Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the Adonis Factor and cc

A friend of mine messaged me recently:
Have you watched/downloaded Adonis Factor? Do you think it's happening also here satin? Naiisip lang kita while watching this film because you're one of the guys na nice body pa rin despite our age. 😊

I didn't know about the film. So I downloaded what turned out to be an hour-long documentary on the gay obsession with physical beauty, particularly that muscular look in the US, particularly focusing on San Francisco, LA and Atlanta.

I looked at myself. Pushing five decades and still in pursuit of that ideal. Yes. Definitely I am as obsessed about it.

The film interviewed a couple of gay, muscled hunks, dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and psychiatrists. Then, for contrast, there were a few interviewees who were 'counterculture'. But all of them acknowledge the hierarchy in the community based on physical attractiveness. The motivation goes beyond just having more sexual partners, or finding love. They talk about deep need to belong, to be accepted. Funny that for a subgroup (LGBT) who has been subjected to marginalization, the community creates its own cliques and castes that determine who is in and out.

Does it happen here? I can only talk about the gay community in the 80's - 90's as I was being exposed to it. Definitely, when you would go to the clubs and bars in Malate, you already know the A crowd: the most gorgeous, the hottest guys all in one area. Though that time, it was enough to be handsome (and maybe lean). Muscles and abs were not a prime commodity yet. Most of them were flight attendants or sales agents. But those groups were put together not by the equally beautiful but by the beauty brokers - the designers, the stylists.

I knew I was not going to be part of that. I wasn't pretty enough. I had a high school classmate who fit the bill. And he got instantly invited, courted and brought in. He was kind enough to string me along to some parties. I never felt comfortable. But I still aspired to be attractive enough to be invited.

Luckily though, times were also changing. The community had started to include the beautiful physique as a redeeming factor. That spurred me to try to develop my body, in the hope that I would be considered 'attractive' and 'desirable', too. That need for affirmation is so ingrained in me that until now, I continue to push my body. On top of the need for affirmation, the desire for sexual pleasure became a motivator, too. Then finally, the quest for a partner, for that love of The One, made this all a habit I cannot, and will not, kick anymore.

But is the Pinoy gay community as obsessed as what the film depicts the American gay scene? I don't think so. Yes, we worship that Adonis ideal. But I don't see us excluding others simply on that basis. Yes, we bitch and we berate - mapanglait - but I have yet to experience the kind of bullying and meanness as portrayed in the film.

Maybe because we also feel 'excluded' especially when we sample the scene in the US. We are largely ignored by Caucasians, except for the subgroup of Rice Queens. So we are kinder to each other?

I would still like to think that this 'obsession' of mine has healthy benefits. My cardio-metabolic indicators are good (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) I may not have the washboard stomach. I still have the pinch-able flab there. Yet I feel better about how I look now, compared to years before.

But I also know that the Adonis is not the end-all or be-all for the gay Pinoy community. I know of a lot of friends, peers and younger, who are not exactly muscular who have no issues getting a partner, whether for the night or for keeps. And though they may complain about their bellies, or their double chins, they remain to be attractive in so many ways.

Even if all of us lust over that muscled hunk in Instagram or Facebook, most of us would still consider the physical as just one of many dimensions of hotness and desirability.

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