A Salute to Deidre Pagnanelli

Without a doubt, Deidre Pagnanelli deserves a salute!

Without a doubt, Deidre Pagnanelli deserves a salute!

If there is one female bodybuilder in this world who has enough crossover appeal to please both fans of muscular women and fans of “conventional-looking” women, it would be the one and only Deidre Pagnanelli.

Miss Pagnanelli is a woman who should make you go “Wow!” She has The Wow Factor. She has “It.” She can make your heart stop mid-beat and you would be powerless to stop it or complain about it. In fact, you might be perfectly fine with the image of Miss Pagnanelli being the final thing you witness during your time on Earth.

As the premiere fitness model of the 1990s, Deidre Pagnanelli is someone you don’t forget. Once you learn who she is, you want to be able to experience more and more of her. Your standards of beauty are raised exponentially. What you previously judged as being “beautiful” diminishes once you regard upon Deidre’s physical being for the first time.

Deidre has, as you can clearly tell, been one of my favorite female bodybuilders for years now. Here’s some background information about her:

Deidre Pagnanelli was born on October 1, 1974 in Italy, but currently resides in the United States. She made her fame being a fitness model and competitive bodybuilder. At the ripe age of 41 (as of this writing), she still works as a personal trainer and mother of four children. You read that right. This gorgeous woman has given birth four times in her life.

Unbelievable.

Standing at 5’9”, her striking good looks and exotic features made her the go-to fitness model of the 90s. Back then she was featured in a small handful of workout videos, but her stardom never really took off. Early in her life, Deidre participated in many low-level fitness and beauty competitions. Her contest history is a bit difficult to pinpoint. One source says she placed 4th at the 2010 NPC Excalibur and 1st at the 2011 NPC Iron Man Magazine Naturally Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships. I know she’s done more than that, but the available information is scarce.

Deidre showing off her guns.

Deidre showing off her guns.

There are also not a whole lot of Internet videos featuring her. There’s a modest YouTube channel dedicated to her. I cannot verify whether she started it herself or if a fan moderates it, but it only features four videos posted in 2012-2013. That’s not much.

It’s possible her birthday is different than what I could research. Some sources say she’s in her mid-40s, while I can only muster that she’s in her early 40s. Either way, her remarkable figure at her age is both impressive and erotically appealing.

That’s all the confirmed (or semi-confirmed) biographical information I can find on Deidre Pagnanelli. It’s not a lot, but perhaps that’s intentional.

As a mother of four children, I perfectly understand why Deidre would want to keep a low public profile (assuming that is her intention). The Internet can be a horrible place for a beautiful woman. I’d guess she doesn’t want her children to grow up reading and hearing horrible things about their mother. In this post, I will try to be as respectful to her as possible. I hope others will do the same.

Or maybe information about her is scarce because she doesn’t feel any inclination to publicize herself. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t have an official website or too many official social media channels. Her IMDb page only has one credit from 1998. From the looks of it, it’s probably a project she wants to forget about. I don’t blame her one bit. I too would want to scrub from the Internet any evidence that I once was in a low-budget piece of garbage with Andrew Dice Clay.

Judging from past and current photos of her, Deidre was never really a bodybuilder. She is more accurately described as a fitness model or fit model. Her muscularity has never been super impressive, but her physique must be applauded nevertheless. Deidre’s appeal isn’t measured by her degree of muscle mass (unlike Ms. Olympia contestants), but rather by her impeccable balance of traditional beauty, unquestionable femininity, athletic muscle definition, and universal sexual attractiveness.

Of course Deidre appeals to all audiences.

Of course Deidre appeals to all audiences.

Deidre has big enough muscles to appeal to guys like me and more than enough curves and natural beauty to appeal to everyone else. Regardless of how you view muscular women, hopefully we can all agree that Deidre is a one-of-a-kind Goddess whose gorgeous good looks are both unforgettable and unparalleled.

I can say with pretty strong confidence that Deidre has one of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen. She’s gorgeous. No, she’s actually drop dead gorgeous. No, no, she’s much more than that! She’s…beyond words.

Her beauty is indescribable. Her body is flawless. Her entire aura is divine. If there’s ever a reason to use theologically-based language to describe a human being, Deidre Pagnanelli would be that reason. She’s a Goddess, an angel, a celestial being. She is not of this planet.

Can you tell I think she’s beautiful?

I often wonder why she isn’t more famous. I brought up the same observation in my post singing the praises of Minna Pajulahti. I’m saddened that both women aren’t international superstars. The difference is that Minna willingly puts herself out there to the public through her social media presence and proactive marketing efforts. I don’t think Deidre is doing the same thing. But perhaps that’s by choice, not necessarily circumstance.

It also helps that Minna is about 6 or 7 years younger and understands how to use modern technology to her advantage. I am not implying that Deidre isn’t social media savvy, nor am I saying that she isn’t putting enough effort to make herself more famous. She grew up in a different generation than Minna. Plus, she has a family. I don’t think Miss Pajulahti has a family quite yet. How public you want to make your personal life really depends if you have a husband and kids in the mix.

As I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there about Deidre. I’ve also just lamented the fact she isn’t better known to the general public. There might be a connection here. Maybe Deidre doesn’t want to be better known. Maybe she tasted fame during the 1990s and was disgusted by what she experienced.

We’ve all read horror stories about the modeling industry. There’s a reason why drug abuse, eating disorders, risky medical procedures, and depression are experienced by some of the world’s most recognizable models. I have no doubt rampant sexual abuse goes on by the bigwigs in charge against their young and vulnerable employees. The pay isn’t great. The gigs are scarce, unpredictable, and often humiliating. By the time you reach the age of 28, your shelf life gets close to expiring. Who would want to go through all that?

I am not suggesting in any way that Deidre went through any of those horrible things when she was younger. I am not basing this off of extensive research, hearsay, or personally talking to people close to the situation. I’ve never met Deidre (although I’d love to!) nor have I ever communicated with her. This is all based on speculation. But I’m guessing she loves doing what she does now and wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Good for her.

Sexy heels. And sexy body. Sexy everything, to be exact.

Sexy heels. And sexy body. Sexy everything, to be exact.

Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me that she’d rather be a personal trainer (and full-time mother) instead of doing whatever is necessary to become more famous. There isn’t a wealth of videos or photos of her on the Internet. Her modeling career seemed to end by the time the 20th century turned the corner into the 21st. But that’s perfectly okay. Not everyone needs to enjoy the spotlight. The road to gain further fame and fortune isn’t for everyone.

Instead, Deidre Pagnanelli will remain one of the most beautiful women on planet Earth that you’ve never heard of. Well, a good portion of female muscle fans will know who she is, but we’re certainly not in the majority. She could have been a major star, but that wasn’t in the cards for whatever reason. I am not critical of her life decisions, of course. I’m just a bit bummed out she never took off like she had to potential to.

