There’s one thing about gay dance parties that always makes me uncomfortable and it isn’t all the gay people. It’s that point where everyone starts taking their shirts off.
Suddenly I find myself in a sea of buff men with v-shaped torsos and I’ve still got my shirt on. That’s when it starts, the other men start to look at me as if something is wrong and tell me “take your shirt off!” I usually just shake my head and carry on dancing instead. That’s when the judgy looks start.
I don’t have a problem if guys want to flaunt their chiseled bodies around, it’s a free country and it’s not an unpleasant thing to look at. But I don’t want to be made to feel bad if I want to keep my clothes on around a bunch of people I’ve never met.
You could argue it’s just my physical insecurity taking over and I think to some extent that’s true. However, I do think it’s more than that. I find all the half-nakedness a distraction because I’m not primarily at those parties to hook up, so I don’t want the focus to be on someone’s body – it helps, but I’m interested in more than that. To me, it feels kind of like a mask for getting to know a person, a way of hiding the truth. If you’re willing to just be who you are, tell someone your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your insecurities, your demons… if you’re willing to tell someone the truth – that’s being completely naked.
“Do I really need to go home with someone and hook up to consider a party a success?”
Beauty as perpetuated by the media has created unrealistic expectations for men, especially gay men, and it can be difficult and unnerving when some of us literally cannot achieve the body type considered “beautiful” and desirable due to circumstances beyond our control. For my part, I have an s-shaped curve in my spine so no matter how much I work out or want to have that v-shaped torso it’s just not gonna happen. I accept that, but I certainly don’t want to draw attention to it in a room full of strangers.
The other big question I ask myself at these events is whether a night can be considered successful if I just have fun dancing and generally feel I’ve had a good time? Do I really need to go home with someone and hook up to consider it a success? I’ve never thought so, but for some that seems to be the gauge of a good night.
I say this because of what the coat check guy said to me at one such dance party a few months back as I was leaving at 4am: “going home alone are we, honey?” My response was fast and blunt: “um, yes…because I’m drunk!” I don’t think I’ve quite embraced the Down Under tradition of getting drunk and shagging some random I just met, but I guess there’s still time! In all honesty though, I’d much rather meet someone and get to know them first. So I keep my shirt on.
Does your night out end in success if you go home with someone or just if you feel like you had fun? Do you ever feel pressured by others to strip off when everyone else does?