And where is the body?



Like many queer people, I tend to hate my body (a fact I am not proud of). With the muscle-less build of a prepubescent seventh-grader, I fear being naked outside of shower time. Going swimming is a dreaded task, not just because I don’t like taking off my shirt, but seeing Fire Island-groomed gays in speedos often throws me into a spiral. Opting into this activity was, to put it lightly, deeply out of character.

These lines were written by Fran Tirado, an OUT magazine writer, but they could have been written by me. I, like Fran, have a weird relationship with my body, mostly stemming from a childhood and adolescence that was more dedicated to indoor activities than to sports or physical activities that would later translate into an athletic body. I was not an athlete and never thought about being one.

I was a geeky kid. I would rather listen to music or the radio and read books than go play ball. I did play some sports for fun but never seriously. I rode a bike and roller skated but sporadically and depending on the season. By the time I was in high school, I had developed an aversion to being in a locker room. I knew I liked men and the prospect of being alone and naked with handsome, muscular classmates made me absolutely uncomfortable. I could manage jocks in the classroom or in the cafeteria, where my sharp tongue and the protection of some upperclassmen would save my ass from being bullied, but the locker room was their territory and I was at a disadvantage. So I never really practiced a sport, mainly out of self-preservation.

Fast forward to adulthood and suddenly everywhere you look there's fit, broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, perfectly proportioned men looking at you from every porn movie, every gay rag, every instagram post, every gay blog, every advertisement aimed at you. And you feel strangely inadequate.  I am not one of those men who takes his shirt off at the drop of a hat (or a hot house music track). I don't have a gym membership. Weights intimidate me to no end, so I leave them to the professionals. So my body is less than average at best. And I don't like it at worst. I look ok dressed, but naked that geeky kid comes out and refuses to leave.

So when I read this account of somebody getting naked in front of a stranger to get drawn, I thought: madness! who would do that? And I remembered one time, a few years back, when one of my friends totally insisted that I should pose for one of his friends, who needed subjects for some black and white photos he was taking. I recoiled, aghast. Me? Posing for someone? For a photograph? There was no way I'd do that. So I said no. His friend was disappointed. I felt relieved.

And that happened because I failed to see what Fran saw after his experience: when I see my body I see the things I don't like or the things I feel do not conform to what the gay (and mainstream) media has brainwashed me into believing. I see that my shoulders are not wide enough, that my upper body does not have that V shape that we all admire. That my waist is not thirty inches in circumference and my abdominal muscles are not visible. I see that my chest is not puffed out and that my biceps do not strain my t-shirt. What my friend and his friend saw was something different. They saw somebody they wanted to put on a photograph: they saw what others see.

I think we all get into this frame of mind where we think others see what we see when we are naked. We lack the confidence professional athletes or dancers have and their easy rapport with their bodies. We seldom grow out of the image we have of our bodies. And image that we developed during our early years and sometimes keep all our lives. It's hard to see ourselves with the eyes of those who want us or love us. And I think we need to get over ourselves and learn to see ourselves with other eyes.

Not like I'm going to pose naked for a fashion illustrator any time soon, but I promise I'm going to accept compliments more often and I will try not to downplay it when somebody tells me they like my body. I will take into account my age and my body shape and the fact that I do not spend four hours a day in a gym working out and therefore the body I have corresponds to that reality. I promise the next time you tell you you like my body I'll look you in the eye and I'll smile and I'll say something like 'why, thank you, kind sir'. And I'll hold it against you.

XOXO





Comments

  1. as mister rogers always said "I like you just the way you are". I look like an apple, just like the rest of my relatives. and that's OK with me. if someone else doesn't like that fact, they can fuck right off; they are not worthy of my time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha right on! That’s confidence! Mr. Rogers was indeed right. I have to remember that.

      XoXo

      Delete
  2. So, yeah, this. I’ve been overweight since I can remember. I’ve never been happy with my body. Even after finally losing weight in my 50s I’ve still got body issues. Like you, I’m not a gym person. I’ll go for walks and ride my bike if I have time, but that’s pretty much the extent of my physical activity. None of that will tone my body and make me feel better about myself.

