Story: Graham the Muscle Man – 30/08/19

Graham the Muscle Man adored impressing the ladies.  Whether it was through his bulging, well defined physique, or his suave manner, when he murmured his sweet nothings to them, in a manner of eloquent speech, or his fetching red swimmers, known as red budgie smugglers, Graham was able to draw positive female attention wherever he went, women flocked to him, their feet pounding on the pavement.

Graham spent a large portion of his life at gym. To him, looking good was very important to him. It was nothing to do with having a healthy body and a healthy life; it was all a means to satisfy his desire to be viewed of as a delectable prize. You see, Graham was somewhat in love with his image and himself, his loving understanding of his life, unintelligent words about him would not suffice, for he knew he was clever, wise, attractive, well built, and most of all, kind.

Although he would always draw these women in, by standing on the beach, or in a park, subtle flexing his muscles so they could be greatly seen, he was also rather fond of impressing in the evening, the very dark mean streets. He always remained hydrated so he could take advantage of vascularity, when one’s superficial veins were so well hydrated that the muscles appeared to be further bulging. This meant more attention to his immodest self, this was what he wanted to be experience more and more then – with a shriek a group of women down the street called out, “There he is! Graham has been sighted, Graham of you I have seen!” The women rushed down from the brush and car park, and upon the sand they did now land. With a secret smirk, Graham knew he was famous to these women, that he was somehow well known to them.

“Can I have a hug??” one lady begged. “I don’t even care that I’ll get your fake tan upon me shirt and pants, I can change when I get home, I’d rather wear these stained with your vivacious shade of yours!”

“Why, of course,” he replied, now very modest. He needed to keep up a sense of pretence. Respectable and knowledgeable were separate things, but being narcissistic and in love with oneself was frowned upon by society, even though this is the way that most of us are operating, or at least how society itself is currently being portrayed, our visual media upbringing. It was as though it is a free for all, look after all features of your appearance: cosmetic, invasive, clothing short, sharp, snappy, the perfect job, life, pet, children, that everything is something to aspire to, can’t we always be happy with what we have, with what we already knew?

She grabbed him tightly, wrapped her clammy mitts upon his back. “I’m sorry for sweating, it’s a nervous reaction. I want to get it looked at,” she said, trailing off. “One of my best friends told me I’d never meet a man with my excessive sweating problem, yet here I am with you!” He noticed she wore  a brooch-pin with his face upon it with a large decorative button. He smiled at her dedication.

The other three women from the group, also giddy, wanted a hug, and a firm squeeze of his biceps, and potentially another all over look, because they knew they would never meet such an attractive man again, especially not one who graced the cover of many romance books. For Graham was a model, he enjoyed being on covers of much loved novels, read by many a woman and men, but mostly daydreaming women who loved the sense of escapism. Romance covers allowed him to meet other women and impress them with his well sculpted physique, and commence conversation with them in the hopes that once comfortable they’d like to grab something to eat. But the current view of the situation is this: they only wanted to be friends, for they felt that Graham was romantically interested in men, not women, and this was how their thought processes went. These thoughts were obviously incorrect, and incredibly remiss.

Just because he was a giggling gossip, a man who loved to look after his body, look utterly fantastic, what did it matter if he highlighted his effeminate, pixie-like features with a thin face of makeup, besides, he knew that inside he would find The One eventually though, his search need not be pressured or drastic. But if most of these women automatically assumed he wasn’t interested in them, how was he meant to find a lady of his own, on his own volition? It was like he was going through a sort of enforced human condition, where he had to prove himself to them, that he would be a willing member of a relationship, a loving participant.

But for now, he would draw the attentions and eyes of the women all around, perhaps he would change his attire, remove the makeup, smile more and lesser of his contemplative momentary frowns, and now that he was joyous always, he was able to draw the ongoing attentions of females in every way, something which he had wondered if he was able to do, be, or even say. With each random meeting, he knew love was closer to finding to him its way.

On the beach one day, he decided to roll and roll in the sand. He didn’t care that he was covered with tanning oil and lotion that would cause the grains to stick upon him in every way, not a thin layer, but thickly instead. He giggled to himself as he felt himself being coated as though a piece of crumbed chicken, laughing and laughing, he could feel his mood lifting. Why should it matter how many women he could and would and had impressed, there was nothing malleable to take from those experiences except that he was attractive and well wanted. It spoke of nothing of his character, zero point to his personality, and then he realised that what truly mattered was that he be himself, not worry about the superficial, there was nothing further left to ponder. Over loving yourself can be a terrible disease.

So, he returned to the gym, asked for a week and a half off from membership payments, then at work, handed in his notice of resignation. He had always hated this job, and now he absolutely loathed it, so despite being told never to quit until one had a newer position, he wanted to be free of obligation, so he made the decision, the choice, to become available to what life would determine.
“Throw at me what you will!” he dared the gusting breeze, the sun filtering through the trees, the clouds moving so slowly yet very, very freely. He enrolled in a yoga and meditation retreat, where they were not allowed to speak for ten days – the length of the retreat – and were only permitted to speak on the inside as though permanently introspective.

Here Graham found himself, his centre, his core, of who and what he truly was. He was not a showy being only intent of showing his body off. There was more to him than others viewed and this was important to be known, this information was never meant to be suppressed or misused, but he wanted to keep it carefully tucked away, upon a hidden message, stored at home. He didn’t want his true vulnerabilities to be shown, that he was an ostentatious man actually disguising a gentleness unknown to the women.

Now he operated in a manner so very modest, he was dressed well, his skin was scrubbed clean of fake tan, and his hair styled appropriately for the age group of 28-35, Graham was now an improved and less showy man. Now he was free to life his life, and perhaps, in a strange occurrence, he would meet his future wife. Who knows? Sometimes pigs could fly.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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