Beefy is as beefy does


I approached my work friend Apollonia’s desk the other day, cautiously, as I always do. (I never know how she might react. Sometimes she throws things at me.) She was looking at her computer screen with rapt attention. “What is it?” I asked.



She looked up at me with dewy eyes. “Seals tossing the caber.”



“Harbor seals?” I asked. “Or Navy Seals?”



She giggled. “Navy Seals, naturally,” she said in a little-girl voice. (Apollonia and I share an appreciation for the same kind of men, which explains her caber-tossing fantasies.) “Arms are good on a man,” she said dreamily. “Shoulders. And you know what else? Backs.”



“Display,” I said. “It means: ‘I’m big and strong. I can take care of you. I can protect you.’”



“Yeah,” Apollonia said. She looked thoughtful. “Whether or not it’s true. Looks can be deceiving.”



In his book “Sociobiology,” E. O. Wilson says that just about all animal behavior, from coral organisms through social insects to crustaceans and monotremes and mammals and yours truly, has a biological basis. I vaguely remember a Time or Newsweek simplification of the theory from the 1970s: they took the old Charles Atlas cartoon of the scrawny guy and the bully on the beach and changed the dialogue. When the bully kicks sand on the scrawny guy and grabs the pretty girl, the word-balloon over his head reads: “My genes are good! Mate with me!”



But there are other urges. Apollonia, you will remember, has a Robert Pattinson fetish. Yes, Robert Pattinson, who looks as if he were made out of pipe cleaners and construction paper. This, I’d say, is more of a protective-mother thing. This probably also explains why I do not share Apollonia’s depth of feeling for Robert Pattinson. I actually had the nerve to bring this up to her. “Robert Pattinson,” I said, “has neither arms, nor shoulders, nor back. And yet you love him. Why?”



She regarded me for a long time. “Oh, babe,” she said. “Those cheekbones. That chin.”






Here, to clear your palate after thinking of the scrawny Pattinson, is a New York Magazine slideshow of the biggest biceps in this summer’s movies. Chris Hemsworth, AKA Thor, is the clear winner of the contest.



He’s big and strong, boys and girls. He can protect you.



But remember what Mother Apollonia says: looks can be deceiving.





About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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