He collapsed into the deck chair by his pool after swimming 50 laps. His black speedos matted his wet Brazilian and he checked to see if he still had his abs after last night’s barbecue. If only there wasn’t that fried macaroni and cheese he could have rested a bit easy this morning.
But he couldn’t take any chances of pudginess for the afternoon’s photo shoot for the publicity stills for his new sitcom. It was his seventh major role, but he still hadn’t been able to shake off the image that he was an actor that gave good face and body rather than real talent or performance. He dedicated his evenings to acting classes and kept Shakespeare and the classic by his bedside. Yet he still had to hedge his bets by preserving his looks as long as he could.
Or as long as the mortgage could be paid on this Hollywood Hills house. Only five more years to go since he chose the more aggressive 15 year mortgage. Even after the real estate crash, it was a bit more than he could afford at the time. But he felt reassured after property prices started to soar. He considered himself lucky to be living above the standards of the average American. And especially for an average Lebanese household. He had only come to America twelve years ago. His English wasn’t perfect and was worse back then, so of course he had to fall back on his looks even though back home he was a thespian first and heartthrob second.
He had to learn quickly when it came to banking on his appearance. Among his group of childhood friends, his development came later. And somehow his features clung to soft and muddled humility until he reached his mid-twenties and started lifting weights. As children, he would be the slow one when his crew would kick around a football right on the water’s edge at the beach during twilight hour. The ground was firmer there like a football field. They could kick hard and if they fouled into the ocean, they didn’t have to run to fetch the ball since the waves would bring it back to them – most of the time.
When the ball would fly past the breaking waves, it just gave them the excuse to take off their shirts and jump in to cool off. All of his friends already had developing musculature. And some a lot of body hair. He was soft and hairless. Well, now he had nothing to worry about. Actually, too much body hair on him had to be tamed by Beverly Hills waxers.
Now life was good most of the time. This town was all too helpful in finding ways for him to leverage his chiseled chin, chiseled chest, chiseled arms, chiseled legs, chiseled torso, chiseled anything, and even his chiseled cut dick into revenue. It paid the bills and he got to do what he loved in relative security and stability as opposed to the ups and downs of injustice imposed back home. Plus, he was able to live in peace with his boyfriend. The two spent their time quietly, peacefully together. The climate of California was remarkably similar to Lebanon.
If You Have It, You Can Make Anything Look Good
Yet, the twilight hour at the beach wasn’t the same. And he missed his friends who were now saddled with kids and could barely make it out to the beach. All the same, he sometimes went to Santa Monica to kick around a football along the shore. It jogged his memories, but not the passion, laughter or glee. The water and sun hit the sand differently here. It lacked the sparkle of innocence.
He closed his eyes and let the sun caress his face and he let the fingers of both hands run up and down his washboard abs as he settled in for a quick nap.