The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron -- Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle
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As a scrawny college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids. In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then alongside his colorful gym-rat friends in strip clubs and in the homes of the gotham elite. It was a swinging time, when "Would you like to dance?" turned into "Your place or mine?" and the guys with the muscles had all the ladies--until their bodies, like Solotaroff''s, completely shut down.
But this isn't the gloom-and-doom addiction one might expect--Solotaroff looks back at even his lowest points with a wicked sense of humor, and he sends up the disco era and its excess with all the kaleidoscopic detail of Boogie Nights or Saturday Night Fever.
Written with candor and sarcasm, THE BODY SHOP is a memoir with all the elements of great fiction and dazzlingly displays Paul Solotaroff's celebrated writing talent.
pretzel logic. “Well, he probably didn’t up and book to New Hampshire with some slit he met on his truck route. I’m guessing you hear from yours more than once a year, and forget about getting a postcard on your birthday.” The abruptness of the disclosure, and its acrid sadness, brought our dealings to a halt. “How old were you when he left?” I asked. “I was ten, and we haven’t spoken since November.” “No?” he said. “I never would’ve thought it. You seem too stuck-up to have just your mom.”
screaming, further squeezing the hole through which I labored for air. Hunched over an essay at the dining room table that doubled as his knock-kneed study, my father would drop his pencil, shut his eyes a moment, then walk the short hallway to my room. “C’mon,” he’d whisper—my brother slept in the next bed—and walk or carry me, sobbing, to the john. Closing the door behind us, he’d turn on the shower with an exhausted flick of the knob. Between his long days at Commentary and the moonlighting
for a third of that, and that’s with two bottles of decent red.” “Right, but it’s not the money; it’s the quality of time we—” “Oh, but it is the money!” she said with sudden umbrage. “Ever since you met this Angel, money and what it buys you are all I hear.” I gawked at her. “Come on, I wouldn’t do that. I know what kind of budget you’re on.” “Maybe you don’t hear it, but it’s all… the… time. ‘Look at my new slip-ons from Charles Jourdan!’” I squawked in indignation, but Kate was right: I
built but shorter, who showed me how a skinny guy could put on weight without having to eat eight times a day. And that part was great, those three, four months, and if I’d had any sense, I’d have stopped right there and—well, not stopped so much as… more like… yeah, no, stopped… But that’s the thing with ’roids, they—they warp the way you think, where instead of getting back to the rest of your life, you compulsively check the mirror and you’re horrified, a different weakness everywhere you
for safekeeping. “Also, you’re the friend who actually cares for Angel and was worried enough to stay here, keeping vigil.” “Well, that, and we lost his keys last night.” “Regardless. I’m glad you’re here.” We talked for a while about other things—her room-by-room salvage of this sprawling place, which had belonged to an old drag queen with dozens of cats that had treated it as their litter box. “The stench was enough to blow you back out, but I had a little money I’d actually made myself,”