Lee Haney Felt My Bicep!

     If you have read Cats, Boys, and Booze; Or, How Not to Find Love in a Really Small Town, you may recall that there was a time a few years ago when I appeared, much to my mother’s dismay, in a skimpy outfit, body painted turd-brown and flexing suggestively to a rather large audience.
      No, this annual event is not called the Baby Doll Club or the Whore’s Nest or anything like that. It’s the CarolinaSupernatural!
      If you’ve not heard of it, let me explain: people from all over the southeast (and sometimes from faraway planets, like Wisconsin) come to my really small town of Spartanburg to enter the Carolina Supernatural, a drug-free bodybuilding event which featured almost ninety competitors this year. My conservative mother may call this a “lame show, with people who care nothing for preserving modesty,” but for the competitors, this event marks the end of many months of training, dieting, frustration, supplements, protein shakes, and weird bowel schedules. (Or maybe that last one was just me.)
      I competed in 2009 for the first time, and again in 2011 as a vegetarian, just to prove to the Testosterone Club at my gym that in fact it can be done. (Honestly, how many times can one hear, “You can’t be a bodybuilder without meat! You just can’t!” before considering it a personal challenge?) I got my protein from plant-based protein shakes and beans. Lots of beans.
      My relationship with my boyfriend Terry barely survived all those beans. He hung in there, though, bless him.
      So once again I had the pleasure of assisting the judges with score tabulation and watching from the very front row, no longer a competitor, but a discerning spectator, as I have for the last three years.
      And lo and behold, who should be the guest speaker but eight-time Mr. Olympia, the Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, appointed by Bill Clinton, Mr. Lee Haney.
      Charismatic and sincere, Lee Haney spoke at the podium to all of us spectators but more so to the competitors, about how he realized his dream from an early age and persevered and never gave up and ate clean and my God were his muscles friggin’ huge. I mean, it was just distracting. What was I saying?
      Oh, about how he spoke to the crowd of a few hundred gathered to watch a bunch of turd-brown bodies who had starved themselves for the last six months. I watched all of the competitors, gathered in a particular area right off the stage, and I knew what they were thinking: Should we eat an entire pizza after the show, or a dozen doughnuts at the Krispy Kreme right across the street? (Or maybe that was just what I’d been thinking before my two shows.)
      So back to when Lee Haney spoke to the crowd.
      He was great.
      But I couldn’t really wrap my mind around his speech.
      See, right before the show began, I had been attending to my little juicing booth, attempting to promote juicing vegetables and green smoothies. I brought my juicer and everything. It isn’t all about meat, I was telling people. It’s about total health!
      And along came Lee Haney.
      This wasn’t a case of Dave Matthews. I actually knew who he was. (And if you haven’t heard the Dave Matthews debacle, in which I met him and didn’t know who he was, you will just have to email me privately and ask. It is just too embarrassing to write here.) I knew who he was, introduced myself appropriately, made sure I didn’t have any extraneous food on my lips, and he even drank some of my juice and said he liked it! Then I asked him if I could get a picture with him feeling my bicep and he said sure! Lee Haney felt my bicep!
      I wonder if he was more impressed with my bicep or my homemade juice concoction?
      It doesn’t matter. I was just excited to meet him, to be at the show once again, to relive some great memories of competition, and to relax in front of Netflix later on after the show with a giant bowl of black beans.

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