'We're real tight-best friends, in fact. I'm closer to my John than to any other person.'
The Benson Twins (Joe & John)
Men of the Month
Playgirl: September 1983
Photography: Alison Morley
Sometimes after a big meal, like a Thanksgiving feast, even though you're full, you still have an appetite. You want just a little something to nibble on, a cracker, a sweet, a cute furry twin. When it comes to twins, second helpings are part of the deal, and although you may be stuffed, there's always room for just a little bit more.
San Diego is home to the Padres, the Chargers, Shamu the killer whale and a host of fuzzy koala bears. It's also home of this month's centerfold twin bill: John and Joe Benson. The probability of producing twins these day sis about one in a hundred, and the odds of the pair growing up to look as good as these two are even greater. But Joe quickly dismisses the notion that a good-looking body is the end-all of existence.
Joe is currently working on the formal part of his education at the University of California where he expects to pick up a degree in psychology. Brother John has elected to put his schooling on hold for a while after two years and is currently employed as a general contractor. He's not about to let Joe get too far ahead of him though, and plans to eventually return to the classroom for his own diploma in... surprise, psychology.
'In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.'
One of my favorite Thanksgiving was when I was 22. I was briefly, (between moves) living in a house with 3 friends. It was going to be the first year that I didn't go home for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I had a a little bit of guilt about my decision, but was also excited about the celebrating the holiday in a new way, and with new people who weren't my parents or my siblings.
Everyone invited friends and by noon, there were dozens of people roaming the house. Turkey time was 3pm, but things were going slow and the most dominate female in the group, the Mrs. Patmore of the group, told most of us to go outside and do something so they could get the meal done. About 8 of us decided we walk the nature trail a few miles from the house. We drove up, than began to hike up the trail.
I'd walked that trail dozens of times before, by myself, with friends partners and several different dogs, About three quarters of the way up there was a small waterfall. It was only about 4 or 5 feet high, but the water cascaded down into a pool, resting, before trickling down the remainder of the path to river at the bottom. Usually, unless it was extremely dry, or the dead of winter, you could hear the waterfall before rounding the path where the tree's opened up so that you could see it.
It was an especially hot Thanksgiving, warmer than usual for this time of year. Most of us had started the walk with sweaters and jackets, but most were now tied around our waists. There was one hiker who didn't bring a jacket or sweater, he was the one hiker in shorts and a just s t-shirt. I didn't know Art well, he was a friend of a friend, someone I'd seen at the house a few times and at a few social events. Art had that Nordic look, tall, slim with long blonde hair that I'd only see worn in a pony tail.
He wasn't exactly what most people would call handsome, he had strong facial features, but his nose and mouth looked like they belonged on someone bigger. Although not handsome by most standards, he had a great body, and certainly drew my attention every time we interacted. The one thing I knew about Art, is that although straight, he had no problem being naked in front of anybody. In front of men, in front of women, in front of total strangers.
It didn't surprise me when Art took off his sneakers, (no socks) and started wading in the pond. Many of us followed thinking the wading was going to be the extent of our dip into the pond. Although most of the 8 on the hike knew each other a bit, some of us, had only met that day for the first time. This matter little to Art, who after a few minutes of wading decided he wanted more than his feet wet. Without staying a word, Art stripped off his t-shirt, shorts and boxer briefs, flung them over a rock and stood under the waterfall to let the water splash over his naked body.
No one in the group was really surprised, I think everyone knew of Art's reputation, but there were still a few nervous giggles and smiles, especially from the 50 year old teacher who joined us for the hike. The amazing thing about it was how nonchalant Art was about the whole thing. No one else removed a stitch of clothing, but it didn't stop him from enjoying his waterfall shower as if he was totally alone in the woods.
He didn't about being naked at any point during the day, he acted as if his naked shower was as normal as someone stopping to re-tie their sneaker. While he was showering, a few in the group continued on with the hike, slowly, myself and a few others, I am guessing those most enjoying the shower show, hung back for awhile. Soon enough we were all together again, heading up, then back down, the remainder of the trail.
I'm not sure how many others around the Thanksgiving table were still thinking about Art's forest shower as the food was passed around, but I certainly was. I think Art may have know it as well. Maybe it was projection, but a few times when I looked at him across the table, he looked to be grinning. It was as if the grin, and the occasional look shot me, were saying that knew that he was the highlight of the holiday for so many of us gathered around that table.
Although Art didn't have any tattoo's, and believe me, I checked, he and Alex do seem to have a lot in common, the least of which is enjoying a naked day in the Autumn woods. It was Alex who first approached Jim from Studio1x about doing a shoot, and Jim shares that after than, things moved very quickly. Except for family photos, Alex hadn't done any type of shoot before. Alex had been working hard in the gym, and was initially motivated to be photographed to chronicle the progress he was making.
'As you can tell from the photos, his hard work is really paying off. He wanted to do an outdoor shoot and I had the perfect place in mind. As we were shooting, he made a comment that he had never been naked in the forest before, well as you can see that is one he can now mark off his bucket list.'
'Alex was full of energy and wanted to try different looks and styles which I believe we captured many different looks for him to use. Since our shoot he has been approached by nationally known photographers and was flown to Las Vegas for a photo shoot and to also do some work in some videos. He was really pleased with the outcome of the photos and how it has opened many new opportunities for him to explore.'