Posted on 22-08-2016
I recently matched up with someone on Tinder, and after a bit of chatting back and forth we exchanged phone numbers. He ended up calling me later that evening and we continued our lighthearted chat. I was actually enjoying our conversation, so after about twenty minutes of speaking to him, I decided to be the ‘bigger person’ and ask him out for coffee. His response? “Oh that’s cool, but I don’t think I’m interested – you sound a bit too gay for me”
Masculinity is something I’ve often thought about in the context of my dating life. It was something I battled with in my early years of coming out, thinking to myself that being more ‘butch’ would make me more attractive to other men. Everything from the clothes I wore to how I talked to people I tried to tone down, until my wardrobe resembled something of a desert palette and my voice sounded like I was a drag queen battling an asthma attack. Even as a kid, being called the ‘girl’ of the class made me resent why I spoke differently, why I didn’t like sports, or why I was probably the only one whose uniform was still immaculately clean at the end of the day.
I look at the dating profiles of guys and in addition to the ‘No Asians’ rule, it’s easy to spot the guys who pride themselves on still being an ‘alpha’ male. The rugged, gym-cut guys who sneer at anyone who messages them who isn’t also ripped to kingdom come. The ones who want to go out for beers, spend days at the beach or pool, posing with fellow masc dudes and the such. None of these activities are specifically ‘masc’-only, but they seem to be common themes with some of the guys I come across. What the conversation with my Tinder match made me think about was what exactly defined a guy as masculine? Is it looks? The people he hangs out with? Whether or not he indulges in ‘traditional’ masculine activities?
As someone who falls on the slightly more camper side of the spectrum, I’ve spent time trying to figure this out for myself. The way I dress, my body language, or even the tone and pitch of my voice have often been used as red flags to inquire about my sexuality. It’s annoying to read profiles where guys want ‘straight-acting’, ‘ macho’, ‘masc’ people to message them – we’re already singling out each other based on our nationality, age, and sexual preferences, but now we’re just flat-out saying no to guys who basically wouldn’t fit into the macho spectrum of sexuality.
I’ve come a long way in my life to realize that it’s never a good idea to try and mask who you are or change some part of yourself just to pleases the masses – I tried being a chameleon and blending in, but I’m much happier being a loud-ass flamingo instead.