September. Back to school. Football. Four jocks from the team casually pose for a photo in the locker room. Tall, tough, confident. Tight abs, thick necks, a wisp of underarm and a dusting of chest hair.
They exude the nascent bravado of boys on the cusp of manhood. The seated guy even sports the remnants of a black eye.
And there, off to the side, is the nerd. Hands clasped, thin-haired, short and bespectacled, he wears a letter jacket and an expression midway between adoration and anguish.
Surely he’s not a member of the team. Maybe he’s the towel boy. He seems content just to be in the same space, to bask in the glow of their testosterone.
The other guys don’t register his presence but no matter. If he’s patient and discreet he may behold the outline of a dick or the contours of a butt in that magical moment when the towel falls to the floor.
Of course I’m projecting. But isn’t that what great photos inspire us to do?
Vintage photo, stamped on verso: Carl Smith Photo, Chula Vista Calif.
Undated c. 1960.