The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron -- Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle
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As a scrawny college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids. In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then alongside his colorful gym-rat friends in strip clubs and in the homes of the gotham elite. It was a swinging time, when "Would you like to dance?" turned into "Your place or mine?" and the guys with the muscles had all the ladies--until their bodies, like Solotaroff''s, completely shut down.
But this isn't the gloom-and-doom addiction one might expect--Solotaroff looks back at even his lowest points with a wicked sense of humor, and he sends up the disco era and its excess with all the kaleidoscopic detail of Boogie Nights or Saturday Night Fever.
Written with candor and sarcasm, THE BODY SHOP is a memoir with all the elements of great fiction and dazzlingly displays Paul Solotaroff's celebrated writing talent.
“My message to the world is, it doesn’t really matter. What you were born with, or without it, you can fix there. Because that’s what the gym is, when you think about it: a car repair place for people. And check it out, dude, I got the perfect name for it. You ready for this? The Body Shop.” “You know, I like that,” I mused. “In fact, I like that a lot. When you get that all together, I want to work there.” “Good,” he said. “I’ll need you, ’cause it’ll be strengthy. There’ll be guys
instructor in Women Better at Sex Than Me. Her kissing, in particular, was virtuosic, a skill both ecstatic and enraging. Taking me in hand, she stroked the side of my face while brushing my mouth with hers, darting in and out, using one lip, then two, granting only the tip of her tongue. Thinking this a joust, I lunged and lunged, tongue poking at her like a lance. A tilt of the head, though, and she’d slide away, then recommence the master class in necking. It was all very artful and
and the way she made me feel at least ten percent smarter every time she opened her mouth. As I was just beginning to see, I had an echo intelligence that mimicked both smarties and numskulls. That was the good news. The bad was that I seemed to like the company of numskulls. They were much less work to keep up with. Kate was praising a book she’d begun over the weekend and had barely been able to put down since, a novel so spectral and packed with left turns that, for two days straight, she’d
there was, after the novelty of skin wore off, a kind of willed roteness in what we saw, as if these well-to-do men and their wives and consorts were playing a round of nudist charades. It was one more privilege in a life of same, like hunting the Serengeti or skiing Gstaad. The cast was attractive, excluding the odd potbelly or coke-whittled blonde in thigh-highs, a lalapalooza of middle-aged lawyers and currency traders letting their hair down and pale dongs dangle, while the women skewed
as an arch betrayal of some antique code that they observe and whose worst offenders (gays or Jews) would be “dealt with” in a righteous world. But I have also, in those travels, met an elite group of users who couldn’t be less like those donkeys. They are members, for the most part, of the wealth professions, bankers and traders in their thirties and forties for whom steroids, in tandem with a watchful diet and a technocratic approach to training, are the capstones of their self-conception, as