Breaking the Line

We unpacked, then unwound, floating in the hotel's spacious swimming pool and swigging bottles of Mexican beer through wedges of lime thumbed down the necks.

A fellow hotel guest waded over and commenced casual small talk.  I was managing my buzz and glorying in the false sense of freedom that accompanies the first day of vacation.  I wasn't – to be clear here – paying much attention to the idle chitchat.  Thus, the question, “How long have you two been together?” took me a moment to process.

“What?  Together?”  I sounded confused for a reason  Then I focused through the alcoholic glow and sun glare and took in my questioner – fashionable hair cut, abdominal muscles designed by Michelangelo, twinkle of small gold hoops in each ear.  I looked past him and saw another cut from much the same well-sculpted mold give us a little wave.  Oh.  “We're not together.  I mean we're sharing a room, but that's because we're cheap.”

“Ah,” he said, then seemed to lose interest.

I pondered the incident as I paddled lazily over to Scott to share the anecdote.  Is there a certain age after which it is no longer appropriate for straight, single men to share a room on vacation?  Had I reached that age at 35?  What did those two see in Scott and me that suggested we might share their proclivities?  Scott took care of himself, but was certainly not in danger of being mistaken for a model.  I'm still reasonably well built; three years playing middle linebacker in college left me with a pretty solid foundation, though a surreptitious glance at my mid-section confirmed that I was beginning to run to fat.  I'm still a relatively big guy at six foot three and two hundred and thirty pounds, same as my playing weight, but the constituents and distribution of that weight aren't exactly what they used to be.

I relayed the encounter while replacing my empty cerveza at the swim-up bar.  Scott seemed amused.  He rolled a lazy glance over his shoulder at the two men.  “I suppose what really hurts is that they think I'd settle for you.”  He laughed, then added, “You know this means that now we have to do something decidedly manly.  Let's book a fishing trip for tomorrow morning.”

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