I'm always on the lookout for female muscle, but rarely do I see it. Not real muscle.
But a few weeks ago, as the summer still lingered here in the UK, I got a rare treat as I took a lunchtime stroll in the sunshine and bagged an eyeful of proper female muscle.
The street wasn't crowded, but even if it had been she would have stood out. Tall, in a white vest with a Kennedy Ledgerwood blond quiff shaved at the sides. Just from the neck up she was striking, but there was no mistaking the muscle. And she had that aura too, that vitality, that confidence, that power which every one of the handful of muscle woman I've had the pleasure of seeing has radiated. She had it in spades.
And she was carrying... a take-away pizza.
Not exactly what I would expect, but there you go.
She was on the other side of the street, or more accurately, the lane. You know the sort of thing, narrow and cobbled and you find it in the old part of the city. It's more or less pedestrianised, but businesses need their deliveries, though vehicles are few and far between. Boutiques, barbers, coffee shops and bistros on either side. And she was in no hurry, it seemed, and I got a good look at her shoulders and back as she looked into the window of one of the establishments on the other side from me. Heart rate rising rapidly, I don't hesitate for a moment. I pass her then double back, crossing the road.
She moves slowly away from one shop window and onto the next. Closer to her now I can see how tall she is compared to the few people who pass her coming towards me and then I see the heels. They are not small, but those legs are not just shapely but long too, and the overall effect with the broad shoulders and the slim waist is mesmerising. She's wearing jeans, but images of her calves and quads and glutes popping as she walks across a contest stage in a posing suit and those heels go flashing through my mind.
Not a Bodybuilder bodybuilder. A Bodyfitness/Figure amount of muscle, and that (what with even the Bikini ladies growing more muscular these days) puts her comfortably into the top 5 most muscular women I've seen with my own eyes!
By now I'm doing that thing where I'm walking so slowly to maintain a reasonable distance that I'm pretending to look in the shop windows, I'm pretending to check my phone for messages, I'm looking about pretending I'm trying to remember where that little cafe with the great coffee was... But mostly my eyes are all over her.
The vest is pretty modest, but offers a tantalising glimpse of her back. She's tanned, but not unsubtlely, and there's some real definition there. Her shoulders are on full display, so much more rounded, more curvaceous than your average woman, and - I think I may have audibly gasped at this point - they twitch and ripple as she moves.
Overcome by The Madness I find myself uncomfortably close to her all of a sudden.
I walk past her, then double back once more. I simply must see her front on.
When I turn, she's stopped her ambling and is now heading purposefully in my direction. Cobbles, I believe, are not the surface of choice for women in heels but this goddess is positively striding, and what a sight she is to behold. I can see her arms now as well as her shoulders, her biceps, a vein running along each one, inadvertently flexing as she holds her pizza box with both hands. I'm breathless as she gets closer, I'm not even pretending - or have lost the ability to pretend - I'm doing anything else but look at her, but I do manage to make sure it's her face I'm looking at as she passes.
She has slightly drawn, angular features and the strong jaw that suggest she takes her muscle building more seriously than just weights and shakes and chicken breasts. Clear, bright eyes. Simple but effective make-up. No great beauty in the conventional sense, but her face is just as radiant as the rest of her. A strong, muscular beauty.
I did look down as we passed. And I did observe a clear pec line running through the centre of her unenhanced, pure muscle chest meat. Did I see striations? Now, I'm not so sure, but for days afterwards as I recalled this moment, I saw striations in my mind's eye. I swooned then, and I'm swooning again now thinking about her, about the rush, the high, and those twitching delts and the veins along her biceps.
Should I double back again and follow her? The very fact that the thought came to me as a question rather than a compulsion signalled the end of this female muscle encounter. I stayed where I was, and turned and watched her go out of sight. And only then did I realise that she had had someone with her. A guy, a good six inches shorter than her and built like a powerlifter (or at least that's how he looked to me from behind). Off to enjoy that pizza with his tall, sexy muscle woman.
It would be a lie if I said I was not ever so slightly jealous of him.
Or that my head was 100% focused on my work that afternoon.
Now, after a few weeks I can look back and think about her and at the same time picture myself and how I behaved, I can only marvel once more at the power these women have over me (us). I mean, there I was, thinking that I'd cracked this Madness thing with maturity and marriage and all that. I was delusional. All it took was a glimpse of some real muscle and The Madness struck me, just as powerful and terrible and yet, at the same time, glorious as ever. I was so high I didn't come down for a week.
And I guess that's why I've never been interested in a cure.