It’s really easy to hate yourself no matter where you are, or who you are with. But it’s especially easy to hate yourself if you’re gay. You hate yourself cause you don’t live up to the unrealistic expectation of beauty you see on Instagram. You hate yourself because a community that’s meant to care deeply about you is polluting your mood constantly. It’s kicking your confidence slam in the balls. You hate yourself because all these other guys around you in the club are beautiful. You hate yourself because other gays make you feel that way.
Being gay means you’re a part of a complicated world, full of different types of people, ones that seem to constantly be at war with each other. It’s a world that can leave you breathless but also heartbroken; it’s raggedy but from the outside it appears full of glamour. It exhales you just as quickly as it inhaled you and, if you aren’t careful, can do some serious damage to your health.
When I first arrived in the glimmering city lights of Glasgow its fecund social scene was completely alien to me. I’d left my life as I knew it, the stills of small-town country life were now far in my rear-view mirror. I’d been thrust into a city, handed a friendless fresh start and told to build – and build I did, brick by brick. For years I had slid in-and-out of the same five or six pubs that lined main-street Anstruther. There wasn’t a revolving cast of people, or a variety of trendy clubs and pub to choose from; it was the same week in, week out. Slowly I started to dip my toes in this new ocean, its waters were a deep contrast from the shallow social life I was accustomed too. But the idea of wandering into this vast unknown world of clubs and bars squeezed me so tight that I freaked out and almost started babbling.
I knew I wasn’t going to get any handwritten invites, so I did my best to increase my social circle – which pretty much, as this point anyway, didn’t extend beyond me and our family cat, Princess. Eventually the ball started rolling and I had my first trip to a city club – a gay club nonetheless. I was used to seeing one, perhaps two during the holidays, other gay guys on a night out back home. Here however, the population was dense; so many gays that they were practically bouncing off the walls.
There’s nothing quite so spectacular and overwhelming as the first time you set foot in a gay club, is there? You glide inside nervously, to find yourself glaring around at a universe of features you didn’t know existed. And then the noise starts. It wasn’t the usual acoustic guitar and open mic nights anymore: it was the knocking out of pop hits being blasted out from speakers.
The next few times I went I met more and more people. The purpose of attending clubs back then was for me to network (at this point my friendship circle had grown and now consisted of a solid five members. FIVE, y’all. F I V E.) I met guys around my age that were eager to strike up friendships; I became friendly with those who’d came here for fun. Every time I met someone new though one thought always stayed the same, and that was ‘these guys are all nicer than me.’ Nicer in looks, and nicer in style. Their confidence made mine look like a dimming flicker. We met, we bought each other drinks, we exchanged numbers, we hugged, and the full time I knew that all these guys were better than me – because I was ugly; I was made to feel that way the moment I first stepped foot in that gay club – only I didn’t know it; I wasn’t aware how deep rooted the pettiness really was.
Prior to forming gay friendships, and spending large amounts of time in the gay world, I always thought the LGBT community was stitched tightly together. Back in Anstruther, I was used to dodging abuse and snide remarks from bigots and homophobes, so the idea of a gay community really warmed me.
As the years ticked by I gained some traction as to how better to navigate this gay world, and with that traction came the discovery of a whole new species of human: The Gay Mafia. Now, that once warm notion has become inhospitable; that glittering gay world is uninhabitable, like the planet Jupiter.
To this day their existence never fails to surprise me. The very notion of a close community has been shattered by their snide remarks, incessant bitching, and a total lack of honesty. We all know the type of gay guys I am referring to. The ones that are armed with petty snobbery and delusions of grandeur. The ones that burst into the club together in an almost comical syncopated strut, their hair unmoved by even the strongest of gales. The guys that are heavily ingrained into the scene; that either work in the bars or clubs or are part of the group that does. Those guys that just think they’re better than you.
Working together, going out together, sleeping with the same people. You annoy one then you risk being victim to a pack-full of dirty glances, sub-tweets and bitchy remarks. These are the sort of people that decide to become friends with someone, hell even just talk to someone, based purely on that persons looks. We’ve all been there. There have been a few occasions when I’ve found myself sat at table where I know around 20% of the people, the other 80% are gays that are so fabulously cosmic, self-proclaimed stars, they exist outside my orbit. I’m a friendly person, but the moment you lock eyes or try to strike up a conversation with one of them, he shoots you a look so cold your social skills freeze. It’s a knot-in-the-stomach glare that essentially translates as, ‘I don’t find you attractive, leave me alone.’ I’ve spent so many nights out nursing a dented ego with what’s left of my confidence, if it hasn’t already been replaced with frenzied babblings.
I always approached these kinds of gay cliques the way I would a pride of Lions. You challenge the leader; if you win his respect, if you can get conversation out of him, the rest of them will follow. These days, however, I try not to bother. Trying to win the approval and loyalty of these kinds of guys is utterly pointless – they think they’re better than the rest of us. The idea that you’re perhaps making conversation because, oh I don’t know, you’re a decent person that knows how to function in the real world is completely alien too them. Reality: You might be attractive, but guys, we don’t want to sleep with you.
Honestly, it’s kind of sad that men in their twenties carry around the same mentality as bitchy teenaged high-school girls. A superiority that’s born out of nothing but shallowness and a devout belief that since they’re ‘more attractive’, they’re better than you and thus don’t have to treat you like a person. Every time I think I’ve seen all the horrible things they can do, or heard all the nasty remarks they make, something else happens and I jerk in astonishment.
I hate to shatter your delusions, but that cold, shiny manufactured Ken-doll aesthetic won’t last forever. That toned, tiny body is temporary. Do you really think you’re the first hot twink to ever slut drop on this dance floor? To wear a crop top? To challenge social norms? Give it a few years, then when that metabolism slows down you’ll realise your ‘friends’ aren’t friends at all. All those guys that fawn over you, they’ll have moved on. You can tweak your looks all you want, but being shallow, bitchy and judgmental are the ugliest traits of all. Generations that came before you didn’t suffer at the hands of police brutality, didn’t fight and march for equality, all so you can arm yourself with a sense of entitlement. By all means, be confident, but don’t be a snotty little dick in the process.
It took years of scampering around trying to win approval of people that I now know aren’t worth my time. Why would you want to associate with a group that’s teeming with double standards? That are stuck in a hilarious cycle of misery? That really, aren’t any better than the straight guys that bullied you in high school? I wish I could make these guys see that you can be good looking and still be a good person. That not everyone that speaks to you wants to sleep with you, and if they’re the sort of person that engages in conversation purely with the intent of sleeping with you, then they aren’t the sort of person you want in your life. I would love to make people aware of the damage their actions, words and petty behaviour can inflict upon someone; how much it can make someone hate themselves.
The world is bigger than you, bigger than your scene. And I’m not simply bitter because I’m not a part of your popular group, or because I’ve got the figure of a Thai lady boy. No. That’s not the root of this at all. I just want these stuck up gays to realise they aren’t the be all and end all; that they should treat every with respect. And, you know, also that they’ll be old one day and probably be subjected to the same mockery they inflict upon others.
In the words of the greatest Philosopher of our time, Judy Sheindlin: ‘Beauty fades, dumb is forever.’