In this age of Instagram Influencers and retweets and thumbs up on Facebook, numbers are the name of the game. This is reflective of today’s society; plastic surgeons are thriving as many opt to do things to look as young as possible. Me? Well, I do my part by shaving my head to disguise the fact that I’m bald but that’s probably as far as my vanity goes. I don’t go to the gym on a regular basis, I don’t have tattoos, and I’m no longer focused on building “social collateral”.
As a middle aged gay man in America, I’ve moved to that point in life where I’m essentially invisible or cloaked to many. The gay is a young person’s game. Young gay pilots flying big airplanes gather the follower numbers on the social media outlets. Big bearded, worked out men gather the same. Me? I’m just a quiet nut job who more geek than anything, shaves every morning, and flies airplanes for fun. Some would surmise my comments as competition, but it’s actually pure observation. I have no need to try to turn back time or be something I’m not.
Quite frankly, I’m content with being cloaked in today’s society.
In the short lived television series “Century City” (CBS, 2004), there was an episode that featured a very young looking boy-band that sued one of their members when they no longer wanted to engage in youth-enhancing procedures to look like a boy band. In reality they were 75 years old (though they looked to be in their 30s) and the one member had grown tired of being something he wasn’t. Again, a show that never found its footing, but spoke to society through storytelling.
I was recently watching a video of Paula Cole’s “I Believe In Love”. Originally filmed in the late 1990s, she looks and sounds great. YouTube suggested a live version from a recent performance; it’s 20 years later and Paula looks like she’s aged a little bit, because she has! The video is enjoyable, she sounds good, and the performance was solid. I was surprised at the number of comments of how “she looks like a grandmother” and “why is she letting herself look so old?”
She’s allowing herself to age gracefully. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Now, I’m not against anyone doing whatever they need to do to feel comfortable in their own skin. I might not understand their decision but it’s ultimately none of my business as to what they’re doing with their own bodies. It’s when someone says, “you should grow your beard back” or “have you ever considered doing something about the wrinkles around your eyes?” to me that I get cranky.
I’m happy with who I am, what I look like, and how I’m living my life. I want everyone to be happy. Allow me to be happy.
At 25 pounds overweight with no ink and no outstanding features like piercing blue eyes or anything, I’m very content at being “cloaked”, especially in the gay community.
As a quick aside, I totally get that American women have it a hundred times worse than men my age when it comes to physical appearance expectations. Just be happy. Just be you. You will always have my support.