Somewhere between the sustained and off key rendition of PART OF YOUR WORLD, whilst waves thunderously crashed around me, surrounded by a sea of sensational homosexuals, Sunday became the best beach day of my life.
To explain, there comes a moment in every gay man’s life where he realizes his body is just not beach ready yet and it happens to be the very end of summer. Or at least for me this happens yearly and marks the passing of the seasons as surely as the equinox and solstices do. It’s a holiday for one and I celebrate with a moment of personal ritual; AKA I eat a massive brownie and whilst experiencing a sugar high, do five push-ups, pretend it’s the first day of the rest of my blah blah blah, all whilst listening to some Mariah track and then pass out whilst feeling both vaguely bad about my body and thrilled to have eaten a brownie. I adore brownies. Some how this year late August seems to roll around and I still in most ways seem to resemble a waxing moon made of melting brie.
(Granted presently it would be this SONG, I AM ADDICTED)
(Which is exacerbated by the fact that Sarah S. and I last weekend at the Wedding of Nicholas and Julian, ate the better part of a face sized wheel of brie at about 3 in the morning. IT WAS GLORIOUS. It was divine. It will be worn around my mid-drift like a hug for decades to come.)
However, this year I really did think I was going to transform myself into some HULK of a man. You know the type who really only drinks power smoothies, or power milk, or you know, POWER something, like right from the source, sticks his tongue in the socket and drinks 120 volts for breakfast. The type of man who orders a burger between slices of TOFU. (I’m not sure that’s even healthy but it’s the sort of thing people with HUGE BICEPS eat in my dreams) I really actually have very little idea how people even get to be such HULKISH MEN and I’m moderately convinced that it involves Magic. This Magic I have heard is called the gym, So I joined, went all the time for a few months while I was doing physical therapy and then fled the city and my gym towards more cheddar and gouda filled pastures and any and all thoughts of beach body realness dissipated.
I’m not even sure I want to one. (OK THAT’S A LIE I DO) Especially when they wander up and down the beach in those swim suits which make me wonder if there is a shortage on fabric markets everywhere that I was not previously aware of. (I don’t shop to often so current trends to me are what’s in my closet and not dirty) How glorious it would be to resemble some Grecian statue.
Really I normally deal with these feeling much easier in the summer. These feelings specifically being that I fear I have a below-average-gay-body, which renders me all but invisible on the beach, or for that matter in main stream gay bars. This is not some sort of EVERYONE PLEASE TELL ME I’M CUTE MOMENT, it’s more a meditation on gay culture and body politics. Images of hunkish men are more or less pervasive and in not meeting those absurd standards of body beauty I do have to say I often feel shunned to the side of the gay desirability, something I at least try to combat in being if not muscular, at least overly well read. I’m not particularly expecting anything to change, I also ogle muscle studs, and fantasize about having those pec muscles that look like they might rip a shirt if I flexed. I just essentially lack the dedication to get that body. (or at least presently I do. Who knows, maybe gym realness lies in my future. I mean I try to stay in shape, I walk a lot, I only ever buy pints of ice-cream and eat the whole thing in bed while watching Missy Elliot music videos when I’ve had ‘one-of-those-days’. and those days are when ever I want a pint of ice cream thank-you-very-much.)
Sure I often worry that we are committing gay culture anesthetization in our collective pursuit of big dicks and great bodies over you know actual community. I worry that its just another moment of the capitalist machine figuring out how best to market ‘life’ to a specialized group of people and its much easier to sell gym memberships, protein shakes, trips to the tanning salon, and back waxing, then it is to sell community. (Cuz lets be honest, if back hair was something they could sell us then it would be in vogue rather than a sin to have it.)
But when I’m not freaked out about how seductive capitalism can be and how little of our conceptions of beauty are based and rooted from our own individual desire but that of society (Society as a product of the marketplace not of the community) defining beauty, I Find that I LOVE LOOKING AT ALL THE HOT MEN. Which always makes a beach trip enjoyable. Which is half the reason when Multiform invited me to the beach last weekend I was so excited. YAY, a day spent warm on the sand, staring at men who like to strut strut strut, while I lay caked in spf 50 in my pasty pasty glory.
I love the beach, so who cares if my abs lack definition the type of which I normally associated with dictionaries. As a kid, and then a teenager, and then a slightly younger twenty something, I used to be so embarrassed by my flesh, but I’m glad to say that’s largely speaking no longer the case. I mean I’m hardly proud of my muffin top, but its MY muffin top, and you know what, MUFFINS ARE DELICIOUS.
Which is not to say I don’t feel the eternal specter of body shame almost any time I pass a mirror, But its not as dehabilitating as it once was, I no longer feel that my body prevents me from being myself, as if only gay muscle hunks could ever have fun. Or at least it does not often in my daily life do so any more.
SO showing up at RIIS beach last Sunday, my first thought was I might want to consider not breathing and just flexing for the next 5 hours, if I was ever to even stand a chance of blending into the muscled habitat of the gay side of the beach.
My second thought was I think Sunday was also the first time I’ve ever gone to a beach, especially a gay section of a beach with a gaggle of gay friends. Perhaps going with a bundle of faggots was all I really needed to remind myself why I love beaches so. Well really to remind me that its OKAY to be yourself, even your not muscular self, when exploring the realm of the gay beach. A place I have often just felt as if I was trespassing through. THANK YOU, lovely Radical Faerie friends, for not judging me as I pranced/flounced around in my absolutely GARISH swim trunks, eating a massive sandwich and drinking Vodkas with the after-thought of orange juice all day. Thank you in fact for encouraging me, and for playing with me, and for generally also just being Awesome you rag tag crew of smokingly hot homosexuals.
In spaces like this I have often felt distanced or outside of the FUN TRAIN, because I would get all like introspective and self-judgy and stuff, but essentially I currently find that boring and I would much rather just have fun. If pressed to sum up the adventures we had over the 6 hours we were there, I would highlight our collective full body Smizing, the interpretive dance in the sand Isadora Duncan meets Paris Hilton Stars Are Blind style.
The numerous sightings of the ass fish, which is actually not a fish at all but a mans ass, often my ass, cresting over the foamy waves. The in-depth class in Milkshake by Kelis studies, with a very detailed syllabus that included such classes as:
My Milkshake: I can teach you but I have to charge: How 21st century capitalism supports the commodification of previously community taught practices.
My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard; Yard’s and the American pastoral, deconstructing American Relationships to manicured wilderness.
Lala-Lalala Warm it up: Global warming and pop culture
Lala-Lalala The Boys are waiting: Peter man Syndrome and the modern American masculine.
Milkshake; What the guys go crazy for: the invention of hetero & homo normatively and how sexual desire disrupts the boundaries of the normative socialized self.
There was even a rather epic snuggling session. Oh you know it was just really faggoty and beach filled and amazing. I’ve not yet been in America a year, but already this totally wacky country is beginning to feel like home. I feel a deep and loving kinship with the people here, and those beauties faggoty men and women and genderfull individuals I had the pleasure of sharing space with on Sunday helped me to truly feel and understand that.
I’d not planned on that beach day being simultaneously HUGE amounts of fun as well as some how soul feeding. Essentially GUSH GUSH GUSH it was one of the nicest days I’ve had all summer. And perhaps by next year I will have found the time to integrate into my life a more developed work out schedule that does not just look like dancing in my underwear, but if pressed to choose between a beach ready body and a day at the beach like I had last Sunday, it would be faggot beach adventure every time. Thank you all for helping me feel like I belong there, muffin top and all.