I have much to get off of my very broad chest. You have been warned. (I composed this blog during my lunch break, as I didn’t want to wait until tonight to do so. I also type 120 wpm, so I can type almost as fast as many people can talk. One last thing: I like parentheses.)
I arrived at CFZ at 5:35 to allow extra time to stretch and focus on mobility. My lattimus dorsi muscles are quite sore.
I remind myself daily to separate impact from intent. In other words, folks might not intend to impact me by the words they say. Faithful readers and friends know that I am open with my sexuality if for no other reason to make you damn straights aware that my people aren’t much different from your people. I truly appreciate that folks feel free to talk openly with me about this topic. Nonetheless, I get some stupid questions – none of them asked this morning. From this moment forward these will be my responses to the following questions.
Q: When did you choose to be gay?
A: I can’t recall exactly. When did you choose to be straight? It’s not a choice, idiot.
Q: Can you have sex with a woman?
A: I can have sex with anyone I want. Being gay or straight isn’t about sex; it’s about being drawn to someone with whom you can form a loving relationship. I’m not homosexual, I’m homoemotional.
Q: Does Jeff get jealous of your relationship with Michael Kelley?
A: No, and why would he? Michael Kelley is one of my best friends. I’ve had both female and male best friends, and I’ve never wanted to have sex with any of them. Just because Michael Kelley is a somewhat attractive male doesn’t mean I want to do him. Besides, he’s too beefy for me.
Stay with me…
I shall no longer call someone homophobic, because to have a phobia is to experience fear. Given that there’s nothing to fear, I shall not refer to someone as homophobic, I’ll just call them an asshole.
I know, I know, I still haven’t even begun to discuss today’s workout. I’ll get there eventually.
B. (a truly wonderful, kind, and caring person) and I had the following conversation. My thoughts are italicized.
B.: Did you watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics last night?
Paul: Here it comes. He’s going to say something that he thinks is not homophobic but will likely be about gays. Yes. Go ahead and say it. I know you’re gaycist.
B.: The camera panned out to the audience and there were these two guys. One was on the shoulders of the other.
Paul: Uhm, I’m not sure where he’s going with this. And?
B.: They looked pretty gay.
Paul: How the f%ck does someone “look” gay? It would only look gay if the man on the shoulders of the other man was facing backwards.
Again, I know B. meant no offense, i.e., that wasn’t his intended impact. I’m also not the least bit angry or upset with him — and I hope he’s not upset or angry with me for sharing this conversation.
Here is what I think looked gay as I watched the Olympics: all male group sports, e.g., water polo (perhaps the most gay of all), volleyball, basketball (yes, basketball), running relays, and the list goes on and on.
Stay with me. I know you can do it.
Touch is the most basic and primary form of communication, and from the time we are born until the moment we die we all need to touch and to be touched. Given the heteroidiocy (my term for homophobia) in our society, particularly directed towards gay men, straight men avoid touching other men for fear — yes, fear — that they will be perceived as gay.
Unless, of course, that touch takes place in the context of team sports.
It is not at all unusual for men to touch other men when the touch takes place in this context. Score a touchdown? Group hug! Spike the volleyball? You get a chest bump! Make the foul shot? You get a slap on the ass! I have seen men grab the face of a teammate, draw the teammate’s face to their own, and practically kiss them. That’s pretty damn intimate.
These same behaviors in other contexts would be deemed highly inappropriate. Let’s give it a try, imagining only males engaging in these behaviors.
Make the sale? Chest bump! Earn a bonus? Full hug! Turn in a great report? Slap on the ass! Get a promotion? A kiss on the lips!
Don’t think for a moment that I think there is anything at all wrong with any of these behaviors, and I honestly wish men could more openly touch other men without fear of reprisal. (I also am aware that I haven’t mentioned women touching other women.)
Here’s what I think looked the least gay: men’s gymnastics and men’s individual diving. Here’s what I know did look gay: men’s synchronized diving. Oh, and women’s synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. Don’t get me started.
A slight aside before I continue my diatribe. I’m not a hugger, so when I hug someone it most certainly communicates my connection to that individual. I hug or would hug: Jeff, my mother, my mother-in-law, George, Amy, Tracy, and Michael Kelley. Okay, I usually don’t turn down hugs from others, but I seek hugs from these individuals. I appreciate that Michael Kelley extends hugs to me and also genuinely hugs me in return, and I admire him for not worrying about what others may think. Unless, of course, that I’m wrong. Let me know, okay, Michael Kelley?
I’ve gotten much off of my exceedingly broad chest. I’m not quite finished, but I’ll talk about today’s workout to appease you, dear readers.
