Little Kiwi and Bauhaus

Little Kiwi and Bauhaus
A Boy and His Dog

Monday, 2 September 2013

Mask for Masc

                                                             "Masc"       "Masculine"  

If you've delved into the world of online gay dating or Gay Apps, you've seen these words.  What you likely have not seen is any form of consistency in regard to what they mean.

My point in all of this is that the words don't actually mean anything; at least not anything specific enough for it to be generally-accepted.  "Masc" is an amorphous concept. It means something different to everyone. Culture to culture, person to person.

Here are two more examples..............
This first guy insists that if people can tell that you're gay then you're not masculine.  Which I find odd. I'd argue, rather, that if you're a gay man who doesn't want people to be able to tell that you're gay, you're not masculine at all.  See what I mean?  He thinks masculine means "you can pass for straight, to the eyes of straight people who don't know too much about gay people."  I'd liken that to cowardice, and I'm not one who believes that cowardice is a terribly masculine quality.
Now, that doesn't mean it's a FEMININE (fem) one, either.  I wouldn't say that the opposite of masculinity is femininity.  Masculinity, to me, would be Being A Man.  The opposite would not be a woman, but a boy.  What do boys do? They lie, the evade, they give excuses. Men? Well, I've always thought that men stand up to be counted.

    So...Masculine means that people can't tell you're gay.                                And doesn't mean "ghetto" Got that?     No?    Me neither.

Say "masc" again. I dare you. While you're at it, tell me how much your Mom thinks you're cool.


If one were to base their definition of the word "masculine" based on the profiles of those who use it on gay Apps, one might very well come to the conclusion that "masculine" means "I'm scared to show my face on this thing."  Or something.  I've always thought it sad that "masc" and "discreet" get paired up so often in these profiles. Or "discrete", which everyone should know by now isn't the word these "Not Out" guys mean to be using.
Again, I'm puzzled.  You're masculine, on the DL (meaning DownLow, meaning Not Out, meaning you lie, lie, lie, lie lie.  But he's not only real, he's keeping it real.  Just keeping it really real by lying. Because nothing says "I'm real" like living a lie.
See what I'm getting at?
If you're so masculine, why are you lying?  
I'll tell you why - because you think you can't be a masculine man and a gay one, too.  And the reality is that *you* probably can't. But many others can.  You'll know them by their being Openly Gay, and (frankly) by their refusal to spend any time worrying about whether or not people think that they're "masc"

A very good friend gave a quote that I think should make sense to people who have the capacity to think soberly about this issue:
"*Masc* is like *cool* - to be it, one must first stop hoping that people think that you *are* it"
or as another buddy said:
"If you were actually masculine you probably wouldn't have had to tell me. By telling me you're really just telling me that you want people to think that you're masculine.  And that's not very masc, bro"

No BS? Sorry, Blanche. But that's all BS.

We live in an anti-gay culture.  We do.  It's 2013, and it's embarrassing that we're still mired by this nonsense.  Many gay people succumb to the pressures of an anti-gay culture by become anti-gay themselves, in an effort to save their own asses to the people they're afraid of. You've seen them, mostly online.  You know the types.  The ones who put up a distance between themselves and others in the diverse gay communities and then wonder why their lives as gay men are so unsatisfying.

They cling to an idea of "gay stereotypes" that is simply not even real: it's an Ignorant Straight Bigot's Idea of Gay Stereotypes. I saw a posting on facebook recently where some guy, in response to another of my blog posts, went on a patently-stupid ramble about how proud he was to "not care about glitten, drag queens, or have a lisp"
Glitter. Drag Queens. Lisps? Really?  Who taught you about Gay Stereotypes, Jerry Fucking Falwell?

now check this sadness out

This last bit of bat-shit crazy is a perfect example of Insecure Homosexual Straw-man Arguments.  You know how it is, the insecure self-hating homosexual male refuses to check his own learned prejudices and insecurities and instead insists on projecting: it's everyone else's fault for being so gosh-darn liberated, dang it.  The guy who posted this insane rant, for what it's worth, went on to blog for a very short time about his new experiment in hypnotherapy - using hypnosis to make him attracted to females, because he was sick of being associated with "effeminate gays."

That's wonderful and useful.  Hypnosis to make you attracted to women, and no longer gay.  Rather than, let's say, using hypnosis to combat the internalized homophobia you still hold on to. Right? Oh well.  Not my life, thank freakin' God.  But what is he really saying in all of that?  Here's what: that the non-gay men in his life hate "stereotypical gays" - and for him to win their tolerance, he needs to not only not be "one of those stereotypical gays" - he needs to actively hate on them.  Wow.  What a strong empowered man.  I don't know any truly-masculine gay males who take any issue whatsoever with concepts of perceived-effeminacy, or "gay stereotypes".  None.  None whatsoever.  The only gay men who worry about such things are those who are still living each day worrying about what Others Are Thinking.

