May is "Short Story Month."
A little like yesterday, the next two stories reminded me of another often shared experience of gay men - the awkward "is-he-or-isn't-he" stage of longing for someone. Is the object of your crush gay? Are you completely wasting your time? Is that wink for you? That smile? That glance?
Damn there should be an instruction manual.
"The Ravishing of Sol Stein" runs from this place - specifically a gym - and relays the experience of "should I or shouldn't I?" with realistic vim. Sol Stein is a fellow who sweats - always sweats - and our narrator is enamored from step one. I loved the slow boil of this story, and the way it boiled over - and it left a real grin in place.
Similarly, Mark Wildyr's "The Rice Man Cometh" has at its core the miscommunication that can so often occur - did he mean what he did, or was that an accident? Why is he suddenly cold - did I overstep? Again, the slow boil here has a payoff, and as a duet, the stories really struck the nerve of how awkward it can be in the world of athletes, where being yourself - if yourself is gay - isn't likely to be easy or obvious.
But in both cases - as in real life - it's worth it.
(Reminder: I've currently got a Goodreads giveaway for two copies of SWEAT. You can click here to enter the giveaway, the winners of which will be drawn at the end of the month.)