A Very Strange Enchanted Boy

Steve Mason vs Mason Brooks, Backyard Brawls 10 (BG East)

I'm not a fan of a wrestling match framed within a story, D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love  being a notable exception. I think wrestling should be dramatic enough all on its own - there are protagonists, conflict, climax, and resolution. For a genuinely compelling match, a narrative frame is frosting on top of a pecan pie. This BG East match, too, is an exception, but for a different reason. Lawrence's "Gladiatorial" chapter works on its own as a complete story - and might work just as well with Ursula and Gudrun out of the picture. Conversely, Mason vs Brooks benefits from its simple story - a pesky houseguest (Mason, in Burberry plaid trunks) gets in a tussle with the new gardener (Brooks, in baby blue) - a class-struggle meet-cute worthy of D.H.'s pal Forster.

I've known about the wrestlers for a while. Bringing them together in this way somehow brings out the charm in both, not so much because of their chemistry - it is pretty shaky - but mostly because of their awkwardness. The edginess and tentativeness of their confrontation seem entirely true to me, adding realism and warmth to the match, perhaps because, realistically, first sexual encounters are often less debonair and droll than graceless and heavy-handed - less George Clooney than Seth Rogen. Physically Mason and Brooks seem so right for each other that the clumsiness of their verbal exchanges adds sandpaper-y friction to the video's erotic and martial aspects.

The outdoorsy setting is enchanting - mottled sunlight and shadow, as captured in the stills above, nicely suited to a clash between the cocky city boy and the standoffish nature boy. Eventually the contest must move indoors - the birds and the bees might be cool with where this tussle is heading, but neighbors are a different matter. (If I lived nearby, I'd invest in a GoPro drone.) No longer strangers, Mason and Brooks head to the Wrestleshack, one of my favorite spots on earth, where gear comes off and the wrestling gets friskier and rougher. The final minutes offer eyeful after eyeful. The wrestlers, both boy-next-door types, shine as inhibitions drop and they proceed to vanquish and be vanquished in return. Backyard Brawls 10  will forever be the match I remember them for.

Visit BG East here.


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