Pontificating on a Single Frame of Road House

The phrase a picture is worth a thousand words is a dated exaggeration. Perhaps it held truth when one burrowed into the camera’s aperture, under curtain, balancing a plate of its flash, and then held to long hours exposing it under the midnight of a rock, or wherever it came to pass. Now there are megapixels attached to phones as afterthoughts. Surely in the age of the selfie the 140-character limit of its most common expression is a more accurate exchange rate between images and words.

My point is not to harken back to an apocryphal golden age of respect, hard work, the railroad, and polio. Even then I feel the thousand-word picture was few and far, between the umpteen hundreds of ghostly moustachioed men over-attired for the climate, a pair of some sort of muck waders shooting thigh high and trailing off cattywampus, who all stood staring dead into the sun holding a shovel, a spade, a pickaxe, what have you, to do some work that either thank god they did or was as pointless as stirring the earth itself. What I mean is the phrase has always been an average, with those like the aforementioned portraitures of Hanks and whiskered Carls bringing our Bressons into the catch phrase’s equilibrium. And the rarity of those up to snuff, appraised at a thousand, likely deserve a thousand more, or a thousand thousand. So let this preamble say not only that I’ve found the fourth leaf, come out the haystack downright pricked in the core of my heart, but above all, though I fill the very ledger of the sky with a scrambling alphabet to match the infinitesimally small and dedicated march of ants, I couldn’t exhaust its subject.

31st minute - 13th second - 21st frame
31st minute – 13th second – 21st frame

From the 11th to the 14th second in the 31st minute of late 80s cult classic, Road House, Patrick Swayze rises from bed to retrieve his pants. No briefs. No boxers. No trunks, bikini, thong or jock. Just three seconds of splendid man ass. I will be focusing on the 21st frame of the 13th second as I feel it is most telling. Leading up to this point is a half second of sitting up, which I toss from contention because the human body is not composed for such right angles as the act of sitting, made even more awkward by their obvious care to hide His Swayze’s genitalia. Next, a first step I disallow for its a cross-eyed peek that would make even the bubbliest of butts lean flat; then, as the step finishes, I feel he cheats: unnaturally flexing, because obviously he knew there were twelve people and two cameras with the sole purpose of recording his naked backside. All of this, I feel, defends my choice of the 21st frame, or, at the very least, the end of the 13th second. And as with the aftermath of frame 21, how waiting any longer only robs it of a certain buoyancy, let us begin.

Initially there are two shocks the brain must address before any further messages from your eyes will be received. Just as a holiday dinner table grows quiet, each trying to remember the name of a humorous acquaintance, the conversation of your thoughts will not continue until you’ve plumbed the riddle of that taint-crowded shadow. Its uncertain, hinted-at hairlessness is at the tip of your tongue, you swear, before you give up to the inconsequence of testicle, shaft, or tip: all a blurry one in the same. Next is a struggle for perspective. The head-on shot is disorienting. I suggest using the the light from the left window to circumnavigate the nearest cheek. This provides a bass line whose rhythm fairly runs through the entire body.

After these twin shocks the trail forks off infinitely, one to a person, so I won’t pretend to be anyone’s guide but my own. Since it’s fresh on my mind I return to hair. Even with my subjectivity in mind, which tends toward natural human landscapes, pruning nature only as becomes usefulness, I still think half of Patrick is betrayed by the thorough bombing runs of his razor. How half? Swayze’s intrigue lies between rustic and metropolitan, a melding of the two. Stern, yet cool. Clean but careless. Any of these lost is but another fatality to the sterilizing force of Hollywood ideals. Gone are the downy arms on young ladies; the sweat collecting like salty dew on the upper lip of full-blown womanhood; the soft, slight paunch and the inviting rotund thigh. Gone near entirely is man. In his barely glimpse is a hyper-sexualized dolphin biped, slipping from cover to cover, and always from the back side or thrusting dumb. Before I begin crusading I might guess it was simpler to remove all then trim thick bushels known to form there abouts. But I wonder how a man this genetically gifted would be stifled so precisely between ankles and waist. His chest is barely wisped with tow, and a like continuation would have benefited the triple joint between his legs with a logical crescendo.

