As a young gay male, there was nothing more desirable to me than to be in a relationship with a man that was really muscular. Looks didn’t matter so much, the major requirements being incredibly smooth muscle paired nicely with ripped six pack abs, the stuff of Muscle & Fitness magazine covers. Of course since you want to attract that kind of man, looking somewhat similar would definitely be to my advantage. And so my original intention in the pursuit of bodybuilding (before realizing the health benefits) was to look like what I was seeing in magazines lining store shelves… the best free porn ever invented for those counting the days before they would reach their 18th birthday. Eventually, through tons of hard work, dedication and previously failed attempts at online dating, you meet your first bodybuilder and think it’s going to be heaven on earth… and it totally sucks. Your expectations hit rock bottom and rather than associate the experience with bodybuilding, you think it must be the person, and you continue trying. Well I’m 51 now and consider myself to be in a very happy and fulfilling relationship with my best friend, and now looking back I can identify a pretty interesting pattern…. bodybuilders kinda suck.
Before I go any further, let me just say I’m still into bodybuilding and being inside a gym continues to be a part of my life as it has been for almost 30 years now. The experience has changed somewhat though, and I have to honestly say that I do it mostly for me and as I’ve already alluded to, it hasn’t always been that way. Many people from both sexes, orientations and identities, are guilty of trying to look a certain way for the purposes of attracting a mate. This kind of behavior is not unique to humans, and can be seen all over the animal kingdom. Looking good, healthy and strong, is anthropologically a huge button pusher for those seeking to pass on their genetic material, and bodybuilders often look like they’re on their A game when it comes to this. Unfortunately what’s on the surface is literally only skin deep and more often than not, bodybuilders, especially the gay ones, are often hiding a plethora of insecurities and unhealthy habits directly proportional to the amount of mass they carry around. To say they’re high maintenance is a total understatement.
I will never forget meeting my dream fantasy man on a gay cruise once… he had to be at least 6’4″, 250+ lbs of solid hairless ripped muscle, complete with a shaved head and a mean look on his face. I met him on the dance floor and it’s a little known fact that huge muscle guys often like little muscle guys… so at 5’5″ and 185 pounds I was good to go and all I needed was a handle to become his carry-on baggage for the evening. He was French and didn’t speak a word of English, however as gay men, we understand fluent dog and words aren’t necessary. I soon discovered reproductively he totally matched his stature, and could shame your favorite ungulate. Something weird happened that night though, because what I thought was going to be an incredible time was in fact, largely mechanical and lacked any kind of passion. How could this happen? How could Mr. Right… I mean Monsieur le Droit, be so wrong? I was determined to find answers and so I set out on a five year mission to seek out even more bodybuilders and boldly go where every bottom had gone before… but with a clear mind for observational purposes.
“…the minute I heard “Can you put the peanut oil dressing on the side?” I knew there wouldn’t be a second date.”
My findings? Well I’ve discovered that many body builders rely entirely on their looks and physique, and forget the subtle nuisances that make any sexual experience or relationship wonderful and engaging. They often frame their perspective in such a way that you are incredibly fortunate to experience muscles so huge and as such, what more could you possibly ask for? Gay bodybuilders are so often focused on physical aspects of themselves, they forget about the other person and what their…. dare I say, feelings are. Eventually this becomes super annoying, especially when you meet one that looks like they fell out of a magazine and are so concerned about their dietary requirements, that watching them order a meal at a restaurant is like a nightmarish crash course in nutrition with an emphasis on carbohydrates. Been there, done that and the minute I heard “can you put the peanut oil dressing on the side…” I knew there wouldn’t be a second date. Sometimes I wonder if his jaw is still so perfectly square? Did he move to West Hollywood where that kind of thing is perfectly legal and encouraged? Sorry, I digress.
The other thing about gay bodybuilders is their health. Looks can be incredibly deceiving and social media platforms like Instagram only illustrate this point… people are getting more and more massive, yet actually living shorter lives in the process. I am proud to say I’ve never injected any kind of steroid into my body, and unfortunately that’s pretty common in a sub-culture that has also seen its share of substance abuse. In fact, a study at Baylor college indicated that among bodybuilders that started out young, the average age of death was 47 years old for the 597 men studied. If you managed to make it past 50, the numbers started to normalize. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that massive quantities of muscle require massive amounts of blood to keep it alive… and a good heart to pump it. Most bodybuilders avoid cardio exercise like the plague since it also burns lean muscle, and when combined with an alphabet of synthetic metabolic substances… look out. The awareness of this kind of health issue becomes amplified when you’re involved in social media circles focused on bodybuilding. The posts regarding the sudden and unexpected death of a fellow body builder often from a heart attack, are surprisingly frequent when so many look so healthy.
Of course if you try hard enough, you WILL eventually find that bodybuilder that is well balanced, not conceded, and looking to live a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. However, I strongly believe those kinds of persons are much fewer in numbers in the population of gay men than one might imagine. And while all these men are busy searching for an archetype that doesn’t really exist, they pass up potentially wonderful relationships and experiences with people that aren’t as muscular or maybe lack a six pack. These people look at themselves objectively, and are genuinely interested and concerned about how they treat and interact with others. In other words there’s an untapped market… go seek it out and find yourself a good man. He may not have the body of your fantasies, but his heart will be real enough. Just remember, there’s guys you f—, and there’s guys you marry.