Oh, Cindy

Cindy 1

Sometimes, perfection is attainable.

It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, you notice. Big time. You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to know that Michelangelo’s painting on ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a once-in-a-millennium masterpiece. You don’t need to be an expert in music theory to agree that Beethoven’s 9th symphony is one of the greatest compositional achievements of all time. You don’t need to be an erudite dramaturg to understand that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet deserves its uniquely special place in theatre history.

There are many other examples of masterpieces in the world of art, literature, music, architecture, film, and photography. But there is one human being in particular who has achieved something that sounds rather strange when you say it out loud. And many of you should agree with me on this.

This person has achieved Human Perfection.

She’s perfect in every way. Her body, her looks, her intelligence, her personality, her accomplishments, everything and anything. She’s the perfect “bridge” female bodybuilder who pleases both the hardcore Female Muscle Fans and the non-Female Muscle Fans. She may even be able to convert a few cynical Female Muscle Haters. She’s curvy, strong, feminine, classically beautiful, independent, compassionate, relatable, charismatic, unforgettable, and instantly alluring. Once you are introduced to her, you cannot go back. She’s forever burned into your memory.

You begin to wonder what your existence was like before you discovered her: How on Earth was I able to survive without knowing she was out there? Did I really grow up thinking Megan Fox was the pinnacle of female beauty? Did I truly understand what “beauty” really was before knowing this woman had existed? Why did I spend so much of my time jerking off to Katy Perry when someone infinitely more gorgeous was just a simple Google search away?

The answers to these questions are simple: You hadn’t discovered her yet. And once you did, your paradigm shifts so drastically it makes Pangaea’s supercontinental break-up seem trivial enough to belong in a Taylor Swift album.

Who is this Mystery Woman I am cryptically referring to?

Cindy Landolt, of course!

Oh, Cindy.

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy.

You truly are a Female Muscle Fan’s dream come true. You are the physical embodiment of human perfection. When we look up “beautiful” in the dictionary, we’ll see a picture of you. That’s who you are. Beautiful in every sense of the word…and then some.

Cindy Landolt was born on January 11, 1985 in Wetzikon, Switzerland. The Swiss Muscle Goddess has always lived an active life, enjoying skiing, hiking, and mountain biking as a little girl (aren’t these typical activities of any self-respecting Swiss citizen?). She currently lives in Zurich but travels a lot, essentially making the entire world her home. Unlike many of the women we love, Cindy has never been a competitive bodybuilder. She finds such rabid competition distasteful and would rather spend her creative energy lifting up others instead of trying to defeat people.

Good for her!

At age 16 she stopped training to be a gymnast because of her considerable height. Standing at 5’10”, she’s a striking woman who is far from being a dainty ingénue. She’s a Super Woman who appropriately personifies the “Goddess” label. As a young adult Cindy embraced resistance training. Then she enrolled in the Swiss Academy of Fitness and Sports to become a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, learning the ropes of becoming a certified nutrition, rehabilitation, strength training, weight loss, and sporting coach. In 2009 she founded her own personal training company in Zurich. Her clients are diverse in their goals, but her approach remains the same: she prioritizes growth and progress over an unhealthy hyper-focus on end results.

Cindy 2

She’s also been on the cutting edge of virtual training. People all over the world – and that is not an exaggeration – can sign up for 1:1 online training and nutrition consultations. How she finds the time to manage all her business obligations is beyond me. I’m guessing she has to be selective about who her clients are. But nevertheless, she should be commended for being so tech-savvy, forward-thinking, and proactive in knowing where the fitness industry is going and how to exploit the voids in the market.

Cindy is a flawlessly beautiful woman. She is perfect. Ed Sheeran, eat your heart out. And best yet, as I mentioned earlier she has the potential for major cross appeal of which very few of her peers can boast.

She has plenty of muscle to appease the committed fans of female bodybuilders. She is also “safe” in that she’s conventionally beautiful, curvy, and unambiguously feminine. It’s a shame that traditional femininity is somehow a necessity for obtaining mainstream appeal, but it is what it is. But as it stands today, Cindy is not actually a mainstream celebrity. She’s well-known within female muscle fandom circles and the fitness industry, but don’t expect Miss Landolt to appear on the cover of Vogue anytime soon.

Her physique defines the word “statuesque.” She looks like she was chiseled out of marble, her flesh carved out of an artist’s erotically-charged imagination. She seems too good to be true. Too beautiful to be real. Too perfect to be comprehended. But alas, she is a real human being. She does exist. In our world. She didn’t fall from Heaven. She was born of fellow human beings. She is a woman, not a Goddess. A lady, not an angel. A mortal, not a deity.

But in our feverish imaginations, she is in fact a Goddess. She defies explanation. We are addicted to her and we cannot get enough. We need our daily Cindy fix, like a junkie furiously looking for their shady supplier. Unlike “normal” beautiful women, Cindy casts a spell on us that’s difficult to articulate into words. But I’ll try.

Let’s compare Cindy Landolt to Pamela Anderson. If you grew up in the 1990s, you knew who Pamela Anderson was. If you were a pubescent boy who spent his formulative years during the height of Miss Anderson’s fame, you definitely were aware of who she was. Is Pamela Anderson a flawless woman? Well, yes and no. She’s as physically attractive as any mainstream celebrity who has ever walked this Earth. No doubt about that. She was an international superstar for a damn good reason.

However, Pamela felt very two-dimensional. She was the perfect “Fantasy Woman,” a teenage boy’s ideal wet dream. She tapped into the naughty side of our psyches, providing us the perfect avenue for exploring our newfound sexualities. The scandals she faced, the high profile failed marriages, the “leaked” sex tape; all of it helped build her up as once-in-a-generation sex kitten who defined the decade and the childhoods of millennial men everywhere. The same could be said for Carmen Electra, Cindy Margolis (remember her?), or Jennifer Lopez.

