The Hairy Navel

By Ed Sikov

Cocktail Chatter

Hairy navels make my mouth water. I'm referring to guys' belly buttons here, not the cocktail. (I'll get around to that in a minute.) I'd go so far as to say that a hairy navel is my favorite part of the male anatomy. My fascination with fuzzy abs far exceeds my interest in more obvious erogenous zones, and despite many years pondering my own, I still have no clear idea why. Is my attraction to men's stomach hair rooted in the fact that women don't have it? No. After all, women don't have penises, either. (News bulletin! Stop the presses! Your intrepid columnist has just discovered something big!) And unlike some of my gay brethren, I'm not averse to women's bodies at all.

Another explanation: Shirtless guys were all over the place when I was a kid, and I eroticized what I could see. The locker room at the local swimming pool was a terrifying space, so I avoided looking around as guys of all ages changed in and out of their swimsuits. But out by the pool I could stare slack-jawed at swim-trunked high school boys making out with their girlfriends in the broad daylight. Those boys were hot! And the ones I most wanted to see up close were those that had a fresh, new field of boy hair on their chests and stomachs. I was captivated.

And TV offered up a buffet of beefcake on a daily basis. I'd be watching some western when all of a sudden some cowboy's arms were being held behind his back and another cowboy would walk up and rip his shirt open. I'd be riveted with delight, especially if the guy had hair on his torso. Freud would have said that I was displacing my desire for dick - that I couldn't deal with what I really wanted, so I sublimated that attraction into something less threatening.

I've been mulling this over for a week now. Dan and I had dinner last Friday with a guy I knew from childhood and his partner. Billy and I reconnected on Facebook, and we met at a restaurant in midtown. The cocktail menu listed the Hairy Navel, and I couldn't help but order one. Dan was appalled.

"You're kidding, right?"

"I'm stone cold serious," I replied.

"He never orders stuff like this," Dan informed Billy and Dave. "What's gotten into you?"

I found this annoying. Yes, I do tend to reject cocktails that veer to the sweet side. But cripe! Can't a guy order a Hairy Navel without his husband making a federal case out of it?

I responded too personally, I admit: "Since you shaved your entire chest and stomach last weekend without even informing me of the decision - and I do have a stake in the matter - I decided to drown my sorrows in the only kind of hairy navel I'll get to taste for the next month."

"Are there no boundaries with you?" he asked.

"Look!" Billy suddenly declared. "No, look here!" Dave echoed. They each pulled up their matching rugby shirts to expose two of the hairiest navels I've seen in a long time.

"I'm a married man," I protested with not much enthusiasm. And wouldn't you know? When our server - clearly an aspiring actor, judging by his flawless physique - came over with our check, he asked, "Is there anything more I can do for you?" and yanked up his tight black T-shirt to expose one of the finest hairy navels I have ever scene. Narcisstic show-off. So hot. So unavailable. I tipped him 40 percent.

The Hairy Navel

1 oz. Absolut premium vodka

1 oz. peach schnapps

Orange juice to taste.

Fill a glass with ice, add all the ingredients, and stir.

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