Father Tony

Brian Moylan Won't Eat Lunch or Get Laid in This Town Again

Filed By Father Tony | July 18, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media
Tags: bear, bear culture, fat people, gym, sexual attraction

Perhaps the recent conclusion of Bear Week in Ptown produced a recirculation of this piece by Brian Moylan who wades through dangerous waters in his Gawker tongue-in-cheeky reflection on Thumbnail image for xlarge_gaycouple.jpgSimon Doonan's book titled Gay Men Don't Get Fat.

I've interviewed skinny Simon often enough to get his dry humor without offense, but Moylan (slim, if his Facebook photo is to be believed) is sure to upset many with his cutting remarks about bears, the motivations of thin gay men and the rules of attraction for gay men.

Consider the ouch factor in this: "Yes, the 'bear' movement, spearheaded by gay men who are hairier and chubbier than average, is forever gaining steam. Mostly it's because these guys gave up on the regular competition and decided to host a competition of their own."

What gay journalist among us, wishing to be allowed to eat lunch in any gayborhood in the country would make an assertion like that! Never mind the fact that what he says is largely true, there are few realities requiring a gentler tread than the accumulation of gay male body fat. A lean gay writer on that subject will be suspected of arrogance and a fat gay writer will be suspected of sour carbs.

Moylan also stumbles when he describes the motivation of gay men who cultivate muscle: "There is only one thing that keeps gay men in shape: fear... gay men are afraid that they will be alone for the rest of their lives...That is why gay men don't get fat, because if they don't have pecs, guns, and glutes, they're going home alone." I get that Moylan is aiming for glib over thoughtful, but there is too much at stake to let his idea go unchecked.

We are only recently exiting an era of gym-built gay men who piled on muscle in desperate reaction to HIV. Yes, gay men became muscle heads out of fear, but fear of death rather than loneliness. Excessive muscle became a false suit of armor for younger gay men who saw no other way to structure their replacement of the wasting away of a generation of beautiful men who vanished from the sidewalks of Chelsea, Dupont Circle, South Beach, Commercial Street and the Castro.

Moylan seriously stumbles when he says that one of the other "strange quirks of homosexuality" is that "Gay men are attracted to, essentially, themselves." He says that if you want to attract a twink, you should be a twink, etc. I'm looking through the archives of what so many of us have written on the subject of the rules of gay attraction and find a body of evidence so overwhelmingly contradictory to his assertion that I will simply let it sit there festering rather than autopsy it. Suffice to say that while birds of a feather often flock together, when they want to get kiki, they often break rank with their tribe. If you don't already know this, I can only wonder which convent has just released you.

Moylan does not even begin to address the implications of his assertions for older gay men, avoiding the assemblage of a firing squad of guys like me who wishfully keep but can no longer wear our 31"-waist Levi's.

Moylan succeeds unintentionally by provoking a frequently needed reminder that the gay male aesthetic has some elements that remain constant throughout the generations from James Dean to James Franco and beyond. Form follows function in the beautiful male body.

Men who exult in their physical nature by running, dancing, tumbling, climbing, jumping, leaping and burning what they eat with enthusiasm are timeless in their attraction. The bandwidth of that attraction is wide and encompasses all body types, features, HIV statuses and ages. This is best appreciated by having sex with someone who is merely gym-built. The experience is usually hollow, and it can feel embarrassing, like renting and sitting behind the wheel of a fully loaded Cadillac Escalade or being presented in a restaurant with a slab of rare prime rib too big for its plate.

After you read Moylan's piece, look in the mirror. Stroke the part of your forehead abandoned by your hairline. Pinch the dreaded puff above your belt and shrug those meager shoulders. Now laugh and love yourself. As you do this, anyone near you will feel that there is no one more attractive in the world than you. And that will be the truth.

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