Dating and the Fat Man

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The other day I was surfing around a site sent to me by my fellow blogger Ivan (ivansblogworld.wordpress.com), and the below article title caught my eye.

7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

YES!!  I’m not the only one who finds it a struggle!  Maybe this would be the article that would truly get me.

Quick recap – I’m a 43 year old fat gay man who’s never been in an actual relationship.  I’ve only ever dated guys casually for a bit before they would claim I was getting ‘too attached’ and only wanted something casual.. which usually ended with them having a new boyfriend within about 6 months.

So.. I opened this article hoping to gain some mutual insight into what I’ve gone through in my dating life.  That it was going to be validation for all the years I’ve felt marginalised for whatever reason.  And as I read the first couple of lines I thought I’d found a kindred spirit as there were a lot of similarities.

fat-manBoy… could I have been even more WRONG!!!

The more I read, the more I realised this wasn’t me or my experiences.  Instead, this was someone who’s allowed himself to become so dismissive of himself, his weight, and the gay community that he’s allowed his negativity to feed into his own fat-shaming.

It was to the point where he was obsessive about it.  And he was absolutely adamant that this was the truth for all chubby gay men out there.

Well, No.  His experiences sure as hell haven’t been mine.

So based on his article, I’d like to give my experiences over the years and how I’m feeling.  These aren’t facts or anything other than my observations, and I would never allude that anyone else should feel exactly the same.

Smaller Target Audience

I learned after a few years (and a bit of heartbreak) that there really is a smaller target for bigger guys like me, regardless of what type of guys I found physically attractive… and it sure as hell wasn’t other bigger guys like me (lesbian bears, as I like to call them haha).

At first I thought, because of my own fat-shaming, that I’d have to settle for whomever was willing to have sex with me.  That I was truly ugly and unattractive, so I’d have no real choice in the matter.  But then I found the bear community and the chasers… and I was meeting some pretty gorgeous guys.  And who’d complain about that?  😉

Loneliness is best served cold.. with gravy

Like probably a lot of people out there who have weight issues, I tended to turn to food as compensation when I was feeling down or bad about something.  It was an instant gratification while trying to justify my bad food choices.

Who munches on celery sticks when they’re feeling down?  LOL

Fat_ManBut this is something I’ve recently started working on, mostly because I was starting to feel like my weight had gotten out of control (partly due to quitting smoking I think).  I’m taking it day by day to ensure I’m making good food choices and pairing it was regular exercise (walking part way to/from work).

It’s only been about 2 weeks, but I’m feeling good about it and need to keep it going.

I’m one hell of a hermit

I don’t think I’ve used my weight as an excuse not to go out and be social.  Instead I’ve allowed my laziness to justify why I’ll spend a weekend at home having a Netflix marathon alone.

I think my hermit-ism is more due to my own feelings of being left out by people, and not taking the issue in hand to do something about it (see previous post).  I know there are places I can go and potentially run into someone I know (KA in Soho for instance), but I’ll let my laziness to justify why it’s a waste of time spending an hour travelling into town on the ‘chance’ of meeting someone I knew.  Or someone new.

And that’s not good.

I do alright, sexually.. sometimes

I know I sometimes moan about how I’m not getting laid as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I used to a few years ago.  But at no point have I ever said it’s because I’m fat.  Sure that may limit my possibilities, but it shouldn’t ever stop me.

And no, unlike the original article’s author, I have never paid for sex.  Fuck no.

Instead I know my lack-luster love life is down to my own laziness and not putting myself out there as much as I used to.  If I’m sitting at home all the time, how am I going to meet someone one new and exciting?  Sure, there are the dating apps, but mostly I’m only going to get the same group of guys within my immediate area.

naked-men-in-bedA compliment is a compliment

I’ve never been that great at accepting compliments from guys, mostly due to my own low self-esteem.  Usually I’d just assume they were saying these things just so they could have sex with me (and some of them might have been..).

But I think I’ve done well to get past that somewhat and accept a compliment for what it is.  And if the other person isn’t being sincere, then that’s on them.  I’m not going to spend my precious time over-thinking everything a guy says to me just to figure out if it’s real or not.

We’re homophobic towards each other

I’ve been living out and proud for over 20 years now, and it still never astounds me how much as a community we put ourselves down by ostracising our own sub-sects or stereotypes.

no fatWho hasn’t been to a Gay Pride and watched as all the muscular pretty boys in their little hot-pants get all the cheers and catcalls, while anyone who doesn’t fit that ‘society-approved norm’ basically gets ignored.

