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Month: January 2014

Tight Buns, Wrinkle Creams and the Pressure to be Perfect

Tight Buns, Wrinkle Creams and the Pressure to be Perfect

Women have long been subjected to a wildly unrealistic expectation of beauty. The advertising and marketing industry has capitalized on the obsessions and insecurities of women for decades. Multi-million dollar campaigns pushing the newest age-defying moisturizer or flaunting the latest breakthrough in weight loss have flooded the pages of magazines and our TV screens.

Even mainstream marketing towards heterosexual men most often uses the insatiable sex appeal of perfect women that can act like an indirect reminder to the mother at home that her wrinkles are showing and her thighs shouldn’t touch. But now, as the almighty gay dollar is becoming more and more recognized, the unrealistic idea of male beauty has emerged. You might want to hold on to your wallets, boys, because it is your finances that are now in the crosshairs.

It isn’t breaking news that a healthy portion of the Dallas gay male population has always strived to look more like a comic book character and less like a real man. Most gay men at least have a gym membership card attached to their key ring as a reminder that they aren’t there and can name at least three luxury skin care brands. Although we may not be cornering the cosmetic market anytime soon, the advertising practices of numerous products and services have increasingly taken on a homo-slant. Why? Because the advertising industry has discovered that gay men are just as susceptible to the youth delusion as women.

So what does the perfectly impossibly A-list gay man resemble? Well, it’s a sort of amalgamation of Anderson Cooper’s face with the body of someone from Magic Mike. We are supposed to be impossibly wealthy and ripped to pieces yet somehow frozen at the age of 25. The money can be a little more than difficult to come by. But the appearance of having it all — let’s just say some Dallas boys have mastered the art of illusion.

But now, mainstream marketing has smelled our desire to look like an action star and it has taken note. Just across the street from Equinox, a new business has opened up that is geared toward the male client and promises that you will look better, feel better and, indeed, live better. I walked into this new business, with the cleverly ambiguous name of Thrive, thinking that it would be just another “wellness” center offering Botox, Restylane and the like. Although it is injections that they are touting, they are not the kind that you put in your face.

Thrive brings to Dallas the latest trend in youth preservation with an emphasis on the male client. Their product is simple — custom tailored hormone injections that will make you feel stronger, increase your sexual appetite and be the trick up your sleeve come pool season. Once I realized that this place was the injection fountain of youth, I figured I was probably not the ideal client. But was I ever wrong! Even at the age of 30, I was a prime candidate for a host of treatments that they would be happy to stick me with. As tempting as a boost to my muscles and manhood sounded, it was just one step too far.

Although I escaped the allure of designer hormones (at least for the day), the pressure to appear perfect never felt so tangible. The experience forced me to step back and assess the behaviors of my peers and myself and wonder how well we balance quality of life, the content of our character and the quest for perfect abs.

Of course, there are many homosexuals that do not subscribe to the Men’s Fitness version of what a man should look like. Even those who could very well be on the cover of the next issue may often demonstrate some of the richest character of all. But I challenge anyone to deny the pressure that the Dallas Gay Culture places on its subjects. I will be the first to admit, I contribute to the problem.

I constantly worry about my diet and beat myself up every time I accidentally inhale a batch of brownies.

The value of my fancy gym membership takes way too much precedence when considering my not so fancy budget. I maintain a four-season bronzed glow (thank you, Tom Ford). And even though fashion has never been much of a priority, I catch myself coveting the labels that so many of my friends adore. As Dallas is one of the premiere markets for fashion, fitness, plastic surgery and cosmetics, it appears I am in good company.

Of course, none of these traits do a monster make. But the failure to recognize that these vain indulgences are just that, vain, can lead to some pretty gruesome characters. The boy who won’t eat a single carb and looks at you with disgust when you do, even at his own birthday. The guy you dated that could never meet you for dinner during the week because it interrupted his two-hour gym session. The group of friends that only will hang out with people who look and act like them. These people are real, and whether you like it or not, they have the ability to impact your life.