Cindy 3

Cindy, on the other hand, is more three-dimensional. She isn’t just the perfect “jack off” material. No, that’s not her at all. She’s classy. She’s mature. She’s mannered. She has standards. She values her reputation. She isn’t reckless. She’s a forward-thinker. She isn’t obsessed with being popular or going “viral.” Rather, she’s carved out a niche for herself in an industry where entrepreneurship is the name of the game. You don’t get to “break into” the fitness industry like you do Hollywood. You make your own name for yourself. It’s all on you.

“Classy” is the best way to describe Cindy. She’s never crude or rude. She’s sexy, but not dirty. There are layers to her personality. She’s beautiful on the outside, but equally beautiful on the inside. The genuinely wants to help people, an altruistic spirit that is in short supply in show business. She isn’t a “sex symbol.” She isn’t any kind of symbol. She is who she is. What we see is what we get. She isn’t trying to put on a façade for the masses. She’s a businesswoman. An athlete. A coach. An expert. A model. She’s someone we aspire to become, whether we’re male or female.

This level of classiness can sometimes annoy her fans. Cindy never does full nudity in her photoshoots. You’ll never – at least not yet – see her nipples or genitals on full display. Yes, Instagram and other social media channels prohibit that sort of thing. But she doesn’t go there even on platforms (such as her personal website) in which anything is fair game. She chooses to be sexy in an elegant manner. She intentionally doesn’t give you everything you want.

The reason she’s shied away from doing fully nudity is unknown. I’m going to guess that she doesn’t want her brand to be associated with pornography. She wants to embrace her visual beauty, but not in an X-rated kind of way. She’s more PG-13. Sensual, yes. Graphic, no.

Also, in 2013 she did something groundbreaking that split her fanbase in half. She got breast implants. Before, Cindy was all natural and allowed her breasts to shrink as a result of gaining muscle. But in the spring/summer of that year, she did the unthinkable and “enhanced” herself. Unlike Yvette Bova her new endowments aren’t comically large. They’re certainly big, but not distracting. Well, maybe a little distracting. I suppose I mean they aren’t so big they bother you. It’s all semantics.

Cindy 4

Anyway, her boob job five years ago confirmed that she’s not shy about showing off her sexual attractiveness. Whether she did it for personal or business reasons, Cindy made the decision to increase her sex appeal. Now random haters can’t really claim that she isn’t completely feminine. She’s damn muscular…and curvy in all the right places.

In addition to not doing nudity, she doesn’t do any kind of hardcore porn whatsoever. Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Brandi Mae Akers, and countless others are perfectly willing to show off every square inch of their bodies. Every. Square. Inch. They don’t leave anything to the imagination. Denise is so open about showcasing her genitalia that a gynecologist can probably give her a half-decent examination just by watching one of her videos. That is, assuming this doctor can concentrate properly while watching said video.

Unlike those ladies, Cindy keeps it fairly clean. Of course, not G-rated or PG-rated by any stretch of the imagination. She’ll show off her naked butt, back, and almost everything else. Just not her full breasts and genitals. She’ll pose in a sexy bikini or sultry lingerie if she feels inclined to. Just not in her birthday suit. If she is nude, she’ll artfully cover up certain areas in order to maintain her self-imposed limitations. Will her fans ever get to “see it all?” Eh, probably not. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Oh, and Cindy never has sex on camera. But that’s sort of a given. It deserves to be mentioned.

In many ways, Cindy’s appeal is based on how much we love to fantasize about her. We know we have 0% chance of getting to be with her. So all we can do is imagine what she’d be like as a lover. How is she in bed? How would she act in the bedroom? Would she be on top or bottom? Would she take control or let her partner carry the reins? What does her, uh, clit look like? Is it enormous like Denise’s? Or more “normal” in size? How large is her labia? How pink is her vagina?

These are, admittedly so, creepy questions. Very creepy. But can any of you say with any integrity at all that these thoughts haven’t crossed your mind?

Didn’t think so.

The fact we don’t associate Cindy with being a smutty female bodybuilder is an intentional choice. That’s not who she is. I’m certainly not judging any FBB who does choose to do porn – but Miss Landolt prefers to keep her sex appeal modest in nature. She sure as heck isn’t shy about showing off her body – and we are all infinitely grateful for that – but she does so tastefully.

She values personal empowerment. She loves to make people feel and live better. She serves people. She genuinely wants to make the world a better place, one personal training session at a time. And if she can find time to do some modelling, so be it. That’s her way of adding more beauty to the Universe. And she succeeds at that with flying colors.

For the uninitiated, Cindy Landolt may be a revelation. A paradigm shift. An awakening. She could be the one who converts someone over to “our side.” As I mentioned before, she’s a bridge. She can live in both worlds and accomplish the nearly impossible task of pleasing both sides. It’s remarkable.

Cindy 5

In a weird way, Cindy Landolt is a very charitable woman. She’s beautiful and she loves sharing her beauty with the world. That’s a rather odd way of phrasing it, but it’s true: She’s charitable with her beauty. For her Instagram followers and millions of others who follow her elsewhere, we need our daily dose of Cindy. If we need something to brighten our day or help us unwind after a long day at the office, we can just scroll through Cindy’s IG feed and…that’ll do the trick. It’s like a medicine that can cure the blues.

We don’t typically view modeling as being an act of charity. We usually look at modeling as a means for corporations to sell more clothing, makeup, jewelry, perfume, and diet books. Within our free market capitalistic system, models add sex appeal to products in order to help them sell better. Yet, Cindy is a different matter. Obviously, she models because it helps promote her personal training business. And she probably finds it personally empowering. That’s all fine and dandy. But her modeling also serves as an act of almsgiving. A virtuous donation that helps make society a better place to live for all of us.

Her beauty isn’t just intoxicating. It isn’t just alluring. It isn’t just addicting. It’s a dose of fresh air. It’s medicinal. It’s therapeutic. It’s just what the doctor ordered!

Cindy Landolt’s beautiful face and body aren’t just art. They’re a fountain of joy. Her beautiful body truly adds color to the dark palette of our existence. She is light where there is darkness. She brings hope where there is despair. She creates joy where there is melancholy. She is a much-needed beacon of beauty in a world of ugliness.

