I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. It’s my biggest problem because I’ve never been young and beautiful. Oh, I’ve been beautiful, and God knows I’ve been young, but never the twain have met.
— Arnold (Harvey Fierstein), Torch Song Trilogy
I suppose the other big thing that’s happening in my life is that I’m about to turn thirty. It’s funny — in a community that privileges youth and beauty so much, I feel very good about turning thirty.
In comparison, I was scared shitless of turning 25 — I felt my shelf life was expiring, that I was never going to find a boyfriend, etc., etc. I think part of it was that, since my appearance was never much valued (although that could have been worse; see previously mentioned list of privileges), I felt as though youth was my only asset, and I was inexorably losing it; in a gay world that values young men as the buff, butch, hairless twink, I had spent my young years as a nonbuff, nonbutch, nonhairless nontwink and was now losing my last opportunity to possibly become it and be loved, or at least desired.
Since then, mercifully, I’ve come much more into my own. Part of it, of course, has been simply gradually feeling better in my own skin, accepting myself for who I am, having more confidence in my character, all that good stuff. However, another part, amusingly, has been finding myself attracted to other guys who look like me. People attracted to the same gender are in an odd situation, with the same people constituting both our rivals and our dating pool, and we can both envy and resent the people we desire on a very immediate level. However, the upside to this is that we can also come to see how what we would formerly have considered flaws can be sexy and desirable on that same immediate level.
So it’s been for me. Finding myself hot for other guys with hair and a gut has made it so that I — this used to be unthinkable — can see myself naked in a mirror and go, “Christ, boy, you are cuuute.”
As that’s gone on, I’ve found that at the same time I have had less trouble seeing my body as a femme body. Of course it’s a femme body — it’s my body, and I’m a femme; this is the body that I am femme with. I will not put off expressing my femmeness “until” I am a completely different shape from my own.
Interestingly, this has gone on in parallel with a slowly emerging interest in bearhood. I’ve been frequenting some apps for bears, and the results have been… gratifying. I can’t say I’m engaging in long, searching conversations about my identity with these folks, and admittedly I usually dress down (a bit), but I’m not exactly butching it up either. (And hey, if I were, so what? It’s attractive on me. As is the beard I grew. 😀 )
I haven’t gone to any bear events yet. It occurred to me that I’ve been scared of bears mostly out of fear that they won’t like femme guys, but so what? It’s not like the rest of the community is so awesome on that score anyway. I’ll keep you posted.