That Certain Special Something
Someone who mainly knows me through this blog recently observed that he sensed that I prefer young, lean, "vulnerable looking" men, which is true enough, but also surprising that he would pick up on this last feature since I so often write admiringly of wrestlers' arrogance and toughness. My last boyfriend was a tall, slim, yet buff Gary Cooper-type, almost fifteen years younger than I--who similarly observed that I preferred the strong, silent types, especially among wrestlers. And as I noted fairly recently, I grew up around military men, as tough and cocky as they come, but also, so often, imbued with a particular sort of sweetness and passivity--as one might need if one were pursuing a career that consists almost entirely of taking orders and following the chain of command.
So it dawned on me that I probably do like to boss young men around more than I had previously imagined, and I am particularly tickled when they submit to me of their own accord. I am rather appalled at the discovery, since I have not thought highly of those among my colleagues in the teaching profession who insist on lording it over their students. Was I just feeling competitive, after all? While I'm being all honest and transparent here, I should add that I like it, I really do, when young military and athletic types in my college classes defer to me and call me "sir," even though this feeling violates my democratic sympathies--and on some level should be understood only to mean that I am much much older than they. And maybe--just maybe--though my decision to teach was based almost entirely on a desire to enrich the lives of others--certainly not the money, that much is certain--maybe on some subconscious level I do it because it's a profession that puts tender and impressionable youth into my veiny clutches.
Just today, I confess, I felt a pleasant electric charge when a student, not my own but one I was helping work on study skills, told me that he is in need of "discipline." Turn that into "I need discipline, sir!" and, son, you are knocking on the right door. But I should hurry to point out that real ineffectuality and weakness do not attract me at all, but rather men of some strength and egoism who nevertheless are, as my friend astutely put it, "vulnerable looking." And then, for whatever motives of their own, decide to look to me as some kind of mentor, if not, as it seems I may prefer, master. I'm a bit horrified that I am thinking this, much less publishing it for you, who do not know me well, to read. So I have missed my true calling ... as a heel manager in pro wrestling, one with a stable of young studs eager to be at my beck and call.
This awkward admission out of the way, let me say this about the young man in the pictures: I am touched by his video, in which he shyly yet confidently asserts his "certain special something" that could effect his success on USA Network's upcoming revival of Tough Enough--in much the same way I was touched, in Boogie Nights, when Mark Wahlberg places himself under the benevolent yet patronizing wing of Burt Reynolds--not out of lack of self-confidence, but rather out of a conviction that this type of submission could make him the "shining star" he knows he was meant to be. It is precisely this cocky yet vulnerable looking attitude I find attractive in a man, so rarely seen these days outside the military, or perhaps martial arts training, in an age of so many victims and bullies, but so few Dirk Digglers.
You have seen 5'9", 180# Patrick Bentley wrestle--either on YouTube or Cyberfights (as Zero X). He's good, too. He'd be great on the new Tough Enough, a show whose time has certainly come again (as has, I would add, Wrestling Society X's). You perhaps saw Blake Arledge's stunning, much-talked-about photograph of him, as he glistens with sweat at the center of the ring. There's something gently medieval about his face--offset by his winsome Alabama twang. Whatever else he's got working for him, he's got that "certain special something" that makes me want to show him the ropes (if only I knew them myself), whip him into shape, teach him his limits, feel him shudder in pain and humiliation under the weight of me, and be in a position where he would hang on my every word and jump when I say jump.