A physician I once went on a date with told me: ‘If you don’t start exercising before you hit your dirty thirties, you’ll find that your body will deteriorate. With age you have to run to stand still.’
Flush with the fever and flexibility of youth, I didn’t believe the bastard back then, but I treat his advice as grating Gospel now. This is only because my back has began to ache, my knees have started to wobble-wobble, and running a mile makes a brother heave like a prize Berkshire pig about to give birth. It ain’t cute, whichever you try to slice it.
So over the years, I have signed up for exorbitantly priced yoga classes and Pilates and wall climbing, rooty-tooty gyms, and a particularly sadistic outdoor exercise group called British Military Fitness, which turned out to be both embarrassing and agonizing, all with the aim of building a time machine that turns my ass as trim as the one bouncing along behind my twenty old year old self.
That shlaka might work for some, but it does nothing for me.
As a gay man, unless you’re a bear, fat is presented as the final taboo. You can piss in your lover’s mouth, but if you’ve got a touch of cellulite or stretch marks, you’re instantly dismissed as a sexual kokimoko. It’s self-hatred rebranded as desire complete with corrosive psychodynamic implications in an ever-lengthening list of the ways in which we shrink ourselves in order to feel acknowledged.
The fantasy that the mainstream gay community has of itself is one predicated on inclusion, but I have found this world to be parochial in its prejudices. Racism, rampant body shaming, regressive fetishes that have their roots in misogyny, exoticization, transphobia and ableism have created a culture with a super-wack, low-vibrational frequency.
A friend of mine has this theory that it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a loving community out of a desiring one. I don’t think this is true. Some of the best people I know are gay, and they’re loving, kind, and gracious. It’s only difficult to create a loving community out of a desiring community if you’re trying to do so via digital bathhouses and cruising grounds like Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff, or any other cloyingly named sex app. It don’t make no sense, and you can lose years of your life and self-worth and sexual wellbeing to this noxious nonsense.
So I decided to pick a struggle. I ditched the dumb sex apps, and almost immediately noticed an uptick in my mental hygiene. I got rid of all the hyper-stressful and expensive gym and yoga studio memberships, and started going for walks. At first, I heaved-heaved-heaved, but gradually my stamina improved, my vision assumed polychromatic dimensions, and I felt free.
Baby, I felt free and alive and aglow with pleasure.
Because I was now emancipated from Fuckbwoy Central, I felt so good about myself that now I flirt in bars, restaurants, at bus stops, with cab drivers, with cis men and women, trans and non-binary folx of all shapes, sizes and cultural locations. I love, love, love all this newfound, fought for joie de vivre and passion for living.
If you are struggling with weight maintenance, and it’s affecting your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, just go for a walk every day. It doesn’t even need to be a brisk walk. It can just be a relaxed stroll around your local neighborhood. And if you see a cute person, say hello.
It might just change your life.
With all the love in the world,
Image by DIRIYE OSMAN and JAROSLAV SCHOLTZ