I’m sure you all have seen, heard or maybe even used those phrases above to describe what’s acceptable in a potential mate. Whether it’s a random hookup or a date at the movies, gay men make it very clear to everyone who is considered “attractive.” Although all may not take this attitude, body image is still a prominent issue within our community and has outlined the way we shape our aesthetic.
Although I do not consider myself to be ugly or morbidly obese, I know I am a big guy, weighing over 200 pounds and standing at 6’3″. Even though I don’t consider myself unattractive, I know I am not attractive to the majority of our community. I’m not muscular, toned, my waist isn’t a 32’’ in jeans and I can’t find most of my clothes in stores. I do not feel bad about any of these things; or rather, I try not to. I do, however, find myself being frustrated with the ideal body portrayed by the LGBTQ community.
Men are very visually driven in what they seek in someone. We are quick to take a double glance at the man with the chiseled features and masculine qualities, yet we never turn an eye to the portly man who is immediately marked as unattractive because his BMI index is twice what it should be. Everybody can’t be skinny and everybody can’t be the masculine guy, there has to be some sort of dynamic.
When we are so adamant with wanting that masculine man and athletic body, we fail to see all the beauty and attractiveness that others in our community have to offer. I enjoy a variety of men, and it really doesn’t matter to me if you’re skinny, short, fat or whatever. I am attracted to men and that’s that. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I like personally as well. I love a nice, tall man with a beard that has something to hold on to. I often find myself confined to dating guys within my body type. As far as I’m concerned, skinny only wants skinny.
A lot of the language such as “no fats” or “be athletic” breeds so much of the criticism of our community that we are shallow and egotistical, seeing nothing beyond what’s tangible and what we “prefer.” Although I do not bash anyone for having preferences or individual likes or dislikes, I do find it frustrating. I have learned that attractiveness is not simply just looking good, but being confident in who you are and what you look like as well. But even the most confident are still ignored and bashed for our bellies not being flat. Of course, this is an American society, and thin has been the beauty ideal for several decades now with no sign of it changing anytime soon. Fat-shaming is alive and very well, while there are people living on nothing but diet pills and water. The pressure to adhere to what is considered to be attractive is daunting and quite tiring. It brings us to the question, when exactly do we stop feeling like we need to change just to get a date?
Most of us hope that people will see all the good we have to offer, beyond what’s between our legs and our shirt size. But too often, we are still determined by just how lean our grade of meat is.