“Jessie loves boxing and Fast and Furious.”
This is only one example of the many hilarious and uncanny things our less-than-verbose host mumbled into the microphone as Jessie walked the catwalk showing off his glistening pecs and chiseled calves. Somehow I was at a co-ed Hard Body contest, and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
It was hard to hear the host or the contestants over the loud dance music and overzealous crowd. And poor Jessie didn’t stand a chance against the crowd’s favorite, Sergio, who could have easily passed for soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s younger brother. It probably helped that Sergio is also originally from Argentina.
I didn’t know whether to be envious or hold my heavy, double-chinned head in shame.
Not too long ago, I was having drinks with a friend at a local dive when a remarkably stunning woman inexplicably came in and ordered a drink. Everyone was curious as to what this person was doing here among us mere mortals.My friend (a female) not only noticed this gorgeous creature’s $3,000 Goyard handbag and designer shoes, but also took notice as to how fit she was. I can’t comment on her personal life, but head to toe this woman read like she had her shit together.
This brought up the shallow topic of conversation: what's it like to be beautiful? You’ve seen those people, who party all night at the club and take their hangover to the gym the next morning to work on their Adonis belts. My friend said she would probably have sex all the time if she were gifted such a privileged life. In my case, I would never wear a shirt; like, never ever. Seriously, people would start calling me “McConaughey.” (This, of course, coming from the only guy wearing his T-shirt in the pool at every pool party and water park.)
In this day and age of the selfie, it helps if you look good. Strike that. Not even good — great. And not just in the face. Flawless from head to toe. Love her or hate her, the queen of selfies herself, Kim Kardashian, has even released a recent book of, you guessed it, photos she’s taken of herself on her phone.
Our conversation piqued my curiosity, especially when I saw that Proof Rooftop Lounge was hosting the Second Annual Mr. & Miss Texas Hard Body contest one Sunday night last month. I've been to pregnant bikini contests hosted by 94.5 The Buzz (do they still have those things?) and awkward wet T-shirt contests, but never something like this. Even the invite made me a little uneasy. The flyer featured a shredded male and a toned female with bare ass, embracing. The phrase “Fashionable Attire” scared me a little, too. What does that even mean? Would they not let me in if I’m wearing my Vans?
Proof lies in a swamp of high-class clubs and an inexplicably high number of storage-space facilities; are there that many people with that many possessions but too little room in their nearby lofts? The club covers the roof of Reef restaurant and GAGE Lounge at the Midtown intersection of McGowan and Travis. And let’s be real: I started following this place on social media because I heard they had a great steak night, but this time I went to see the survival of the fittest strut their stuff in front of a crowd of onlookers and gawkers.
I walked up to ropes and bouncers and two lines, one V.I.P. only. Upon entering, I was already conflicted. On one hand, Proof serves up some delicious drinks, makes a ton of effort to be cool, and has the best intentions and aspirations. On the other, the atmosphere is a little weird and uncomfortable for my tastes: Is it possible to have too many hookahs? The answer is yes.
But there was also a taco truck. ON A ROOF. And the tacos were muy bueno.
When I say “youth is wasted on the young,” I say with it no offense, but, for me it was too loud, too crowded and the hookah smoke gave me a headache. But I certainly didn’t want to look like an old curmudgeon, so I trekked on to the dance floor and the 180-bpm version of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" with the rest of them. Of the people there, 99.9 percent were the embodiment of Chamillionaire’s “Grown & Sexy.” The crowd was pumped. Some were dressed to the nines, but the majority were in head-to-toe Rockets gear. Some told me they'd been downtown since nooncelebrating the team’s Game 7 victory over the L.A. Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
If we believed everything on the Internet, and we apparently do, we’d know that the “dad bod” is in vogue right now. Problem is, at Proof I was the only one. Trends come and go, but hard bodies are forever. I will believe the false popularity of this fake trend when Hollywood casts dad bods in Magic Mike XXL or the next installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise.
And there was another problem with the roof: it had rained all day, and the humidity was almost unbearable. So I posted up next to one of the fans next to the outside bar.
The host was having an unwarranted freakout about crowd control as she kept calling for security to come to the stage. People kept spilling their drinks on the catwalk. Some of the guys also couldn’t touch what they couldn’t have, but they wanted to. At least the girls in the crowd offer to put a dollar bills in the male contestants’ shorts.
The contest had two rounds: one clothed, one in swimwear. Seven guys competed, and what can I tell you about them other than how buff they were?
Ben was a personal trainer who loves protein shakes. Conner, an entertainer, “…likes women,” said the host. Conner also humped the stage like he was Bobby Brown circa 1988. There was Ryan, an entrepreneur; Sergio, who loves to dance; and Taylor, who’s in sales — and a published author. Mark loves working out and his dad. Cole loves rugby, is in the oil business, and his favorite food is burgers.
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Collectively, this ragtag bunch of ill-prepared beach bods seemed like they all showed up and decided to participate as an afterthought. One even came out in his boxers because he forgot to bring his swimsuit. Contrast that with the female contestants, who came in bedazzled bikinis as if they did this every weekend. There were only three this time, two named Britney. Britney N., an inspiring bikini pro, described herself as “fearless.” Britney B., a student, said she loves shooting and her favorite food is spaghetti. Krista was a paralegal, which, the host pointed out, “means she's smart and beautiful.”
All of the hard bodies looked great, but only Sergio and Krista won; the judges and the crowd agreed that these two were the right two. The contest lasted past 1 a.m. and try as I might, I still didn’t make it to the gym the next morning. My only hope is to either one day get my shit together and enter next year's event or, realistically, convince a local bar to host a dad-bod contest.
Houston watering holes, ball's in your court.
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