The front page of the April 25 issue of Newsweek caught my eye, for two reasons. On the left side, mid-page, it featured in bold black capitals the following blurb: “The Beached White Male.” Hmmm, I mused, another sob story about the white man in search of his lost mojo. I wondered: should I pick it up? I am not normally a big fan of the magazine but since Tina Brown took over as editor several months ago it had picked up its lost steam.
I was still wrestling with indecision when a banner over its masthead redirected my attention: “Arnold’s wild road trip,” accompanied by a picture of my friend behind his Terminator glasses. The picture had to be over twenty years old. I took the magazine home, then settled down to read what I fully expected would be a ho-hum where-to-now story about Arnold’s plans, now that he was no longer governor of California. You know, public relations.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The feature, by Lloyd Grove, was as flattering as it was, well, brutal. Consider the pictures he paints of Arnold’s post Mr Olympia image: “Still strapping in shirtsleeves, a fine specimen of aging movie star, he has lost an inch and a half from his previous six feet two height, the 31-inch waist has ballooned to 36 and the vaunted 57-inch chest has shrunk by half a foot. The famous face is framed by eternally reddish-brown hair (the handiwork of his favorite Beverly Hills salon) and layered with a coat of tan: the blue eyes are notched by crow’s feet, the granite jaw draped by incipient folds of skin.”Lower down, I read Arnold’s own take on the man in the mirror: “I’m not competing, I’m not ripping off my shirt and trying to sell the body. But when I stand in front of the mirror and really look, I wonder: What the fuck happened here? Jesus, what a beating!
I cracked up. Arnold, my friend, rest assured I know precisely what you mean. And you’re not alone! The Newsweek article came to mind yesterday, while I was talking on the phone to someone in Saint Lucia. I was saying something about the latest Frederick-Kenny potboiler and the latter’s Sunday evening TV address, when my friend said: “You know, there are some naked pictures of you on the Internet.” Now I prefer the word nude to describe undraped physiques, male or female. Nude implies art, for me anyway. In the case of the particular Internet images, however, naked was precisely the appropriate word, conjuring as it does, nitty gritty raunch. Unpretentious sex.
I venture to say my friend on the phone has quite likely never used the word nude. She is, after all, first and foremost, Looshan. She is also an unyielding pillar of her church. For her, naked is naked is naked—and absolutely sinful. Quite possibly a long way ahead of political corruption, child rape and so on. Takes all kinds, you know? I said I knew all about my naked pictures on the Internet. They had been in circulation way before the arrival of the worldwide web, from way back when the United Workers Party sought to use them as a tool by which to embarrass me into silence—and failed. I was writing articles for the Voice as were hardly flattering of the day’s administration. A particularly nervous hack that I’ve since learned is a closet faggot came across the pictures in his favorite magazine, passed them on to the UWP’s dirty-tricks department, and . . . In due course Kenny’s Labour Party would pick up where Compton had left off, with similar intent, and with similar results. Following a House session, the brother of a particular SLP MP had distributed copies outside the building. And now, dear innocent reader, you’re asking why grown, seemingly macho men would be interested in nude, I mean, naked, images of Rick Wayne at age 19? Hey, as I say, chacun á son gôut. You get your fix any way you can.
And my friend on the phone said: “But there’s an article with the pictures. It’s called Gay for Pay.”
“Well,” I said, somewhat taken aback. “ ‘Tis the season of elections. They’re at it again.”
And my friend said: “You know, I told Tetanass (not his real name) about the pictures but he couldn’t access them on his computer. Then Soanso (not his real name) called to tell me how I could get them for myself. He kept saying, Omigodomigod, I don’t know how to tell Rick about this.” You know, in my present, er, condition, chances were I could keel over with shock. And nobody, especially Soanso, wanted that on his delicate conscience. Yeah, right. I’ve neglected to identify Soanso and Tentanass to protect their homophobic identities. (Then again, is there a live Saint Lucian male who is not homophobic? For crissakes, even the tall guy in the poom-poom shorts, tube top and heels is homophobic!)
Oh, but I’m so damn lucky. With such great friends, I have no need of enemies.
Well, anyway, following my telephone conversation I went prospecting on the Internet and finally struck gold. There it was: Gay for Pay! But the reference also included images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and, of all people, Malcolm X. Yeah, that’s right. Surprised me too. But I thought, niiice. In my hour of need I couldn’t ask for more powerful images to lean on. Arnold and Malcolm X. Of course, I was altogether familiar Arnold’s nudes, dammit, I mean naked photos. They had resurfaced ineffectively during his two successful campaigns for the office of governor. Then there were those of the movie star Burt Reynolds when he was young and buffed, Charlton Heston around the time he played Moses, and Tony Curtis and, well, the list is long. I suppose you could argue some of them were gay for pay, which is to say they got paid for pretending to be what they were not. And I guess that includes actors and comics, such as Martin Lawrence. Whatever! Anyway, somebody is always publishing new pictures, whether of Britney Spears flashing her hairless girly bits or of Paris Hilton doing what Looshan women of a certain age would not even contemplate. You know, like doing it to yourself in the bathtub. But Malcolm X, hey, the things you can learn from the Internet?
So now let me admit I’m writing this little piece with twin purpose. One, to spare my political friends and frenemies alike the trouble of engaging in yet another mission impossible. After all, we’ve been there before with “Rick Wayne’s naked pictures.” Their impact on what I choose to write or say on TV about Saint Lucia’s pretenders was always and remains today absolutely nil. My second purpose for bringing this up? I mean, it’s not as if they show current-day Rick Wayne. Which returns me to Arnold’s numbing line: What the fuck happened? Jesus, what a beating!
But seriously, folks, the Rick Wayne in the cited Internet pictures is someone I barely remembered. So, nice to be reacquainted and afforded an opportunity to relive some of the best days of my life, when that waist was all of a glorious 29 inches, biceps 19 inches on their way to a record-setting 21 inches. Truth be told, as I gazed in absolute wonderment at myself on the Internet, yeah, naked as a jaybird, I had a hard (now don’t
jump to conclusions!) time deciding which body part I miss most. I’ll leave it to others to comment on what they might consider the 19-year-old Rick Wayne’s most precious asset. And perchance some might wish to query its current functionality, you need only request a test run, but nicely. Homos—in or outside the closet—need not apply. The only relief I can offer them are those nude, I mean, bollocks-naked, shots on the Net. And remember, beggars can’t be choosers.
Still think I’m not the nicest guy you never fantasized about?