After several iterations of exercising and adding weight, the two have settled into their routine. This routine involves a most serious approach to lifting weight, sprinkled with endearing bits of jocularity as the men rest–endearing from the outside, terrifying from the inside. Between these two men the topics of conversation are limited indeed. Listening closely, we hear discussion about diets, discussion about the rest of the week’s workouts, and discussion about physical ailments (the more acutely described, the better). We’re terrified to learn that most of the conversation is about sex. Not real sex of course—fantasy sex. Over the course of an hour or so, a good three-quarter’s of the conversation revolves around the women present in the gym, and what these men would do with them. As if Petey Pablo’s hit “Freak-a-leek” was accidentally placed on endless repeat, they reveal themselves to be animals. Or do they? Here we leave the scene to explore this a bit further.
Reflection, based on time spent in the community, reveals that among the base, the paltry, the pornographic language, something more is happening. Remember, we are talking about men who take things to the extremes. Bodybuilders put massive amounts of effort into achieving their size and strength. They need a way to know they aren’t wasting their expertise, and that’s how their discourse community is built. It is about filtering. It is about learning who can to stay and who must go. If you don’t get it, can’t handle it, or just don’t approve, then these men don’t want to be around you anyhow. Men like these are endlessly pestered with attention, questions, and potential protégés seeking tutelage. They simply don’t have the time to address everyone. So they create a set of filters. Where did they learn to use filters? Their mentors. Each bodybuilder decided to put up with the immature crassness if he wanted to learn the art. Along the way, they determine that it is a necessary evil. Do you really want to know their secret? Stick around. Deal with the language. Deal with everyone in the gym knowing that you’re objectifying women, engaging in self-love at its highest level, and making jokes about everything once thought sacred. Do that long enough, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll accept you as a student.
Sure, there is something maladjusted within these men, but that is irrelevant to this discussion. We’re talking about why men whose physical appearance alone clearly communicates their physical superiority over other men still need to have their own language, still need to use paltry and base arts and entrenchments. At first, it is easy to think that of all groups of people, bodybuilders wouldn’t need to use these uncouth methods to distinguish themselves. Upon further inspection, they do. They do because their mentors required it in order to prove that these students weren’t going to waste their time. Before becoming a bodybuilder, these men have a goal. They do what is necessary to achieve it. Then they become the mentor.