It’s not every day you meet the second coming of Sophia Loren but have never heard of her before stumbling upon her by happenstance. While I don’t know her personally, she seems like a sweet and genuine person. She could have been a contender, as Terry Malloy would say. She has the gorgeous good looks to be just as famous as Ms. Loren, Monica Bellucci, and any other Italian beauty. But alas, she isn’t.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy here isn’t that she missed her opportunity at stardom, but rather we fans don’t have more of her to experience. I perfectly understand Deidre doesn’t “owe” us anything. If she wants to live a quiet life away from the public’s eye, that’s her decision and she’s definitely allowed to make that decision. But if she had chosen to pursue a career similar to Debi Laszewski or Denise Masino (I understand she never developed the level of muscle mass achieved by those two), we could have thousands of more photos and hundreds of more hours of video footage of her to appreciate.

But maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing. Instead of viewing this as a missed opportunity, I should instead look at this as being a positive thing. Deidre never had to sell herself out to make it big in the modeling industry. She never had to resort to doing porn or anything else degrading to her reputation (I’m not ripping anyone who chooses to do porn. If you want to and you feel like it empowers your career, so be it. But all too often desperate young women will debase themselves in order to get their foot in the door of certain employment opportunities).

Applying the Scarcity Principle practically, the fact there’s limited media and information about her might work in her favor. It makes her mysterious. It makes her more legendary. It forces us to use our imaginations. It forces us to treat her not as a run-of-the-mill 1990s fitness girl, but instead a mythical creature who forces guys like me to beg for more and more. She can choose to provide us more of her, or she can deny us what we want. Either way, it’s her choice and her choice alone.

Not too many 40-something mothers with abs like that!

Not too many 40-something mothers with abs like that!

I’m actually sort of okay with Deidre Pagnanelli being shrouded in mystery. I love the fact that in 2016, Deidre is a 40-something mother of four who used to be one of the rising stars of the fitness industry during the Clinton years (we may have 4-8 more years of a Clinton administration ahead of us, but that’s a whole other story. My non-American readers should consider themselves lucky). I refuse to call her a certain term that’s given to attractive women who also happen to be mothers. It’s a vulgar label that’s totally beneath Deidre. Miss Pagnanelli is a classy lady who deserves better. I will treat her better.

Deidre could have been an internationally-renown crossover superstar who brought muscular women into the mainstream of society. She could have been on the covers of magazines for years, making millions of dollars from the fruits of her labor and natural God-given assets. I will say it one more time: Deidre Pagnanelli is one of the most beautiful women in the Universe. From head to toe, she’s absolutely immaculate. She’s the very definition of female beauty. She’s a masterwork.

I don’t know what she’s specifically up to right now, but I’d imagine she’s happy. She’s probably helping people become the best they can be (a personal trainer for busy moms, perhaps). It sounds clichéd, but there are actually people out there who inspire that kind of positive change in others. It takes someone with a special kind of flair, work ethic, compassionate attitude, and charismatic demeanor.

Yup, that’s Deidre alright.

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Taming the Wild Beast: Giving an Orgasm to a Muscular Woman

If Jane looked like this, would Tarzan still want to be with her?

If Jane looked like this, would Tarzan still want to be with her?

There is a common belief out there that men who love muscular women also love (or fantasize about) being dominated by a muscular woman. While there is a close link between female muscle fetishism and BDSM, the two can be mutually exclusive. I would argue they can exist independently.

Nevertheless, the weak man/strong woman motif persists for good reasons. Men who pay strong women for sessions do so for the privileges of wrestling them or worshiping their muscles. Either way, they’re willing to shell out $300 to $500 of their hard earned cash because they love living out the fantasy of being physically and emotionally dominated by a stronger woman.

This fantasy goes a bit further, however. Deep down inside, even the most beta male secretly wishes he can win the upper hand against a stronger female opponent. While there are guys who fetishize the idea of being completely dominated by a woman, there exists other fantasies that go along with that. Primarily, the fantasy of “taming the wild beast.”

For as long as human civilization has been around, it has been commonly accepted that men are naturally stronger than women. This has led to men being the ones who’ve organized society’s political, social, economic, and religious structures. For better or for worse, this is still how things operate today, although that trend is starting to move in the other direction. There is no doubt women are gaining further traction in today’s world, but the way business has been done for thousands of years cannot be radically altered overnight.

Perhaps this “changing of the guard” where men and women are enjoying (more or less) “equal” footing in society’s power structures explains the popularity of men fetishizing being dominated by a woman. There are countless men in this world who are in control but do not necessarily want to be in control. Just as Spider-Man could tell you, with great power comes great responsibility. And great responsibility can be a heavy emotional burden.

Sexologists will argue that the male fantasy of being dominated by a woman is borne out of a desire for powerful men to be able to “let go” and be powerless for at least a few moments in his life. Heavy lies the crown, so the adage goes. This temporary abdication of power is a man’s way of releasing his inner burdens and allowing someone else to take control for once. So perhaps we’re looking at this in completely the wrong way. Guys who love muscular women aren’t necessarily beta males who enjoy submitting themselves to feminine power. Instead, they might just be “average, normal dudes” who crave momentary relief from their male “duties.”

We could go on exploring this issue, but let’s return to the main topic. The association of a muscular woman with a “wild beast” shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Pulp novels of long ago used to portray “jungle women” who would capture, torment, scheme against, and engage in steamy sexual relationships with their male counterparts. The jungle motif continues to be seen today in photoshoots involving female bodybuilders and models. Our pop culture associates a strong, muscular physique with keen survival skills, an animalistic personality, and fierce independence.

What if Jane looked like Dayana Cadeau?

What if Jane looked like Dayana Cadeau?

Tarzan wasn’t a weakling. Jane might have been, but certainly not her lover. If we turn the tables around and fantasize about Denise Masino or Alina Popa as modern-day female Tarzans, how many of us would put ourselves into the shoes of Jane? Would we be named James? Or John? Or Jim?

However, as much as we love to think of our favorite female bodybuilders as strong, sexy, independent creatures who can kick our ass at the drop of a hat, deep down inside our imaginations exist an interesting layer to this fantasy. We still want to be in charge. We may enjoy being pinned down, talked down to, and humiliated by a strong woman, but at the end of the day we want to assert our God-given dominance in one way or another.

So how do we do that? In this particular fantasy, the answer – of course! – has a sexual component to it.

If a weaker guy cannot physically dominate a stronger woman, he can assert his dominance in a sexual way instead. How is that done? Simple:

Giving a female bodybuilder an orgasm.