However I won’t allow that to affect how I feel about myself.  I go to Pride most years and have a laugh, usually ending up at the bear bar drinking in the streets with everyone else.  And I just get on with my life without allowing other people’s perceptions of who they think I am stop me from having fun.

Never assume to know someone

True, I look like the stereotypical little bear, but that doesn’t mean you know who I am based on someone you’ve known in the past who has a similar look.  Or that because I’m above a certain age with a bit of grey in my beard that I must be a ‘daddy’.  Or that because I’ve attended several naturist parties that I’d be interested in going to an orgy.

It’s all bullshit.  Not one aspect of my life wholly defines me as a person.

BUT…. if I’m being truly honest, I’ve been just as guilty of it as anyone else.  I would see some pretty, young ‘twink’ and immediately think they must be a self-absorbed, fashion-obsessed, obnoxious airhead.  Or that some beefy, muscled out gym-bunny must be dumb as a bag of hammers.  And so forth.

Sadly, this is something we all have to struggle with on a daily basis.  We’ve grown up buying into the stereotypes just as much as we’ve been fighting to get past them, and sometimes still treat people of similar backgrounds as gay clones.


So… what now?

Well, not much really.

It’s not like I wrote this to work through some issue or to justify my actions.  It was more of an exercise to prove that not everyone’s experiences are the same, no matter how many factors you may have in common.

CarrotHowever I do think it’s helped show me that, although my dating life is pretty stagnant at the moment, it truly hasn’t been all that horrible.  That despite never having that relationship I’ve always wanted, I still have met some amazing guys – and yes, some assholes too – that have made the journey so far worth it.

Yeah, shocking as it is, I’m actually feeling somewhat positive about my dating past and the potential for the future.  And that it’s just a matter of getting my lazy ass out there again. LOL

Source: 7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

Fitting the Physical Stereotype

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As a bigger (read: chubby or fat) guy, it’s fairly normal that I get discriminated against due to my size or how I look.  Especially when it comes to going out on the gay club scene.

no fatMost clubs want what they perceive as the ‘pretty people’ to come to their clubs or events.  You’ll be walking down Old Compton Street in Soho some evening and will see the people handing out flyers to this club or that, sometimes even giving free entry.  Heaven/G-A-Y for instance is famous for handing out wristbands in Soho earlier in the evening to get more people to head to their club.

I’m guessing sometimes they’re a bit selective as to who they give their flyers to, as I’m assuming they’ve been instructed to only target a certain demographic – cute, young, fit, muscular, etc.  It’s similar to straight clubs where promoters will advertise ‘ladies nights’ as a way to get more women to come to their clubs.. And in turn, get more guys out to socialise with said ladies.

It’s all about knowing your market and targeting it I suppose.

Well a couple weeks ago, the tables got turned on the ‘usual’ physical discrimination you see at these gay clubs.

The big bear club XXL was advertising free entry if you show your profile on their social/dating app upon entry, so a mate and I decided to go out and shake our booty.  Neither of us have been in years, and figured this would be a good opportunity to get out there and socialise a bit more.

CharacterHowever we should have read the advertisement a bit closer – the free entry was for ‘bears‘ only.  That’s right, for once being a bigger, hairy guy with a shaved head actually worked out for me and I got in free.

But my mate didn’t and he had to pay the full £15 cover.  He did try to halfheartedly argue that it was discrimination as some people may consider themselves bears but don’t fit the physical stereotype.  It wasn’t about the entry fee itself, but more of the principle behind it.

As much as it was great to get in for free, I felt a bit bad for my mate that he had to pay. Though was nice to be on the other end of things for once.

I did find it interesting how some guys tried quite hard to argue their case with the doorman/attendant because they felt it was unfair that the club didn’t consider them a ‘bear’, despite how they may view themselves.  In fact we watched an average sized guy in front of us argue that he was a bear, going so far as to unbutton his shirt to show how hairy he is.

At one point the doorman just looked at him then pointed at me and stated, ‘You need to look like that to get in for free.’  And when he was asked to pay the cover charge because he didn’t fit what they considered the physical bear stereotype, the guy asked for a manager as he felt this was unfair.

I’m not sure if he succeeded in getting in for free or not.tumblr_lnf3j1F61G1qbo6lto1_500_large.png

I used to love going to XXL back when I first arrived in London, as it was fun and friendly(ish), and it was great to find a place that actually catered to guys who looked like me and those who are attracted to them.  I had many terrific nights there dancing the nights away and flirting with cute guys, including my first NYE in London.