Cindy is, simply put, perfection. In every imaginable way.

Muscular Women in Still Motion

This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.
This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.

They say a photograph is a moment in time captured on film; one that can never be reproduced because such a moment will never happen exactly as it did ever again.

Well, today most photos are taken digitally from point-and-click cameras or cell phones. But the idea remains the same: The purpose of still images is to provide a snapshot of a particular moment in time and to allow the viewer – whether they see it a hundred days later or a hundred years later – to experience from a distance what the moment might have been like.

Maybe we’re talking about a photo from your kid’s 6th birthday party. Or your father’s grand retirement celebration. Or when your mom won a prestigious community service award. Or when you and your buddies experienced your team winning the World Series. Or when your lovely partner finally said “I do.” The possibilities are endless.

That’s the inherent advantage between a still photo and a video clip. A still photo captures a precise moment in time. A video captures a stretch of time, which could last seven seconds or seven hours. Technically speaking, a video clip is more accurate in documenting reality while a photograph can be deceptive. How many times have we seen a nice photograph of a couple enjoying a night out on the town only to learn this couple tragically died in a fatal car accident only hours later? Or an image of a star high school athlete relishing in triumphant victory…but later his or her life is unexpectedly cut short after he or she is victim to a heartless shooting?

Thus, the beauty of photographs is that they encapsulate a specific moment without delving too deep into the context of said moment. Even if the subjects of the picture are moving around (as opposed to posing for the photographer), moments very rarely happen in stillness. Yet, a photograph is still. They don’t move or communicate motion. Think about those creepy turn-of-the-century black and white family photos where one of the “posing” members is a dead body. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

The subjects of photos appear to be not just still, but frozen in time. We see who they are instead of what they’re doing. It illustrates the poetic truth that time is not a continuous arc of events, but rather a series of individually poignant moments.

Except when it comes to female bodybuilders.

You knew I’d eventually get around to this subject, right?

For us fans of female bodybuilders, muscular women, athletes, fitness models, and amateur gym rats, the most prominent way we’re able to “experience” these women is through still images. Thanks to YouTube, social media, Vimeo, and other video sharing platforms we’re also able to watch them in action. But the most significant avenue through which we satisfy our female muscle fix is through good old fashioned still photos that we can view on our computer, phone, or tablet device.

What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?
What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?

Back in the day all we had were fitness/bodybuilding magazines that we tried to purchase inconspicuously at the grocery store and hide under the bed away from prying eyes. Thank God for the Internet.

Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany while scrolling through a Tumblr blog dedicated to muscular and fit women. This blogger also posts photos of “normal” women – meaning they’re gorgeous but gorgeous within mainstream parameters. I began to notice something strange when seeing images of muscular women juxtaposed with images of non-muscular women.

The muscular women seemed to be more alive.

That’s an odd observation considering all the women featured on this blog are, uh living and breathing. No dead bodies posed to look like they’re still alive. But when you take the time and actually look at images of female bodybuilders next to images of non-muscular women, the contrast is both jarring and difficult to explain.

Their body language is nearly identical. Most modeling shots consist of the subjects (or “talent,” using industry parlance) sitting on couches, standing around, laying down provocatively, leaning against a wall or large object, engaging in a suggestive activity, or contorting their bodies in weird ways. Sometimes the subject looks directly at the camera, other times they pretend like there’s nobody in the environment with them. While FBBs will frequently pose for photos of them at the gym doing what they do best, for the most part what their non-muscular counterparts do they will do also.

So, what exactly do I mean when I say that female bodybuilders seem to exist in “still motion” when photographed?

More old school images: Laura Creavalle.
More old school images: Laura Creavalle.

In short, there’s something inherently and inexplicably “active” about a muscular woman. Her muscles give her a sense of liveliness that isn’t present in women who aren’t muscular. A photograph of an FBB conveys energy, vivacity, and dynamism like nothing else. This isn’t true of all photos of female bodybuilders, of course. Ones taken in poor light, terrible conditions, or on a grainy cell phone camera obviously aren’t nearly as good as ones taken by a professional photographer (which goes to show you that the world still needs professional photographers, online photo “filters” be damned). I’m only referring to images that are produced with a certain degree of artistic integrity.

A lot of this has to do with how a woman earns her muscles to begin with. She didn’t get big and buff sitting on her couch eating potato chips and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. She earned her impressive physique through sweat, labor, supplementation, dieting, and making wholesale lifestyle changes. So because of this, when we see a still photo of a female bodybuilder, even if she’s not doing anything explicitly active, we know she leads a highly active lifestyle when she’s away from shutterbugs.

She’s constantly lifting, running, stretching, eating, cooking, drinking protein shakes, working, lifting, jogging, eating, lifting some more, eating a bit more, cooking more food that she’ll eat later, and lifting.

Did I mention that female bodybuilders lift weights on occasion?

The point is that female bodybuilders seem to be more active because they are more physically active than the average adult. So it makes sense that their proactive and demanding lives would transfer over to photographs taken of them, even if they’re just sitting down on a chaise or lying down in a frilly white bed. When you see her posing for the camera, you know in the back of your mind that she wouldn’t be in that position in the first place if it weren’t for her impressive muscularity.

That is, you wouldn’t be completely enraptured by her beauty unless she were as muscular as she is. She could very well be quite beautiful even if she didn’t have muscles, but it’s not the same thing. Not even close. A female bodybuilder’s muscles is what takes center stage when we look at her.

Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.
Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.

Yes, we know that muscular women are active in their everyday lives. That’s obvious. But that still doesn’t fully explain why they look like they’re ready to jump off the celluloid and into your lap.

Another reason is how surreal it is to actually look at a woman with big muscles. For as many years as I’ve been appreciating female bodybuilders, I still sometimes do a “double take” when I see a picture of a muscular woman unexpectedly. For example, not too long ago a friend of mine shared on Facebook an article talking about HIIT – or high intensity interval training. I don’t know whether this method is best for burning fat and staying in shape, but that’s not the point. The point is that the article featured a picture of a beautiful young lady with gorgeous curvy muscles. I was taken aback. My heart fluttered a bit. I felt a surge of energy run through my core.