    You, on the other hand, babe are sweet. Your body is trim, you’ve got great legs, and an ass that won’t quit. I know it’s hard to take compliments, but believe people when they tell you that you have a nice body. Our heads fuck us up from years of self-doubt and loathing. And please hold it against me as often as possible. 😘

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You’re awesome. 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

      XoXo

      Delete
  3. A wise and perceptive post! Go, you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, dear! I wish I could always be wise and perceptive. I live in my head most of the time.

      XoXo

      Delete
  4. I'm in that nether region between fat and what I used to weigh, not quite a bear and not quite a platypus. I'm not thrilled about how I look and what I'm eating toward. I'm soft around the edges, quite frankly, quite frankly and I long for a sharper lens. The thing is, I know it's all up to me: to eat better, exercise, be more active — all without going to extreme of looking like an Instagram influencer. It starts with how much we like each other, though. I keep struggling with this as much as anyone. Some days I do better than others. The older I get, however, the more comfortable I become with myself and embrace me for who and what I am. I still have aways to go, but I'm happy with my progress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you sound dreamy to me!!!!!! Right up my alley. I must say, I do eat well. That is what helps me. I'll be sure to post a pic just for you sometime!!!!!

      Delete
    2. I agree with Maddie. Many men look yummy when they reach a dadbod: just soft around the edges, without the hungry, slightly angry demeanor of an insta influencer. And I do think that age helps keep things in perspective and it is instrumental in helping us accept ourselves more and more.

      XoXo

      Delete
  5. PS. Having biceps ala Maddie, and a butt that cracks a computer screen when it shows up on her blog is my ultimate goal. Alas, I don't think I have the will to skip my evening beer + knit while I listen to Rachel Maddow explain impeachment proceedings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maddie does have a rather tempting ass. And front.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes! There’s photographic evidence of bothe the front and the back. Very, very nice.

      XoXo

      Delete
  6. Body image is a struggle, so many insecurities. I have tried changing to be what others thought I should be, and found what I was doing was even more so, hating who I am. Fuck-it, I have gained the weight back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I bet that’s contributed to you feeling better about yourself, cause love starts at home. Ru Paul always says that we have to start to love ourselves first and foremost.
      Thnx for stopping by!

      XoXo

      Delete
  7. There is a body type for every guy out there. I bet I would love your body. I too in school was not in sports, or active at all. But I did like the locker room... I got to see dick!!!! I have always been skinny,till about 10 years ago. I finally wanted to build some tone and muscle, and my friend Preston helped me out. Since then I dont work out now, never went to a gym, I had dumbells to use, which now collect dust. I now canoe the lake for my chest and arms, and walk run the 6 miles around the lake to stay fit. Plus I get to enjoy nature. I also think my job saves me.....very physical. And sex. Sex does actaully help, the body and the mind.

    Am I body beautiful, no, bit I'm happy with what I have and the men in my life seem to also.

    I'll come visit, I bet I will think your hot. I can tell.💋

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to say I love your attitude. And in my head I have never stopped being the skinny kid I was when I was thirteen. I do walk and run occasionally and I wish I were more prone to do weights, but they intimidate me. Like you say, maybe working out with someone would be better incentive. And it’s all in me, of course, the men in my life have always seem quite comfortable with my body, and have enjoyed it thoroughly.
      Haha I know you’re hot. I’ve seen proof.

      XoXo

      Delete
  8. Get naked. It's fun! Who cares!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lmaoooo I know, I need to approach nakedness more playfully. I’m toó stuck up sometimes.

      XoXo

      Delete
  9. Oh, and I did pose this past year for a good friend, and it also helped me get pass shyness. It was more nerve racking being in front of him and his partner naked while they were clothed, but one does get used to it. Now the show is coming up, so the whole town is about to see everything. Granted the drawings are in pastel and charcoal drawings. I did do a post of them somewhere on the blog But I did use to be very shy and modest, but my current clan got me out of my head and mold. Everybody should love their body. What's interesting is when I did drag, I was completely covered up in different ways, but these days I have no problem getting naked. Just wanted to add that in. I hope you have a good weekend handsome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is awesome! I need to go rummage through tour blog to see those!

      XoXo

      Delete
  10. I like being clothed. I like being naked What more can I say?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh honey. And you look GOOD both ways.

      XoXo

      Delete

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