“I hate to be that guy,” read an OkCupid profile I came across over the Labor Day weekend, “but I’m masculine looking for masculine. Sorry.” Ask me how long it took before I hit the ‘back’ button on my browser despite the fact that he was kiiiiind of cute? Ish? Maybe in that second pic? Oh well, I digress.
Now, let’s dissect my match’s confession a bit — which was among the first statements made on his page. At the onset, homeboy already knows that he’s about to say something that’ll annoy, possibly even anger, potential suitors. Why else would he preface it by acknowledging that he’s “that guy,” the one that hates being, well, “that guy?”
And who exactly is “that guy?” Much has been written about this idea of self-loathing within the gay male community, which has led many to credit the rise of the "#masc4masc movement" to the inability of some to embrace the various, binary-busting facets of one’s self-expression. Somehow society has conditioned us to label our masculine qualities as being the most desirable and our feminine traits with being unattractive. Of course, this plays into the national conversation about gender politics and how we view those of all gender and sexual identities whose personalities and mannerisms are deemed softer than “that guy’s.”
But is “that guy” necessary a “bad guy?” I honestly don’t know. I’d have to actually have a conversation with one to find out, but I can’t seem to get one to ever respond. I guess I should rethink that picture of me wearing a light pink Polo shirt. Nah. My point, though, is that any guy can be a bad guy under certain circumstances, masculinity notwithstanding. Hell, I’m no saint.
Yet back to these ‘#masc4masc’ guys. Should we continue to malign those who scoff at a particular segment of our population (mostly without even getting to know them) because of preconceived notions about gay male identity? Or should we respect them for brazenly making a choice, verbalizing that decision on dating and hookup apps, and standing by it regardless of criticism from men they only secretly refer to as “shady queens?”
I, for one, will admit that I love self-identified masculine guys. I really do. I love them for the same reason I love gay and bisexual men who refuse to date Latinos or other ethnic men who have sex with men. If you give me a legitimate reason to never want to date you right from the start, you save me from wasting minutes analyzing your entire profile (because, let’s be honest, who has the time to read through all of your favorite books), from engaging in a dead-end pursuit, and from ultimately meeting someone else who thoroughly enjoys everything I have to offer. You do just as much for me as I do for you, masculine boys, and in a world where dating is so exhausting, I’d much rather save my energy by not navigating the gym for your approval.
Y’all, I’m really glad I’m not “that guy.” I look in the mirror and recognize that my biceps are smaller than his, my chest about a third in muscle mass and my voice not as deep, but, you know what, that’s me. I’m emotional, yet realistic; I’m passive, yet independent; I think I know what a running back does; and I’ve never met a vodka cranberry or pale ale I didn’t like. Even if half of that qualified as “masculine,” I would never use that terminology, especially because of its connotation for both me and the daters that share these characteristics.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not seeking some masculine attributes in a potential partner, because I, like all men who desire other men, am. I just take issue with close-mindedness.
When it comes down to it, I don’t think that OkCupid user who apologized for being “that guy” is a bad one—he’s just the wrong one for me. The same way I am for him. And that’s perfectly fine.
Xorje Olivares is an on-air personality and a producer for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. His monthly OutQ show is titled "LGBT: Let's Get Busy Talking."