Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Skinnyfat: The Movie and Thoughts About Body Image

Skinnyfat is the name of a funny movie about two [somewhat stereotypical] gay men who hate their bodies and are determined to do something about it, going to bizarre lengths to look better, including wearing fake physique pads over their chests and trying various outre regimens and formulas. Davy (Evan Johnson) and Chaz (Jayson Jaynes) have a condition known as "skinnyfat" [I assume the term was invented for this movie] in which essentially thin people feel that they're "fat" (or might as well be) because they're soft in the middle, have no muscle tone, lack a hard, athletic body, and so on. The movie was written, produced and directed by Andy Bydalek.

For me the funny thing about Skinnyfat is that it comes to us at a time when many gay men are scratching their heads at what at least seems like the vast amount of chubby chasers and obese guys in our community. True, this is probably more of a phenomenon in the middle-aged bear community than among twenty-somethings or in piano bars [or among guys like Davy or Chazz, whom I know exist but whom I encounter not very often]. Without putting anyone down, I have to confess that I find nothing at all sexy about obesity [I often say "I don't like my own fat (which there's much less of these days, thank goodness) let alone anyone else's."] When did the bear community become the unhealthy fat community? It's reached the point where the dominant image of a bear is not just a big man, but a very obese man, when that sort of individual used to be called a "chubby bear." As an acquaintance of mine once put it none too tactfully "since when does 'bear' mean 'lard-butt?'"

Let me digress. One night at my local bar as I sat talking with/cruising an interested and interesting fellow, a portly acquaintance comes over to us, lifts up his shirt, thrusts his fat, highly unattractive belly into the other man's face, and shouts "This is what's hot!" [Neither I nor the other man were impressed.] Hot? Not.

On another occasion a bunch of overweight men at the same bar strip down to their big bellies and begin rubbing each other all over as if excessive avoirdupois were the new aphrodisiac! Not.

On an even funnier occasion, a man with a belly so big that I privately refer to him as "octobear" -- he looks as if he'll give birth to octuplets any minute -- has his belly patted by a slender fellow as if the latter is the proud papa and this mama bear is about to give birth to their little ones any minute. I have to ask, since when did looking pregnant become desirable or sexy?  Guys who look at if they're nine months pregnant used to be embarrassed by their appearance-- now they pull off their tee shirts and flaunt it, baby! How can a man look pregnant and masculine at the same time? [With great difficulty I imagine.]

However, the gay male community is very diverse, and I'm glad there's someone interested in every type. [Such as bald middle-aged men with goatees! And I don't want any nasty emails about how I'm being mean to big guys or how I wouldn't like it if someone put down bald men and so on; we can all take care of ourselves, baby.] But I do wish these big-bellied fellows would get over themselves and stop strutting around as if everybody thinks they're hot. I would sooner have root canal surgery without anesthetic than get it on with Octobear, but I'm sure because some people want to worship his belly and wallow in his fat he thinks he is God's Gift to Gay Men. I'm happy they have their admirers, but all these Blubber-pusses need to get over it!

As for Skinnyfat, without giving too much away, the two protagonists eventually wind up at -- you guessed it -- a bear party where they discover that being big and fat is not always a negative.

As for me, I've recently lost ten pounds and am proud of it, but I'm not going to strut around showing off my flat stomach -- what good would it do me in a chubby chasing crowd anyway? Still, I like non-chubby guys and some of them seem to like me. I am now officially an otter and not a bear, and considering what "bear" has become that's all right with me. Unfortunately, if I lose any more weight I'm afraid that I, too, will become "skinnyfat" and so far I've never heard of a skinnyfat bear [or otter]. Maybe I'll be the first.

 For more info on Skinnyfat check out skinnyfatmovie.com and/or their Facebook page:: (facebook.com/skinnyfatmovie).  The film can be rented on either site.

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