On Being ‘Hard’

These days, that word ‘hard’ has a particular anatomical meaning for most guys – gay or straight! Well, yeah, it can be fun. But, when my dad was a teen, ‘being hard’ meant being like this:

chunky bag

Never mind the bag… look at the body. Look at the expression on his face: ‘I’m a tough guy – don’t mess with me, OK?’ That’s being ‘hard’ back in the sixties/seventies. Well, he’s in the 2013s, but never mind! This next guy is being ‘hard’ too – although I would suggest that having to put bags over your outdoor shoes because you don’t like working out barefoot or in socks in the gym is a bit ‘soft’!:


The writing on the wall – ‘…welcome to the zone’  etc- is pretty ‘hard’ too.

Last night I had a ‘hard’ night. A guy at Chad’s private gym celebrating his 24th birthday. We have a tradition that you take 24 lashes with the leather belt across the back for that – a modern version of what my dad called ‘the bumps’… OK, it’s childish stuff, but then… Since I was the guy that he originally chose as his ‘soul mate’ for his initiation into the group (all explained in ‘Loving the Boy’), he asked me to be the one to do it. So OK, we’re careful not to cause injury – not break the skin – just “good clean fun”…

…the sting in the tail is that we also have a tradition that if you impose a punishment for any reason – such as a forfeit for losing a wrestle match, for example – you then offer to accept it yourself. Fair’s fair – we’re all good mates, etc… Well, the dude wasn’t so careful as I am with the leather belt, and my back is now seriously sore.

He wasn’t done. He wanted to do 24 minutes on a nail bed, to show how ‘hard’ he had become… with me sitting on him. And then… yeah, him on me. Well, I do that a lot, in our shows, but with an already painful sore back… not my ideal way of spending an evening. We both got the ‘baby oil’ treatment, wrestled a bit… and, bu**er it, he won! Me feeling my age, or something.


Actually, in our gym, pretty much no-one wears clothes for wrestling, but that’s a good pic…

Of course, plenty of mates to minister to us after, and Zach and Gary insisted Dave and I crashed in their place, which happens to be conveniently right above the gym! And, this morning, with me actually looking forward to a day off work, Zach does the most amazing back rubs… front rubs, too, come to that…


Some people commenting on this blog privately express surprise that we are so keen to be shirtless and barefoot whenever we can, and that we like to work out naked in our private places. Well, it gives us a great feeling – makes us feel ‘hard’! And, just to show that its not just us, consider this interesting picture:


Seven guys in a university lecture room – shirtless and barefoot, one in his underpants. A guy who might be a tutor in the front row. And they are all dressing in identical ‘pants’ – or pyjama bottoms… what looks like an exercise strap on the bench in front of the underwear guy – and what is he signalling to the guy at the back, who is signalling in return… all we know is that music has been taught in that room (blackboard), but maybe not to this ‘class’ – is it a class, or guys taking over the space for some ‘fun’? Let me know what you think!

I think that some of the ‘hardest’ guys around are the street workout guys from eastern Europe and Russia:





Dave says we should invite those guys over anytime!

So, for us, it remains ‘fitness’, acrobatics and performance. Read all about it all if you care to in ‘The Power of Love’ and ‘Against All Odds’.




Show off the ‘hard’ muscle from time to time – why not…


…or just show off!:


Finally, at the end of the day, it’s time to be ‘soft’ rather than hard – relax with your loved one and, if like us, you’re gay…


Which way ever, be happy!

Most pix enlarge when you click on them.

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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