After warming up, we were to establish 1RM for dead-lift. I teamed with Alex and someone else. My goal was to lift 325, 5# more than current 1RM, and I did not achieve this goal. The heaviest I lifted was 315# — and I’m okay with that. I did not, however, like people looking at and cheering for me during that lift. I know you mean well, but leave me the f%ck alone.
About the last attempt, and remember, it’s my blog so I get to say whatever I want to say…
Everyone had completed their last lift except for me. I asked Michael Kelley to coach me through the lift. I walked up to the bar, I set my back, I set my hands, I took the tension off of the bar, I thought “Be explosive”, I attempted the lift, I got the bar off of the ground, and I released it.
Uhm, where was the coaching? Afterwards, Michael Kelley said, “You’re just like everyone else. You spend far too much time getting ready for the lift.” Uhm, that’s coaching? I wanted him to say, “Okay, Paul, you know you can do this. Position yourself and get ready to lift. Take the tension off of the bar. Take a deep breath. And lift!” Instead I got silence. I know, I know, I don’t like cheering, but cheering and coaching are two entirely different things. You owe me a hug, Michael Kelley. Make that two hugs.
And don’t ever say I’m just like everyone else. You now owe me three hugs and a kiss.
I’m about to get more off of my exceedingly well-defined and broad chest.
Quite a few folks asked if my last lift was successful, and I merely said, “No”. One individual then asked, “Are you disappointed?” My immediate thought was, “Why the f%ck would I be disappointed? It’s just a lift! In the whole scheme of things, my dead-lifting 325 pounds is rather insignificant.” I replied, “No. There’s as much to be learned from failure as there is from success.”
I know I’m stuck at 320#, and I’m honestly okay with that, folks, as 320# is 220% of my bodyweight. For a middle-aged, light, short, gay man, that’s pretty good. A-ha! You thought, “Why did Paul mention that he’s gay? That’s insignificant.” And you’re absolutely right.
But I have a question for you: Do I look gay when I lift? Do I look gay when I do burpees, pull-ups, pushups, air squats, box jumps, ring dips, muscle-ups, wall crawls, back levers, vertical holds, sled pulls, shuttle sprints, wall ball shots, toes to bar, etc.? I’ll be sure to wear my Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax” tee shirt next time I work out so that I do indeed look gay.
The conditioning consisted of 3 rounds for time of 25 wall balls, using a 20# wall ball, and 20 toes to bar. I completed wall ball shots unbroken (round 1) and in reps of 15 & 10 (round 2) and 10, 10, & 5 (last round). I completed 20 unbroken toes to bar the first round, and was able to string some together the second round, but only 5 the last round. Did I mention that my lattimus dorsi muscles are quite sore? I completed in a time of 6:33. No, I wasn’t disappointed. I finished the day by completing 3 x 8 backward lunges holding 30# dumbbells and 3 x 15 GHD back extensions.
You want to know what I thought was gay about the closing ceremony of the Olympics? George Michael and Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, because all of them are openly so. Oh, and the boys of One Direction. And perhaps Sporty Spice.
Michael Kelley sexted me after reading today’s post, and offered his apologies for not coaching me during my last dead-lift attempt. I let him know that it was just as much my fault for not letting him know what my expectations were. We’ve made up, but have not yet kissed. Not yet.
I arrived at CFZ this evening around 6:30, and immediately began pulling that damn sled. I pulled the sled 60+m walking forward and then backward, and pulling 80, 115, 150# — just a little more than my bodyweight. My goal was to not rest during the turnaround when pulling 80 and 115, and to only rest briefly before the turnaround when pulling 150#, and I achieved this goal. When pulling my bodyweight I thought, “If this is how heavy I feel, I might need to lose some weight.”
Just after finishing my last round, I saw Nathanael attempt a very heavy dead-lift — and he almost got it! He is exceedingly strong, and is as nice as he is strong. That’s pretty damn nice. Britt was next to attempt a PR. She got the bar off of the ground and above her knees, but she was struggling. I yelled, “Shoulders back, Britt! Shoulders back!” She did just that, and completed the lift. I said, “That’s how you coach the dead-lift, Michael Kelley.” I gave Britt a big sweaty hug. She earned it.
I next completed a 10-min AMRAP of a burpee ladder (1, 2, 3…), consisting of 24″ box jump burpees, slalom burpees, and break dancing (yes, breaking dancing) burpees. All burpees were completed strict and with full range of motion, i.e., not merely flopping to the ground. I completed 4 rounds + 1o reps, for a total of 15 box jump and slalom burpees and 10 breaking dancing burpees. This was quite challenging, and it was also fun to mix up things a bit.
I finished the day with 5 sets of 10 reps of fast GHD sit-ups.
William approached me as I was leaving, and he had evidently seen me driving on Rt 1 on my way to the box. He asked, “Did you come straight here?” I replied, “There you go again being a gaycist. No, I did not come straight here, I came forward here.”
I’m not without a sense of humor.