First Time(s) 3: Roger and Mohammed

I met him at Holly's party.

Holly was my next door neighbor and, as I discovered when I went to her party, the queen of Northeast's foreign student population. Not that she'd ever been out of Louisiana herself, or not much, but she had a thing for foreign boys (perhaps girls as well) and in backwater Monroe, Louisiana they flocked to her like ducklings to their momma.

I guess I needed a momma, too, having just landed in Monroe to work for the daily newspaper. I had a tiny one-bedroom, furnished apartment (identical to Holly's, naturally) and a fiancee back home in Pensacola.

Mohammed was drop dead gorgeous, although not particularly articulate. (Hey, his English was MUCH better than my non-existent Arabic, but that's not saying a lot!) Just my age, just starting a master's degree in mechanical engineering, a Jordanian who'd been in the U.S. for all of two weeks. Maybe 5'6, maybe 130 lbs., wavy dark hair, big brown eyes, just the slightest cafe in his perfectly au lait complexion.

We talked for an hour, then it was time for me to go.

He followed me outside.

I kept talking to him, kept saying how nice it was to meet him.

He just stood there, arms at his side, hands jammed in his pocket, mute but a pleading look in his eyes.

"Oh," I thought.

Well, and why not?

I was 22, 5'10 1/2", a rock solid 200 lbs., broad shoulders, big hard pecs, my 17 1/2" inch biceps straining the banded cuffs of my red Izod polo.

"Uh," I finally said, "would you like to come in and have a cup of hot chocolate?"

The relief that swept across his face was like sunrise after a stormy night.

He came in, I made cocoa, we sat on the still new-smelling sofa.

"Roger..." he started.

"Jen..." I thought.

"Do you work out?" I asked him, changing the subject.

He shook his head.

"Really? You look like you do. You've got such a nice lean body."

"I don't know how..." he managed to get out.

"Oh, here, I'll show you some exercises."

I dropped to the floor and cranked out 100 perfect push ups.

His eyes were bulging by the time I was done. So was another part of his anatomy.

I stood up and pulled my shirt off, bouncing my pecs, rolling my abs, giving him a quick double bi.

"Do you like what you see, Mohammed?"

He was speechless.

I pulled him up off the couch and pulled his shirt off.

"Oh, yes, look at that, what a mighty fine body you have..."

He blushed.

"It is nothing..."

I grinned.

"Well, THIS isn't nothing," I said, rubbing the big bulge in khaki pants.

I pulled him into the bedroom. He wanted me to leave the lights off but I refused to do so.

"You're in America now," I said. "No shame, no more hiding."

It was his first time.

It was mine, too.

* * *

"Jen," I said into the phone, "there's something I need to tell you. I wish it could wait until I was there but I don't think it can..."

The conversation with Jen was difficult, to say the least, as is any conversation that begins with...

"I'm gay and I'm coming out."

Ditto, everyone was furious with me, not just Jen but her parents and MY parents. My dad, of course, helped me land the job (he had been buds with the newspaper's editor for more than 20 years) and inevitably Mr. B called me into his office.

"I like to think I've been doing a good job," I told him.

"You have," he acknowledged, "and you have a lot of potential."

I looked at him.


He shrugged.

"Well, ya know, your dad is my friend. He wants me to fix it."

I rolled my eyes.

"You realize that can't be done."

He nodded.

"It's OK, Mr. B, I'll figure something out. Just give me a couple of weeks, OK?"

He gave me a severance check for a month's pay, which considering I'd been working there all of two months wasn't bad.

Later that afternoon I poured myself into my workout at Goudeau's, the best gym in Monroe.

"Damn, boy, you're tearing the equipment apart," said Tom, one of the trainers.

I laughed.

"I'm not scaring the customers, am I?"

He shook his head.

"Nah, but they're scaring me. Some of these boys have some major wood going, thanks to you!"

I laughed at that.

"Uh, Tom, I noticed Charles has a 'help wanted' sign at the front desk. Ya know what he's looking for?"

It was his turn to laugh.

"He's looking for you, dumbass! Of course, it would help if you had experience and/or a degree in exercise science."

I flexed my 18 inch bicep.

"But that'll do..."

And so it did.

I took up my new job as a trainer / sales consultant at Goudeau's, making as much or more as I'd been making at the paper. Mohammed moved in with me, went to school, and submitted himself to my tender mercies in the gym.

In terms of growth, we both exploded.

By the time Mohammed finished his master's degree two years later, he was 200 lbs. of solid muscle, with 18 inch biceps, a 46 inch chest, a 27 inch waist, and 27 inch quads. At 5'6", he was totally stacked.

And I had gained just as much. At 270 lbs., I was the biggest guy at Goudeau's, bar none, and considering it was the official gym of the Monroe P.D., which had more competitive bodybuilders than any police force of its size in the country, that was saying a lot.

Mohammed's parents came over for his graduation. Mo never got around to telling them who I was, other than his roommate, and the fact that we shared an apartment with one bedroom never quite seemed to sink in.

"Roger," he said when they left, "are you ready for Southern California? UCLA is giving me a free ride!"

I smiled. Boy, was I ready!

"I'll follow you to the ends of the earth, Big Man, you know that."

And so I did.

That was more than 20 years ago and Mo and I are still together, perhaps because we never competed on the same stage together. We both won plenty of contests and our coming out pretty much put the kibosh on any hopes that either of us would ever enter a Mr. Olympia contest, thanks to that old homophobe Joe Weider.

Which was fine. I made a fortune in California real estate, Mo has multiple patents to his name. We traded up from that one bedroom apartment more than once, finally deciding that Palm Springs was where we really wanted to be.

We're popular at Pride fests and why not?

At 5'6", Mo is an awesome 250 lbs. of mindblowing muscle. With his naturally smooth, naturally tanned skin, he's like a marble sculpture come to life. As for me, there are plenty of musclebears running around but most of them aren't 330 lbs. and don't have a 66 inch chest, 33 inch waist, 36 inch quads, and 26 inch biceps.

Who says 50 isn't fabulous?