Hate The Clothes Not Your Body

I’m going to Southern Decadence in New Orleans again this year and staying at the Omni hotel with the Decadent Ducks who are known for their awesome pool parties. This year one of the pool parties has a speedo theme. This took some thought and planning on my part because I’ve never actually worn a speedo. The hunt for the perfect one began a couple of weeks ago when a friend referred me to Etsy. It was there that I found the one that I absolutely fell in love with. I actually found a bathing suit covered in pictures of puppies! LOVE! I ordered it and when it was delivered it was everything I wanted it to be. That was until I put it on…

It all goes back to that classic fashion rule that just because you like something doesn’t mean it will look good on you. The cut of this speedo was incredibly unflattering on my body. At first I tried to ignore it but the more I looked at myself in the mirror the more I knew this was a fashion abomination. Let’s just say the boxy cut did nothing for my tiny tooshie and instead gave me pure granny panties realness. I tried very hard not to start blaming my body because I knew the problem was the material not me. Luckily I found a skimpy Andrew Christian suit at a local store (Thank you Outlines!) in the Dallas gayborhood. I’ve had a lot of Andrew Christian bathing suits in the past and they’ve always looked great on me. It’s really a brand I can count on. When I tried it on it was remarkably better than the earlier puppy problem.

The lesson here is that when something doesn’t look good on you don’t blame your body blame the clothes. Not everything looks good on everyone and sometimes just because we like it on a hanger doesn’t mean it’s right for us. I literally fell in love with that puppy speedo but I had to let it go in favor of something more flattering. The other lesson is that everyone has a different body and shape. Andrew Christian works well for my body but it might not work for yours. In fact I passed the puppy speedo along to me roommate Mark whose amazing booty will probably look much better in it.

I realize talk is cheap and the proof is in the pictures. So I’ll put my pride on hold and show you the difference in bathing suit cuts. These pictures prove without a doubt that cut is one of the most important things when picking out clothing. Remember, don’t blame your body blame the clothes.

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P.S. A shout out to all my grammar Nazi readers: I know speedo is a brand name and should technically be capitalized but I’m using the term to refer to the general style not the specific brand.

How To Make An Ordinary Picture Extraordinary

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This picture could have been a forgettable shot but by paying attention to the details this gentleman has made it extraordinary.

  • Focusing on his assets: His fuzzy legs are extremely sexy and definitely worth a closeup. Those thick thighs and meaty calves are drool inducing.
  • Looking behind him: I seriously want those hardwood floors in my house. The shelves are clutter free and the bed is made. Even the mirror doesn’t magnify any hidden messes. A clean room in underrated and not even his missing pants are in sight. (I’m guessing it’s a hotel)
  • The clothing accentuates and does not distract: His socks are clean and white with no visible holes. His underwear is snug without being too tight and they perfectly present his package while highlighting his thick thighs. Not to be forgotten, his tee-shirt is absolutely the perfect length and proportion. Casual, approachable, and perfectly fit.
  • Lighting, Lighting, Lighting: Lighting can literally make or break a picture and this room has outstanding lighting. (or he has a very expensive camera) Everything is fully lit with an overall sense of warmth without any overexposed spots.
  • Posing: His legs are relaxed and not awkwardly stiff. It’s a minor detail because he did it right. If his pose and posture was bad it could’ve ruined the whole thing.

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If you know who this is please pass along my sincere appreciation.
Photo credit: Tumblr.

Feed The Bears

280022Would you rather spend $100 on delicious meal or on a fantastic item of clothing? Without question I’d choose the clothing item and as a bear I suspect I’d be in the minority for that reason. From my experience many bears tend to think of fashion in a very functional way. Going naked isn’t an option so they need clothes to cover themselves up. If the clothes also happen to make them look good it’s an added bonus but usually not the goal. Obviously they want to look nice but extensive thought and planning probably isn’t involved. Their no-nonsense approach to dressing usually consists mainly of simple basics in a limited and neutral color palette. Some might even describe it as bland. Side note: This is why I’ve always found it hilarious that so many bears have tried and failed at developing bear clothing companies.

