May 2, 2014

Why do Gay Guys Like Fashion?


I heard an interesting story from a recent acquaintance at dinner last night. In it, the storyteller, a heterosexual male, told us about how when he and his best friend (also a heterosexual male) go out, they get hit on by gay guys. The reason? They're well-groomed and dressed. And, while I must admit that I thought he might be on our team when I first met him, I came to the realization that my way of thinking fell into the same stereotyped brand that accompanies lazy thinking.

For all superficial intents and purposes, I did think that my new acquaintance was a gay man. My gaydar had been tuned to picking up optimal homosexual levels of masculinity, self awareness, grooming habits, and fashion sense. Surely, because he had clear skin, was small-framed, in reasonable shape and knew how to dress, he had to be gay, right? Wrong! And the craziest part of all of this is the simple fact that I, myself, do not fit into this category of stereotyped "gay thinking." Why was I expecting anything differently from him? Why was I feeding into the stereotype?


Could it be that gay guys really do like fashion? When I survey my closest acquaintances, that is the gay groups of people I hang with the most, which number in the hundreds, I can confidently say that the stereotype is a myth. That's not to say that NO gay people like fashion. The media will definitely tell you otherwise, but how is it that this stereotype has latched onto our community in the way it has? Could there be truth behind not only the fashion stereotype, but the well-groomed gay as well?

There has to be a happy medium. There has to be some reason why appearance, whether it be through clothes or physical body image, are such a "thing" in our community. I've been
thinking about it recently, hence this post. Yesterday, I bought two pairs of shoes, one black, the other brown. On the way home, I imagined all of the different outfits I would be able to build from just these two basic pairs of dress shoes, then I caught myself and said (to myself) "Is this really happening? Are you really doing this right now?" As mentioned, I'm not typically the type to care about fashion or how I look, or so I say.


I then started thinking about why working out and swimming are such a big part of my week. Also, why nutrition and calorie counting have become such a big thing in my life since moving to NYC. My conclusion: it's peer pressure. In the past year, as I have been involved with a lot more people in our community, I have found that I DO have the desire to impress. This superficial desire is slowly outweighing other aspects of my life, or, at very least, catching up to the other parts of my life that I care about (gaming, nerd culture).

Are there gay people out there who honestly don't give a damn about their appearance? Yes. Are there people out there who will look down their nose at you and not give you the time of day if you're not decked out head to toe in labels? Yes. Those are the extremes. The rest of us are more than likely being bombarded by some sort of social pressure, whether it be to work out and look good, or dress for success. My solution: Do what makes you feel good! If you can afford to buy new clothes all of the time and buying new clothes gives you the confidence that you need to be a better person, then do that! There is no shame in it, and ignore those people who tell you that you have low self esteem because material objects. I have never understood that, but it is another topic that I should write about.
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