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.
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..
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.
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?
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. 😉