Mark Leyner: 'Lord Gym'
Credit: Photograph by Frank Ockenfels 3

Remember, this is not about midlife vertigo or waning virility. The man of honor is a total badass – more violent and authentically perverse than any gym rat. (He may fetishize a single body part, devoting himself to the development of one voluptuous Popeye arm, a totemic club that he can still brandish in his dotage.)
Here is the likely dénouement of my metamorphosis from gym rat to man of honor. I will let my membership lapse. I will tend to the ants on my stoop. I will dine with aging rivals in dark, cloistered taverns. After having absented myself for a protracted period of time, I will suddenly appear at the gym without warning and in street clothes. I will arbitrarily choose a piece of equipment – say, the lat pull-down machine – and just sit there. Meditating upon the Hebrew letters aleph or gimel, like Abraham Abulafia, the 13th-century Jewish mystic. I'll become the Bartleby of the gym. Asked by some simpering trainer to remove myself, I'll simply reply, "I would prefer not to."

And then, after remaining perfectly inert for hours, like an imperturbable burning monk, maybe I'll get up, doff my black jacket, roll up the sleeves of my white shirt, and do a big fucking superset of dumbbell flys, as I sip an iced crème de menthe through a straw – just to show all the desk jockeys and weekend warriors who's lord of the gym and who's not. Suck, lift, switch hands. Suck, lift, switch hands, etc.

Maybe that sweaty, jiggling hausfrau will be heaving herself (a glistening, fleshy Sisyphus) up those interminable stairs. And I'd deign to give her a vacant, impassive sidelong glance. (This is how a man of honor flirts.)

And just what would the lordly semiotics of this particular glance be in this context?

That although there are many things I now prefer not to do, all things are still possible.

That I've still got it.

And it's right here.

(A man of honor should never feel too dignified to point to his own dick.)