Why did I suddenly react this way? I’ve spent countless hours watching and looking at hundreds of muscular women. Why did this “out of the blue” experience cause me to react as if I had just seen my first ever female bodybuilder?

It’s because it was unexpected and out of context. When I’m searching my usual lineup of blogs for pictures of beautiful muscular women, I know what I’m going to get. But if I stumble upon an image of one accidentally, it’s as though someone just socked me in the face. I think this is because at the end of the day, no matter how many hours I spend looking at images of muscle-bound women, my brain is preconditioned to produce a strong reaction whenever I witness them. I’m socialized to think of muscular women as being “abnormal” no matter how normalized they seem to be to me.

This is why muscular women appear to be suspended in still motion when photographed. My brain subconsciously tells me that this is unusual and therefore I should react accordingly. No amount of zombie movies will actually prepare you for a real-life zombie invasion. You can read all the post-apocalyptic themed fiction you want; if World War III is ever right around the corner (don’t be too surprised!) you’ll have no idea what to do next.

Likewise, you can watch thousands of hours of female muscle videos and meet dozens of FBBs for muscle worship sessions. Still, your mind will intuitively tell you that the sight of a woman with muscles is strange. Strange, bizarre, peculiar, irregular, atypical, odd. That’s not a product of how you personally view muscular women; rather it’s a product of the lack of muscular women in our society.

Anything that’s rare will stand out when it happens. Throwing a perfect game is so unusual that many baseball aficionados could probably name at least a dozen pitchers who’ve done it throughout the game’s history. And when it happens, it’s huge news. The same goes for muscular women. No matter how familiar you are with seeing FBBs, it’s still a memorable experience when it happens outside of normal parameters.

Unlike most amateur photographs, modeling shots are intended to capture the essence of the subject, not the moment. What a model is actually doing is not nearly as important as what they look like doing it. The same goes for FBBs who pose for model shots, but our reactions to seeing them are remarkably different. We don’t just see who they are. We also see their accomplishments, hopes, dreams, successes, aspirations, and passions. A muscular woman doesn’t just stand around and look pretty. She invades her space. She communicates a clear message to the viewer. She owns the frame. She doesn’t want you to just look at her, she wants you to react viscerally toward her.

See the difference?

Back in the glory days of the 90s, I’d surf the Internet and ogle photos of Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, and Anna Nicole Smith. As an inexperienced teenager with raging hormones, I was introducing myself to a whole new world that I’d never known before: female beauty. It was an epic time of discovery. But even back then, I never experienced any sort of spiritual connection with the gorgeous ladies popping up on my computer screen. As odd as it sounds, I sort of feel that way with photos of muscular women. Sort of.

The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.
The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.

It’s as though photos of FBBs exist for purposes that go beyond that of normal photos of beautiful women. Cindy Crawford wants you to appreciate her natural beauty. Debi Laszewski wants to challenge your notions of femininity, gender roles, social stereotypes, and human biology. I don’t think these thoughts literally go through Debi’s mind as she’s posing for the camera, but that’s the sense I get when I look at her flawless visage. Pamela Anderson inspired hundreds of thousands of teenage boys – myself included – to masturbate in the privacy of their bedrooms. Cory Everson may have inspired similar reactions (though on a much smaller scale), but what she’s done that Pamela couldn’t is transform the way you view humanity: Women can be as buff as men – and look fabulous at the same time!

Muscular women can do that, even though many of them don’t intend to. They allude a degree of power and influence that most of them – including fans like us – don’t entirely comprehend. Hell, I’ve been writing about muscular women for nearly five years and even I continue to struggle to articulate this phenomena into words. Our love for female bodybuilders isn’t just rooted in good old fashioned lust. It’s also explained by our intrinsic desire to make sense out of a hectic and chaotic world. Muscular women, simply put, create chaos. How we adjust to that chaos is up to us on an individual level.

So that must be it. There’s the kicker. Muscular women create chaos in our brains. They cause our imaginations to spin out of control. They challenge our beliefs. They unleash our hidden impulses. They awaken our basest desires. They grapple our minds and refuse to let go, even for a moment. And this is something we don’t try to stop because we love every single minute of it. Isn’t that something?

Female bodybuilders appear to be in still motion because they’re perpetually active, even when they’re captured in a lifeless photograph. They activate our hearts, minds, and souls like nothing else can. In this respect, a photograph doesn’t just capture a single moment in time. It captures many moments, both those that have come and those that are yet to be.

As the old cliché goes, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. But not just words that immediately come to mind, but also words that are yet to be written or conceived. When we stare at a still image of a beautiful muscular woman, we’re not just staring at her. We’re staring at ourselves. And others. And everything around us. All at the same time.

The Erotic Dreams of Max Shimura: Episode Three – Deidre (part one of two)

A great shot of Deidre Pagnanelli.
A great shot of Deidre Pagnanelli.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Please note that the woman featured in this story isn’t Deidre Pagnanelli. While she may resemble Ms. Pagnanelli and there are photos of her prominently displayed throughout this post, “Deidre” is NOT Deidre Pagnanelli. Personally, I think it’s a little creepy to write an erotic story about a real person whom I’ve never met without their consent. I’d rather create my own character who isn’t real instead of using an actual person whose friends and family may accidentally stumble upon this post. But for the sake of your imagination, the character of “Deidre” does indeed look exactly like the gorgeous Ms. Pagnanelli. Is she actually Ms. Pagnanelli? No, she is not. She’s a fictional character borne from my imagination.

On a freezing cold winter afternoon, an oppressive snowstorm attacks a quaint small town in the middle of nowhere.

It’s 4 p.m. in the middle of December. Ominous dark clouds, strong gusts of wind and massive piles of snow create a glum atmosphere Max has never experienced before. He doesn’t mind snow, but this is something else entirely.

