Monday, July 15, 2013

In Defense of the "Boring"

Before I sat down to write this I was texting back and forth with a friend that ultimately led me (after he asked me to take a photo of my penis next to a Coke can for "mathematical analysis") to see this Oatmeal cartoon. If you'd like to just enjoy the short and sweet of what my argument is going to be, then by all means go read the Oatmeal, and stop reading here.

Okay, so you're still here. Let me begin:

I don't have a gym membership. I don't drive a BMW X-series or Audi A-series . I don't wear patterned or brightly colored tank tops. I don't go tanning. I don't worry about carbs. I don't drink vodka and soda. I don't utter things like "I have to lose X pounds for Pride." I don't give a shit about Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Cher. I don't care about the next hot party at the hottest club. And yet, these are things that are typically expected of me because I am a gay man. And the question is: who is to blame for this? Well, the answer is, quite tragically, gay men themselves.

For some reason, one which I'm not going to waste my time attempting to find at its source, gay men believe that they must be someone that is defined by their sexuality. (Note: obviously not all gay men are this way. But a significant portion of the "community" takes center stage when it comes to how the "community" is perceived collectively as a group.) They have to have six packs, or spend way too much time attempting to get them; run away from carbs; go to tanning salons; use expensive hair and body care products; wear designer clothing; drive "status" cars; wear the rainbow on their sleeves. Anyone who doesn't fall in line with this mode of being is usually deemed "boring." This is my defense of those who refuse to conform to the bullshit standard.

I listed all the things that do not define me. Here are the things that do define me: I run marathons. I ride my bike everywhere. I drink and appreciate craft beer. I read books. I value knowledge. I'm aware of what's going on in the world. I listen to music that was written by real artists. I write and perform stand-up comedy on occasion. I go to the opera and the theater. Save for the last one, you wouldn't think I was a gay man. That's right; I don't conform to the pandering bullshit that is thrown my way each and every day of my life. I'm a man who happens to be gay; I'm a person first.

During the 14+ months that I've lived in San Francisco I've met far too many men that live their lives according to the standard that they think they have to follow. To be rather reductive, they crave attention. That's not to say that I don't crave the same attention; it's just that I don't kill myself in order to attain it. I don't fault the men that go to the gym (to actually work out for the sake of their health), but I do fault those that see my lack of gym attendance as a fault. San Francisco is by no means flat, and the fact that I bike everywhere, and also walk and run, is indicative of a healthy lifestyle. Fuck you if your sole criterion for being "fit" is a washboard chest. I once dated a guy who wouldn't walk a few blocks to our destination. He opted for a cab. He was "crack skinny." But that meant nothing in terms of being healthy. I was far healthier than he was, and I had extra weight on me--remnants of my obese days--and I still do.

I Googled "Gay Men."

The point is that I do things that I enjoy doing, and not because I'm gay. Some men--I've gotten better at weeding them out in the dating process--find the things that I enjoy to be boring. I would rather read a book than go to a club filled to the brim with cookie cutter versions of boys in tank tops drinking vodkas and sodas taking photos of themselves to post on Instagram with 25 different, albeit the same, hashtags to the tune of "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. (Admittedly, and quite obviously, I don't know what the current pop sensation is right now in the clubs.)

And as for the running and cycling, I do those because they keep me healthy both mentally and physically. I don't want to steal anything from the Oatmeal cartoon, but it's true: I thought that I'd lose the extra weight in my abdominal area by running and cycling, but I just haven't. It's still mostly there, and I'm still learning to be okay with that. I know that I could stand to change my diet here and there, but I'm not going to sacrifice the things that I love (beer for this matter) in order to fulfill someone else's wishes. You won't see me joining a gym anytime soon. The world is my gym, and guess what? It has a $0 monthly membership fee. (And dudes just go there to take photos of themselves in front of the mirror and then go blow each other in the steam room.)

Additionally, the fact of the matter is that there have been several men, men that I thought to be completely out of my league, that have found me to be handsome and sexy, despite what I personally feel about how I look in the mirror. And I'm sure that there will be several more men in the future that think the same thing. Surely, though, that's not the only thing that draws them in. Perhaps it's because I'm an individual with a personality, as well. One can only imagine.

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