Poolside at Skull Island

I remember the summer of 1970. I worked in the kitchen of a summer camp near Leesburg, Florida. I learned how to cook all the foods I hardly ever eat anymore, concoctions of lard, MSG, white flour, chicken, and yeast. It was a good summer job. After the campers and counselors were tucked into their cots, my pals Mike and Jimmy and I would hit the pool, lit only by surrounding light sources no closer than twenty feet away and spookily enveloped in Spanish moss. I remember Mike, the year before our senior year, his flashy teeth and absurdly square jaw, daring me to pull him into the water by the cord attached to the inner tube around his washboard abs. The distant light bounced dreamily off his wide shoulders. I pulled him into the water, and we'd wrestle, trying to all but drown each other in the process. Then Jimmy would dive in, and we'd roll in the water like Tarzan and a crocodile. Heaven.

By the way, Mike is one of my Facebook friends, unrecognizably chubby now, married and remarried, more faithful to Chik-Fil-A and Jesus than I have been. We never communicate--poke, share, comment, or like. I hate his politics, and he hates mine. Facebook allows that sort of distant connectedness to old buddies. The distance is probably for the best, all things considered.

BG East is set to release its sixth in the Wet & Wild series as part of Catalog 91, and it's pretty terrific. Anything with Jake Jenkins is bound to be a cut above the rest, but his costars Reese Wells, Len Harder, and Christian Taylor are impressive, too. Both matches start with a fabricated fuss--Jake's mad at Christian for not helping him show off his backflip, and Reese inexplicably gives Len the cold shoulder. Things quickly escalate until there's nothing left to do but wrestle in the pool. Christian uses his height advantage to pull Jake out to the deep end. Jake decides grappling is not enough for him and throws a punch, and in no time the guys are trying to choke each other to death. Similarly, Reese decides that Len needs to be taught a lesson in respect, and before it's over, he's bodyslamming the guy into the pool ... multiple times.

As exciting as water wrestling is, with rubbery gooseflesh smoothing over other gooseflesh in a near-frictionless water world, it's hard to capture the action (or frottage) on camera. It helps when the fighters climb up on the tiles to trap their opponents in half-submerged headscissors--or, like Jenkins, to fly off the pool edge and dropkick Taylor, up to his waist in fresh chlorinated water. Even better, the guys leave the pool area to wrestle on dry land and mats, their trunks still soaked and their hair still dribbling droplets to their shoulders.

Not a whole lot to complain about when you get to see Jake Jenkins' wet, translucent gold bikini creeping up his ass cheeks, or Reese Wells, body glistening like a twilit vampire, choking Harder with a twisted beach towel. These are good times--perfect fantasy scenarios for long winter's nights and encouragement to drop the pounds gained over the holidays before spring springs upon us. Poolside wrestling captures the fun, playful roughhouse of men together, and BG East's latest entry to a tradition as old (at least) as the Athletic Model Guild will definitely get you wet and more than likely drive you wild, too.


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