Op-ed: Six Reasons Why it Sucks to Be a Gay Man
This week, we were reminded about all of the real reasons why being gay is hard. As the United States Supreme Court heard two landmark cases in the gay rights movement, the glaring disparities of the way gay men and women are treated in this country, once again, became painfully apparent (just in case anyone was starting to forget.)
So today, let’s forget about what makes it actually hard to be gay and let’s talk about the things that just plain suck.
Here are the top six reasons why it just kind of sucks to be a gay guy:
6. It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.
It’s summertime and your pool party schedule is jam-packed. You would think that the season of tank tops and flip-flops would be the most forgiving for a gay man on a budget. Think again. Starting in March, there is the trainer fee you must add to the bill of your already overpriced gym. How else are you going to peel back the cupcake and Christmas cookie layers to reveal the six-pack you last saw on Labor Day? Then there is the absurdly expensive face and eye cream you must religiously apply to keep the crow’s feet at bay (so you can keep having that 29th birthday every year). Add in a new pair of designer sunglasses, multiple swimsuits, teeth whitening session,s and your annual “girlfriends” trip to Miam i… well, it’s a good thing you want to stay lean, because all you can afford now is tuna fish.
5. High school ended, but I still can’t sit with you?
There are certain groups of gay men that still love to quote the immortal line of “You can’t sit with us!” from that tired high school movie Mean Girls. Now, this may elicit giggles among your girlfriends as you determine which character you each are, but this seemingly harmless sentiment spills over into our social interactions and can be quite toxic.
You would think that a group of people who have experienced more than enough of being ostracized, criticized, and trivialized for being gay would be more inclusive. Instead, we are obsessed with being as exclusive as possible within our own ranks. Those with good looks and a little bit of money (or a rich boyfriend) get their kicks by belittling others and attending uptight galas where the checks for charity barely cover the bill. In the grand scheme of the gay rights movement, these men often fail to realize the people that are truly making a difference are the ones that maybe aren’t “fabulous” enough to make the invite list to your next party.
Nobody really wants to sit with you, anyway.
4. “Wait … we are both bottoms?”
It’s the third date and you have been on your best behavior with that gorgeous man across the dinner table. That means no “sexting,” no more than two cocktails, and nothing below the waist … until now.
You think, Finally, this is how dating is supposed to be! You didn’t meet on Grindr or sleep with each other on the first date. You have the same taste in music and even talked about how you both want kids. Everything is perfect!
That is, until things finally start heating up and your thighs keep wanting to go in the same direction as his. After a frustrating make-out session and an awkward discussion in the nude, the reality of your preferred position becomes apparent. Even if one of you may be more “versatile” than the other, you are both bottoms.
So there went the wedding bells, but it could be worse. At least you have a new shopping pal.
3. The gym is gay church … and you are a sinner.
For the heterosexual onlooker, gay men surely enjoy the results from countless hours spent in the gym. After all, we do seem to love our short shorts, tight jeans, and even tighter T-shirts. But if they knew what really made us wake up at the crack of dawn for morning cardio only to return after work for a good chest workout, they wouldn’t be so jealous.
Gay men are plagued by the quest for perfection. This is because, unlike members of heterosexual couples, we can be directly compared to our significant others. Now, not all succumb to the superficial obsession with massive arms and a nonexistent waist. But even the most evolved of our homo species can attest to the expectation of every gay man to look like a swimsuit model. So the next time you see the gay guy with the most impressive physique practically killing himself on the StairMaster, don’t be jealous. In his mind, he will always be climbing yet he will never reach where he’s trying to go.
2. “I love gay guys!”
Yes, this cliché is alive and well. You could be grumpy, bitchy, neurotic, or narcissistic. Hell, you could be all of the above. It doesn’t matter. Your coworker three cubicles down or your neighbor from across the hall is still just dying to go to a gay bar with you and be best friends.
“OMG … lets go to a drag show!”
Usually you can avoid these stereotypical advances from these well-intentioned strangers. But every once in a while you might have to give in. Cut to the scene where you are downing your third vodka soda as your new best friend beams at you over her cosmopolitan (That’s what you guys drink, right?) She can barely contain the euphoria she feels over her new handbag … I mean, new gay best friend.
1. Your ex-boyfriend is dating your ex-boyfriend.
It’s been three months and you think it may finally be OK to crawl out of the Ben & Jerry’s tub. You have already deleted his number after that last drunk phone call and removed all pictures of him from your phone. Save for that first sloppy-drunk pity weekend immediately following the breakup, you have meticulously avoided all of the places where you thought he would be. But here you are, with a fresh coat of self-tanner and a Kelly Clarkson song playing in the background, ready to get back out there and get beat up by love all over again.
So you go to your favorite dance spot, the cocktails are flowing, and you are finally beginning to enjoy yourself for the first time in months. That’s when it happens. Staring across the disco-filled bar is your ex-boyfriend. No, not the one you just barely got over, your other ex-boyfriend … and he has a funny look on his face. Everything surrounding him begins to come into focus and you notice that he is with someone that has his back turned. That’s when you realize that you could spot that crooked neckline anywhere.
Your ex-boyfriend’s new boyfriend is your ex-boyfriend … and they are talking about you.
Yes, sometimes it just kind of sucks to be gay. But even though there is still a great deal of real hardships we face (not the ones listed above), these hardships have nothing on us. Despite the ruthless efforts of the dwindling majority to suppress our civil rights, demean our character, and do whatever else short of dropping us one by one into the pits of hell, we are pretty much kicking ass. The things that make being gay actually difficult only makes us work harder for what we deserve. Our trials have made us resilient, thick-skinned, compassionate, and united. The truth is, we are winning.
So for now, my ex-boyfriend can go ahead and have my ex-boyfriend. We have more important things to worry about.
TYLER CURRY created the Needle Prick Project as an editorial and visual campaign to elicit a candid and open conversation on what it means to be HIV-positive today. To learn more about the Needle Prick Project, visit www.facebook.com/getpricked or follow Tyler Curry on Twitter at @iamtylercurry.