The Ravenlunatic's Exploits in Dating: Part 2

“When Upper Body Strength Just Isn’t Enough”

by Keith Hoffman

I’m an idiot and a loser.

These are the chipper thoughts dancing in my head as I walk through a desolate part of Brooklyn on a Friday evening.

It’s Beginner’s Night for the Gay Rock Climbing Club and I have come to a gym to discover my one true love perched on a wall like he was Spider Man and I was his Mary Jane Watson.

“I’m here with the gay rock climbers,” I whisper to the front desk in case they don’t know a group of homosexuals is meeting right under their noses.

Immediately they have me sign a waiver acknowledging the gym is not responsible for my death. I am a believer in signs and this does not seem like a good one.

I look around at the room full of aggressive macho energy. Who am I kidding? I don’t belong here.

I am about to slink back out to the street when a handsome man who looks as if he’s been carved from cream cheese strides past me and smiles his most charming smile.

Clearly he loves me.

Clearly I can’t leave and break his heart and have him searching for me the rest of his life.

Clearly I should stay.

photo-36 copy 5The man carved from cream cheese

The gay rock climbers are split into two groups: the Ridiculously Hot Guys and the Ultra-Serious Lesbians.

Somehow I end up with the lesbians.

Maybe its because I am not dressed properly. I didn’t know what one wears to climb walls so while the Ridiculously Hot Guys are donned in colored-coordinated gym outfits, I am clad in sensible khakis and a bulky sweater. Naturally the lesbians think of me as one of their own. The only problem is these women aren’t here to flirt. They actually want to climb.

photo-36 copy 3A serious lesbian climber

Before I know it I am ˘staring up at a wall peppered with protruding colored rocks. A harness is positioned on my crotch in the most unflattering angle possible attached by a rope to one of my Sapphic spotters

I begin my ascent into hell.

Right hand…blue rock….right foot…blue rock…wait…where does my left foot go??

It is like a game of sideways Twister.

Then I slip.

And I free-fall.

And I am dangling sideways by my crotch twisting in midair.

TURN AWAY!! I want to yell at the Ridiculously Hot Guys who have stopped their frolicking long enough to stare at me in mute pity.

This is not going well at all.

********

It’s a half hour later and I am making my third attempt at the Boulder Wall.

This wall entails no rope or crotch harness and is built on a cushioned floor.

This should have been easy. I climbed trees like a monkey ever since I was a tyke who needed alone time away from my dysfunctional family. But already I have gotten to know this cushioned floor quite intimately each time I landed on top of it in a contorted heap.

The Ridiculously Hot Guys have wandered off to bond somewhere else and the lesbians have realized no matter how sensibly I’m dressed I will never take life as seriously as they do.

photo-36 copy 4Ridiculously Hot Bonding Guys

It is only me.

I am alone.

I am  not going to meet anyone.

I am too old and uncoordinated to find love.

No one cares.

This experiment is a dismal defeat.

I look at the exit so tantalizingly close.

I looked back at that wall and sigh.

Damn it.

I peer up at the rocks and trace my path.

Slowly….breathing…right foot blue rock…right hand blue rock…

Halfway up I waiver. The only one left to encourage me is me.

But I am tenacious. I have made it through much worse in life. I have survived loss and victory and disappointment and success. I can’t let this damn little wall be my defeat

So I cling tenaciously, get oriented and keep climbing

I follow the rocky path to the top.

And right there high above the frenetic energy, I find who I had come there looking for…

…ungracefully graceful me.

And tonight that is good enough.

Published by

crowriter

Keith Hoffman lives with his artist husband, dog and two cats in the small town Lambertville, New Jersey 72 miles outside of New York City. He has completed a memoir entitled The Summer My Sister Grew Sideburns.

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