Given said hairlessness of The Swayze’s ron de gite, we have able ingress to rebuke its trim composite, for better and for worse. You see, the downside to scarce body fat is a bottom that spanks back. I repeat, this is not a spanking bottom. This tantalizing shapeliness is limited to statuesque eye-pleasing, as tactile enjoyment would need peers to crack and ricochet amongst as marbles give play to their solidity. This is an exaggeration of course. Watched in slow motion, one sees, almost hears, the giddy jiggle trundling abouts the right cheek as flesh is wont to wander, but in context of the rippling neighborhood of Swayze, it’s more the subtle bounce of the drum head encased by dense veneer. A spanking calls for reverberations that crest white-capped and crash back on themselves. It calls for inertia, whose timorous expenditure may dance through these handsome dollops; the hand a mere pebble to the pond. Drumming, instead, is pretend spanking: a showmanship for the sound of it. But back to the marble we’re given, before, out of greed, we concoct an impossible ass of shape and spankability. It asks to be caressed, to be cupped–it is palm-sized after all, being attached to a sub-six-foot frame–and then taken between fingers and given a sound pinch, we find the hardness hurts the hand, makes us step away and stare at its indomitable utility, which now sits or stands or lays there in a slip of light that pays it with a twinkle, and, as time progresses, begins to warm with what appears to be an all too forgivable curiosity, centering its beam, the twinkle growing into Aurora, before, realizing it was all just our daydream and the temptation that had combined to palpably swell, we reach out again and snatch the taut and too-firm gluteus, only to recoil defeated, fall into a stare, doubt our hard-beaten selves, become entranced, grab, withdraw, attack, be slain, be sucked, round and round about. Luckily the rump is sentient and has needs of its own, as no human necessity on the hypnotized end could extract itself from this black hole: neither thirst nor warmth nor sleep being understood in our pinch/hurt alternating obsession. There’s nothing really to fear. It’s no pale Medusa, and from any given rest it need stir soon enough, for it hadn’t found this strenuous form of tawny man-jerky through disuse. From throwing roundhouse kicks to taking his teased main to the wind, these twin rolling stones gather no moss. I would certainly defend it from any encroaching fungi with my life: stroking, and cleaning, and preening, and shining it with coat upon coat of custom rump shellac–Turtle Wax and Lotrimin at three parts to two–until it’s sheathed in a veritable weatherproofing. Now that I think of it, perhaps this rather natural attention from a significant other is the cause of the aforecritiqued hairlessness.