So how do you protect yourself from your inner narcissist? The answer is easy. Learn to recognize when you feed into your vanity and focus instead on what makes your presence beautiful to be around — not just something pretty to look at. We all strive to be the best versions of ourselves, but the impact you have on the lives around you will linger much longer than how great you looked at last weekend’s pool party. No matter how perfect you mold your image to be, someone will always look better, dress better and appear more “perfect” than you. So take time to enjoy the things that matter and, for heaven’s sake, eat a piece of cake on your birthday.

After all, designer hormones may be able to stimulate muscle growth and boost your libido, but there is no injection for a bad sense of humor.

The Six Gay Men You Never Want To Meet

The Six Gay Men You Never Want To Meet

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For today’s gay guy, the social scene can more closely resemble a modern house of horrors. No matter who you are, every gay man has a few traits that are truly cringe-worthy. But there are some mutations among us that belong under the glare of a microscope instead of sitting across from the dinner table.

These bizarre distortions of gay men walk among us in plain sight, masking their deformities behind their coiffed hair and moisturized faces. But don’t be fooled, these dastardly characters should be kept far from your phonebook contacts and even further from your cocktail parties.

So step right up and marvel at the six gay men that you never want to meet, but make sure you stay behind the glass partition.

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Dr. Sober, Mr. Sloppy
This villain is practically impossible to spot during business hours. By day, Dr. Sober is the perfect example of what the modern gay man should be. He has a great dog, an incredible apartment and is quite possibly the best lunch date you could ever ask for. But when he starts to round the corner of that third double cocktail during happy hour, Dr. Sober checks out for the night. Instead, you are left trying to wrangle the erratic, obnoxious and nonsensical behavior of Mr. Sloppy. Without even knowing it, you have found yourself in the eye of a vodka tornado complete with tears, come-ons and racial slurs. The check can never come fast enough.

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The Man with Two Heads
This couple might fool you into believing that they are of two beings, but in fact, they operate solely as one body. They think alike, dress alike and finish each other’s sentences. None of these factors are gag-worthy on their own… but just give it time. Their relentless intent to rub their relationship in your face with every status update, profile picture and birthday card signed with both names will soon chap your thighs worse than tight jeans at the amusement park in the summertime.

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The Serial Dater
These desperate creatures may seem harmless at first. You might even feel a tinge of pity as you incorporate this love addict into your circle. But beware. To this member of the monster squad, every eligible bachelor is a potential leading man in the next sequel of his romantic comedy/horror flick. To a serial dater, his life is a movie and you are only playing a part. At any point, the guy you just dumped could take on the leading role and your footage may be slashed with a butcher knife and left on the cutting room floor.

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The “Mombie” (Model Zombies)
This type of man is commonplace in any gay hub. He has the build of an Adonis, a movie star smile and a hairstyle that looks more like a cartoon than actual hair. Unfortunately, these are only side effects from whatever toxic sludge that turned his brain into mush. The only cognitive functions these “mombies” are still capable of are self-pics, weight lifting and making you feel like an inferior physical specimen. They may not eat your brains, but you may just unlearn a thing or two after talking to him. Oh, and they tend to run in packs.

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The Man with A Million Lives
You barely finished telling your friends about your recent trip to Hawaii before this loud mouth character piped in with his tale of how he parachuted into the mouth of an active volcano in Maui. This boastful breed of gay is worse than his hetero counterpart because not only has he done everything you have twice over in a speedo, he has the Photoshopped pictures on his Facebook to prove it. It doesn’t take long before you start calculating this deviant’s age with his seemingly unending list of accomplishments when it hits you. He must have a deal with the devil, because your calculator says he would have to be about 87 years old to have done all of the things he claims. No plastic surgeon is that good.

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The Mimic
This guy is a tricky one to pin down. But once you do, abort all relations immediately. A natural thespian, this sinister villain has mastered the art of mirroring human emotions to draw in his prey. He’s charming, funny, sensitive and too perfect to be true… and for good reason. This puppet of a man is a certified sociopath. And once he has grown tired of you, he moves on to entertain the next victim without so much as a trace of emotion. All you are left with is a little bit of whiplash and the resounding question of, “Did I imagine it all?”

For those of you who are only screwed up in the traditional sense, take heed. These freakshows are real, they are available and they might even try to put a ring on it.