If you ask most people about labels you’ll most often get an automatic politically correct answer that is something akin to “People shouldn’t be labeled. We are all humans and should be treated as individuals.” That sounds good in speech but gets muddy when applied to real life. Rather than get into a long discussion about society, stereotypes, and generalizations I’m much more curious about the labels we give ourselves. More specifically how accurate are the labels we give ourselves. As an example: I’m effeminate with a gay voice. I’m neither butch nor masculine. If there was ever a gay census and I had to choose masculine or effeminate I’d choose the latter without thinking. People who know me personally may say I fall in the middle but I don’t agree with their judgement. So who is right? Is my self image out of date and based more on childhood benchmark moments than adult behavior? I wonder if my experience as the girlie gay youngster has cemented my mental image of myself regardless of who I am now. Or am I totally accurate? It’s hard to say but I’d still put all my money on a proud nelly any day.
This phenomena is easiest to see when you ask people about their body image. Wendy Williams often refers to herself as “Once a fatty always a fatty.” By that she means she grew up as a chubby kid and therefore will always identify as a fat person for the rest of her life regardless of weight shifts. It’s a common feeling amongst people who have struggled with weight and I myself fall into this category. Even though I lost about 25-30lbs last year I will always think of myself as being part of the fat boy brotherhood. On the flip side it may take decades for someone who has always been thin to start to see themselves as fat.
As we grow and change it’s easy for our self perception to get stuck in a moment in time. How many 40 and 50 year old guys still label themselves as cubs? I’m 32 and I’ve already started to make the switch to bear. One piece of advice, don’t try to call those senior cubs out. Your truth bomb will almost always be met with intense anger and shame. Personally I can’t wait until I reach daddy status. Hot daddy bears have untold amounts of power. Most of the hottest guys I know all go gaga over a hot daddy. Yet a lot of men in the daddy age bracket refuse to own the label. My friend (and hot daddy) Punk once shared some wisdom with me. In his late 40’s, he loves to work the daddy angle to get all the horny cubs he can and it works… very well. He admitted though he doesn’t think of himself that way and instead feels like a 20 year old inside. His rationale though was a BJ from a hot guy is always a BJ from a hot guy regardless of what labels are used. If you’ve got to think of him as a daddy to get off then he’ll play the part.
The next time you are filling out your Growlr profile or describing yourself to a new mate take a moment and think about that blurb you’ve been using for years. Most of it is probably still true but are there any areas that need updating? Do you claim versatility despite not having topped in 10 years? Are you to afraid to accept chub status even though you just bought size 43 pants? None of these labels are good or bad. It’s purely how we think of them in our own minds. So even though I like to think of myself as a chubby bear queen with too much sass and style I might actually just be an average middle of the road cub who owns too many pairs of New Balance sneakers. Gasp!