Obviously, not every female bodybuilder who offers sessions will allow that level of sexual intimacy to her clients. That’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, I’m referring to the fantasy of giving a strong muscular woman an orgasm. Let’s talk about this point in further detail.

There are many ways men can demonstrate their dominance over a woman. Not all of them are sexist or spiteful, although these behaviors could certainly be taken to those unfortunate extremes. A guy could show off his strength at the gym, flaunt his wealth at a fancy restaurant, impress his date by introducing her to his high-status friends, remind everyone how much influence he has at his job, and so on. Yeah, many of these things can make you out to look like an egotistical jerk, so I don’t recommend you exhibit these manners too often.

A jungle-themed photoshoot with Wendy McMaster.

A jungle-themed photoshoot with Wendy McMaster.

But…there is another way. It’s less public (at least, traditionally speaking), but it’s a certifiable way to prove one’s dominance. It involves pleasing her in the bedroom. How strange it is that the ultimate act of proving’s one’s manhood involves giving pleasure to a woman. Guys can brag all they want in the locker room about how many women they’ve slept with, but what’s less certain is figuring out how many of these women found the experience of sleeping with you pleasant. You can have sex with ten women in one wild weekend, but if every single one of them left your bedroom bored and unsatisfied, how much of a “Man” are you?

On the other hand, if a man makes love to only one woman – his wife or girlfriend, perhaps – during one eventful passionate evening, and she experiences a multitude of gratifying orgasms, is this guy more of a “Man” than the guy who slept with ten women who didn’t feel a thing while doing the deed with him?

Yes, of course!

This is why a man’s penis is nicknamed his “manhood.” It’s what makes a man a man. Not only does the penis biologically separate a man from a woman, it’s his way of showcasing his dominion over her. Contrast the guy who sleeps with ten women who can’t remember his name with another guy who spends the whole night with one woman who can’t get enough of him. Satisfying climax after satisfying climax, she’s sure she’ll never have it this good ever again in her life. Without question, this guy is much more of a “Man” than the first guy who should really see a doctor about getting an STD test.

A typical "jungle woman" cover from an old-school pulp novel.

A typical “jungle woman” cover from an old-school pulp novel.

Therefore, this explains the fantasy. A female bodybuilder may be leaps and bounds more powerful, confident, strong, and tough than her weaker male lover. However, in the bedroom, it’s a whole other story. There, he can validate his manliness. She may have bigger muscles, but he has a penis that can satisfy her like no other can. All the dildos and vibrators in the world cannot compare to his manhood. Through the act of sex, the tables are turned. During a passionate lovemaking session, he is the dominate one and she is the weaker one – regardless of the size of her muscles.

Women are different than men in regards to what happens post-orgasm. As one young lady I know once told me, when it comes to having multiple orgasms, women “can keep going until they decide to stop.” Good for them! Guys, on the other hand, are much different. We have one…and we’re as good as spent. There’s a reason why many of us like to get off right before going to sleep. It helps us get to sleep! Our energy is drained and it takes at least 15 to 20 minutes before we can get hard again. And if we do get hard again, you can guarantee our level of enthusiasm won’t be nearly as high as it was beforehand.

But let’s ignore this and assume a satisfying orgasm will sap you of all your energy. After successfully providing one’s sexual partner a toe-curling, scream-inducing satiating orgasm, isn’t it like taming a wild beast? The contrast of energy level couldn’t be starker. During sex, people can exert a tremendous amount of energy. Post-sex, it’s like someone took out your battery and flung it out the window. You’re completely and utterly drained.

Tamed, indeed.

This is the origin of this fantasy. Guys who love a wild and dangerous (whether she’s actually wild and dangerous is beside the point; it’s the fantasy that matters most) female bodybuilder feel the intense urge to “cut her down to size” and show her what a real man is like. It’s understandable for a normal-looking man to feel emasculated when in the presence of a muscular woman. Deep down inside, he yearns to be able to make love to her so passionately and so intently that she’s willing to submit to his every whim.

Perhaps submission is the name of the game. One could argue inside every insecure man is an ultra-masculine He-Man ready to jump out and take on the world singlehandedly. I may not feel that way, but I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there who do. I’m not passing down any judgement or trying to psychoanalyze their situation. I’m just trying to make sense out of a fervent fantasy a lot of female muscle lovers share – whether they know it or not.

Post-sex, the image of a strong, powerful female bodybuilder purring like a cat as she snuggles up close to me in bed is enough to get my heart rate going. If she were to whisper sweet nothings into my ear, I might just pass out. Come to think of it, I guess I do share this fantasy!

Taming the wild beast can come in many forms. One could physically show one’s dominance over a muscular woman…but that’s not nearly erotic enough. One could tie her up and play the part of a male dominatrix…but that’s kinky and doesn’t prove anything. Roleplaying is fun, but at the end of the day it’s two consenting adults creating a false reality for the sake of mutual erotic amusement. It’s not real. But having sex with a female bodybuilder and showing her how much of a Casanova you are…well, it’s not like such a thing could actually happen to me, but at least you could consider it an actual accomplishment.

Denise Masino is a wild beast who needs to be tamed.

Denise Masino is a wild beast who needs to be tamed.

Right, there, that’s at the heart of this discussion: showcasing an accomplishment to a woman who has her fair share of impressive accomplishments. Guys who love muscular women also want to “prove” to her that he’s a man and she’s still a woman. The differences in physical strength notwithstanding, guys still want to be the one in charge. They might enjoy being dominated by her for kicks and giggles, but when push comes to shove he still wants the opportunity to assert his masculinity. He doesn’t think he’s superior to her (or that she’s inferior to him); rather he desires to let her know who’s who in this relationship.

Giving an orgasm to a female bodybuilder is the premiere way to prove to her what kind of a Man you are. You deserve the capital “M,” no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And you don’t want to do it by fingering her or performing cunnilingus on her. That’s perfectly okay, but you want to show her you’re a Man the old fashioned way: stick your hard manhood inside her and ride her till she begs for more. And when she does beg for more (assuming your fantasy goes this far), you can choose to either fulfill her wishes or deny her what she wants.

And to make matters better, because it takes guys a little while to get hard again, she has to wait for you to be able to make love to her again. Imagine that!

That’s what this is all about. Whether you want to please her till she’s purring like a kitten or you want to deny her what she desires, it’s your choice. It’s fantasy, and you can definitely see how this could play out in reality. You are a Man. She is a Woman. You dream of demonstrating to her who’s who and leaving absolutely no doubt about it.

She’s still an incredibly strong Woman, but you’re a Man, and there’s nothing that can take that away from you. She is a Wild Beast and you must tame her before she gets out of control. You’re a Man. It’s what you’re supposed to do. She knows it, but she wants to know if you know it.

So there you go. You just want to send her a message. And have fun while doing it. That’s a win-win in my book.

