The Year: 1983
Subject: Working Out: The Total Shape-Up Guide for Men (by Charles Hix)
Regardless of their sexual orientation, Working Out: The Total Shape Up Guide for Men was probably one of a number ‘batespiration* tools for many young teens and men. It certainly was for me.
I remember seeing Working Out on display in a shopping mall bookstore in San Diego, California. The sexy model photographed on the soft book cover had caught my eye, piqued my [sexual] interest, and made my dick twitch in the jeans in which I had been freeballing. (I freeball in my jeans often). I picked up the book to thumb through it. After looking at some of the photos I remember thinking, “Boy oh boy! Ohhhh…yes!”
The 1983 original/first published edition of Working Out wasn’t a hardback but had a firm cardboard cover. If memory serves, I think every photo in the book was black and white; only the cover photo was in full color. I don’t recall what I paid for Working Out (probably $13.00). Each page in Working Out had detailed, explanatory text about the male physique, muscle-building and various forms of exercise, information about diet, as well as information on personal hygiene. Every page featured one or two handsome, bare-chested, semi-nude guys who were either standing, sitting, holding weights, situated on an exercise machine of some kind, or engaged in various positions of some form of exercise. All of the men were dressed in either skimpy swimwear briefs or wearing exercise/running shorts; the kind of shorts that looked like underwear boxers (but without the fly) with leg length being a few inches shorter at the thigh. Those shorts were the style for exercise and running and were worn by men and women in the mid-1970s to late 1980s. They were already quite sexy for their day and would be considered too skimpy by today’s standards.
I don’t think I fully read a thing in Working Out. Mind you, like a number of gay males, other bisexual males like myself, and a number of straight guys who secretly had a thing for looking at photos of semi-nude or fully nude men in great physical form, I didn’t buy Working Out to read it. I bought the book simply to look at or carefully study each of the photos while safely enhancing my masturbatory fantasies. Working Out certainly had enough photos of bare-chested/semi-nude men to make the dick hard and mouth water of any young teen or 20-something, always horny, man like myself at the time. I remember thinking how I just had to buy that book regardless of the cost – and regardless of the fact (if memory serves) that it either lacked or didn’t have many photos of Black men.
In 1983, I was (what I’d consider) a shy, somewhat introverted, 23-year-old who was serving his third year in the United States Navy. I was very sure of my bisexuality at the time but knew that much of my sexual attraction leaned more towards men than women. Being in the Navy and always surrounded more by males than females, especially on a naval ship, certainly didn’t help my horniness factor. (I’ve got stories to tell on that subject but those will have to be saved for future blog articles!) Back in the day, I used to exercise and work out either at the base gym or in the ship’s weight room. I believed that I had a nice, physically attractive body. To look at me now, many years after I retired from my beloved Navy, my body isn’t physically bad-looking for a middle-aged man but I often regret not having the interest nor the motivation to work out like I used to. I’m reasonably healthy medically but sometimes regret having long since lost my round biceps, flat abs, (fuck, how I miss seeing my “treasure trail”) and my nice, firm bubble butt. (I take some consolation in knowing that I’m still tight and intact where it counts).
Working Out was one of a few books I owned that could be “read” openly in my bunk on the ship or left out on a table in my barracks room or private apartment without arousing any suspicion of my non-heterosexuality. Sure, I had other adult erotica and a few straight and gay porn magazines to serve me as ‘batespiration items, but those had to be read in private and kept hidden. When I got tired of jacking off to the porn magazines or reading the same sexually explicit stories in books of erotica, I would pass them off to some guy I knew was a “friend of Dorothy” or just throw them away. I wasn’t however, about to give nor throw away a legitimate physical fitness and “gay safe” book like Working Out.
And speaking of throwing things away …
Earlier this year, I finally (and reluctantly) threw away my copy of Working Out. I had that book for thirty-four (34) years! It – along with a number of other read books I own, were just taking up space and collecting dust on my bookshelf. I found my copy of Working Out still in great condition but it was long past time to get rid of it…to just let it go. As one gets older, if he or she is wise, they learn to let go of certain things of their youth. Working Out was one of those things. The thought of giving away my copy of Working Out or donating it to my local library crossed my mind but then I considered the age of the book and the fact that it had black and white photos whose quality is far inferior by today’s photographic standards. Thus, it was easy to make the decision to simply dispose of the book with the others I was getting rid of in my city’s newspaper/magazine/book/paper recycling program, taking one last look through it before doing so.
I would like to thank author Charles Hix for the physical fitness/exercise workout tips in his book Working Out: The Total Shape-Up Guide for Men but mainly for the ‘batespiration the photos (taken by Ken Haak) in that book provided for my younger, more physically fit, and hornier self.
*The word “‘batespiration” (or ‘batespirations) is a portmanteau word blending the two words “masturbation” and “inspiration”. Keep this in mind since it is a word I use often on this blog.