The French phrase bête noire literally means "black beast" and refers to someone (or something) that is dreaded. But not all dread is the same. I dread the next four or more years of the U.S. Presidency. That is real, stomach-churning dread, which I'd rather not think about (plus it has nothing to do with this blog).
But there's also dread I find titillating and seductive. In wrestling, this feeling arises when I think of viper-mode Randy Orton, CJ Banks, and Ivan Gromov. This dread churns my balls, a combination of horror and erotic attraction. It fuels my attraction to horror movies, roller coasters, great white sharks, and, in the squared circle, big, nasty brutes seemingly devoid of conscience.
The synchronicity of a recent email from Jerry, a longtime friend to this blog, and Bruno's recent post started me thinking about Gromov again--and his strange allure. The first three still shots above are from Jerry. The fourth is from Bruno's blog, Beefcakes of Wrestling.
Maybe it's the severe haircut, the plastic (?) wrestling trunks, the gold cross he wears around his neck, or his laconic personality, so stereotypical of Russians, but something about Gromov (maybe a combination of all the above) triggers contradictory impulses to fight, cower, swoon, and fuck. His heel style is distinctively intimidating, one part soulless beast, one part cocky swagger, one part approaching hurricane, one part sadistic machine, one part big brother, one part snake in the grass. He has chainsaws in his muscles and icicles in his heart. He's not indestructible, but he has the indestructibility vibe.