“Bears never want to fuck me, which sucks, cus I’m totally into bigger, older guys.” Stefan tells me. We are having a coffee at Happy Baristas in Friedrichshain, the neighborhood I live in in Berlin.
Stefan is gorgeous. He is 22, tall, with dark curly hair and the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. He is Serbian and Spanish. He moved to Berlin to be an artist and a DJ.
“It was hard at first. I’d go to bear parties in Barcelona and Madrid, London, and the guys I liked just wouldn’t like me. They wouldn’t even talk to me. Because I didn’t have the right look I wasn’t worth even being friends with. I get it. We can all be like that. I’m sure there are a lot of guys I’m not into that I blow off as well, but I’ve really started trying to pay attention to it. I recently fucked this dude who was 20. I’ve never fucked anyone even near my age. I usually go for guys 45 and up. But this guy, he was cool and we were into the same music and instead of getting all hung up on his body or the type of guy he was…he is a lot like me but he’s Dutch so blonder…I tried to get turned on by who he was. I still think I’d like to date guys who are older than me, but I’m really trying to be open. To not get so locked into any rules on this.”
I’m not a fan of the ways in which we, as a community, use terms like Bear, Otter, Wolf, Top, Bottom, Daddy, Boy, Masc or Femme etc. to limit each other and ourselves. Defining ourselves based on physical characteristics limits who we are, and the world we experience, as well as segregating our community into these tiny shallow subsets that deny us a sense of unity and queer identity.
This was recently made clear when a queer party in LA tried to shame and deny entry to “Basic Gay White Men” who attended their party. When it was pointed out that the idea of a queer party trying to create a door policy based on gender, race and sexual identity was the wrong direction we wanted to be headed in, the response was, “If you take offense maybe you should look deeper at who you are and at your own values.” As if taking offense at defining other queer people as “basic” or on their race or sexual identity, or gender, was not worthy of offense?
I am well aware that I am about as basic, gay, and white as you can get. But does that mean I am no longer welcome at my favorite party in LA? A party I believe has been one of the most diverse I’ve ever experienced?
I think fighting for and maintaining diversity is essential. But I don’t think you can fight for diversity on one hand while using the other to discriminate. Diversity is messy. It is challenging. But I believe that diverse environments also promote evolution, and creativity, it is this challenging messiness that we need if we are going to grow beyond the fascist rhetoric that has overtaken our governments.
We have so much shame around our bodies. We are too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, not muscled enough, or too roided out, we aren’t sexy enough or masculine enough or feminine enough: these debilitating voices run through our heads all the time.
I’ve struggled with this a lot in my life. I was a fat kid. I remember in junior high school I started running. I gave up sugar (I used to steal money from my dad and go to the local grocery store and buy a bunch of candy, then I’d sit in my room and eat candy and jerk off watching those dance shows that were so popular in the early 80’s.) I dedicated myself to losing weight. I went to the gym. But there came a point in my life when it didn’t matter how hard I worked out, or how much I dieted: I never got the body I wanted.
So I started using steroids.
I want to be clear. I’m not here to make an anti-steroid comment. I love steroids. I love what they do to my mood, my body, my dick, my sex drive, and my confidence. But I can also see the perils: I see guys at the gym who are ten times bigger than me, ten times more muscled, ten times harrier, ten times stronger and I think: I want to be them. Fuck what it does to my kidneys and liver and heart: I want to look like that.
I’ve been pretty good about talking myself off that ledge. I’m very cautious in my steroid use. I rely mostly on testosterone and I try to be moderate even with that (well, not too moderate).
When it came to using steroids I made a decision: I was 45, and I knew that it was going to be harder and harder to get the body I wanted naturally.
At 50 I think I finally feel comfortable with my body, with how I look, and in turn I feel comfortable in my community. I don’t know if that is healthy or not, but what I do know is I finally feel like I like who I am: not just my body, but me. All of me.
The point is: we all struggle with these things: with our identity, with our masculinity and our bodies, with our genders and our sexualities: we all struggle learning to just accept ourselves for who we are: and we struggle with finding that balance in making ourselves into the people we want to be.
But here’s the thing: say I had stayed that fat kid, or I had ended up becoming a ten times bigger roid dude, or maybe I decided to play with my gender: none of these things make me a good or a bad person: they just make me a fat kid or a roid dude or gender queer. We are not worthy because of our bodies or our life choices: we are worthy because of who we are as human beings and how we treat one another.
When I was younger I was wrapped up in being a top. Because I thought that how I fucked somehow said something about who I was as a man. That being a top made me more of a man. Now, I don’t give a fuck. I loved to get fucked. I love to get fucked by dudes who are bigger than me and smaller than me, younger than me and older than me, more masculine than me and more feminine than me: it’s no longer about any of that for me: it’s about connection, it’s about what Stefan said to me: it’s about being open to something new, something outside the tiny confines I’ve set up for myself: about being willing to grow beyond my limitations.
It’s also about realizing that who I fuck with and how we fuck does not say anything about who we are as people.
“Whenever anybody meets my girlfriend, Tonya, the first thing they ask me is if she still has a dick.” Adam says to me, we are sitting drinking coffee in Kreuzberg, Berlin, at a small café along the canal, the open Turkish market is lively with people. “As if that somehow explains everything. That that one thing can put it all into perspective. Which is bullshit. It’s hard for people to understand that even with a dick she’s a woman, and that just because she fucks me with her dick, I’m still her man. We are so far beyond binary. Why do we have to live by those archaic rules? Why can’t we explore ourselves and all of our options? Why can’t we be who we are on the inside, and live that to the fullest, without having to always explain and justify to everyone?”
It’s gotten cold out. The sky is dark grey. Tonya is shopping for fruits and meat at the market while Adam and I sit drinking espressos, talking.
“Yeah, my girlfriend has a dick. And I love when she holds me down and fucks me deep. And if you are all bent out of shape about that shit than you are not ready for the way the world is going. Because it’s a new world and we don’t have time for your limiting bullshit.”
All I’m trying to say is: life is incredible. It is open and vast and full of potential: full of possibility. Why limit ourselves? Why limit each other? Why define who we are on the inside by how we look or act on the outside?
I think the only way we will ever really come to learn who we are or to break free of the limitations that we have allowed to be created for ourselves is to go out and try something new. Not always. Just sometimes. Make out with someone you might not normally make out with. Get fucked once in while: or fuck. Or go to a queer party instead of a bear party.
And stop trying to define us by our race, or our gender, or our sexual preferences. We are so much more than that. We are fucking limitless if we let ourselves be.
I dare you. Go be fucking different for a day. And tell me all about it. I’d love to hear your stories.
Also, check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, at amazon.com.