don’t leave the chubs behind

June 10, 2005 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

a few years back i went on a blind date. his number had been passed on to me by a common friend, and while this method of dating would be a pattern in what passes for my social life, back then seemed like a whole different era for me.

i was still in the closet, for one. i was fresh out of college and had been working for MODE, an NGO in which the most enjoyable fringe benefit we had was free lunch everyday. it was a time when i was still new to the ‘gay scene’, having had not much exposure to speak of, much less in matters confined to the bedroom, if you get my drift.

this was, i think, back in 2001 or so. i was a new recruit in the labor force, i was enjoying the feeling of having a steady income for the first time in my life.

at its most basic, this sense of fulfillment expressed itself with my growing appetite, and to make the long story short, this was the time my waistline was making leaps and bounds from 28 to 30 to 32 to 34 and later on to 36 and beyond. i was getting my paychecks, and the easiest thing to get my hands on was food. and in the office, we could eat all the rice we wanted. and so i did. i went from skinny to quite fat within my first year at MODE. it was within this context that i was going on dates at the time. i wasn’t that huge, but i was definitely out of shape.

and so on that fateful night, i agreed to meet up with this guy. i was runnign a bit late for our rendezvous at megamall’s bowling lanes, where at around 8:30, i found him sitting at the far end of the room over the tables near the food stalls.

there were the necessary introductions. a few niceties. and then THE excuse. an appointment that had been conspicuously unmentioned before our meeting. pressing for an elbaoration, the guy caved in and commented how i’m not “manly” enough for him.

by manly, did he mean i was fat? did he mean i wasn’t fit? by manly did he mean i wasn’t good-looking enough? i wasn’t dressed up as much as possible, with my polo shirt and my khakis the best i could come up with?

there i was not more then five minutes into a conversation with this guy and he thinks he knows me well enough to blow me off. on what basis? of course barring any soul-baring exchanges, then it would be out of nothing other than the way i looked.

looking back, i believe i’ve come a long way from that day. i’ve gone to the gym, i’ve familiarized myself with moisturizers and a multitude of hair products, lip gloss and balms, the art of having my nails done regularly — the basic upkeeps for any average gay guy who’s out there in the market.

i’ve been complimented on my fine tight ass (thanks, no doubt to the leg curls i had to endure at the gym before), guys have found my goatee and my long curls more than a tad bit cute. my wardrobe had been revamped and is continually being developed. so yes, i think i’m making headway with appearances.

but sometimes, and this is what gets me to think and upsets me, is whether this is all there is to being an eligible gay guy. worse, did i make it through my ‘ugly duckling’ phase just to prove i’m better than other people, the poor chaps who can’t be bothered to look themselves in the mirror and say — “my, how my handles have grown?”

because my brutal truth at this point is this: i wouldn’t date someone chubby.

i’m all for diets and physical fitness, i watch my weight by keeping the carbs down, but does this enthusiasm only go to show that i have become the very same bigot that turned me down back on that night in megamall?

which gets me to think about all that talk about the LGBT community having to work so hard to fight bigotry in all its multifaceted perverse expressions in the workplace, in educatioal institutions, in mass media and elsewhere. but the community itself is nt exactly made up of angels. while we try to break the stereotypes and the ignorant notions commonly attached to gays and lesbians everywhere, i’m afraid the internal culture of the community is far from evolving from the patriarchal trappings of beauty of what it means to be a ‘hottie’ in a land of a million and one homos.

i’ve met these guys more than once. those whose tastes are limited by their narrow concept of what is desirable and what is not.

diversity.

but how many within the community can really say they are tolerant of other gay people whose bodies are not exactly front-page glossy magazine material?

a few days ago i came across a specimen while bloghopping. i kept my quiet against what was obviously an uninformed and very lowbrow attack on a chub, who was being dissed, for his character, by making remarks about his physical appearances. and suddenly i was reminded of my own ‘ugly duckling’ struggle, and how it felt to have guys reject me because i was, well, i was a plus size by homo standards.

in chatrooms and in personal ads, people give so much premium to toned/medium-built/gym regular/fit/muscular types, and those who are (or pretend to be) take pride in leting the fact be known, a staple of “asl and stats” equally for those up for a quick ‘bang-bang’ or a “solid” LTR. such facetiousness pervades the community that at times i feel like we’re perpetrating a meat market in which pandesal abs and muscled arms are the most expensive commodities and brain and strength of character are laughable rejects that have been thrown out the window.

i realize that the community itself should learn to break away from the passed-on concepts of acceptability and ‘normalcy’, a kind of prejudice obviously inherited from those straight men who salivate over scantily-clad 26-34-26 babes on billboards and tabloids. it is a kind of internal discrimination incongruent with the very spirit of the gay and lesbian community — one of acceptance and respect.

we all have our own standards, i admit. and maybe i am bigoted myself because i am not turned on by chubs. but who am i to pass judgment on another person on the basis of his waistline?

i guess i just have to be consistent and conscious about my value judgments. i may not like someone, maybe even for the flimsiest reasons. but i hope i don’t deliver the message so rudely as if to convey that i’m better just because i worked on myself.

i hope i never become that guy in megamall.

i used to hate him with so much fervor. it was an awful turndown i just can’t get out of my head until now. up until two years ago i even kept his number and thought of ways to get back at him for what he did to me. i admit once i even sent out his number on those yahoogroups — for straight people — and told them his number belonged to a ‘horny, game, 25, f, qc’.

but i’m fine now. i don’t even remember his face anymore. besides, from now on, if i’m going on a date, i will watch the details. a guy who asks to meet up at a place like megamall probably doesn’t have much going for him. or maybe i am just being plain snobbish again.

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