“Taming the Wild Beast” is a fantasy that can be counterintuitive. A weak man who’s with a strong woman doesn’t have to feel emasculated. In fact, he can feel quite the opposite. She may be able to beat him at arm wrestling or deadlift more than him at the gym, but he can still satisfy her in bed and leave her begging for more. This intends to shift the balance of power away from her and toward him…where it rightfully belongs.

I believe this is Julie Bonnett. Can anybody say otherwise?

I believe this is Julie Bonnett. Can anybody say otherwise?

No matter how big she grows, no matter how large her muscles become, no matter how powerful she can be…she can never truly supersede his role as the dominant Alpha Male. A female bodybuilder can pretend to be the Alpha Female, but all that comes to a crashing halt the moment he successfully gives her a fulfilling orgasmic experience. Physical strength can be manufactured at the gym. Sexual prowess is innate. There’s nothing she can do to turn the tide on thousands of years of male/female biological reality.

At the end of the day, he has the penis and she has the vagina. In this fantasy, the vagina is unquestionably subordinate to the penis. Without a penis, the vagina exists in a vacuum. She can masturbate all she wants – and she could very well give herself fantastic climaxes – but there’s still a void left in her sex life. Who can fill that void?

You guessed it. The Man.

Even if this Man is smaller, weaker, and physically unremarkable. Even if the Woman is larger, stronger, and more dynamic. That’s irrelevant. The “Taming the Wild Beast” fantasy ignores those realities and puts the Man in the driver’s seat. This isn’t rooted in sexism, misogyny or even insecurity. It’s rooted in the desire to relinquish control, but not totally give it up. It’s based on the belief that women can be stronger than men, but a man is still a man and a woman is still a woman. Fetishes are often simple to understand. It’s not complicated.

The beauty of this fantasy is the fact that “taming” her doesn’t involve violence or dehumanizing her. That’s out of the question. “Taming” her instead involves giving her sexual pleasure. He gets pleasure out of it as well, but what’s more important is making sure she leaves the encounter happy and satisfied.

She may be a beast on the outside, but deep down inside she can be just as vulnerable as him. It just takes a single passionate carnal encounter to bring these vulnerabilities to the surface. He derives pleasure from giving her pleasure. That’s a win-win indeed.

The Benevolent Voyeur and the Female Bodybuilder – Part One

When you think of Rebecca Tanaka, think of a younger Tomoko Kanda.

When you think of Rebecca Tanaka, think of a younger Tomoko Kanda.

Most people despise the daily grind. Rebecca Tanaka thrives in it.

Rebecca’s schedule is nonstop. Her evenings are always free – most of the time – but from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., she is one relentless busy bee, churning along at her own frenzied pace.

7:00 a.m. – Wake up, eat breakfast consisting of egg whites, oatmeal, and fruit smoothie

7:30 a.m. – Walk on the treadmill for an hour, interspersing with light jogging every 10 minutes

8:30 a.m. – Take short shower, dress, and drive to the gym

9:00 a.m. – Workout at the gym, regimen changes depending on the day (Monday: Chest and shoulders, Tuesday: Abs and back, Wednesday: Rest day, Thursday: Arms, Friday: Rest day, Saturday: Legs, Sunday: Rest day)

11:15 a.m. – Shower, dress, eat second meal of the day (brown rice, chicken, and steamed carrots)

12:00 p.m. – Drive to physical therapy clinic, work with clients

1:30 p.m. – Eat third meal of the day (sweet potato, steak, and raw broccoli)

6:00 p.m. – Leave work, drive to grocery store, drive home

6:30 p.m. – Arrive at home, eat fourth meal of the day (Salmon, kale, asparagus, couscous, and tomatoes)

7:00 p.m. – Answer e-mails, schedule personal training clients, set up photoshoots, etc.

9:00 p.m. – Eat fifth meal of the day (protein shake and raw fruit)

11:00 p.m. – Go to sleep, prepare to do it all again the next day

Rebecca, one of the world’s rising stars in the international bodybuilding industry, doesn’t have much time for relationships or pets. No dogs, no boyfriends. But this doesn’t bother her at all. She loves her life and wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

Except for one thing, however. Being a competitive bodybuilder and part-time physical therapist doesn’t pay a whole lot of money. Lucky for her, she inherited a nice studio condominium from her deceased aunt and uncle (they died tragically in a car accident while travelling through South America four years ago) located right in the heart of downtown Bellevue. However, living expenses are still living expenses. Money isn’t tight, but she can’t afford to not be frugal.

All of that changed one fateful Tuesday evening.

Rebecca drove home and parked her car in the underground parking garage like usual. With her massive gym bag slung over her broad shoulders, she takes the short flight of stairs up to the lobby. There, she sees Craig, the reliable and friendly front desk staff person.

“Good evening, Rebecca!” Craig greets her with a wide toothy grin.

“Hi Craig. Has your wife decided on whether she wants to take the promotion or not?” Rebecca takes her keys out of her pocket and walks toward the row of mail boxes.

“She has. She’s not interested. Macy loves where she is right now,” he says. “I guess that means I’m here to stay.”

Rebecca turns around and shoots Craig a happy smile of her own. “Oh well. Darn. I was just getting used to putting up with your antics!” Craig’s wife works at the city’s water treatment facility and was asked to move to Washington D.C. to supervise the federal government on crafting better national water policy. Apparently, Macy didn’t like that offer and would rather stay here and get paid less. Rebecca has never met Macy but she’s starting to like her more and more.

Craig laughs. The phone rings. He stops laughing, puts on his “professional” demeanor, and answers it. Rebecca chuckles to herself and approaches her mail box. She unlocks it and finds the usual assortment of junk: Grocery store coupons, a community newsletter, a postcard asking her to donate to needy children in Tanzania, her monthly cell phone bill, and a lone letter. She doesn’t usually get individually written letters anymore. For that matter, in today’s digital age, who does?

“Jones,” she reads aloud. The return address is somewhere in Kirkland. Only the sender’s last name is revealed. The 4”x3” letter is modest in size but remarkable in its simplicity. She stuffs the mail in a pouch on the side of her gym bag and heads toward the elevator. She nods at Craig, who is still talking to a potential tenant on the phone. He graciously nods back.

Five minutes later Rebecca opens the door to her 15th story condo unit and walks inside. She lays her heavy gym bag down on the floor and gently shuts the door behind her. Not thinking too much about the letter, she turns on the TV and tunes in to whatever baseball game happens to be going on. It appears the home team is losing by a score of 5-2. It’s the seventh inning. Whatever. Sports never interested Rebecca too much – except for bodybuilding, of course. That’s a sport she pays attention to with keen interest.

