Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There are two classes of gay men:  hot and not-hot.  It's the same as rich and poor.  You fit into one or the other.  There's nothing in between.  Guess which class I belong to.  This is my personal experience, but I know I speak for other gay men, lots of them.

A misconception is that if you're a gay male, you're hot.  That's because the gay males who get the most attention are hot.  They're handsome or cute; their bodies muscular and hunky.  Sure, they may represent us well, give us a pretty face, but they don't represent the entirety of us.  

In fact, the majority of us are merely average.  We're the ones with acne-scared or pock-marked faces, bad hair or receding hairlines, skinny or overweight bodies.  We don't necessarily dress fashionably. We don't draw attention to ourselves.  In other words, we're regular, everyday, common people.

When you're young and gay, you're on the outside looking in.  It starts in high school, maybe earlier. Jocks are on the inside.  They're all good-looking, athletic, and popular.  People like to be around them. Most of all, they're straight.  They're what you're not, what you wish you were more than anything.

You might assume things will be better when you grow up.  Chances are, you'll be out of the closet. You'll become more aware of other gay people around you. Only, you realize you're still on the outside looking in.  You think because you have being gay in common, you belong, but you don't.

This time, the ones on the inside are the gay men who appear to have everything going for them: great looks, lots of friends, desirability.  They dress well, drive nice cars, live in stylish apartments.  They're the cool group, the fun and exciting group, the one everybody wants to be a part of.      

Hot men only want other hot men.  Not-hot men only want hot men.  Nobody wants the not-hot men. Sooner or later, the not-hot men realize their chance of landing hot men is zero.  Together, not-hot men become great friends, but rarely do they consider each other relationship material.    

Not-hot men think by getting hot men, their status will change.  By default, they'll belong inside; they'll move to that coveted place.  Other hot men will befriend them.  Their desirability will increase.  They believe they'll learn to like themselves, even love themselves, more, as a result.

So they wait for the hot men to come on to them, not realizing it's all an illusion. Hot men won't come on to them or ever give them what they need most.  Not-hot men are surrounded by other not-hot men who would make perfect life partners, without all the fantasy and fraud of hot men.

Not-hot men give little thought to being alone and lonely while they pine for the hot men, while they dream about being on the inside looking out.  Eventually, many become more realistic and see other not-hot men as if for the first time.  But the question is, do they ever stop feeling less-than?  I hope so.


  1. You may be right, a lot of gay men are obsessed by physical beauty, but one look at a mainstream movie, TV show, or magazine will confirm that this is true of our entire society. Everyone grows up wondering if he or she is attractive or not. Most people realize early on that being hot is not the deciding factor in life. Perhaps gay men lack the usual opportunities to figure this out as teenagers. Anyway most people realize as adults that they will not become billionaires, compete in the Olympics, or become concert pianists and/or fashion models, but it does not discourage them from still pursuing their other dreams and finding someone special. In fact, those that enjoy "hot" status often end up disappointed that their admirers are not interested in their personalities, and ultimately the physical beauty fades away. Every "blessing" comes with its own "curse" and vice versa. The secret is to see the reality of life (good and bad) and make the most with what your Mama gave ya (especially her common sense). I'm sure most gay men are smart enough to figure this out, even those that are still childishly waiting for their "hottie" to take them away. If someone does not like themselves just because they are not a hottie, then it must be that usual culprit of low self esteem.

  2. I can't disagree with anything you've written, Doug. But I think the advantage you and I have now is we're older. We've moved beyond our twenties and thirties into the reality of what it means to be an older gay man (me older than you). You and I have our priorities straight (so to speak, of course); however, if the past is any indication of the present, a good many gay men--at least until they arrive in their thirties and realize they could end up alone and lonely--hold out for the cute, hot dude. That's just the way it is.

    I'll tell you the context of this post. When I moved to Vancouver in the late 80s, I met a number of gay men around the same age as me (I was in my late twenties). Three readily come to mind--Dale, Paul, and Barry. All of us were average looking. None of us was interested in each other for anything but friendship (although some of us tried). Instead, we went out to the clubs together and pined for the hot young studs, the ones who removed their shirts, revealed their hard bodies, and danced as though they were the center of the world. They were.

    These hot young men were symbols of what we weren't but desperately wanted to be. And, if we couldn't be them, then we hoped they would notice us, take an interest, and move us, by association, into their world. Of course, what we hoped for never happened. The hot young men did their thing, and we never became a part of it (we were on the outside looking in). But it didn't stop us from dreaming, from fantasizing what it would be like--at the exclusion, I might add, of really noticing the opportunities right in front of us.

    True enough, physical beauty is a big issue in all of society, gay or straight. But my guess is it's a much bigger issue for gay men (always has been), and that's what I wanted to explore with this piece. I wanted to explore why that might be the case. I wanted to suggest the futility of worshipping youth and beauty when all of it is meaningless and fleeting. I wanted to open some gay men's minds to the possibility what they most want could be right in front of their faces. And I wanted to turn average gay men onto other average gay men much soon than it took me to learn this lesson.

    Love is out there for all of us. It just may not be in the pretty package we always hoped for.

    Thanks for your comment and the opportunity to elaborate on this subject that's so important to me. You know I appreciate it.