Page 575 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 575

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 555
             feature were staged in Varney-Mooney’s attic boxing ring which was a
             very private inner sanctum within the Drummer salon.]
                “We offer private bouts, instruction and workouts, and a lot of times,
             we function as an outlet for guys who just like to roughhouse on the
             canvas with other guys. More formally, our instruction and sparring is
             aimed at the growing number of men who come regularly for workouts
             to learn boxing techniques. We also like wrestling, but tend to exclude it
             so as not to duplicate the trip of the various wrestling clubs.
                “We also have a majority of members heavy into the leather-sweat-
             contest aspect of boxing. Some of the bouts have some special rules deter-
             mined by the participants. Some guys like to box in full leather. Others
             spar nude. Some like body-punching fights, with no hitting of the head.
             Some dig wearing headgear and mouthpieces to box with full-body con-
             tact above the waist. The ‘contest’ boxers like to fight to submission for
             a prize. That kind of prize, claimed in the ring on the canvas, I leave to
             your imagination.
                “Any man interested primarily in boxing and other contact fighting
             sports with other gay men can contact the Bay Area Boxing and Fight
             Club by writing 681 Ellis Street #111, San Francisco 94102. The club and
             gym phone is (415) 861-1006. Novices, intermediates, pros: we respect
             them all at their level.”

             Each August in Gallipoli, Turkey, 500 male wrestlers pair off, slap their
             leather thighs, and clasp each other to rub the olive oil onto their naked
             torsos and into their leather breeches. The breeches are fit like American
             football pants from waist to mid-calf. They are made from 45 pieces
             of leather and 200 yards of cotton, cost $30, and last two years. They
             are soaked in water, sweat, and oil to soften the leather. Each wrestler,
             stripped to the waist, usually sporting a heavy dark moustache and a
             crewcut, lavishly coats his leather breeches and his torso, arms, head, and
             feet with olive oil. He knots tight his breeches’ waist cord, and the ritual,
             dating back to ancient Greek vases, begins.
                Over the centuries, Turkish olive-oil wrestling has become more than
             a sport. It is a macho ritual woven from the stuff of young men’s wet
             dreams. Immensely popular as a tourist attraction today, Turkish wres-
             tling peaked 100 years ago when Sultan Abdul Aziz, a massive athlete and
             himself a wrestler, under his own imperial blessing (and fetish), added the
             refinement of coating the marble floors of his palaces as well as the bodies
             of his wrestlers, with oil — a baroque, murderous, hardon touch.

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   570   571   572   573   574   575   576   577   578   579   580