But then the club became popular among the twinky and muscle-queen scene, and suddenly there were prissy guys there sneering at the chubby guys, making them feel uncomfortable in what was supposed to be the bear club.  It literally stopped being an inclusive place where bears could let it all hang out (and some did more than others…), and it stopped feeling like a ‘bear’ club.

This changed the attitude of the club, and like a lot of others out there, I stopped going.  Being surrounded by others that looked like yourself and those that were attracted to bigger guys was this club’s appeal.  And they lost it for awhile.

I just hope their current push to bring the bears back to the club works for them, and that feeling of inclusiveness comes back to it.  Only time will tell..

And until then, I may just have to use that free entry again sometime when I’m feeling like dancing my butt off.  😉

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It Gets Better.. Unless You’re Fat

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Let’s be honest, it’s not easy being a fat gay man these days.  Especially not when the media and society dictates that you should look a certain way, with perfect abs, a gorgeous smile, and a head of hair enviable of pretty much everyone.  marlonteixeira1That you’re supposed to look like some Ken doll-like underwear model, and any deviation from that stereotype is considered social suicide.

What a load of bullshit, huh?  If everyone was meant to look alike, then we’d all be boring drones with nothing to do or say to one another.

But the crap thing is we’ve bought into this mind set and we spend our lives criticising others based on their appearance, be it friends or strangers.  And as much as you might say you don’t do it, you probably do it more than you realise.

I recently read an article on Buzzfeed via Facebook about this exact same topic.  About how if you’re fat and gay, you’re less likely to be included by the other gays, and you’ll probably be made fun of or made to feel bad about yourself regardless of how you look after yourself.

Click HERE to read the original article

The article was mostly about how degrading it is when people criticise you about your weight, as it if it’s such an easy thing to change.  And about how society seems to have accepted that it’s okay to criticise an overweight person, as if it’s helpful instead of hurtful.

Fat_ManBut when you wonder out loud why I can’t just lose some weight, you’re looking out for me. At least, that’s the perception. The hurtful degradation becomes socially sanctioned, because being fat is considered to be innately wrong.  And suddenly, otherwise good people feel no shame in condemning us fatties. It’s not bigotry if we deserve it.

Just like the author, I too have had people comment about my weight in regards to my looks.  That if I just ‘lost a few pounds’ or ‘tried a little harder’ then I would be so much better looking, or that it would be so much easier to find a boyfriend. Of course these people generally know nothing about my life or eating habits, so really have no right to make these comments.

And when you’ve grown up being the fat kid with low self-esteem who’s been working hard as an adult to become more confident and comfortable in your own skin, that really hurts.  As if your looks are the only thing that matters when it comes to finding friends or partners.  As if you’ll only be successful in life if you’re fit and good looking.

And it’s hard not to buy into that mentality sometimes..

ImageMake-Friends-Step-6Unfortunately, as interesting and insightful as the author was trying to be, it ended up coming across as a bit too whiney and I’m not writing about this to have a whinge myself.  As a friend pointed out when I posted the article link on Facebook:

‘..you make the best of it, you don’t wallow and go “wah none of the cool kids will touch me”, you realise the “cool” kids are arseholes and go find a circle of friends who like you for you..

And that’s the whole point, right?  Finding and surrounding yourself with people who accept you for being you, without it being all about how you look or if you fit into a certain stereotype.

And yeah, there are men out there who do like bigger guys, almost to a point where it’s a fetish, so perhaps there is some hope in the end.  Although if you ask me, I’d rather someone was with me (either as friends or otherwise) because I’m me, not because of my big belly or chunky butt.. but I suppose I’ll take what I can get.

As long as they like me for being me.  😀

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What’s in a Number?

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One of the things I love is to float around the web and read other blogs similar to my own, or those that touch upon topics I’m interested in or sometimes write about.numbers_xlarge  And how reading that other blog can get me thinking on a topic you hadn’t considered before and get you thinking about it a different way.

Well the other day I was reading a blog from a UK-based gay man (sorry, I didn’t think to note down their web address to link back) and one of their posts was about playing the numbers game when it comes to dating or hooking up with other gay men.

When I say the ‘numbers’ game, it’s about how you would rate yourself out of 10 and the limitations of who you could potentially go out.  For instance, if you’re a 7 then you should be dating someone between a 6 and a 8, with another 7 being a perfect match.  Certain things, like if you’re having a bad hair day or feeling especially confident, could potentially fluctuate your ‘number’ to a certain extent.

Hdont-label-me-orphan-widow-widowermmm.. although this is kind of true in the gay world, I have to say this is absolutely ridiculous how as gay men we can find yet another way to judge and label ourselves even further.