You can see how intermingled are size and shape, shape and texture. I took off on the slightly shrunken, withdrawn aspect of runner’s bum, and within the minute I’m staring into the cat’s eye of a marble and pattering drum skins. The point is, I’d have the masculinity increased at the expense of its quote unquote cuteness. Yes, to each his own, but at some point it reaches trinket status and I won’t abide. Compared to the significant thigh, do you see how it’s pinched? Like some cruel Dick Tracy villain handicap, it’s a picked-clean, just-after-meal-time boy’s bun basket on a man’s body. Even accounting for the high-waisted tendency of late 80s denim, his tan line stands 1.2 hands high over tip of crack. Let me prove the fault of this by way of example. Imagine yourself and a special friend enjoying a beachside retreat. Together, you alternate the soporific and sweltering sun that blanches the sand and lowers your gaze with the shock of a crisp lake too early in the season to have thawed completely. The pleasant fatigue drawn from these extremes inspires a schoolboy game of catch-as-catch-can while you emerge from a recent squelching dip out onto the beach. The laughing and the comfort and the joyful struggle of it all saps any remaining strength from your pursuit, and, falling with a smile, you reach out ineffectual, dragging yourself by the waistband of his swim trunks, and then in full collapse the sand peppers your wet flesh. In that stride, as you clung to his trunks, tussling them from his haunches, you glimpse the shelf of his posterior, the surprising dark seam of this bust, whose shocking solid musculature churned, guzzling under the flesh like twin pistons in the dynamo of all that is Man. It was this surprising animal glimpse, this dangerous, indiscriminate machine possibility, that made his ensuing playfulness so piquant, and led directly to an energetic collaboration of two bodies in intercourse. Such pleasurable accidents are impossible with the diminutive stump in frame 21. How would you accidentally stumble onto this button? How could you extricate a man from his loins so thoroughly and yet also by chance? You can’t. He needs be peddling his body wholesale like some sexual flea marketeer, or, having it taken by force, to discover this rumpus to your hands. A situation is bittersweet tragedy at best where the preferred option is in any way akin to two hayseeds haggling over a box of tractor parts. This is the most significant shortcoming of Swayze’s human epilogue. While the male body is more than capable of presenting a glorious trunk, tanned and kneaded into a flank of Kobe beef, we are instead presented with two wheels of mysterious cheese. The cheese is apt. Unquestionably pliable, potent, with the smoky edge and exuberance of a bleu: its firm, contoured rind. Yet I’d rather something savory and a meal unto itself than a storehouse of chanterelles to converse over or be paired with anything sipped. When the belt clacks free, as the zipper rips, as the pants roil from their joists, as the boxers flutter after, as the feet kick it all off with glee, as it’s all presented, I’d have myself intoxicated in a single draught, not toyed by even the slightest, most cotton-thin, indecision.

Of course no body is perfect. Or rather, each body is when perfectly beholden. For perhaps instead it’s the ass critiques the eye. I get this inkling from the blemish abaft his silverside. Negative reactions range from surprise to dissolution, and in equally exaggerated proportion I vacate respect for that individual. Do not confuse yourself, I say. You can’t have red without the seeing, or Bach without the hearing; the cake can only be had in the eating, it’s a tasted thing. Yet here some would have Swayz equipped to pinch rivets with his back end, and then simply sit on it. Yes, frame 21 clearly shows a bruise, or a birthmark, or a stain, as the right cheek drifts into the shade. But just consider possible causes for this so called blemish: a powder burn from choking the life of an entire battery, his thighs wenching the muzzle of each canon into such an impossible peep hole that they implode pathetically in a dry gasp onto his flexed bundle? Or the smudged signature of God himself, who in haste to claim an epiphany that shocked even Him, forgot the application of that which he postmarked, namely where, and the 5-month-old Swayz sprinted from the womb with it half-dry and gyrating? Or a live wire perhaps recklessly sparked on a crowded pavement, threatening a holiday parade with the awesome lightning of an entire grid, which Swayz simply plugged into his rectal battery for a mere 10th of a charge and a temporary ashen wound? Who would dare categorize any such to be a blemish? As if the dimples of a comely bride, those veritable smiling scars, call for the veil rather than the unveiling. Moles are only kept from the class of beauty marks for want of relocation; and you could fairly park a third or fourth ear lobe here abouts on Swayz and get away with it; to say nothing of the rusticity this “blemish” implies, which, again, is half the Swayz.

At each turn, each subtle concavity, or whichever wending is most accurate to the locale, there appears to be a fault, but then enumerating I find it excused in mothering a perfection entirely dependent of the supposed flaw. Or conversely, and often just a crease removed, there’s such a perfection I immediately declare I wouldn’t change two pores of it, only to find, when taken in with its surroundings, it sticks out like a sorely oversexed thumb. These are the first-world problems of singing his body neon, from mullet to manballs, and every wild sinew there beyond. With the way logic often fails us the more minute its detail, raking every quark through the dust of academia until its pinioned to the tip of Zeno’s impossibly slowing arrow, there’s no surprise a studious brain is quickly Eschered by the Swayz. Man is a living tapestry, an entity of change. After due diligence, let’s not be lost measuring the fictional math of a snapshot in an ever expanding universe, where the collected actions on any moment change the context of what was and is to be. When in the end, man, like his ham, simply is. Perfect.



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