I can’t help but look around me and question whether or not I belong. Magazines, online publications (yes, even this one), and nearly every TV show might show a gay couple cuddling up against each other, which is fantastic for progress, but I still can’t help but wonder something…
Why is it that the only images we have of gay men in love look like supermodels?
Don’t hate me. I love Steven Grand just as much as the next guy, but do we love him because of his music or is it because he looks like a superhero? Are gay guys so easily manipulated into thinking someone one is more valid simply because of what he looks like?
It’s not just Steve Grand I’m talking about.
As someone who is particularly average looking, I’m constantly third best. We’ve brainwashed ourselves into thinking that value lies in how f*ckable we are. If a man can’t imagine having sex with me for the rest of his life, there’s a slim chance we’re going on a second date. I can’t sneak inside his mind to change it, so where does that leave me?
When I was a boy, my mother constantly validated me. “You’re the most handsome boy in the whole school. Don’t tell anyone.” She would say. We made it a game and it was always fun to pretend we were stars. But at some point I became an adult and realized there were judgments in the world I couldn’t control, and I had to adjust.
The trouble is that it’s hard for anyone to see past what I look like before assessing my value. It’s something we habitually do without thinking of the consequences. We’re used to judging the package rather than seeing what’s inside.
I’ve seen gay guys watch viral videos of gorgeous gay couples on Instagram and whisper to themselves, “Oh my god. I want that.” And you know what? I want it too. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s the relationship we want, or if we just want to be a hot guy dating another hot guy—like a romantic gay porn film.
The truth is we want both. We want to be hot and we want a hot boyfriend, but we can’t have a hot boyfriend if we’re not hot ourselves (or so we believe). So it’s a never-ending circle, and no matter where we’re at, we always believe we can do better—our dates can be hotter, our face can be more masculine, our attitude can be manlier, our image can be tweaked etc.
An average looking person in the gay community tends to think he is never enough, yes, partly because he doesn’t have enough confidence, but also in large part because the world doesn’t light up when they see us.
When I walk into a room and someone’s face lights up, I’m destined to be a better person. I’m inspired to find whatever it is that made so-and-so beam. But lately it seems like average looking men are finding it harder to see this kind of affirmation. Hot guys, however, find it the second they leave their apartments.
It’s always been about looks, and it’s never going to change. But at the very least can we start thinking about why it is we’re drawn to particular kinds of dudes? As men we’ve always thought with our penises, but don’t you think it’s time we stop being hypnotized? It’s a long shot I know.
Seeing a man’s face light up when he sees you is a gift. But it’s more than showing validation, it’s about affirming existence. Underneath our clothes, our skin, is a soul that’s just as equal as any man’s. We’re all in this together, you know. Why not love each other?