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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

entry arrow2:22 PM | Sexy Tennis

I was amused by this listicle ranking the sexiest male tennis players in history. It objectifies men, yes, but I like to echo Chris Pratt's take on male objectification: “I think it’s appalling that for a long time only women were objectified, but I think if we really want to advocate for equality, it’s important to even things out,” the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World actor once said, suggesting that we should, “not objectify women less, but objectify men just as often as we objectify women.” Well, then, point taken.

But I've always been fascinated by the sheer number of hot male tennis players playing the circuit. When I was a younger man, I called it for Pete Sampras (sadly unrepresented in this list, although his arch-rival Andre Agassi makes the cut). When Sampras was a fast-rising star in the world of professional tennis, I followed him not for this prowess in his sport, but to stare into his dreamy eyes, or to imagine my hand going through his curls. (Hahaha.) I was so smitten, I even wrote an entire story about it titled "Pete Sampras's Neck," which took him as a metaphor for unexpressed homoerotic fantasy. Here's a passage from that story where I aimed to present the whole of tennis-playing as a virtual metaphor for sex:

For a long time, I played tennis because he played tennis. I had Marat Safin’s eyes, he once said, and he had Pete Sampras’s neck, I said in return—that was our secret, intimate joke. On many weekend afternoons, the court beside the Capitol building, or sometimes the one adjacent the Silliman University gymnasium, was our world, and the tennis balls passing between us, flying off our rackets, bouncing across the net, were our private language.
         He would do the serve with a slight grin, enough to taunt me, and I would sometimes surprise him with a powerful volley to his right—his weak side, and I’d laugh at the comic effect of him scrambling to deflect the blow. Most of the time, it would be a game of equals: we knew each of our moves too intimately. Before dusk would settle, we were off to his apartment to shower.
        I had not felt the gentle roughness of a tennis ball for a very long time.
Tennis was a battleground for us—and it was also a kind of foreplay. Suddenly, I found myself gripping the steering wheel of the car as one strong memory came through like remembered sunshine.
       There was this one caloric day on some friend’s private clay court—they were off to France that summer, and we had access to their backyard, a word that could not contain the vastness of everything: beside the court, there was also a swimming pool, and a garden. But we were mostly interested in the clay court, for some reason.
       I could not forget this. I remembered Ronaldo’s tan glistening in the sun that day; it was bronze against the tennis white of his shorts. He was otherwise naked, and in that, I envied Ronaldo’s cocksure confidence. I was on the other side of the net, waiting to receive serve, and I saw Ronaldo’s eyes flashing a challenge, a quick grin spreading across his lips.
       “Service!” he shouted.
       I saw the ball shooting over the net, and I scrambled for it, right in the corner’s edge—but I got there. Soon I returned the serve, and Ronaldo now placed his return in the opposite corner. I ran again and hit the ball high, my leg muscles straining.
        We both bulged with promise.
        Ronaldo took his time and waited for the ball to come down. Then he swung. The ball screamed over the net and bounced high and out of my reach. I looked over at Ronaldo with a glare, and he smiled.
        “That’s one-love,” I remembered Ronaldo calling out, his voice sweet and mocking.
I thought then: Now he has had it. I felt myself flush—and oddly, I felt myself getting hard.
        “Service!” The ball came and Ronaldo returned it swiftly. I thought, Was Ronaldo getting cocky? I had placed it well.
         But Ronaldo missed the return, and I gloated.
         “One all!”
         Ronaldo got the ball, dribbled it with his racket, and then yelled out, “Service!”
         The ball flew and hit the net, and then rolled over.
         “Net ball!”
         Once more, Ronaldo tried. The ball flew over and headed right for me. I quickly scrambled to get out of the way, successfully backhanding it. Ronaldo grimaced as he reached for the ball’s return, but he missed.
        Ronaldo let it fly, right past my head.
        Ronaldo served again. I returned it—straining as the racket sliced through the air. Ronaldo volleyed and the ball flew back towards me. I missed.
         This was it. Match point. Ronaldo’s confidence grew, I could see that. I saw a bulge growing in his shorts. His bright whites showed the outline of an expanding cock, its head peeking ever so slightly out the leg of his tennis shorts. He seemed to anticipate more than the win, and I smiled knowingly. I pretended not to look too worried—my tight shorts were expanding as well, and I felt my own cock pushing against the fabric of my shorts.
         Tension mounted, and soon we were both dripping with sweat. In my eyes, Ronaldo glistened.
          The ball shot over the net. I grunted as I returned it. Ronaldo shot it back over. I raced to it and got it back on Ronaldo’s side. He tapped it softly with his racket, and the ball inched over the net. I reached for it hard, and popped it right up, but Ronaldo moved in for the kill and slammed his racket down over the net as the ball hit my side of the court, bouncing high and then was soon out of reach. “Shit! Shit! Shit! Why can’t I beat you?” I gasped for air.
          “Because I’ve had more practice,” he shouted back, and then he ran towards me. Ronaldo bent over the net, and then kissed me on the lips. “Where shall we do it?” he asked coyly.
          I remembered saying: “Let’s go home.”

Yep, tennis is sexy.

"Pete Sampras's Neck" was first published in the Philippines Free Press Magazine in 25 March 2000. It is included in the collection Beautiful Accidents: Stories, published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2011. It was shortlisted for Best Book of Fiction in the 2012 National Book Awards. It is available in Kindle over at Amazon.

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