Chad’s Tale (1)

(Chad has run his private gym here for 20 years but is now planning to quit)

It’s basically good news for those of us who want to carry it on, but I thought that a bit of how it all came about would be interesting – especially as it links in to my books which cover the period from 2000 on…

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 ThumbBut first…

Today’s Gallery Theme: ‘Assorted Twosomes’…

First: stretching the shoulders:

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Chad, then aged about 20, comes from a family with a great deal of money. Having held down a couple of fairly pointless jobs, he then comes out to his family as ‘probably’ gay. His biggest critic turns out to be his elder sister, who persuades his parents that they should, effectively, ‘pay him off’, gay or not. This is definitely the ‘bible belt’, south of here (Tennessee), and so this sexually confused guy, very conscious of his own body which he keeps in great shape and equally conscious that he admires similar (male) bodies but is otherwise sexually naive, is basically invited to leave the shelter of the family home and find his own way forward. But he is made financially secure and, if he invested wisely, would not need to work.

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(British acrobats Edward Upcott and Douglas Fordyce working together)

Chad drifts around for a while, his possessions being largely what will fit into his car. He has the makings of a plan in his head. He visits several walk-in gyms on his travels to keep in shape, but where he is forbidden to remove his shirt or shoes, and therefore hates it – he never liked wearing a shirt if he didn’t have to, and thinks that being forced to do so when hot and sweaty (and where he would like to admire the other guys’ bodies) is ridiculous… so, being financially well reinforced by the family which seems glad to be rid of him, he determines to set up a facility of his own to do what he loves to do – training weights, wrestling with friends and so forth – on his terms. Invitation only and no shirts or shoes allowed. He has wrestled Collegiate at school and found the prescribed costumes – and socks and shoes – as well as the rules, totally ridiculous.

Here in Oak Ridge, he finds by chance what he needs – an anonymous-looking industrial unit on offer which also provides some potential living accommodation for himself and a second apartment option to let out to a like minded guy or guys. Ample floor space which he can cover in mats, buying in a load of free weights – dumbbells, barbells and benches (the now impressive array of resistance machines would come rather later), and begins the conversion of the first apartment into a modernistic, almost sterile, environment for a batchelor existence. For he is not ‘promiscuous’ and enjoys his own company as much as that of other guys.

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(Collegiate bout in progress in Germany – the style is popular in Europe too but not, curiously, in our own UK)

He realises that there must be other like-minded guys out there, possibly under cover and afraid to live out their gay interests as they would like alongside their sporting ambitions, but is unsure how to find them. If, however, he could build up a private ‘clientele’ who would contribute financially, he could offer an environment for them to do whatever their desires led them to do both in training and, maybe, in their social lives too, in complete security and away from prying eyes and wagging tongues.

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(Russian boys showing off their arm and shoulder strength together)

He has told us that he made the decision to buy in about five minutes! A gay life, away from busybodies, enjoying the company of other guys, taking their dedication to their body image to a high level and indulging in whatever other sporting contact and maybe sexual endeavour that they wished to do by mutual consent… But, in those early days, very much ‘underground’. So he could hardly advertise for members and, knowing no-one in the area, unsure quite how to proceed without attracting attention.

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(Upcott again [foreground], with a Brazilian acrobat of similar abilities)

It was a matter of just hanging around, meeting people. Going for a run and noting others, especially the shirtless. But with one, very negative, thought which continues to this day and which seems rather alien to us, as British “immigrants”. This is the deep south attitude, and the perception by whites of their coloured neighbours is still horribly tainted by history. Chad would not even consider any coloured guy as a member, and never has.

Subtle invitations to meet up and talk about their routines and programmes slowly opened up the gateway he wanted. Two early converts were a guy called Ivo Salansky, who in his yard followed the now common Eastern European methodology of the ‘Street Workout’ whilst sporting a distinctive blond pony tail, and another called Ron Lake who, it turned out, knew each other and also had an interest in both wrestling and acrobatics. Offered the chance to be founder members of what pretty much amounted to a secret society offering unlimited weights, wrestling and floor space for tumbling and developing balance ‘tricks’, they leaped at the chance. Very soon, increasingly bizarre ‘initiation’ ceremonies designed to test out further recruits physically were introduced, with the proviso that it should never be a ‘humiliation’ – Chad wanted all his ‘members’ to feel equal in a sort of brotherhood and so insisted that any existing member could be chosen by a new recruit to undergo the same ceremonials alongside him. Surprisingly, the number of ‘straight’ members grew almost as fast as the gay contingent, and his demand for ‘secrecy’, if only for avoiding annoying the very few neighbours and attracting otherwise unwelcome enquiries about what went on in the anonymous industrial unit, held up strongly.

To be continued…

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Workout buddies.

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Army buddies. And now, the gay scene evolves…

Hey

kiss 4

Did we mention that wrestling naked is the preferred form? Muscle against muscle, skin against skin? These next guys seem to have forgotten to take off their socks, though…

socks though

I think they had underwear as well at the start, but both will be happy they’re past that stage now…

Just being together is good, your mate’s back pressing against your chest and both enjoying the sensation…

together

Feel that pectoral power!

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A love bite?

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Now let’s get naked together…

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Just checkin’ his phone…

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..you would think that he had more, er, pressing things to think about!

A little tlc with the sun cream on the beach now, and then an ingenious head balance near the waves…

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…and a bit of showing off in the rehearsal hall to finish off for today. Enjoy!

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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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