Preening for Pride
Dr. Greg Cason

Bare chests, dilated pupils, walks of shame. Pride isn’t just about celebration; it is also a time of exhibition, inebriation and indiscrimination. A time for us to come together and do whatever the hell we want, with highlights occasionally appearing on PornHub the next day.

For weeks leading up to Pride, those with an itch to ditch every stitch fill up the gyms—sometimes twice a day. These men (and women) are hoping to both attract attention and feel acceptable to other muscled beauties. They limit their food intake to a chicken breast and two breath mints, and every morning is a game of “Mirror, Mirror.”

Men have always placed a premium on hot bodies, and those who are the object of men’s affections (be they men or women) know the way to get a man’s attention is to show off their bodies.

Since gay men lust after men and are the object of men’s lust, we have a special pressure to perform. We starve ourselves, plan skimpy outfits and pump up with steroids, HGH and creatine. Most of all, we obsess—a prime pastime for many gay men. But does obsessing about something help you to achieve it?

Body obsession is not setting a goal; it is a repetitive demand that we must be physically beautiful—even perfect—and it’s a fear that if we let our guard down we will instantly become fat, old or tragically unattractive. But the real monster is rejection.

Obsession is really a form of avoiding that internal monster, but unfortunately running away only makes it stronger. If you want to get rid of a monster, you have to face it. A good place to face it is Pride weekend.

When you obsess about your looks, you will often compare yourself to other guys. They’re either hotter than you, and you feel bad about yourself, or they’re not as hot as you, and you feel better. Both take a toll.

Comparison isn’t the way to tame that monster, but compassion is—feeling for yourself and other people. If you want to let go of your insecurity, invest in the security of others.

Here’s an easy three-step solution to curing your body obsession and making you an all-around more attractive person in the process:

1. The moment you compare yourself—either positively or negatively—to another person, get out of your head, walk up to that person and say “Hi.”

2. Smile and introduce yourself.

3.Then say “Happy Pride” and go about your merry way. Repeat this 25 times.

If you’re still feeling insecure, do it another 25 times or until you are feeling like you aren’t in a competition but at a family reunion.

I guarantee that by the end of the day you’ll feel a lot better about your body and face, and other people will think you are pretty great, too. You just might get a nice walk of shame out of the whole thing. 

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