In our search for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Away, gay men — at least
those gay men who are not in politically correct denial about the very
existence of human nature — pay considerable attention to their own
and one another’s preferences for a romantic or sexual partner. In
fact, many gay men pay so much attention to one another’s lives that
they feel called upon to pass moral judgment on those lives and to
declare arbitrary rules about which preferences are acceptable and
which are not.
Some preferences are so prevalent, at least among the more mainstream
segments of the gay male community, that they pretty much go without
saying. Such preferences include muscles, genital size, an age within
an impossibly narrow range, and exactly the amount of body hair that
the media tell us we like this month. Also, it is self-evident, at
least to twinks and their devotees, that everyone hankers for a twink.
Other preferences, seemingly just as innocuous, provoke irate
reactions among many gay men. For instance, telling a gay male advice
columnist that you want someone intelligent is the most effective way
to press that columnist’s berserk button. Never mind the role of
similarity of intelligence on the success of a relationship. Caring
about such things just isn’t P.C., and that’s all that matters.
The second most effective way to press that berserk button is to say
that you want someone masculine. After all, how dare anyone think
that male homosexuality has anything to do with an attraction to men.
Yet liking muscles is acceptable and even expected; I told you that
the rules are arbitrary. Also, no one seems concerned about those gay
men who want sissy-boys in panties.
The usual justification that I have heard since the eighties for
opposing a preference for masculine men is that it is a reaction to
the supposed cult of “straight-looking and -acting men.” Nonetheless,
since that reaction has been going on since at least the eighties,
perhaps we should give it a rest and move on. How au courant in 2011
is an endless rehashing of an argument that was already stale in 1991?
Others have argued that “straight-acting” is simply an act; however,
that argument is a textbook example of the fallacy of equivocation.
Moreover, if I may return to my point above about twinks, I have heard
devotees of twinks take offense at the idea that any gay man could
want a non-twink guy. More than once, such devotees have even tried
to convert me to the twink cult.
Finally, many gay men accuse one another of religious “bigotry” in
selecting a potential mate having the same beliefs. I do not see the
problem there, even though as an atheist I presumably should. If
someone takes his faith seriously, why should he not want someone who
shares that faith?
I suggest we relax, acknowledge that none of us is the measure of all
things and that therefore none of us has the right to define what
everyone else’s preferences should be, and stop yammering about the
need for diversity long enough to embrace the diversity that already
exists in our community. That would be my preference, anyway.