Trying to Be “Real”: How Heteronormative Culture Influences My Behavior as a Queer Man
Benjamin A. Ha

I see articles like this a lot, and, to be honest, they confound the heck out of me.

On one hand, you say you dont want to be bound by the “heteronormative” framework that somehow binds you as a gay man… while on the other, you seem to refuse to understand that you dont have to be. Like, never.

Look, here’s the thing: yes, I go to the gym. Pretty regularly. I enjoy the sheer physical activity of lifting weights, whether it’s bench pressing twice my own body mass or doing an intense set of fifty bicep curls. I do it because I like it, not because it makes me feel like a straight guy. I’m well past the age for dating, so it’s not like I run there every day in the hopes of getting laid over the weekend.

No, I’m not on Grindr. The whole hook-up scene is a bit too frail and shallow for my taste. Because my sexual tastes run towards edge play, I like to know a bit more about my potential partners than a few measurements and a headless torso shot. I also know that I’m well past the desirable age for something like that, so I leave it to those who find it, for lack of a better word, useful.

Yes, I see the “no Asians, no this, no that” nonsense on there when a friend hauls it up for our amusement while waiting for dinner to be served. But frankly, (1) it doesnt seem as wildly rampant as we keep hearing (which could be more a question of geography than anything else) and (2) why would I bother with someone like that anyway? We keep layering all these expectations on a place whose sole purpose is sexual fantasy. You dont go to Grindr for a LTR. You go there to get off. And if you’re so hardwired that only a specific type will do it for you, then it’s probably best for everyone involved to say so at the outset so there are no hurt feelings. But to expect everyone to say “yes” to you is a bit presumptuous, sorry, especially for a site like this. Not everyone likes blonds as their sexual partners, because they have this fantasy of some dark-haired Greek yelling SPARTA! while plugging their ass. Not everyone likes blue eyes in their sexual partners because they find it too “innocent”. And yes not everyone likes Asians as sexual partners. It happens. I’m sure that even you have those things that get you hot when you wander off into Sexual Fantasy Land, and you have those things that dont. Are they just as shallow as the guys who write “no Asians” on their profile? That, I’m afraid, is really up to you.

Or, to put it another frame of reference, while I may have many women friends, that doesnt mean I should feel obligated in fucking them. I have zero interest in them. None. Nada. Does this make me a terrible gay man? If it doesnt, then why do we dump on people who, for the purposes of just getting off, have said, “Look, this doesnt do anything for me”? I’m sorry, but a lot of this comes down to mindset: you can either look at these ads and say “OMG I’m such a victim” or you can say “Whatever, dude. Your loss.” The latter gets you a lot further in life, trust me.

Finally, your rather telling statement about feeling like you have to come out every time you mention your boyfriend. Bud, seriously, get over that one right now. If people around you are suddenly uncomfortable with your mentioning your boyfriend, that’s not your problem. It’s theirs. There’s nothing “heteronormative” about that. It’s just what it is. Dont feed into their anxiety with more of your own. Just live an authentic life and let them worry about their own inauthentic ones.

You know the old Japanese story about the two monks on a silent pilgrimage? They get to a river, and here’s this beautiful geisha, afraid to cross because she doesnt want to get her expensive silks wet. Without saying a word, the older monk picks her up, puts her on his back, and crosses the river, then deposits her on the other side. The two monks continue their journey, but the younger one is seething inside. They’re not suppose to interact with anyone, especially not women! Finally, unable to bear it any more, he blurts out, “How could you do that!”

The older one shrugs and says, “Hey, I left her on the riverbank. Why are you still carrying her?”

Be the older monk, dude.