To the onlooker, Elliot Anderson had the typical appearance of a successful young man. He carried himself with an innate sense of self-respect and spoke with a mature voice often unfound in men of his age. He was not particularly tall, standing around five feet and seven inches with a rather thick, stocky build consisting of about 230 lbs. of muscle and fat. His hair was black and unusually thick and curly, even for a man of African-American descent. His face was somewhat rounded, so he had grown a beard to emphasize his masculinity and age himself a tad. Like many young gay men, Elliot craved a sexually and romantically satisfying relationship with another man. However, one Tuesday morning, Elliot first saw the man that would come to possess his thoughts, incense his lust, and eventually be his partner.
Simon Wojcik did not usually take the bus that left at 7:50 AM. It was too early and too crowded for him. He typically rode the 8:20 bus to work. The time suited him better and there was often room for him to occupy two seats. Man-spreading aside, Simon was undoubtedly a large man in both height and girth. He stood around six foot three and weighed 360 lbs. and thusly needed a lot of space for his large frame. His skin was a very light tan and much of his body was covered in brown hair. His beard however was auburn, but it complemented rather than clashed with his hair and skin tone. Though it would be easier to drive to work, the gas expenses and parking difficulties deterred him. However, it was a Tuesday morning when Simon had to take the 7:50 bus to work because of a scheduling snafu. Essentially, Simon’s partner forgot that a new hire would be arriving that morning and a senior employee had to be there to welcome him. As Simon arrived at the bus stop, he could see that his fears of overcrowding were oddly unjustified. The bus was full, yes, but not overflowing with passengers. Simon took a seat(s) in the back row so his manly bulk would be unhindered. Just as he sat down, a final passenger boarded the bus and he began to make his way to the back row. Simon looked up at the oncoming man and felt a surge of both lust and admiration for him. Instinctively, Simon knew that this man would be his soul mate.
When I first saw him, I thought, “Wow! That is the most handsome and sexy man I’ve ever seen!” It remains a secret to everyone but me that I have a weakness for powerfully built, dominant men. The man who sat in the back row unashamedly occupied two seats with his beefy body. Adding to his appeal, the man had a full beard of auburn hair and his shirtsleeves were rolled up, exposing two large forearms covered in brown hair. While he sported a hefty paunch, his arms and slightly softened chest showing through his shirt indicated he also possessed a muscular base beneath his girth. I sat down in the seat at the other end of the back-row bench and tried to hide the chub I was sporting in my pants. Usually, I don’t interact with the other passengers on the bus and keep to myself; however, this (to me) powerful specimen of virility and masculinity compelled me to strike up a conversation with him. It seemed as if his manly aura gave me a boost of testosterone induced confidence that urged me to at least attempt to form a rapport with this man.
I discretely looked the man up and down prior to assessing possible conversation starters. I noticed he was wearing a particularly nice and well-kept pair of leather shoes. Ultimately, I decided that his choice of footwear would be the optimal ice breaker as I was a connoisseur of shoes. Also, the topic was innocuous enough to not reveal my true intentions, but if he went with stereotypes, he could guess sexual proclivities. Or he would go with the stereotype of the black man who has a thing for designer shoes (in my case, it’s true). Suppressing my fear, I turned to him and said, “Nice shoes. Which brand are they? I’ve been looking for a new pair.” After initiating contact, I eagerly and nervously awaited his response. Would he respond positively? Genially? Or would he spurn my offer of interaction?
The young man occupying the seat across from was one of the most exquisite examples of youthful manhood I had seen for a long time. He seemed mature beyond his years, yet still possessing that combination of exuberance and awkwardness. His thick, sturdy build showed his strength, but also that he was a man with a healthy appetite. As he turned to sit, I glanced at his backside, and not to be crass, but my first thought was, “Damn!” To say the least, this man was pushing all my buttons. He was also well-dressed. His outfit accentuated his masculine essence while exhibiting an obvious flair of flamboyance. His pants fit him perfectly and were clearly tailored to him; however, they were salmon in color. A man willing to be daring in his fashion choices always earns my respect. I knew I had to get to know this man and not let such an opportunity fall to the wayside. Just as I was thinking of something to say to him to begin a conversation, he beat me to the punch.
“Nice shoes. Which brand are they? I’ve been looking for a new pair,” the young man asked. As soon as I overcame my initial surprise that he initiated contact and not me, I responded “Thanks man. They’re M. Gemi. I splurged on a new pair.” He responded to my statement eagerly, “Damn, those are nice! ‘Treat yo’ self’ as they say. I’m Elliot by the way.” “Nice to meet you Elliot. I’m Simon,” I answered. Hoping to maintain our conversation, I then stated, “Usually I ride the 8:20 bus to work.” Elliot’s response confirmed why I had not seen him before, “I always take the 7:50 bus because I have to be at work by 8:45.”
“Oh, where do you work Elliot, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I’m a professor at the College of Charleston. I teach World Geography and Modern European social dynamics. Now, may I ask you, Simon, what do you do?”
“I’m a doctor. I co-own a practice specializing in men’s health and health concerns.”
“Now that’s pretty cool. You seem like you’d be a great doctor to have.”
I knew following our initial interaction that we would become friends, and, fingers crossed, boyfriends.
Surprisingly, I found it incredibly easy to talk with Simon and we conversed with one another during our ride into town. As we spoke, I discovered that Simon was actually a graduate of the College of Charleston, though he was not originally southern bred like me. “I’m originally from Cleveland, hence the Polish last name and why I ended up down here with the other carpet-baggers,” he said to me with a wry smile. “I decided to become a Cougar though because I liked the Chemistry program, not to mention the Charleston cuisine,” he added with a laugh whilst patting his well-fed stomach. I laughed with him, adding, “Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I haven’t missed many meals either.” Simon sheepishly agreed, leaning over to whisper, “I must admit that I don’t mind being a big man though. People are often deferential to a more substantial man.” Whispering back, I said, “Same here. And people don’t really mess with me anymore because of my extra heft. In my family, all the men are big and you’re not really a man until you’re at least two hundred pounds.” Simon chuckled at my revelation and I decided to laugh with him. After all, it is not every day a man feels comfortable enough with a new acquaintance to discuss their body image.
As the bus reached the end of I-26, I realized that soon our morning commute will end. I turned to Simon and asked, “Which stop do you get off at?” Simon quickly replied, “I get off at Calhoun and Ashley Avenue, then I take the 102 bus up to Hampton Park Terrace. It’s a great place for a men’s clinic as you’re proximate to The Citadel, Burke High School, and the Westside/Medical District. The young professional guys and the jocks from the schools keep us in business. I’m guessing you get off at Calhoun and St. Philips?” “Exactly,” I replied, “I get dropped off directly where I work because I’m so special.” Simon stifled his laughter at my statement. As the bus turned onto Calhoun St., another passenger pulled the notification cord, indicating my impending stop. “Well Simon, it was good talking to you, but this is my stop,” I said. “It was good talking to you too, Elliot. Hopefully I’ll see you again,” Simon responded. Hopefully I would see him again, and soon.