So saturated are we here in West Hollywood with images of the buff physiques of young men that it seems that the only way we can find happiness is if only we look like that — or sleep with someone who looks like that. And yet I find that the happiest gay men I know are often the most ordinary looking.
Back when I was president of Log Cabin of Northern Virginia, I looked forward to putting our monthly mailing together at the home of this couple in late middle-age, both bald and paunchy. When I was around them, it never occurred to me how far they were from our cultural ideal. To me, they were the ideal. It was like being around my most beloved uncles. Not only did I delight in their company, but they made me realize that how a gay man could age with grace.
Last night I had a vision of a similar couple, though much closer to my age. While at a dinner for my college entertainment group in the San Fernando Valley, I saw across the room two men facing each other in a booth. From the way they looked at each other, it was clear they were a couple. Both looked to be late 30s/early 40s, one was kind of paunchy with bad hair. The other took more care of his appearance, having shaved his head which highlighted his somewhat haggard voice.
But, when I saw how they looked at each other, their imperfect appearances didn’t matter much. To me, they became the most beautiful men in the room. I imagined that one (or both) had had a difficult day. One called the other at work and suggested they meet at this restaurant rather than cook at home. And when they met, the cares of their days melted away. The company of his beloved was all each needed to feel once more that he was part of the universe.
Too often, in our media culture, we focus on the pretty and the buff. As if their physical beauty is the quality to which we all should aspire. But, then we see couples like this. And we know what really matters.
-B. Daniel Blatt (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com