I recently overheard two young-ish straight guys talking in a coffeeshop, about what I assume is a newly-Out male friend.  They were commenting on how much their friend has changed.  That now that he's gay, he's suddenly "acting all gay" and "always doing gay things" and "isn't the same now that he's hanging out with other gay people".

No shit.  He's no longer having to pretend to be someone and something that he's not anymore.  Let him figure out who he is, after years of pretending to be someone else, and let him come into his own.  He no longer has to avoid doing, liking, or saying things that "might make him seem gay" - so yeah.  Fuck off.

Or this lovely dude who messaged me on both Grindr and Scruff...

It's worth noting that Mr. Confident I Own The Party I Ain't Just Background did not have a photo of his face.  At all. Again, this is not just "masculine good and fem bad" - but an even more clear representation of what I've been talking about; do you think there are straight people out there who say "Just because I'm straight doesn't mean I hang out with straight guys and guys all the time, ok? All my friends are gay.." ?

It seems he, like many others, still considers STRAIGHT to be the Ideal.  Now, hideous grammar rears its head in this post, to the extent that my eyes want to vomit, so maybe we're not dealing with the brightest of bulbs, but it's still a sad indicator of how anti-gay straight male culture can warp a gay male's sense of self and identity and worth.

As for "Challenge Me" - Yeah, I challenge you.  I challenge you to stop and listen to yourself.  I challenge you to interrogate yourself and think about why you put such a premium on "straightness" when you're a gay man.  I challenge you to learn something about the fearlessness and bravery of the "fems" you feel the need to denigrate to make yourself feel like a "real man."
And I challenge you to stop hiding your face.

And on the "now that he's hanging out with more gays he's starting to Talk Gay and be Really Gay" angle - I went on a school trip to Tennessee for a few weeks when I was 16.  Know what happened?  We all took on a Southern Drawl.  Literally.  It was hilarious.  See also: my family and friends balking at my NYC-vernacular during my visits home to Canada.
You hang out with a crew of people, in a new setting or scene and you tend to take on the popular phrases, speech patterns, sayings, and vocal energies of those you're around.  WERK! ;-)

Masc Masc Masc Masc Masc.  Be Masc. Masc U B 2.  And on, and on, and on......

The tricky thing with discussing this subject with other gay males is that the insecure gay males who do indeed still harbor a lot of internalized homophobia will almost always deny it.  Followed, usually, by a straw-man argument wherein they turn it around to say "Why do you hate masculinity? Why are you saying I'm a faker just because I'm masculine?"
1. I don't.
2. I didn't say that and neither did anybody else.

What we, the sober-eyed empowered gay males, are asking of you is to rethink not only what "masc" or "masculine" means, but the weight that you, and society, continue to give it.  It makes no sense for an amorphous concept to hold so much sway in people's minds.  As a great friend, lover and mentor once said to me: "We're men. We're all masculine.  Either we all are or none of us are."

A sexy scruffy bear-ry cubby buddy of mine recently, on the bear-centric app GROWLR was hit on by a guy, whose profile was rife with "be masc, no fems", etc.  My friend called it out. This was the dude's reply.....

Yeah.  He sounds like a totally secure and confident gay man who is no way still trying to appeal to any and all anti-gay males in his own life.  Sure. Right.  Totally.

                                                     *le really big sigh*

"MASC" is as useless a descriptor as "chill", "laid back", "down to earth", "no drama", and "sane".  SANE.  Sane cracks me up. Really? That's the word you're going to use to describe yourself or a prospective partner?  Do you think saying "sane" will weed out the crazies?  No.  Helpful Hint: "sane" is like "not into drama" - those who say it are those who create it.

People complain about their lack of luck in online dating and then go to show how inept they are about using apps or dating servives: here's what to do - BE SPECIFIC.  BE DISCERNING.

When you rattle off a list of those meaningless terms that everybody seems to use you're going to come up short, and disappointed.

It's as stupid as "a guy who likes to have a good time" - what the heck does that even mean? Again, like "masc", absolutely nothing.  Fun isn't something you do.  Fun is something you experience from doing something specific that you like.

* on a side note: considering that many online profiles and Apps don't leave much room for text, WHY would one bother writing "muscular" when, you know, you could simply post a picture that shows your musculature?


GoldStarGay said...

I would like for all these gay men so obsessed with "masc/dl/bro-types/etc" to explain to me where soliciting another man to penetrate your anus with his penis falls on their personal scale of "masculinity". More masc than being a Glee fan but less than enjoying a Cowboys game? Cognitive dissonance much? Great article.

Behemoth media said...