The clock in the kitchen says it is 6:39 p.m. Rebecca opens the refrigerator and pulls out a blue Tupperware container. Fish, veggies, and corn are inside. She pops it in the microwave and sets it for three and a half minutes. The humming of her dinner heating up provides the background music she needs to relax and unwind. Rebecca plops herself on her bed and turns on her laptop computer. Just as the home screen starts to boot up, the microwave makes the joyful “ping” sound.

Rebecca grabs a fork, napkin, bottle of FIJI Water, and the steaming hot Tupperware container. She returns to her bed and starts to eat. By now, the home team has scored another run and the score is now 5-3. The crowd goes wild. She couldn’t care less.

There are only four e-mail messages in her inbox. Two of them are junk. One is a balance statement from her bank and the other is a picture of a random man’s penis taken with his shitty cell phone camera. As a nationally known female bodybuilder, Rebecca is accustomed to receiving creepy or obscene e-mail messages from fans across the globe. She promptly deletes the dick pic and blocks the idiot from ever communicating with her again.

“Congratulations on being so well-endowed, buddy,” Rebecca says. “But you’re still a perverted jerk.”

A solo home run by the other team. 6-3 road team. The crowd goes silent. Rebecca swiftly changes the channel to the evening news. The first story she sees is a report that ISIS has kidnapped another European aid worker and has threatened to cut off his head. She decides to turn off the TV altogether. Nothing but bad news.

“It’s a hellish world we live in,” Rebecca whispers to herself. “God help us all.”

She looks at her gym bag and suddenly remembers the letter. After putting the dirty Tupperware in the sink, she takes a last sip from her FIJI Water and dumps the empty bottle in a recycling bin. Rebecca takes the envelope out of the pouch and opens it with a letter opener. She sits down on her comfortable leather sofa and reads it.

Rebecca gets plenty of fan mail, but they all go to her business mail box at the Post Office. So she has no idea who this could be from. Who does she know in Kirkland? The handwritten note says the following:

Dear Miss Tanaka,

I am a dear fan of yours. We’ve never met, but I’ve been following your career from the start. I see a lot of promise in you. You are destined for stardom, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

I don’t know how much money you make being a professional bodybuilder, but I’d imagine it’s not nearly enough for you to live off. Or maybe you do make enough. Either way, who couldn’t use a little extra cash in their pocket?

That being said, I have a simple proposition for you, one you can refuse to do if you choose to with no consequences.

I happen to live within viewing distance of your condominium unit. With my trusty pair of binoculars, I have a clear view of your balcony. I have never made any effort to physically contact you, so do not feel alarmed. Thus, I’d like to offer you this: Every Tuesday evening at 9:00, I want you to stand outside on your balcony and strip naked for me. I want to see your beautiful body in all its splendor and glory. You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life.

Every time you do this, I will mail you $1,000 in cash the following day. I will also send you written instructions on what to do next. I will never ask you to do anything dangerous or unreasonable. But it will always involve me wanting to see your beautiful body.

Just to prove that I’m not joking, tonight at 9:00 please stand outside fully clothed for a solid 90 seconds. I will send you $500 in the mail tomorrow just for that simple gesture. If you do not do as I ask, I will interpret this as your refusal and I will never contact you ever again. I can promise you that.

I look forward to seeing where your career goes, Rebecca. Peace be with you Angelic Sweetheart.

Sincerely,

Jones

Uh, what? Rebecca looks up at the ceiling in disbelief, remaining frozen for what seems like forever.

What the fuck is this all about? Should she call the police? She knows the return address of this creep, so it wouldn’t be too difficult for the authorities to investigate and put this asshole in jail. However…

$1,000 is a lot of money. Fuck, that’s $52,000 in extra tax-free cash per year. Perhaps she should consider it.

Damn it! That’s crazy talk. This guy is nuts and should be arrested for harassment! Rebecca tosses the letter in the trash can and closes the blinds on all her windows. The last time she ever had a stalker was back in college. A random dude kept writing her love notes despite the fact she was in a committed relationship at the time (they broke up when he later revealed he was gay, but that’s a whole other story for another time). She reported this to campus police and found out it ended up being not a student, but a tenured English professor. She (yes, it was a she) was fired and had to spend 150 hours doing community service and pay a small fine. Rebecca never saw her again.

Writing and sending handwritten letters is a lost art.

Writing and sending handwritten letters is a lost art.

The clock now says it is 7:45 p.m. Rebecca decides to call the police first thing in the morning and report this idiot. She logs on to Netflix and begins watching “House of Cards” to get her mind off of this shit. She may have seen this episode before. Or maybe she hasn’t. Whatever.

Time passes. Soon, it is 8:56 p.m. She looks at the time on her computer and smiles. Should she poke her head outside her balcony just to see if this asshole will actually pay her? Rebecca peeks at her phone bill and gasps when she sees how substantial it is. She’d used a lot of data this month, between using her phone for personal and business matters. Damn. How the fuck is she going to pay for all this shit?

8:58 p.m.

Fuck!

Rebecca puts on a pair of old slippers and cautiously opens the glass door leading to the balcony. She’s wearing pajama pants and a tank top but no makeup or a bra. Her jet black hair is a mess. She doesn’t think she looks terribly appealing at the moment, but this pervert apparently thinks she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen in his life. Rebecca doesn’t know what is compelling her to follow through with this, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Standing at a diminutive 5’2”, Rebecca is just as short as most Japanese women but is much huskier than usual. Her thick thighs, broad shoulders, big biceps, 8-pack abdomen, and rounded butt make her stand out against most women, Asian or not. Her 30th birthday is right around the corner, a fact she’s trying to not think about. She’s never been married but has never struggled to find a boyfriend. Most of her past boyfriends have been white, but she’s dated her fair share of Asian guys. But after committing her life to bodybuilding, she’s discovered fewer and fewer men want to be with her romantically. Maybe they’re intimidated by a woman with bigger muscles than them!

Rebecca looks up at the clock. 9:00 p.m. on the dot. Alright, time to do this.

She enters the outside and takes a deep breath. The sun is beginning to set. Earlier in the day it reached 85 degrees, which is practically the seventh level of Hades for someone who was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She silently counts to 90 in her head. She looks around to see who this creepy stalker could possibly be. All around her are apartment buildings, office buildings, and fancy homes overlooking Lake Washington. There are hundreds of thousands of people who could see her at this moment. Is this guy for real? Or is this a prankster who gets off on writing disturbing letters to competitive female bodybuilders?

Rebecca may be willing to temporarily embarrass herself, but this is far from being the first time she’s ever felt helpless. Though she’s never been married, when Rebecca was 15 she became pregnant thanks to her then-boyfriend (who happened to be Asian like her) using a faulty condom. Her parents were outraged. The rest of her family shunned her. She eventually gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Rebecca reluctantly put the baby up for adoption. Within weeks of giving birth to the child, a couple in Indiana flew out to meet little Cecelia. They immediately fell in love with her. They hired some lawyers to draw up the adoption papers and within days the couple flew back home with a new daughter.

