A healthy "layer of fat", a realistic "gym body", a home-grown "porn star"
(I wrote this essay on 12/03/02)
There is an Internet version of "me" and there is a 3-D verson of "me". The Internet version of me is highly selective and controlled. The 3-D version is (usually) totally unrehearsed WYSIWYG. Most people who have met me in 3-D after knowing only my Internet version have said things like, "you look even better than your pictures," or "I thought you were taller," or "you are quieter than I expected."
In general, people make the transition pretty well, and like me even more after meeting me in 3-D.
I suppose I take some measure of pride in my self-pics, nearly all of which I've shot myself, using my first-and-only digicam with its 10-second timer. Back when I'd cruise the AOL chat rooms or gay.com, I'd do pretty well at luring people over to my abode using my pics. Not everybody thinks I'm his type, but I get enough bites to feel good about how I look and how my pictures portray me.
However, when I've talked with people about my self-pics, and my pride in them, and even my occasional pride in my 3-D body ... when I've said things like, "Someday I want to see my pics in print, or on those TV monitors at the gay bars," ... many of my companions have felt the need to point out to me that I have a "layer of fat" or that I don't have a "gym body" or that I look good for somebody who isn't a "porn star."
Supposedly, part of my charm is that I look good "even though" ... because I'm a "real guy" ...
Well ... the last time I got on a scale it showed I'm a healthy weight, in proportion to my height. I actually do work out my muscles at the gym a couple times per week, and I also run long distances a few times per week, and when weather permits I ride my bike for even longer distances a couple times per week. I eat a healthy variety of yummy foods when I'm hungry, and I avoid eating when I'm not hungry. I don't overeat.
I take care of my body, mind, and soul, and it shows. So ... when people feel the need to say that I have a layer of fat, that I don't have a gym body, that I don't look like a porn star ... I feel like something is wrong with our cultural standards of body image. For me to get rid of my layer of fat would be unhealthy for me, I'd have to be anorexic, I'd have to starve myself. I exercise plenty, so to have a "gym body" would require that I take steroids and spend 2 hours per day on the weight bench. I have all the working parts necessary to have fantastic sex ... though my parts are of median size and shape ...
So ... I must conclude that my American culture does not value actual health, daily exercise, and normal-sized working parts.
Instead, my culture values the unattainable. People who know me in real life compare me to the unattainable, and let me know, politely or no, that I don't measure up.
That's OK. I'm happy with myself, more than ever :-) I like me. I like the way I look. I like hanging out with myself, and with other people. I enjoy exercising with myself, and with other people. And I enjoy sexual pleasure -- with myself and with other people. If you know me via the Internet, you can watch me from afar. If you know me in 3-D, you can join me.
Your words can no longer hurt me.
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