Right now one of my favorite wrestlers anywhere is Austin Cooper. With his honey-colored tan and bland A+F good looks, he is a natural as a babyface. I happen to prefer him in heel mode, but sometimes there's no arguing with Mother Nature. Clearly she meant that kisser to be contorted in pain, and nobody makes a body beautiful pay for being beautiful better than Jonny Firestorm. So naturally in Cooper's Wrestler Spotlight earlier this year at BG East, Jonny gets a fast hold on a (briefly) masked Coop and gives the man's clock a thorough cleaning. Every which way his body can be turned, Austin looks fine to me.
Sometimes I'm a bit amazed how manly beauty stuns me. Without going into detail about it, I spent about twenty minutes this morning chatting with one of my male students. I'm never anything less than professional in my dealings with students, but I have to say that once the conversation was over, I felt like I needed a shot of something to steady my giddy nerves. This guy, about twenty, I think, has a beautifully proportioned face, with lush full lips and expressive eyes, and if that weren't enough he's tall and strapping--standing about six-two or six-three by my estimate, and tipping the scales somewhere over 200. The boy needs to be in metallic Chinese-red trunks in a ring somewhere. Instead, I'm happy to say, he's learning all about the art of rhetoric from me.
In our world, beautiful men can be admired, but almost always when their beauty is spoken of, brought attention to, the notice serves only to demean them, as if somehow beauty makes them less than men. The ancient Greeks saw beauty as a virtue. I have always liked this about the Greeks. So much better than the Christian snubbing of beauty as only "skin deep." Still today, we accept Greek sculptors' concept of ideal male beauty as definitive (except for penis size). (Our word virtue derives from the Latin vir, for man; thus the original sense of virtue denoted manliness.) But if homosexuality was once the love that dared not speak its name, male beauty is yet a virtue that is strongly felt, but hardly ever spoken of favorably.
In the world of wrestling, an athlete who proclaims his own beauty is a heel--"gorgeous," "stunning," "handsome," "pretty," all epithets of vain, arrogant villains, often effeminate. I remember the thrill I felt upon finding out that "Ravishing" Rick Rude was hairy-chested and butch--an exception--almost a turning point for the meme, though still he was the bad guy (one of the best). The beautiful rookies--like Kevin Von Erich, Billy Kidman, and Tyler Black--were almost never called "beautiful," except by gushing, usually female fans. In gay underground wrestling, the good-looking guys are almost always pegged as "jobbers," suggesting both that they do what they do primarily for pay and that they are doomed, valuable only for putting over another wrestler's ring skills. It's all fine by me, so long as I can lavish my attention upon them.
To my mind, the world will never have enough beautiful men--or wrestling trunks that are too shimmering, tight, or skimpy. Call me "superficial." I'll own it. And I'm fine with it.