much.”

“Oh, I forgot to mention. Guests are allowed to attend all the classes we offer except for the advanced ones. Here’s a brochure explaining everything we offer here.”

I hand her a brochure and she puts it in her gym bag. Her toned arms look delicious.

“Thank you very much. You’ve been very helpful. What’s your name?”

“My name is Ryan. Enjoy your workout, Monifa.”

With that, Monifa turns around and walks toward the locker rooms. I take a look at her butt as she leaves. Holy mackerel! Lush, ample, perfectly rounded and taut, she nearly competes with Cindi’s impeccable derriere, but not quite. No one can compare to Goddess Cindi.

Well, that Monifa is quite a physical specimen! I hope she chooses to work out here long-term. That would make my mornings a lot easier to bear.

Just when I thought my morning got a little better, I look outside and see it has begun to rain. Hard. I mean, pouring down rain. Cats and dogs. Sheesh. Typical Seattle weather. Whenever a Monday seems to become somewhat tolerable, Mother Nature finds a way to slap you in the face and bring you back to reality.

The rest of my morning passes without a hitch. Nothing too spectacular. Later when I return to the front desk to pick up the box of dirty towels, I catch a peek of Monifa (whose bright pink and revealing outfit is extremely hard to miss) deadlifting what looks to be about 135 pounds, which is the metal bar plus a 45-pound plate on both sides. Not bad. It’s not quite the 500 pounds that Cindi can do, but that’s pretty darn impressive for a woman.

Wow, will Cindi ever leave my mind? Not for a long time, let me tell you.

As I walk into the laundry room I bump into Michelle, the ridiculously cute receptionist/personal trainer who works here.

“Hi Michelle. How many clients do you have today?”

“Only three. But they’re real clients, not the fake ones I’m usually stuck with.”

“You mean real athletes?”

“Yeah. One girl plays high school volleyball. Another girl wants to be a competitive figure model. And the other is a lady who’s determined to lose all her baby fat before Thanksgiving.”

“Before Thanksgiving? She better get on it. That’ll be here sooner than you think.”

“Well, she seems determined enough. See you around, sugar.”

Michelle, wearing a black Wellford Fitness Center sports bra and tight black shorts (not unlike what Monifa is wearing today), takes a swig from her coffee tumbler and goes into the workout area, leaving me alone holding a box of smelly towels. Dear God, these reek. Holy shit. If I don’t load these into the machine right away, I might just barf.

Ugg!

Oh, and by the way, Michelle usually calls every guy she knows “sugar,” so don’t get too excited on my behalf.

“That Monifa looks like she could become a competitive figure model,” I say to myself.

Loading the towels into a washing machine, I (for some really odd reason) start to think about Sam’s job offer he talked about yesterday. How would I like to be a drug dealer for the rich and wealthy? It would be easy money, these are people who don’t typically get involved in random street shootings and if I ever get caught, they could use their power and influence to get me off without any trouble. I mean, they’d do that, right?

And depending on what kind of drugs I’d be dealing, I might be able to meet more FBBs like Cindi North. Steroids and other human growth hormones are considered drugs, right?

But I’d never be able to meet another woman quite like Cindi. She’s a statuesque Goddess. But if women like her exist, there should be others like her. That makes sense. And I seriously don’t want to work here for the rest of my life. These smelly towels can always be washed by someone without a college degree.

I hope I’m not sounding too elitist.

But I digress. Sam and his buddies probably aren’t the type of people I want to associate myself with on a regular basis. I’d much rather hang out with Cindi and make love to her. Hell, who wouldn’t?

The thought of making love to a celestial muscle Goddess like Cindi is enough to carry me through the rest of the day.