Max could not remember the name of this town. He also couldn’t recall why he was here or what business he had to stay here any longer than he absolutely had to. All he knows is that he’s stuck until this terrible blizzard comes to an end.

This could take forever…

Max is staying at an old-fashioned bed and breakfast establishment in the heart of town. Cuddling up close to the fireplace with a warm wool blanket and a mystery novel, Max is surprised at how calm and peaceful he is at the moment. A city slicker at heart, these small towns in the middle of the wilderness (at least, it seems like the wilderness to him) bore him to death. There’s absolutely nothing to do.

No movie theatre. No good restaurants. No decent bars. No friends to hang out with and do stuff. Nothing of the sort.

Well, this stinks. There’s got to be something to do to pass the time! According to the local weather reports, the snowstorm could last two to three days. Does this mean Max has to be exiled here for the entire weekend? You got to be kidding!

Unfortunately, no. This is no joke. Max decides he needs to get something decent to eat. The food at the bed and breakfast is alright, but after a few meals it gets old really fast. Max heard a rumor there’s a quality grocery store at the southern end of town. Maybe that’ll be worth checking out.

Max puts on a heavy coat, boots, gloves and beanie and courageously heads outside. The snow continues to fall, but at a much lighter pace than earlier before. Max thinks he can handle this. It’s only a short walk down the street. What could possibly go wrong?

Fifteen minutes later, Max is stumbling down Main Street in the dark. Gee, how did it get so black all of a sudden?

Unsure if he’s going in the right direction, Max sees a sign posted on a street lamp saying:

Road closed ahead. Try alternate route.

Great! An alternate route; in the dark, in an unfamiliar town, during a snowstorm – just to get to a stupid grocery store? Max considers turning around, but his stomach tells him otherwise. Max reluctantly follows the arrow pointing to the “alternate route” and says a short prayer to himself before proceeding.

Five minutes goes by and Max is thoroughly convinced he made a mistake taking this so-called “alternative route.”  Unable to see anything, faltering around the slick pavement like a drunkard and freezing so badly his knees are shaking; Max realizes he needs to turn around before it’s too late.

Beautiful wallpaper image of snowfall at night.
Beautiful wallpaper image of snowfall at night.

“Lord have mercy,” Max mutters under his breath. Max can see his breath clearly but cannot concentrate on that because his face hurts from the blistering cold. If he doesn’t get inside soon, guaranteed he’s going to get a bad case of frostbite.

Looking down at the ground, Max isn’t sure if he’s still on the pavement or if he’s drifted off onto the grass. The thick sheets of snow make it impossible to tell for sure. The streetlights have disappeared. There isn’t a house or building anywhere in sight. Where the hell is he?

“I need to turn around. Now. While I still have the chance,” Max tells himself.

Max does turn around but sees nothing but darkness. He keeps trudging through the snow and suddenly gets the idea of taking out his cell phone to use as a flashlight. As he reaches for his pocket, a tree branch hits him in the forehead.

“Ow!” A sharp pain shoots through his entire head. Where the hell did that tree come from?

Then, a second low hanging tree branch strikes him, this time directly in the face. Max stops and holds his nose. He feels warm blood trickling down his chin. Max swears to himself and proceeds to continue walking. He should have stayed indoors! How stupid could he possibly be–

As if the rug had been pulled out from under him, Max starts to fall down a steep hill. Tumbling, tumbling and tumbling to the ground. Nonstop. Rocks knock into him on his way down. A small bush scrapes against his thigh, cutting him open. He wants to scream, but the intense pain and his uncontrollable anger prevent any sound from coming out. He’s out of breath. His entire body aches. And he is powerless to stop this freefall.

Finally, he stops rolling. Max reaches the foot of the hill and collapses. Defeated, Max struggles to look around to see where he is. His vision is blurred. It hurts everywhere. Where did this bad luck come from? What did he do to deserve this?

Deidre Pagnanelli lying down in a bikini.
Deidre Pagnanelli lying down in a bikini.

In the distance – or maybe it was closer than he thought – Max sees a dim light. Was it a house? Was someone inside? Where is he? Is he still in the same town or did he stumble onto the neighboring county?

As Max ponders these questions, he blacks out. Silence. Nothingness. Sleep.

Blissful sleep.

An hour later, Max wakes up in a bed. He feels groggy. His head hurts. Max reaches up to touch his forehead and feels a bandage attached to his skin. What happened? Is he dead? Is this Heaven?

Then he looks up. And sees her.

Wow. Maybe he is in Heaven.

Standing before him is the most gorgeous woman Max has ever laid eyes on. Tall, toned, shapely and as gorgeous as a supermodel, Max is sure he’s never seen a woman quite like her. If this is what the afterlife is like, then perhaps death isn’t so bad after all!

“How are you feeling?” this beautiful angel asks him.

“Oh. I’m okay. Still sore. Did you rescue me?”

“Yes, I did. I heard screaming outside and immediately checked it out. When I saw you lying there in the snow, I thought you were dead. It didn’t seem like you were breathing.” Miraculously, Max’s throbbing headache goes away. He studies her carefully. She is wearing grey sweatpants, white athletic socks and a beet red tank top that generously shows off her large, muscular arms. Max definitely has never encountered a woman with muscles that big before. He always thought bodybuilding women were gross and ugly looking. This perfect angel shatters all those perceptions to a million pieces.

A picturesque log cabin in winter.
A picturesque log cabin in winter.

Her hair is long, dark brown and carelessly flows across her back. Her dark eyes could pierce your soul. Max couldn’t quite figure out how old she is, but early 40s seems like a prudent estimate. Maybe she’s younger. Or older. Either way, she’s the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen in person.

“Thanks for rescuing me. I passed out after I stopped rolling. I’d probably still be out there if it weren’t for you.”

“You’re welcome. Come to think of it, if you were still out there you’d probably freeze to death. I’m glad I came when I did.” She walks over to the kitchen and takes a kettle of boiling water off the stove. Max is so enamored by her beauty that he failed to hear the kettle whistling. She pours some of the hot water into a mug and places a bag of Earl Gray inside it. The woman returns and hands the mug to Max. He graciously accepts her offering.

