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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Guest Post: He's So Fine, Part 2

By my truckbuddy Tim from England, via Spain:

As promised last week, this concluding half of my tale contains images of Cam Gigandet, so as we say goodbye to Steve, let’s welcome young Cam.

We finished Part 1 with Wayne and me leaving school in 1970, never to meet again. So join me as I fast forward far too many years, to 2005. Newly resident in Spain with my partner, who by the way, was one of those good friends from the 60’s, we attend our first ‘Community Meeting’ for all the owners of the properties on the small estate where we live. The meeting is very noisy and quite argumentative, very Spanish in fact, and a bit of a culture shock to us more reserved Brits. One of the most vociferous is a young ‘caballero’ called Jose. This is where Mr Gigandet comes in, because Jose, if he looks like anyone, it’s Cam Gigandet. The resemblance is quite uncanny, and what can I say, he’s to die for! He has short, dark blond hair, a light-skinned body with good definition, enhanced by the white wife-beater he’s wearing, blue-green eyes under his reflective sunglasses, red jogging pants and trainers. Typical ‘Spanish’ dress for a young man, but certainly not the usual Latin colouring. A Spanish lady friend who is with us eyes him up and down and sighs “Macho, muy, muy, muy macho”. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

After the meeting, many of the residents were discussing the argumentative young man, and not in an appreciative way. “How does he get to own a house? He’s too young, it must be drugs money. He’s on drugs, have you seen his motorbike? He drives too fast, His dog is dangerous, it should be put down. Does he ever work?” As for me, well ‘I could eat him up’ was all I was thinking, so I declined to add to the comments. That cliché, ‘The arrogance of youth’, is often used by those really masking their jealousy. Whatever their opinions, that old feeling was coming back to me, that familiar sense of wanting to merge with another person, to become one, and I determined to learn more about this Jose. Something instinctive told me that these gossips were way off track; perhaps it was that half-smile he flashed at me? The one that made my stomach turn a somersault and my heart beat a little faster. Lust? Yes (hey I’m gay now, it’s allowed), but something more, an affinity of some kind, was there. And those old investigative instincts, now retired, but honed by a career as a systems analyst came into play once again.

Continued after the jump . . .

It wasn’t difficult to establish that his house was actually in his parent’s name. It was there in black and white on the list of owners! And although a foreigner, I had learnt enough of the local scene to know their surnames were those of a very wealthy family who lived in nearby Seville. Spanish couples don’t share a single married surname; they each keep their own double surnames derived from their parents. So that solved the problem of the house, what about the drugs? Well, there were no visible marks or tell-tale signs on his skin as far as I could see, and I did look! The best way to find out was to get to know him. Cue the old dog-walking trick again. And by the way, I cannot recommend owning a dog highly enough if you want to get to know people. By routine and observation, I came to learn when Jose went out with his devil-dog, and it was indeed a fearsome sight, a Doberman complete with spiky collar and going by the name of Tyson. However Tyson was still a puppy, admittedly a large one, and proved to be very playful with my yellow lab, so Jose and I got to walk and talk, simple! Well not quite, with my lack of Spanish and his lack of English, but our dogs established a bond between us, and we managed to understand one another eventually. Whenever we met, he would always wave and flash that smile of his and it always made my day. Jose epitomised the young Spanish male, slightly wild and untamed, something that had attracted me to the land many years previously. I suspected he was straight, but that didn’t spoil it for me - a little fantasy puts some spice into your life, don’t you think?

He worked nights as a chef at a high-class restaurant and made good money, hence the Ducati and the free time during the day. That was easy to find out, I just asked. Back then I worked out in a local gym 3 or 4 days each week and took it quite seriously. Retirement brings many things, and an expanding waistline is one of them! One day, who should be there but Jose. His regular gym was closed for holidays, and so he had come to mine (there is a God, thank you). We didn’t spot for one another - his routine was far in excess of anything I could manage - but it strengthened the friendship. He loved being fit and worshipped his body, no drugs, no alcohol. And who could blame him if he did have a big ego? Well not me, for a start! We would often compare our exercises and muscle development (more his than mine, I’m afraid) whilst we walked the dogs together. This sounds like a gay fantasy, but it’s all true, I couldn’t believe my luck. Unfortunately, nothing lasts in life, especially once you’re beginning to enjoy it, and change was coming for both of us. After a series of bad tendon injuries, I had to give up working out, and Tyson was poisoned, probably by a neighbour - we never found out. But the result was I didn’t see Jose for quite some time. Then the motorbike went and was replaced by a BMW sports saloon. This was when his girlfriend moved in. She brought a little dog with her and he replaced Tyson with a Belgian Shepherd, so we got to meet dog-walking again, for a short while at least.