Rebecca has never seen her daughter since. Her family has never spoken about it. They’ve kept absolutely no contact with the couple from Indiana. She tries to not think about that dark chapter of her life, but every so often she’s reminded of it. This moment is one of those times.

A simple outdoor balcony overlooking a major metropolitan city (in this case, Chicago).

A simple outdoor balcony overlooking a major metropolitan city (in this case, Chicago).

90 seconds have officially passed. She returns back indoors and shuts the glass door. She locks it.

“That was the longest 90 seconds of my fucking life,” Rebecca says to nobody in particular.

Looking outside at the setting sun, she wonders if anyone was actually watching her. Who is this “Jones” guy? Was he a balding middle-aged loser who was jerking off at the sight of a female bodybuilder wearing pajama pants? God, that’s disgusting. The thought of this put a churning feeling in her stomach. Rebecca feels foolish that she even went outside on her balcony as the letter instructed in the first place. Wanting to forget the whole ordeal, Rebecca goes to the kitchen, takes out a wine glass, and pours herself some Chardonnay. She returns to bed and turns the television back on.

The home team tied it up in the bottom of the ninth and ended up winning it in the 12th thanks to a walk-off home run by the second baseman. Rebecca thinks he’s cute. Good for him. Good for his teammates. Hopefully, he’ll sleep tonight with a big fat smile on his face.

***

The next day Rebecca didn’t give a single thought to what had happened the previous evening. The thought of calling the police about the disconcerting letter never crosses her mind.

Wednesday is her rest day, so she can spend the morning working on her personal business before going to work at the clinic at noon. She spent the whole morning scouring the Internet for a new bikini. Her photographer tells her it’s about time they take new photos for her website. Now that the weather is improving, they agree to go down to the beach this Saturday and snap a few photos before the hordes of families, little kids, and drunk tourists show up.

Work is boring as usual. She sees four clients altogether. James, an 87-year-old former steel worker who’s suffering from chronic lower back pain. He thinks it’s caused by his days hauling gigantic hollowed rods across the mill he worked at back in Pennsylvania. Rebecca thinks it’s caused by the fact he’s in his late 80’s. Whatever. He doesn’t want to argue with “the pretty girl with big muscles.”

She also sees Tyler, a high school football player who suffered a major knee injury last season while returning a punt. Tyler’s a nice kid. He isn’t good enough to play at the college level, but Rebecca nevertheless feels he deserves a shot at being able to step onto the field again. He’s rehabbing his injury and hopes to be able to be ready in time for summer practices.

Rebecca is confident he’ll be able to do so. Tyler and his mother concur.

Sarah Hayes wearing a dress that shows off all her impressive assets.

Sarah Hayes wearing a dress that shows off all her impressive assets.

The other two clients are a married couple named Frankie and Loren. They’re both in their 60s but still manage to work at the local public school district. Rebecca cannot imagine why they still want to put up with spoiled bratty kids when they’re so close to retirement, but they seem to enjoy the work. They must be good at what they do, apparently.

“I do it for the kids. I can’t speak for Frankie, but I feel like it’s my duty to my community to put these youngsters on the right path,” Loren tells Rebecca and Julie, the clinic’s senior physical therapist. Frankie nods in agreement.

“Damn right! But don’t tell the kids I occasionally swear. I always get them in trouble for cursing, so I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite,” he fires back.

“Don’t worry you two,” Rebecca assures them. “Your secrets are safe with me. My lips are perfectly sealed. What’s discussed in this building doesn’t leave this building, I can assure you of that.”

Now it’s Julie’s turn to nod her head in agreement. It’s so wonderful when everyone agrees with one another. That’s what makes life pleasant.

“See you next time!” Rebecca exclaims as Frankie and Loren stroll out the door. She waves at them. They wave back. All is good and right with the world.

The drive home is messy but not a surprise. There’s a stretch of 8th avenue that’s being repaved. It’s a project the City Council promised to implement years ago, but it’s just now getting underway. Even in the most financially affluent cities it takes forever for simple government tasks to get done. Oh well. That’s the way things are, Rebecca supposes. Maybe that explains why Macy wants to stay put.

Like usual, she parks her car in the underground garage and hikes up the stairs to the main floor. It is at this moment that she remembers the strange letter she got yesterday from that mysterious creep. Today, Craig happens to not be working the front desk. That usually means he’s talking with the maintenance man to fix something. Instead, Hannah, a spunky 22-year-old blonde girl fresh out of college, is working in the lobby. Rebecca thinks Hannah is scared of her. It’s not a stretch of the imagination, however. It’s not too often you encounter a pretty Asian girl with big muscles!

“Hi Hannah. Where’s Craig?”

Hannah jumps in surprise at the sound of Rebecca’s voice. She is busy playing Temple Run on her phone and didn’t expect anyone to want to make casual conversation with her. Hannah puts the phone away and regains her composure.

“Oh, he’s milling around somewhere. A tenant on the 8th floor complained about a weird smell. He’s looking into it.” That’s what Rebecca thought Craig would be doing. Fixing a problem. Hannah is usually an on-call staff person who comes into work if Craig knows he has a lot of building maintenance work to do. Rebecca thinks Hannah works part-time as a cocktail waitress at a dive bar in Renton. She could be wrong about that, though.

“Hm. Thankfully for him, I don’t have any weird or offensive smells coming out of my unit,” Rebecca says. “I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear that.”

Hannah can only smile. That’s pretty much all Rebecca expects from her. This must confirm her suspicions that she’s frightened to death of her.

This is what the inside of Rebecca's condo would probably look like.

This is what the inside of Rebecca’s condo would probably look like.

Rebecca takes out her mail box key and puts it in the slot. She twists it and opens the small door. She reaches inside and only finds a single item.

A modest 4”x3” letter.

Oh fuck.

She looks at the return address. Sure enough, it says “Jones” followed by a Kirkland address.

Well, shit.

Stuffing the letter in her jacket pocket, Rebecca smiles at Hannah and scurries off to the elevators. She presses the button for the 15th floor. Three minutes pass until it shows up, which feel like ten. The door opens, Rebecca walks inside, and within moments she’s at her front door.

Rebecca isn’t usually a paranoid type of person, but how could you not be at this moment? Perhaps her decision to not notify the police was dead wrong. Before opening the door to her condo unit, she looks around the empty hallway. No one is in sight. That’s how it usually is at this hour. She unlocks the door and steps inside.

She immediately drops her purse on top of a nearby chair, tosses her jacket carelessly on the ground, and sits down on the leather sofa. Taking in a deep breath, Rebecca cautiously opens the letter without the letter opener. She doesn’t mind if she gets an innocuous paper cut. Fortunately, she’s just fine.