We already have labeled ourselves into further smaller sub-sects within our own community, so why should we go even further by defining who a person could go out with based solely on their looks (I’ve assumed that blogger was only talking about physical appearance, as no other criteria were mentioned..).

Now let me be frank here – at no point am I judging what that other blogger has written (if you’re reading this, please know your post inspired this one) or anyone who buys into this type of thing.  I just personally think by doing this we are being completely unfair to ourselves as a community by limiting who we can date (and presumably be friends with) based solely on looks and how others would ‘rate’ us.

And to quote an oft used cliche – ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.  What I find attractive in a man could make him seem like a 6 in your eyes, but to me he might be a 8 or 9.. or even a 10.

Attractiveness and beauty is entirely subjective, and we’ve all heard the jokes made about ‘being blind’ or having ‘beer goggles’ when you find someone attractive that your mates don’t.fuckable bear

For me there has to be more to life and dating than just how someone looks.  Sure, it definitely helps, but when it comes to finding a potential boyfriend there has to be other factors involved, specifically how the two of you click personality-wise.  Physical attraction does come into play here at some point, but it’s not the sole factor.

At least not to me.

Of course it’s all different when looking at someone for just a shag.. then it’s definitely all about the physical attraction.  Who doesn’t like to spend some quality time between the sheets with some hot guy with a chiseled six-pack.  😉

‘Bear’ly Realisations – Finding your Gay Stereotype

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It never amazes me how much as a community we stereotype and sub-categorize ourselves even further than just being ‘Gay‘.

Ok… this isn’t so much a new thought for me (or anyone really), but I felt like talking about it and how I became aware of the different sub-sects over the years.

Up until several years ago, the only sub-sect of gay men I knew about were ‘twinks‘ as the most of my friends were either just regular guys or were twinks themselves, and we generally hung around with other regular guys.  The gay bar we went to in our neighboring town was a mixture of all types, so stereotypes weren’t as easily distinguished.. at least not to my naive mind.

Just eat a cheeseburger already!!

It wasn’t until I moved to Montreal back in 2000 that I started to realise there were different sub-sects to the scene.. mostly because they all had their own bars, saunas, hangouts and so forth.  But even then for the first few years I can see now that I kind of had blinders on.. and the attitude of my ‘friends’ that anyone bigger than a size 28 or 30 waist were just gross and unattractive didn’t help at all.

Of course, that included me, as I’ve never been skinny or thin and didn’t really diet or exercise.. I was just myself.  And it also resulted in my not getting laid that often.. which has probable lead to my willingness to jump at any sexual interest cause I’m scared it’ll be the last one… we’ll have to talk about that another time.

Now of course I wasn’t so naive or narrow-minded that I didn’t realise that I didn’t really fit into the scene my friends loved so much.  I’d never found the effeminate, limp-wristed, super-skinny guys they liked attractive at all, and being a bigger guy with body hair, I most definitely didn’t fit into the stereotype.  I did my best to try to have fun while out, but man was it ever depressing always going home alone..

Montreal at night

So eventually I went off exploring the other options in Montreal by myself…

I’d never lived anywhere where there was a selection of bars to go to before, so this was fascinating for me and I was interested in exploring.  Since I didn’t have anyone to go to these places with, it was almost like my own dirty little secret, and anytime someone asked me where I’d been that night I actually felt ashamed saying the name of the bar.

Eventually it got to the point where I completely stopped going out with my friends to their bars.. because they would never come out to the bars I wanted to go to.  Why was I the one who always had to suck it up and go where I wasn’t comfortable?  I’d spent years being tired of being dragged to the same places over and over again, watching the same people make the same stupid choices, all the while wishing I was somewhere else.

No.. I’m not into leather… and that’s not me lol

So I stopped inviting people out with me, and I went out alone very regularly.. and the invites to hang out with them stopped as well. I became more aware of the sub-sects around me, as much as one could in a city like Montreal, and eventually realised I fit the stereotype of a ‘bear‘… the exact type of guys my old friends used to think were unattractive and gross.

But.. it was when I moved to London that I truly realised that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as there were loads of guys out there who were totally into bigger, hairy, bald guys with facial hair (last couple of years in Montreal I’d started shaving my head as I was losing my hair anyway, and had tried out a beard…).

And some of these guys were down right sexy!  And some actually looked like the fit guys my old friends would have drooled over.

Funny how things turn out, huh?

~M~

Note: Of course I don’t always necessarily feel a part of the ‘bear’ community either, as I don’t label myself as such… it’s just easier to try and be part of that community than it was the other one.  😉