Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
When I am at gay pride and I see all these men with perfect bodies I get down on myself. What do I do?
Dear out of shape,
It is manly to feel competitive. Men are usually sizing themselves up to other men. To complicate things, men are wired to be turned on by visual signs of youth, health and fertility. So gay men, like straight women, compete with each other using their bodies to attract the eyes of men. Exactly what is considered beautiful changes over time. It is culturally determined and portrayed in the popular media images of the era. Unfortunately, those images today are perfected by technology but nevertheless are what many of us end up measuring ourselves against. With such impossible expectations, we can become obsessed with insecurities - am I thin enough? Ripped enough? Big enough? This can be motivational but it can also be self defeating.
Take special care not to compare one aspect of yourself to someone else's super strength. Look at the whole picture of the person. For example, everyone wants Stephen Hawking's mind but no one wants his disease. We do not want to be him. We just want a part of him. This type of selective comparison is mental torture and does nothing but make you feel bad. Do not do this to yourself. Instead, look at the whole crowd. I bet a small percentage actually have a seemingly perfect body. A particular event at pride can also bring all the boys with bodies together in a concentrated area. So in a quick glance over there it may seem like everyone's been made perfectly from a cookie cutter. Resist focusing on persons you have selected and making the best part of them (their body) represent everybody. What makes them more desirable in your mind because they have this particular strength? Do not abandon yourself and forget about the strengths you have that they do not. You are a unique, perfect and whole expression of you. No one else has the same gifts you do and your imperfections make you human.
When I am at gay pride I feel lonely all by myself. What should I do?
Feeling lonely can be painful. You may feel empty inside. At this Pride, I want you to fill yourself up. Celebrate you and be your own best friend for the day. I have four things for you to do. First, pride is a wonderful time to just smile at people, make eye contact and to say "hi." People will likely be more receptive because it is a celebration. The ice is naturally broken. So take advantage of this and try to meet people. Even if you are shy, just try extending yourself a little in this way. You may be surprised at how far a smile and a nice attitude can get you. Second, you could join a group that you are passionate about to march with. You will be part of something larger than yourself while having a huge potential to connect with the group and the crowd as you allow others to see you. Afterward leave yourself open to being approached by someone who saw you marching. Third, go browse all of the information booths you are interested in and interact with the staff and visitors along the way. This is great because it passes the time with meaningful activity and also because there will be others in your path who share your interests that you could "bump into." Take this opportunity to make small talk to the persons you resonate with. You can simply say, "hi, this is interesting hey?" That can create a more personal ice breaker which could lead to more interaction and eventually an invitation. They could later say, "hey why don't you come with us to the Latin tent?" Fourth, march to your own drum. Do what you want to do and stay open to letting others in. If you want to dance, just go dancing in the middle of the dance floor and see what happens. Just have a good time being comfortable in your own skin. That will attract people to you like a magnet.
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