Before there was the triangle strangle, there was the simple side headlock. I love this hold in all its varieties--standing, kneeling, lying. I have loved it since my college days, when my wrestling buddy Dave first snapped my head against his ribs, crushing my left ear against his massive round bicep. I heard his powerful heart pound-pound-POUNDing into my right ear ... a heart so mighty its rhythm coursed through my whole body.
My arms grabbed for balance, my right hand sliding up and down his muscular back, my left hand braced on his smooth belly, while he walked me around the mat. Then, lying, his weight bearing down on mine ... I couldn't help but get hard.
After that, I was an addict, even purposefully letting Dave catch me in that hold, just so I could repeat that experience of closeness I felt the first time. I would reach up and grab the back of his curly hair and yank, just to piss him off ... so that I'd feel that tight crush against my skull ... it's a wonder I don't have cauliflower ears today.
Why did I let myself get caught in such a humiliating hold, in the grip of my tall, strapping friend? To feel the heat rise off his skin? to feel mastered by such a strong and beautiful boy? to feel punished for the desire I felt secretly and guiltily in my heart for him the other hours of the day? just to be close to him, clamped in to him? just to be a part, however helplessly, in the heroic way he held himself, the way he strode, rather than simply walked? to submerge my aching groans into his?
Whatever it was, it's a sense memory I carry with me to this day, some 35 years later, and manage to sneak it into nearly every wrestling story I write.