“Thank you for this. I owe you everything.” He takes a sip. The sensation of the hot liquid entering his body warms his soul.

“What’s your name?” She sits down on a chair next to the bed.

“My name is Max. What’s yours?”

“Deidre.” Deidre? What a pretty name.

“Deidre? What a pretty name.”

Whoa. Did he just say that out loud? Oh my God…

“Thank you. It is a pretty name.” She giggles and smiles at him, acknowledging his awkwardness. Max and Deidre proceed to have a lengthy discussion about why they are both in this God-forsaken snow-covered town. As it turns out, Deidre is a professional fitness model and dietary coach who was supposed to be in this town for a photoshoot. Unfortunately for her, Deidre’s photographer had to cancel at the last moment because he found an alternate gig in the Bahamas.

A shot of Deidre Pagnanelli's gorgeous face.
A shot of Deidre Pagnanelli’s gorgeous face.

“The Bahamas! Can you believe it? I’d much rather be there than here!” Deidre says, laughing smugly. Max laughs too, trying hard to picture her in a bikini. She probably looks amazing wearing one!

Max now remembers why he’s here. He’s a freelance writer on assignment from a small travel magazine to write about the ski slopes. Since Max doesn’t ski and couldn’t care less about winter sports, he didn’t feel too enthusiastic about the project. This probably explains why he also couldn’t remember why he was in this town in the first place.

“You’re a writer? You should write a story about me for your magazine instead!” Deidre jokes.

“I could. Although, they probably want to hear more about skiing instead of your personal life. Unless you have a really interesting personal life…” Max is impressed at how well he incorporated that into the conversation. Now he has an excuse to learn more about her!

Deidre, as sweet as can be, gladly explains to Max who she is.

In addition to being a fitness model and dietary coach, Deidre Veneziano is a prominent columnist for several health and wellness publications. She travels across the world giving pep talks, plugging her products and offering her nutritional expertise at college campuses, business seminars and industry conventions. Years ago, before she became a wildly successful entrepreneur, she was an amateur bodybuilder.

Ms. Veneziano pulls up a few photos on her phone from her competitive days and shows them to Max.

Holy mackerel! She looks even more stunning! At the tender age of 19 she’d already won several lower level figure and bodybuilding competitions and won a few more prestigious ones in her 20s and 30s. She’s recently divorced (who’s the idiot who willingly left her?) and is the mother of four children.

Wait. WHAT????????? She’s the mother of FOUR kids? You have got to be kidding!

Whoa. Hot damn. With a body like hers, Max never would’ve guessed!

Then it was his turn to share his life story. Max grew up in a stuffy upper middle class Asian American family. He was expected from birth to be a doctor, a musician or a scientist. When he decided on becoming a writer instead, his parents unenthusiastically went along with it. He went to a prominent university, had his heart broken toward the end of his senior year (his fiancée cheated on him with his roommate. They’re now married and have two kids) and graduated near the top of his class. Unfortunately, a bad economy made journalism jobs impossible to find. So freelance work (or, as he refers to it, “whoring yourself out for a letter of recommendation”) was his only reliable source of income. That and working the graveyard shift at a storage lot. Max isn’t too thrilled with that job and dreams of the day that he can quit.

Deidre Pagnanelli in a colorful swimsuit.
Deidre Pagnanelli in a colorful swimsuit.

During his speech Deidre frequently nods her head and interjects to point out where he and she are similar. Both are victims of cheating lovers. Both are stuck in this God-forsaken town. Neither of them wants to be here…but they both love getting to know each other!

Every moment he spends with her, Max feels more secure. It’s like they’ve known each other for years, not hours. He highly doubts the positive feelings are mutual, but it’s always nice to dream. The pain has finally gone away. He still has a nasty cut on his leg, but Deidre did a fantastic job of bandaging it up. After talking for hours (but what seemed like mere minutes to him), Deidre decides it’s time to get ready for bed. She offers Max a place to sleep for the night. Max graciously accepts her cordial invitation.

It’s nearing 10:30 p.m. Deidre says she has a flight to catch tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting. The cabin belongs to a friend of her photographer who’s on vacation in Europe. Deidre takes a shower in the upstairs master bedroom. Max, despite his injuries and bandages, takes an awkward bath in the main level washroom. The warm water cascading against his skin feels so good!

11 p.m. The wind stops howling. The snow dies down. A full moon lights up the night sky. The mood is romantic in a surreal way.

Max puts on a comfortable pair of fleece pajamas that belong to the owner of the cabin. As he prepares to hop into bed, he hears someone crying from upstairs.

Sobs. Not loud sobs, but sounds of sadness and heartbreak nevertheless. Concerned, Max walks up the stairs to inspect what’s happening. Why would Deidre be crying? Is she watching a movie or something?

Politely, Max knocks on her door.

“Come in,” Deidre struggles to answer.

Quietly as a church mouse, he opens the door and peers inside. As expected, Deidre is curled up on her bed with tears streaming down her beautiful face. Max immediately comes in to comfort her. He hugs her. Her warm body stirs a tingling sensation through his soul. After a few moments, her sobbing subsides and she sits up.

“Thank you. I don’t know what came over me, but…having you here made me think.”

“Think about what?”

“I was thinking about my life. Thinking about my ex-husband. Thinking about why he would do that to me. Why he would tear apart our family. Our beautiful family. My kids are with him now. Because I’m always traveling, the judge said he would have custody over the kids even though he was the one who ended the marriage. I fought and fought, but I couldn’t win.”

This is serious stuff. Max tries to process it all. He cannot.

“I can’t imagine what your children must be going through, Deidre. That sounds awful.” Max finds a box of tissues on the nightstand and hands one to Deidre. She blows her nose and tosses the tissue into a nearby waste basket.