It’s another handwritten note. Of course. It reads:

Dear Miss Tanaka,

I’m glad you decided to follow through with my wishes last night. I did not know if you would ignore me or not. Fortunately for me, you made a choice I am most pleased with. Bravo to you.

In return, I’ve enclosed $500 in cash as I promised in my previous correspondence. I hope you put this newfound money to good use. I trust you will be judicious with it.

Your participation in last night’s trial run tells me you’re willing to play along with my proposition. I am pleased to learn of that. Now is the appropriate time to up the stakes. As I outlined before, I am willing to pay you $1,000 for further exhibitions. That offer is still on the table. I am only interested in watching you perform for me on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 p.m., so you have a full week before I am able to see you again. I cannot wait for our next encounter.

Next Tuesday, June 7, I want you to walk outside your balcony at 9:00 like last time. I want you to wear whatever clothing you happen to be wearing at the moment. I care not what it is. Once you are fully outside, I want you to meticulously strip naked until every single article of clothing is removed from your immaculate body. Then, I want you to twirl around slowly in a circle three times. No more, no less. I want to be able to see your entire body. It is my desire to be able to do so.

I want this full performance to last two minutes. Bring your phone with you if you need to keep track of time. Anything lasting less than two minutes will result in you not receiving any monetary compensation.

I trust you will agree with these terms. I look forward to seeing you next time.

Peace be with you Angelic Sweetheart.

Sincerely,

Jones

Rebecca freezes in stunned silence. Before she could reread the message, she digs into the envelope and finds five crisp $100 bills tucked inside. She holds the bills up to the light. As far as she can tell, they’re perfectly legit. A professional bank teller could tell the difference between a legitimate and a counterfeit $100 bill, but Rebecca’s amateurish opinion will have to suffice for now.

“Holy fucking shit.”

A chill runs down Rebecca’s spine. She isn’t sure if she wants to cry or call the police without a moment’s hesitation. Instead, she chooses to sit there on the sofa and stare off into the nothingness in front of her.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Muscles as the Great Equalizer

Check out the sexy outfit being worn by Kathy Connors.

Check out the sexy outfit being worn by Kathy Connors.

If I could rewrite a classic cliché that exists with the intent of providing a much needed self-esteem boost to the insecure general public, it would be this:

Beauty is only muscle deep.

I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but that doesn’t matter. Indeed, “Beauty is only skin deep” is a tired and true mantra meant to comfort those of us who are – how shall I say this in a politically correct manner – not blessed with natural good looks. I’m sure every single one of you who is reading this article is as gorgeous as a supermodel, but that’s beside the point. We’re all beautiful in our own way, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not. This is not meant to be a profound discussion about body image, media standards, the saturation of Adobe PhotoShop in fashion magazines, culture, identity, or anything of the sort. Instead, let’s start with the general premise that some of us are genetically wired to be more physically attractive than others. I don’t mean to insult anyone who isn’t considered traditionally beautiful. This is intended to state the obvious, which seemingly needs to be done more often in today’s society.

Call it an unfair advantage. Is it fair that Adriana Lima has made millions of dollars working as a supermodel while the vast majority of us haven’t? Not really. If there are people out there who are willing to shell out that kind of cash for the right to plaster her gorgeous face all across perfume and underwear advertisements, so be it. I have no right to say this consensual transaction between an employer and an employee should not exist.

But that doesn’t stop the feelings of jealousy that boil within us. Studies have shown (to be fair, you can find a so-called “study” that can support almost any position you want it to) that attractive men and women tend to make more money, advance faster in their careers, and enjoy certain “privileges” not easily available to their less-than-attractive peers. I have no logical reasons to doubt these findings. It makes perfect sense. We want to be around people who look good because…well, because. You can fill in the blanks.

But what about my argument that “Beauty is only muscle deep?” Here’s what I mean by this.

Women who are naturally beautiful often are the target of scorn and envy because of the fact they didn’t “earn” their beauty and all of the social and tangible benefits that come from it. It doesn’t seem like handsome men are treated with the same level of vitriol. Trust me, I’d know!

So too often, unattractive women feel like they’ve been dealt a bad (and unfair) hand in life. They’re playing with less chips in the poker game. They have to start 15 meters behind the starting line right before the race begins. It’s a sad world we live in where multi-billion dollar industries exist with the sole intent of convincing women around the world they can effortlessly bridge this gap.

Other than pursing expensive (and often ineffective) plastic surgeries and procedures, there aren’t a whole lot of practical ways a woman can enhance her beauty. Cleverly applied make-up can only go so far. Beauty standards set by society – however you define “society” – can change over time, but your gut instinct is your gut instinct. You know a beautiful person when you see one. No amount of social engineering, peer pressure, or “awareness campaigns” are going to change that.

Who wants to go to bed with Rhonda Lee Quaresma?

Who wants to go to bed with Rhonda Lee Quaresma?

However, there is one avenue a less-than beautiful woman can pursue that can, in the eyes of some people, transform her from a Plain Jane into an Irresistible Sex Goddess.

What avenue is that? You guessed it!

Bodybuilding.

While the sport (and lifestyle) of bodybuilding certainly isn’t for everyone, this is without a doubt one tactic a woman – and man – can utilize to improve her physical beauty, boost her self-esteem, and reinvigorate her sense of purpose. For people who love muscular women, we absolutely adore their big strong muscles. We cannot stop thinking about it. Once we’re hooked, we’re hooked for life. There’s no turning back. There is no “on” and “off” switch that can tamper our love for them. We’re completely in their grasp and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Muscles are the Great Equalizer. A curvy muscular frame can transform Cinderella into the Belle of the Ball with free weights, protein powder, and carbohydrates standing in for the Fairy Godmother. A powerful muscular body can more than make up for a less-than beautiful face.

Don’t believe me? In my opinion, there are plenty of real world examples to back me up. Now don’t get me wrong. I have no intention to insult, demean or shame any of these incredible women. I’m just being completely honest here. Women like Kathy Connors, Jennifer Kennedy, Yvette Bova, and Rhonda Lee Quaresma would not be considered traditionally beautiful if you took a straw poll of 1,000 random people on the street. Please don’t get me wrong! I am not trying to be malicious or nasty toward Miss Connors, Miss Kennedy, Miss Bova or Miss Quaresma! Regardless of how you think of them, I find all four of these ladies to be sexy, sassy, and supremely alluring.

I perfectly understand they are not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s fine. You don’t have to like every single female bodybuilder in existence. Nor do you necessarily have to defend every one of them from Internet trolls. But there are plenty of guys who really dig muscular women who aren’t considered traditionally beautiful, feminine, or desirable by the majority of society. Even hardcore female muscle fans are split as to how they feel about Kathy Connors, Jennifer Kennedy, Yvette Bova, and Rhonda Lee Quaresma. Some are disgusted by them. Others are completely turned on by them. It’s all a matter of opinion.

