Every year, a thousand muscly shirtless men (and a few hundred women) jostle each other for the opportunity to grab each other’s butts, grasp each other’s rippling shoulders, and mount a giant, thick, lubed-up phallus in the name of brotherhood. Eventually, the mass of bodies becomes a throbbing mass of limbs, buttocks, and sweat — a fleshy orgy of desperation.
No, this isn’t Pride weekend at The Abbey. It’s the Herndon Climb at the United States Naval Academy.
The tradition, which consists of the Naval Academy’s freshmen and freshwomen climbing a larded-up 21-foot-tall obelisk at the center of campus, has been going on for almost 80 years now. And it hasn’t gotten any less homoerotic.
Reportedly, the event is meant to turn the year’s new 1,200 freshmen “plebes” into “fourth class midshipmen” by having them scale the obelisk and replace a dixie cup at the top with a Midshipman’s cap, via teamwork. But while the number of women in the Climb has thankfully increased in recent years, the event still ends up essentially being a pile of half-naked men grabbing each other’s butts in a quest to be the guy on top.
As soon as the buzzer goes off, handsome men and women with rigorously-crafted biceps, triceps, pecs, and glutes begin clambering over their companions to create a human pyramid that maybe — hopefully — gets their crew to the pinnacle of the obelisk. Then they all passionately make out — we’re assuming.
There’s photographic evidence from Ben McNutt of this year’s Climb here. Apparently, this year’s plebe class managed to accomplish their required feat in two hours, nine minutes, and 35 seconds, which is supposedly one of the longer times since the Climb began in 1940.
But we’re not judging. If anyone actually did hold that event at certain gay bars, it would take way more than two hours and nine minutes, because no one would want to get on top.