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Cologne – especially the kind gay men wear

Put a blindfold on me and my gaydar would work quite nicely I’m sure. I can walk by a gay restaurant or bar here in town and SMELL that it’s a gay establishment by the cologne wafting out the door.

Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus. I bet they have to fumigate the venue after each performance.

I don’t know why but I can’t stand smelling cologne, any kind of cologne, on other guys. I wouldn’t say it’s a deal breaker for me necessarily. I’m not that shallow.  But it’s  definitely a deal enhancer when a guy smells nice without the cologne.  And by smelling nice I mean that I can’t smell anything… except maybe a faint soap or deodorant that you can only notice when you are extremely close.

I even prefer natural body smells to the nasty cologne, but then it becomes very subjective. Some men have a nice natural odor and others are kind of repulsive… not worth the risk. Just be clean.

Modesty

By modesty here, I mean it in a very general sense that includes physical modesty as well as social modest.

Rather than self respect and humility, I think modesty is driven by an odd cocktail of a low self image and a sense of cultural superiority. The modesty doctrine is not spread by people who have a centered appreciation of their own bodies and their own place in the world. It comes from shame… the sort of sense you get when you are told you need to cover your face in order to pray to God… or the idea that you shouldn’t broadcast yourself too favorably.

If there’s one thing I learned living abroad it’s that there’s no international, cross-cultural sense of modesty. It’s not like love, or not killing, in the sense that they are universal human ideals. There’s no agreement on what parts of the body should remain covered – in real life nor in art. There’s also no consensus on how much one’s own accomplishments should be announced or downplayed. In Japan, for example, bathing nude in local baths or hot springs was a custom but they wouldn’t say a positive thing about themselves if their life depended upon it. The social modesty was taken to the extreme in that I’ve seen mothers insult their own children in public, but nudity had been traditionally OK until the western modesty traditions came along.

I just don’t see the traditional American style of modesty as a good thing. Modesty includes complying with boundaries that someone else set.  Boundaries are good but they should be self-imposed.

Gay men calling me “Girl”

I think this sort of things feeds into society’s misunderstanding of homosexuality. It makes me feel the same as when the playground bullies called me a sissy. I understand that sometimes owning an insult allows you to take over the power of it, but it’s just not a term I want to own.

Old Ladies

I don’t find Betty White funny. And why The Golden Girls became such a gay icon in the first place is completely lost on me.

I don’t know if it’s repressed anger at my mother (I don’t really think I have any) but standing behind an old lady in line at the grocery store while she fumbles in her purse drives me crazy! I know, I know… of all the demographics that should instill peace, calmness and understanding in me it should be old ladies.

Nuance

I don’t get hints very well. You pretty much have spell it out for me if you want to flirt with me or if you want to dump me.

Nuances in other cultures almost always escape me as well. I felt much more at home in Brazil where they’d give you a nickname based on what they really thought of you. I was “Elder Broomstick” on my mission because I was incredibly skinny at the time. If I had a bad acne flare-up someone was sure to point it out to me that day. It didn’t always thrill me to hear it by any means but there is a bit of comfort in knowing that others aren’t hiding anything from you.

The nuance that existed in Japan completely escaped me.  America lies somewhere in the middle and I still don’t do very well with it here.

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