Hopefully, we can agree that muscles can be the Great Equalizer. Maybe not for everybody, but for many people they can be. We can be so aroused by an FBB’s muscles that we can overlook her unremarkable face, unfeminine characteristics or disagreeable demeanor. Personality matters, of course, but for now we’re just talking about physical beauty.

People who love muscular women have an expanded definition of “beauty.” We appreciate beauty that’s untraditional. We embrace an aesthetic that’s unconventional. It’s not esoteric, but it certainly takes a particular personality to be willing to value a type of beauty that many people are openly hostile toward.

I really want to go to the beach with Jennifer Kennedy.

I really want to go to the beach with Jennifer Kennedy.

For us, muscles not only enhance a woman’s beauty, they completely transform it. Lisa Cross went from being a dainty little English girl to becoming a Powerfully Tantalizing Muscle Goddess of Epic Proportions after she started going to the gym. Angela Salvagno went from being the cute dark haired girl next door to a Sexy Muscle Temptress thanks to her pursuit of bodybuilding. Mavi Gioia went from being an astonishingly beautiful Italian lady to someone who could make my heart stop mid-beat if I ever were to look directly upon her. Mavi is a modern day Medusa. Except she has curvy muscles instead of snakes for hair. Either way, I’d turn to stone immediately if I gazed at her beauty for even a split second.

Divine, indeed.

If you were to ask me if I’d rather make sweet passionate love to Megan Fox or Kathy Connors, I’d pick Kathy every single day of the week and twice on Sundays. No kidding. Imagine a magician approaching me – wearing a purple cape and golden Gypsy fortune teller hat, no less – with the offer of making this scenario a reality:

One evening only. A secluded beach house by the ocean. A bottle of wine. A delicious meal of steak and lobster. Candlelight. A picturesque sunset. Not a single soul in sight. The offer of one night of total sensual passion with no strings attached or consequences. No specific sexual activity is off the table. Whatever your dirty heart secretly desires your dirty heart will get, guaranteed, no questions asked. Nobody will ever know. Who would you rather choose to experience this with: Megan Fox or Kathy Connors?

Honestly? I’m still going with Miss Connors. Laugh at me all you want.

Raise your eyebrows in puzzlement if you want to (assuming you are able to, obviously). But this is my honest answer. And it’s not even close. If I had to settle for Miss Fox instead of Miss Connors, I wouldn’t complain. If that’s my consolation prize, then at this point we’re just comparing one brand of champagne to another. This hypothetical situation will never ever present itself of course, but this is in fact what I would do. Sorry, Megan. I drooled over you while watching Transformers (because let’s face it, the rest of that movie was pretty stupid), but you lose this particular battle. A middle-aged female bodybuilder with a deep masculine voice, an unattractive face, and pumped up muscles wins my heart over you. It’s not personal. It’s just my preference.

I realize 99.99999999999% of the world’s population would wholeheartedly disagree with me. That’s okay. I won’t lose sleep over that. But that’s none of my concern. I don’t care too much what other people think. I only care about what I think. And I stand by my assertion that an average to below average looking female bodybuilder is more desirable than a Victoria’s Secret bra and panties model. Or pop star. Or movie star. Or viral Instagram celebrity.

Muscles are the Great Equalizer. Like a Fairy Godmother transforming a slovenly housemaid into the object of affection of a handsome prince, muscles can do wonders. They perform miracles. But here’s another point that needs to be said. Muscles are earned, not handed out.

Yvette Bova rocking a sexy cocktail dress.

Yvette Bova rocking a sexy cocktail dress.

This point cannot be stressed enough. A surgical procedure to eliminate wrinkles, reshape your nose or enlarge your breasts are legitimate ways to make yourself appear more beautiful. But there’s something cheap about that. Not cheap in the financial sense, but cheap in the philosophical sense. It seems like a simple and artificial way to conform yourself to other people’s standards. Please don’t misinterpret me, I am not suggesting that people who choose to get surgery done are somehow debasing themselves or “selling themselves out.” That’s not my argument at all. A person has the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies as long as they’re aware of the consequences and all sides are being honest and transparent about what’s happening.

That being said, there’s something glorious about building up muscle mass that isn’t comparable with getting cosmetic surgery. Bodybuilding requires endless hours of sweat, dedication, frustration, pain, determination, grit, and strategizing. You have to earn your muscles. Even synthetic steroids, hormones, and supplements will not magically transform you into a pro bodybuilder overnight. It still takes an immense amount of strenuous work to look that way. Nothing is given to you. You have to take it.

This is why a female bodybuilder “earns” her beauty. She isn’t born with big muscles, unlike Heidi Klum who was born with a beautiful face. I realize many FBBs choose to get surgical work done in addition to sculpting their muscles the old fashioned way, but that’s beside the point. This isn’t about dogma. This is about the basic idea that muscles can make a woman look more beautiful in ways that a single afternoon at the doctor’s office cannot easily replicate.

I think the moral of the story of Cinderella is that beauty is based more on perception than what you actually look like. To my knowledge, the Fairy Godmother doesn’t physically change how Cinderella looks, instead she gives her a sparkly new dress, a high-class horse and carriage, a respected entourage (consisting of mice and other critters, according to Disney), and fancy glass slippers. The Prince notices her not because she looks particularly different than the other women at the ball, but because there’s something unexplainable about her that captures his eye.

What would this antique mirror say about the beauty of female bodybuilders?

What would this antique mirror say about the beauty of female bodybuilders?

He can’t explain it. He just knows. His brain tells him she’s just like any other of the young eligible bachelorettes visiting the palace. But his intuition tells him something else entirely.

It’s the same way with a woman with muscles. She becomes more beautiful. But not just conventionally beautiful. She reconstructs her entire aura that elicit reactions from people that range from utter repulsion to uncontrollable lust. Either way, you cannot look away nor expel it from your mind.

Snow White, a tale from which the mystical chant “Mirror, mirror on the wall” originates, is a character who happens to be more conventionally beautiful than the Evil Queen. This bedtime story compares an apple with a better looking apple. Comparing a magazine model to a female bodybuilder is more like comparing apples to oranges. Or more specifically, comparing an apple with a large, ripe, sweet, and delectable orange.

Muscles aren’t a magic spell. They’re not something an outside power can just grant you with the twirl of a wand. What Snow White was born with and what Cinderella was given by a supernatural enchantress cannot compare to what a determined woman with a plan, a relentless work ethic, and a gym membership can achieve.

Beauty is indeed only muscle deep. But I don’t need a talking mirror to tell me that.