“I started to hate men after that. Actually, I started to hate people after that. When my photographer ditched me in the middle of nowhere…that was the final straw. I was ready to have a nervous breakdown. Then…then…”

“Then what?”

“Then you came along. You’re different. You’re kind. You listen. You have a compassionate heart. You know what it’s like to have your heart savagely broken. You can identify with my suffering.” Max finally notices Deidre isn’t wearing makeup. He can clearly see the crow’s feet around her eyes and age lines streaking across her face. But she’s still the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Age has done nothing to fade her beauty.

Age has done absolutely nothing to fade Deidre Pagnanelli's beauty.
Age has done absolutely nothing to fade Deidre Pagnanelli’s beauty.

A long silence. Max and Deidre can hear the snow start to fall again outside the window. Its melodic resonance nearly hypnotizes them.

Finally, she breaks the quietness.

“Max, I have something to ask you.”

“Go ahead. Ask me anything, Deidre.”

She turns to face him. She stares intently into his eyes. Then, she leans over and kisses him. She doesn’t hold back. Max is surprised at first, but goes along with it. He kisses her back. They embrace. They remain in each other’s arms for what seems like an eternity. They both want it to last an eternity.

Eventually, she breaks off their embrace. She looks at him once again, but this time her eyes communicate warmness and tenderness instead of seriousness.

“I want to make love to you,” she whispers into his ear.

Time stops. But Max doesn’t shy away from the moment. Instead, he chooses to stab the moment in the heart.

“No, Deidre,” he starts, fiercely pushing her onto her back. She gasps out of pleasant surprise. Max playfully wrestles with her and kisses her again. This time, on top and in a clear position of dominance, he’s the one who stares through her eyes and into her soul.

“I’m going to make love to you.”

Continued in part two…

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twelve – The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

I am convinced that Monifa is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. There is no doubting my conviction in this. Granted, I haven’t met every single woman in the world, but compared to the supermodels and movie stars I see in magazines, Monifa beats them all by a mile.

A very LONG mile.

Monifa and I have been sitting at D’Angelo’s Café for nearly twenty minutes, chatting over lattes and grilled hummus sandwiches (which, I might add, are incredibly delicious!). Thankfully, Sam is nowhere to be found. It’s just the two of us, a couple of businessmen in the back, an elderly woman sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, Cathy and her assistant, Micah. Micah is a college student who’s studying art. And yes, he looks and acts like a stereotypical hipster. Whatever.

“I have to know, Ryan. If you could pursue your dream job, what would it be?” Monifa asks me.

“Hm. I would say I would love to be a professional biographer. I love reading biographies and think I would do a good job at writing one.” I’m not lying when I say this. Obviously, slaving away over smelly gym towels isn’t what I’d like to be doing for the next twenty years.

“Biographies? That’s so interesting. Is there anybody in particular you would like to write about?”

“Oh, no one really. I’m mostly fascinated with ordinary, average people who do extraordinary things with their lives.” I stirred a half package of sugar into my latte. I hope my waistline doesn’t object to this!

“So you have no interest in celebrities?”

“Or politicians, for that matter. I think they’re over-exposed as it is.”

I see Cathy eyeing us from her corner in the café. She’s fixing a sandwich at the moment, of which variety I cannot tell. She must be thinking how unusual it is for me to come in here with a beautiful black woman. The two of us do make an odd couple.

“I love adventure stories. You should write one of those.” Monifa’s posture is upright and proper. I don’t think she ever slouches in real life.

“What kind of adventure stories? I’m not really interested in writing any of those kinds of books, but I suppose I shouldn’t knock it unless I’ve tried it.”

Monifa smiles. Her face is so beautiful I want to take a picture of her and frame it on my wall. Her beauty transcends any feelings of lust or sexual attraction. Her beauty is like staring at a divinely perfect piece of art. If Cindi’s body is art, Monifa’s face is also art (but don’t get me wrong; her body is also VERY fine. But it’s obviously not as muscular or unusual as Miss North’s epic physique). I wonder how she can still be single. How can any heterosexual man resist this incredible woman?

“I like adventure stories involving most anything. The high seas, deadly volcanoes, mysterious islands, intergalactic planets, tropical excursions, pirate ships, anything. I guess this is what happens when your real life is so boring.”

“Boring? How could your life be boring? You’re a conceptual artist. Aren’t they the most inventive and wackiest of all people?”

Monifa lets out a quiet laugh. “I told you, conceptual art is my hobby. By day I’m a software tester. I wish I had more time to pursue art, but that’s what happens when you work too many hours in a cubicle.”

“Nonsense. I don’t consider what you do for a living to be your life. I think what you love to do to should define your life. Just look at me, for example. I work at a dead-end job cleaning mirrors, windows, dirty towels and locker room floors. That’s not even close to what I consider to be my life. It’s just what pays the bills.”

“I guess you’re right. I should find more time for my art.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what type of conceptual art do you do? I have little to no knowledge about this sort of thing.”

“Essentially, I like to fuse all sorts of art into a cohesive whole to tell a larger story. In Ethiopia, I briefly worked as an actress when I was a young girl. Then I started to do modeling. Then I got into photography. When I moved to America I took classes in filmmaking and drawing. Everything fascinates me. I feel like I’m great at taking big ideas and making them simple to understand.”

“Taking big ideas and making them simple to understand? That’s almost what a historian does. Except they work in recording human activity, not creating art.”

“They can almost be considered the same thing,” Monifa says.

Wow. That’s…kind of deep. Monifa takes a last sip of her coffee and places the cup on the table. Does she want a refill? Or does she want something else to eat? I told her when we first got here that I’d pay because she’s new and I wanted to welcome her to the neighborhood. I also pointed out to her that I’ll probably be the only neighbor that she’ll know in our building. The people who live there aren’t terribly open to meeting those who live no more than twenty feet away from them.

Almost on cue, Cathy walks over to our table.

“Hello you two. Can I get you anything else?” Cathy takes a long look at Monifa. I think she would agree with me that her beauty is almost beyond compare.

“No thank you,” Monifa says sweetly. I nod my head in agreement.

