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Fig. 01: Extra protein, worth a month of skipped workouts… right?

No, this is not a sexual innuendo.

Gay people need their protein. They get this in the form of beef, chicken, fish, eggs, cottage cheese and delicious powdered shakes that are essentially milk or soy that has been across a processing conveyor belt six to seven times. Gay men may love their dogs tremendously, but cute pink piglets and baby cows are things to know more… intimately.

Increasing protein consumption is how gay men take full advantage of the hours they spend each week lifting weights (interspersed with months of slacking off), to be sure they all have delicious 6-packs and exquisitely toned arms to impress their friends.  When you ask a gay man if he works out, he’ll say he “hasn’t been in a while,” hoping you will imagine how great he must have looked like before, and either pretend he still looks that way now, or wonder how great he’ll look when he does get back on it. Every gay man’s dream is to look like an Olympic swimmer at 25, and to look so jacked you’d think he just got out of prison by the age of 45.

Fig. 02: Brought to you by creatine.

There are some who theorize that gay culture’s fixation on bodybuilding started during the onslaught of AIDS in the 80s and 90s, which put a taboo on skinny guys who could be confused for being sick. But there’s much less of a relationship between HIV and bodybuilding now, when medicines keep HIV+ people healthy for a long time and allow them to be just as buff as anyone. Instead, having an athletic physique seems to be more of a statement about masculinity in gay culture, as is packing down high-protein foods.

Incidentally, gay people hate carbs.

Maybe they just want to stay young forever; gay men hit the weights with increasing vigor as they approach 30. The goal is not only to have throbbing pecs but also practically zero body fat, and obliques that bulge like there’s a bicycle tire under the skin. You don’t actually want to generate muscle strength that may be useful when running or climbing or throwing things; you want very specific bulges that come from doing the same repetitive movements every other day for years on end. Like a Van Gogh painting, well-toned torso invites favorable “eye movement” (towards the package) and ensures that nobody ever doubts you’re a top. Even if you aren’t one.

Of course, most gay men fail to meet their own high fitness standards, and instead of reaping the rewards of workouts they just feel shitty about backsliding every other month. So, like most Americans, gay people think they need about three times the amount of protein required to stay on top of things (because eating an extra tuna steak is way easier than running a mile), as if every egg white or pork strip will make up for 10 push-ups they never got around to doing.

Animals, beware! Look out for the “extra meat” option at Chipotle and the soy protein additives at Jamba Juice, which were probably invented with gay men in mind.

Stuff Gay People Like (SGPL: ABOUT) is a regular column. Visit the Facebook Page.