I recently shot a video for my YouTube channel which required me to stand next to the personal trainer and model, Alex Mountain, with my shirt off.
It wasn’t my idea, my agent wanted me to do it because he said it would be funny. I got the joke. Alex has a six pack, pecks and not a patch of fat anywhere on his body.
Me? I somehow manage to be skinny and plump all at once. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I look like the Pale Man from Pan’s Labrynth. So yes, I got the joke…and I wasn’t laughing. My agent and I had one of those whispered arguments through fixed smiles.
I have loathed my body for as long as I can remember. When I was a little boy I’d look at down at my legs and wonder why they were so large compared to the other boys. And why could you see my ribs? How could my elbows be so bony and sharp? Why were my feet so big? I would wear a woolly jumper on the beach and go swimming with my T-shirt on.
That hatred of my physique has never left me, though I now try to taunt my own insecurity by defying it. I will take my top off on the beach even though I instantly want to collapse my shoulders and arms into my chest to cover my pale torso. I pull my swim shorts up to hide my muffin top and then pull them down again to cover the backs of my legs like an indecisive flasher.
My insecurity will, I’m certain, be there for life. But there is some comfort. I’m happy to say I’ve slept with a large number of extremely hot guys – many with very toned bodies – and all of them (I assume) have found me attractive. They must have done, otherwise they’d have chosen someone else, right? They’ve squeezed my wobbly hairy bottom and said they like it. They’ve grabbed my chest (or rib-moob as I call it) and said ‘you’re hot’.
This is the strange, beguiling, seemingly-absurd truth. The guys we think are hot, often don’t think guys who look them are hot and fancy the guys we think they’d never fancy which – sometimes – is us!
As Alex Mountain professed to me himself at the end of filming, he prefers the so-called ‘natural’ look and is turned off by a six pack.
More than that, he isn’t completely happy with his body and that’s been the case for so many of the ripped guys I’ve dated. They all say they don’t like the way they look – which is wildly infuriating for those of us who resemble a Laughing Cow cheese someone sat on – but they genuinely don’t like their own bodies and that gets us to a much wider issue.
It seems to my inexpert eye that gay guys have an endemic psychological illness, akin to body dysmorphia which is – I would like to suggest – connected to a general sense of self-hatred and disgust, quite probably originating from the feelings of unease and self-doubt felt at the sprouting of one’s own puberty when the tragic and misguided but all-too inevitable thought dawns on us that we are somehow different and somehow dirty to most if not all of the boys around us.
In short, we’re all a bit mental and feelings of insecurity manifest themselves in our self-image.
That’s my pop-psychology theory anyway. What do you think? I’m genuinely interested to know why so many gay guys have such a loathing of their own bodies.
This opinion of mine – for that is all I can qualify it as being – does not help me to stand next to a model with my clothes off. Nor does it encourage me to ‘own it’ on the beach.
But it does remind me that what I see in the mirror or – worse still – in videos, isn’t what others see and that some very sexy guys find the pale man attractive. Thank goodness for that.