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A gay Pride crowd is about as racially integrated as any place in America ever gets, but bodies, like good style, are about context. In one way or another you need to match. When the gays take their shirts off it’s painfully obvious: the muscular guys stand over here. The skinny boys stand over there. The fat guys stand on one end, and the waifs stand on the other.

In high school, cliques were rampant; cheerleaders hung out with cheerleaders, skaters hung out with skaters, band nerds hung out with band nerds and freaks hung out with other freaks.

Gay culture strives to achieve the same thing through the age of 60, to the extent that different kinds of gay people will hang out in entirely different venues based on morphology. No need to pick a group; others will tell you where you belong. There are gay cowboy bars, gay bear bars and gay athletic clubs. The muscular gay boys will so proudly announce on their profiles: “good health and caring for your body is important to me. Talk to me if you are in shape only! No fats or fem!” which attempts to imply that hanging out only with muscular guys with model-looks is about promoting exercise and nutrition, rather than the more likely case: that you have not yet learned to separate friendship from your desire to fuck.

By the age of 20, gay men have been fully trained to identify all the major gay subcultures based on appearance alone. Gay vocabulary is made most useful in selecting keywords on porn searches:
There are the twinks, which is a term that means one of two things – to gay men under the age of 25, it means skinny, effeminate, young boys. For gay men over 25, it means anyone under the age of 25.

There are the bears, which are hairy or chubby men, who like beards, who look like they belong in a truck stop or in the mountains. They are not necessarily fat; any guy who isn’t totally skinny and refrains from sucking his gut in will develop a bear-belly over time.

There are, of course, the jocks. The number of guys who describe themselves as jocks is probably far greater than the number of guys who you would describe as jocks; nonetheless, being a jock in gay culture is defined by visiting the gym at least once a week, or wanting to, and telling everyone about it constantly.

There are the “str8-acting” gay boys, who ironically chose the gayest possible way to spell out their label, and who are probably easier to pick out on the street as gay than any gay person you’ll meet. Don’t worry, they grow out of it.


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