While I agree with most of what you say, your point might be better made if you could offer some sort of alternative phrasing. It's very hard to read intention in a profile or any text based communication as a rule. I'm not sure accusing everyone of using these phrases as being cowards, self loathing etc doesnt come off as you being just as judemental as you assume they are being unless you can offer a potential solution to those who don't mean to be douchebags and don't have a particular talent for expressing themselves in writing that goes well with a hook up app. I have zero idea what i would say on any of those things, so I'd be curious what you think might work.

Little Kiwi said...


it's not about alternate phrasing; it's about an alternate mindset.

it's not the phrases used, it's the tone, the intention.

similar to how saying "white only" is not that different from "no asians or blacks" - wording isn't the actual issue; the issue is the refusal to understand WHY people have the "preferences" they have.

it's not about "finding a new way to say "masc"" but to understand the sociological pressures that lead far too many people to put such a premium on a patently amorphous and thus meaningless concept.

one guy once asked me what wording i would suggest for him, instead of "straight-acting", to state that "he was a gay guy that people couldn't tell is gay" - i offered this instead: stop thinking people can't tell you're gay, and stop hoping people can't tell you're gay.

Confident, secure and empowered gay males do not care or think about "if people can tell they're gay or not"

Behemoth media said...

That's clearer. I hate being told that I don't seem "gay" since, like you, it doens't say anything positive to me. Many don't put "masc" in that same category as "straight acting". They simply are looking for a shortcut to find a certain fantasy type to hook up with. Some may only want a red head some nights, but not care others. You don't seem to be randomly targeting people just to rant at them with your opinions and the cases you post seem pretty clear so I would guess it's not "masc" that offends you but more the repsonses you get when you ask guys to explain what they mean. Intention and tone are not well commnicated in a profile, wording can make a huge difference. I guess i'm saying your intentions are and tone could easily be not as clear to the person you are trying to make a point with and then nothing changes. If some stranger started explaining my preferences to me I would be more apt to think "what a douche" before I thought… "you… know.. he might be right!". So while your intentions to hopefully make someone think more could in the end, close them off. I have a tendency to rant myself and I know I've been of no help to me, my causes or to the person I'm ranting at when I start off assuming they mean more harm than they do. You are fighting a good fight, and good luck getting your points across. I
m just glad I am not on ANY of those sites or apps. They seem dreadful places.

Unknown said...

You're so hot, intelligent and aware. I can't even believe you're real. You're amazing.

Clyde said...

Kiwi, can we be Facebook friends?

Anonymous said...

Great blog post. There always seems to be a pattern of guys who won't show their faces always demanding that everyone else be masculine. If we ever have a New Ice Age hopefully it ends up weeding out all these wimps demanding of people what they clearly lack themselves. Just kidding, may no harm come to them, but hopefully they stop hating themselves because they are only harming themselves.

jt said...

I have the exact same stance on the "masc" "straight-acting" lingo - they don't have a universal understanding. I've met guys who say they're masc/str8-acting are, and they're never masc or str8-acting to me. They have a lisp and flap their hands which are supposed to be traits of non-masculinity. Recently a guy I really liked asked me if I was masc. I wasn't sure how to respond because I wasn't sure what to say that would convince him I was masculine in his context. Can you skin a deer that you hunted and still go to a Madonna concert? The entire masc/str8-acting lingo is rooted in internal-homophobia which is derived from wishing to be someone else, in this case wishing to be a hetero male who is included in the conversations of: "when are you getting married?" "when are you going to have kids?" "does your wife let you do this?". Meanwhile the people who you're trying to convince you're not gay to, already know you're gay. If you're over 30 with no wife or kids or even a girlfriend, people know you're gay. The straight community strongly pushes you to marry, and if they aren't pushing you to marry or asking why you aren't married yet it's because they know you're gay. So really the only person you're trying to convince isn't gay is yourself. Yourself, who happens to have sex with men.

Christian Paolino said...

When these apps first came out I checked them out out of geeky curiosity, but I quickly ran away. For one thing it seemed to make people angry if you weren't there to hook up, and second I knew that not only wasn't I what they wanted, THEY weren't what they wanted.

I blogged about this too... sorta. Even quoted your buddy Ethan Mordden!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thank you for the blog post (I know it is old, but non the less, relevant)!
When I was a teenager, I had to have a lung biopsy. They went through my trachea to get to the lung, and it damaged my vocal cords. It left me with somewhat limited use of my vocal cords that resulted in me having a high-pitched voice. I cannot tell you how many times people have assumed that I am a woman when speaking in the phone. More importantly, it left me with the stigma of being "feminine".
Masculinity has NOTHING to do with how a person sounds or acts, and EVERYTHING to do with confidence. Thank you for making this fact abundantly clear in your blog post!

James P. said...

I Love your post about Masc bros. I've had a lot of fun trying to explain that BS to straight women when a friend and I make a joke about the "masc musc" guys (which is ironic cuz as you mention, they're pussies). :)

Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus

Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus
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