In which Daniel takes inventory of some of his most attractive attributes.
The most distinct memories I have of my time visiting Freiburg, Germany was that of a friend taking me to my first gay nightclub. It was a great time for all involved, except for the sober people forced to watch drunk folk gyrating to bad pop remixes, and the straight men still uncomfortable with watching men grind on one another, but I’m not counting those people since I wasn’t among them. The only qualm I had with the whole evening was how I felt looking at the gay men around me.
They were gorgeous. They towered over me with their flawlessly casual hair, enormous biceps and definitive jawlines. They were Olympians and I was a little stick figure with twig arms, saying “Don’t look at me!” Any notion of dancing with a boy was eradicated, and although I still had a great time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was having the door to their glittering life shut in my face.
It’s a common stereotype that gay men are obsessed with appearance, going to the gym/spa/salon religiously. For most gay men that I know, this is about as true as myths that the government is comprised of villainous lizard people (READ: only true in a small number of instances).
Yet whenever I’ve seen large gatherings of gay men, it seems that those within this stereotype outnumber those outside. In spite of how much being a gay man has shaped me, I struggle identifying with the larger gay male community because of my physical “deficiencies” – including but not limited to…
-Small stature, standing up at 5’5” and pocket-sized for your convenience
-A rotund tummy which, for a nickel, you can rub for good luck
-A child sized jaw which makes my face look like the moon
-Enormous, lopsided teeth, which I’ve been told are so large that they should belong in the skull of someone that is 6 feet tall
-Wide, flat hobbit feet, which leave behind footprints that are literally just triangles
-Continuous acne that lends me the eternally youthful appearance of an 11-year-old just beginning puberty
-An unconscious resting bitch face that suggests I am any combination of angry, bored, confused and constipated
I would never claim that the self-image challenges men face are worse than those that women and non-binary folk face. After all, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a magazine cover with a man covered in oil gently caressing his own nipples with a facial expression that either says “Come hither” or “I’m having a gassy fit.”
Yet every time that I listen to Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” or Mary Lambert’s “Body Love,” I can’t help but be a little jealous. Of course, women’s self-image struggles are exacerbated by media and consumerism, but women are speaking – and singing – out against it. Not so with men – I’ll eat my own hobbit feet when I hear a male singer reminding young boys that they are beautiful too.
So keep your height, Glittering Gays of Freiburg. Keep your flawlessly casual hair, enormous biceps and definitive jawlines. You can have it all, because I have something you’ll never have: definitive knowledge that I am average looking. While you’re going to the gym/spa/salon religiously, I’ll be over here with my twig arms, in an ugly tank top and flip flops. After all, who’s going to care?
With all due respect,