One thing I had noticed previously in the gym was his tattoo. But it wasn’t until I saw him down at the communal pool one day that I could get a clear look. Not wishing to stare, as he was with his girlfriend, I took a series of surreptitious looks, which I pieced together later in my mind’s eye to get the complete image.

It was of a jester, beautifully coloured and very well executed. Starting at the nape of his neck, it curved over his left shoulder before following the vee-shape of his latissimus dorsi to finish in the small of his back, just above his coccyx. A beautiful work of art, and the tattoo wasn’t bad either. This is but a pale imitation.

I have to admit I’ve always wanted a tattoo, but they were generally frowned on by the Air Force, and detested by my mother, which made it even more of a no-no. I appreciate that they are not to everyone’s taste, and people say, “What will it look like when you’re old?” - But who cares when you’re young and virile? And in Jose’s case, I’m sure it was also a statement: “Yes, this is me, the joker, the bad-boy of the family, you all take life too seriously”.

Mr Gigandet obviously likes them as well, and why not?

Jose married his pretty girlfriend a couple of years ago, and they now have a little daughter, as beautiful as her mother, and her father!

But the dogs have gone - first-time mothers in Spain are often intolerant of pets around a baby, so dogs and cats are routinely given away. The sporty BMW has been replaced by a more practical SUV. But in white? Oh dear, very ‘Mumsy’! He no longer works out and sadly has lost some of that muscular definition he used to have. Alas, my Spanish stallion has been tamed. It is clear he has put aside the wildness of his youth as he settles into marriage and family life, and that is only right and proper, of course. But I miss the ‘young’ Jose and the times we spent chatting and walking our dogs together. I feel a sense of anger at the loss of his youthful swagger, his air of defiant independence: it’s like a rare and wonderful creature becoming another exhibit in the zoo. If I see him these days, it’s usually when he’s taking his little girl to or from the nursery school, driving more sedately than ever he did before. But then he waves and gives me that smile, and whoops, there go my heart and stomach all over again!

When I finished writing this two-parter, I searched in vain for some original Universal Truths within the two tales with which to draw some conclusions. When he saw the first draft, Russ quite rightly said they were less than satisfactory, and wise old Trucker that he is, he said, “What do these [2 tales] taken together reveal about yourself? That should be your conclusion.” So I sat down with the text and the images, laid them out before me and analysed them. The first conclusion was pretty obvious: I have a ‘type’, as most of us do. Short blond hair, blue eyes, athletic build - OK, I knew that, but what else? Then that moment of revelation, the incident on the road to Damascus. All these guys shared some physical similarity with myself: my ‘type’, my ‘ideal’ was Me! Not precisely, but my idealised image of what I have always wanted to be like, smaller nose and ears, more muscle. And I knew, as soon as I thought it, that it was true. At 9 years old, that scrawny kid had wanted to be the handsome, heroic pilot portrayed by Steve McQueen; in his teens, the thin lad had wanted to be the popular, athletic youth, just like Wayne; and in his fifties, fighting the flab, he wanted to regain the youth and vigour from a previous time that Jose epitomised. Until it was laid out before me, I had never considered such an idea. And it now raises some intriguing possibilities. If my ‘types’ are me, is it a form of self-love? Or if they represent an ideal of myself, is it because deep down, I don’t like what I am?

And on that note, before I go to find someone to listen me while I lie down on a couch and talk, this is for Steve, Wayne, Jose and all the others in between, the message is in the song. The Chiffons and He’s so fine. Not a live clip I’m afraid, there doesn’t seem to be one, but the images are very nostalgic, and I love the studly basket ball team at 0:59 – go Colorado, I might be over the shock already!

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