Money & Muscle in the Bathroom at La Concha

I met a very good looking, glistening buff Black man in the bathroom today. He said hello and started up a rather awkward conversation. I was standing against the wall waiting for the young Asian man, who’d beat me to the only available stall, to finish. The tall, handsome, 40-something Black man, now frenetically washing his hands at the high-end designer sink with a purple orchid posturing proudly on its pinkish porcelain surface, asked directly with a pinch of arrogant insistence: “Why don’t you go ahead and use the urinal? – no one else in here.” I waited an awkward minute of quiet indignation releasing a long muffled sigh before responding and told him I needed to use the toilet. “Ah…” he said sheepishly, “Gotch’a…” with a sinking intonation revealing his embarrassment for the misaligned presumption. This felt a smidge uncomfortable, a tad too intimate a detail – to discuss my bathroom needs with a complete, but very sexy stranger. Mostly, men tend not to speak to one another in the men’s room, where straight men want to assume everyone’s on the same team – his, and gay men fantasize the same, bar the occasional eye-avoiding smirk, nod and grunt: “What’s up?”
“Man, it’s 11:30, just woke up!” he randomly announced. “Sounds like a good sleep” I laughed. “You like this place?” he prodded, nose wrinkled as if smelling something foul. “Yeah, few problems, but nothing too bad overall.” He started: “It’s too hot in my bedroom – doesn’t get below 68 degrees, at home I crank the AC to 67 – year ‘round, and the ceiling fan’s going – constantly. Here, I wake up at 3, 5 – two nights in a row, then I can’t go back to sleep, at 6 I’m already late for the gym and I need to start making calls, the market’s already opened and closed by 6 in Japan.” Feeling the pull of empathy and wishing him the ability to find some peace, I thought to myself: “This mania for ceaseless production is truly a curse, an American epidemic – not even an ocean-front, lush tropical paradise get-away offers sanctuary to the frenzied pursuit of money and muscle. Relaxation and contentment elude us when alone we compulsively focus on output to measure our worth; misery assured is all we can count on in this ironically self-defeating philosophy of success.”

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