“Alright. Holler if you need anything. You know where I am.” With that, Cathy walks away and winks at me when she’s out of Monifa’s line of sight. Does she think we’re on a date? Who goes on a date on a Monday afternoon?

There is a long pause. Oh great. What should I say next?

“If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, what type of…art project would you want to create?” Ah ha! I just asked an art question that allows her to express herself. When it comes to attracting intelligent women, I hope I’m on to something.

Monifa pauses to think and finally speaks: “I would love to create a series of tableaus. Do you know what that is?”

“Uh, sort of. It has something to do with pictures, right?”

“Yes, it has a lot to do with photography, but the type of tableaus I’m interested in created involve real people in real situations. I’d love, for example, to create a series of still images of people, all types of people, young and old, every body type, every shape, color and ethnicity, relating to each other in the real world.”

This is my chance to shine. I’ve read about artists doing these sorts of projects. If I can impress her with this, who knows how far I can go with her?

“You’re referring to a ‘tableau vivant.’” I smile as these words leave my mouth.

“Yes! A “tableau vivant!” You’ve heard the term before.” Monifa looks impressed with my knowledge of art. Score for me!

“I have heard the term before. They’re living pictures. So, you’d like to create living pictures of all sorts of people doing what they do in real life.”

“Not just real life; but in a surreal, enhanced version of life. Picture this: A large group of skinny, beautiful women surrounding a larger, overweight woman in a circle and pointing fingers at her, while the woman in the middle crouches over and weeps. Or a group of racially-homogeneous schoolchildren turning their backs to a mixed-race    child–”

“Or an interracial couple,” I blurt out. I hope my interruption doesn’t bother her.

“Yes, that would also be powerful, especially if the schoolchildren were in their teens.”

“What’s stopping you from pursuing this sort of project? I realize you said time is always a factor, but isn’t that just an excuse we use? I tend to think we use the “time” excuse because we’re afraid of what actually doing this project could lead to.”

“What do you mean?” Monifa finishes her sandwich and turns her attention completely upon me. Her dazzling black eyes pierce through me like an Olympic archer’s arrow.

“Well, I think we’re afraid of pursuing our dreams because we’re afraid we might fail, which wouldn’t just shatter you accomplishing our dreams, but your desire to dream of anything again. If our dreams remain fantasy, we can always take comfort in knowing that we’ll never fail.”

“But how do you know you’ll fail if you never try it? If you keep on wishing for things, they’ll never happen unless you take action.”

This is where I can definitely go in for the intellectual kill.

“Maybe this is why you should pursue your dreams instead of just talking about it.”

Silence. DEAD SILENCE. DEAD, DEAFENING SILENCE.

Just what I thought would happen. Dead, deafening silence. Monifa’s gorgeous face wrinkles as she thinks hard about what I just said. I genuinely hope she gets out of her artistic funk and pursues her photography, or whatever art she likes to do. It’s a damn shame when young people talk about wanting to do something but never even try to do it. Rationalizing your behavior can be the ultimate form of suicide.

Gee, I should write a book about this.

“You know what, Ryan? You’re right. You’re absolutely right, one hundred percent right. I should pursue my art. Of course, in small chunks. I can’t do everything overnight, you would agree?” I see that Cathy has returned to the back kitchen. I think she’s conceded that we’re not going to order anything else today.

“Of course, I completely agree. Start out small. Right now, you’re doing nothing. So doing something would definitely be an improvement. Start with something modest. How about creating two or three person tableaus? I’m sure we can totally find volunteers who’d be willing to pose for a few shots. Seattle is full of artsy-types who would do anything do get into the “art scene.’”

Monifa grins. “I’ll think about this. I’m confident I can get something off the ground. But I just moved here, so I–”

“Ah, ah, ah! There’s that thing about making excuses. Do you have a camera?”

“Yes.”

“Great. Is it unpacked?”

“No, but it’s not hard to find.”

“Great. Think about some ideas, and feel free to knock on my door any time to run them by me. My ear is always open to new ideas.” Holy shit, did I just give her an open invitation to come over to my apartment whenever she likes? I’m really getting bold.

“I would like that. I like you, Ryan. I’m glad we’re neighbors.”

“I’m glad, too.”

There is another period of silence, but this time it’s way more awkward. I think it is time for us to depart from here and go our separate ways.

“Pablo should be done with your unit by now.”

“Yes, he should be. I’ll pay for us.”

“No, no, no! Your money is no good here, at least not today. I’ll cover this, my treat.”

“Thanks! You’re very sweet.” Monifa leans over and kisses me on the cheek. I feel my entire body melt at the sensation of her soft lips covering my face. Is it possible to get a heart attack just by being kissed by a beautiful woman?

We get up, push our chairs in and I walk over to the counter. Cathy has since returned, reading a trashy fashion magazine.

“I’m paying for the both of us.”

“Who’s the girl, Ryan? She’s quite a looker,” Cathy whispers to me as I hand her my debit card. She swipes it and returns it to me. I put it back in my wallet.

“New neighbor. Next door. Sweet thing. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.”

“Holy fucking shit. She’s gorgeous, honey. You better act fast or else someone else will, trust me.” Cathy’s advice is always straight and to-the-point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

“I trust you, Cathy. I trust you. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” Cathy says to me. “Bye!” she yells to Monifa as we head out the door.

“Good bye, Cathy. It was nice to meet you. You have a lovely establishment. I’ll be returning here often,” Monifa declares as we leave.

We stroll back to the apartment building across the street. Sure enough, Pablo is finished with his work. Monifa and I shake hands as we retreat to our respected units, separated by nothing but a thin, sound-proof wall. I close the door and collapse onto the couch.

“Wow, what a day. What a way to spend my Monday,” I tell myself.

Imagine this: I’m now next-door neighbors with The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and this Saturday I’ll be losing my virginity to The Most Muscular Woman in the World.

Not bad, Ryan Takahashi, not bad at all. Looks like I’m finally starting to move up in the world.

It’s about time!