Food however is a totally different story. Bears love to eat. When it comes to food their approach is much broader and variety is the spice of life. Dinner might include anything from Chinese dumplings to Greek souvlaki. They’re only limited by their appetite. It’s a natural connection since food, eating, and larger waistlines are half the reason for bears existing as a sub culture to begin with. It’s not just bears though. Food is a very important part of our culture as Americans and we often look to food as a touchstone. People even show their love through cooking and food. Not living near my family people sometimes say things like, “I bet your mom always makes your favorite food when you go home to visit.” The honest answer is no. I don’t associate any specific meal with my family or growing up.

I often feel like an outsider when it comes to food because I don’t seem to have the same emotional connection to it as everyone else. I’m honestly just as happy eating Whataburger’s food as I am eating food from the fanciest of restaurants. My picky eating habits have never helped build a connection with food and recent dietary restrictions have all but severed any remaining bond. I don’t really eat what I enjoy I eat what I am able to. When it comes to people’s emotional connection it’s never more evident than when I have to turn down their home cooking. This is a common occurrence at work where there always seems to be a reason for a potluck. They celebrate everything with a potluck. As is common my coworkers take it very personally if I don’t try their food. I’ve realized they are cooking as a way to show they care and my rejection of their food is like a rejection of them as a person. To counter act this I’ve made a rule that I don’t eat any food in the office. I started the rule as a way of being healthy so I would avoid all the sugary desserts that everyone brought in. As much as I want to my body can’t handle brownies, cake, and bite sized Snickers every day. Then the rule expanded to include all food because I realized people were less offended when I said no to everything rather than saying no to their specific dish. It’s become a running joke because everyone knows that when there’s a huge potluck lunch I’ll still end up at Subway.

As I grow older food is becoming more and more a functional part of life rather than a source of enjoyment. I need food to survive so I must eat. Yes I have preferred dishes, much like you may have a favorite tee shirt, but that doesn’t indicate a deeper connection.  Clothes on the other hand lift my spirits. I get so excited when I find a great item of clothing and a good outfit can truly make my day. Even though my style tends to remain very casual I still put a lot of thought and effort into every outfit. If there’s a big party coming up I’ll spend days if not weeks planning out what I’m going to wear. I assume other people use that time to plan what food they’ll bring? Work also pleasantly surprise me when they started a tradition of picking a signature color for everyone to wear every Friday. Early in the week a color is announced and come Friday the office is a sea of people all wearing clothes in the assigned color. This is something I can get behind.

When I realized that compared to most my tastes were reversed it helped me explain my food issued better. Often people can’t understand why I always order the same bland meal at a restaurant when there are so many other choices on the menu. The best way to explain it to them is with a question of my own. Why would you want to wear the same boring clothes everyday when there are so many more exciting possibilities? The answer to both questions is the same. We do it because it’s easier to stay in our comfort zone. So when I tell you that I’m going to New Orleans next week you can save any talk about all the food their famous for because the only thing I’m thinking about is what clothes I’m going to pack.

Living Rich While Being Poor

002_sorry_0111With social media’s ever-expanding presence  it’s easy to be jealous of everyone’s seemingly fantastic lives. Seeing your Facebook friends constantly going to different bear runs or Instagram pictures of someone’s new Apple watch can make your average day seem quit boring. Trust me I’ve felt that sense of envy when a friend checks in at the airport for another vacation as I’m sitting in Subway on my lunch break. Social media makes it easy to feel like you’re the only person missing an event. Also I can’t help but think, “How the hell can these people afford all this?” Am I really that poor or is everyone else just that rich? While there are definitely some wealthy people in the world it can’t be true for everyone. Obviously looks aren’t always what they seem and that’s when it occurred to me that I could be accused of the same behavior. From an outsider’s perspective it could look like I have a lot more money than I really do. Even though I’m far from rich I do like to travel and I also like to post about it on social media. Conversely there are never any pictures being taken when I look at my credit card bill each month. Money is something that’s never openly talked about much and for that reason you have no idea of knowing that I’m not rich. Therefore I thought it was a good idea to have an open and honest discussion about money and the cost of having fun.

All of this happens to coincide with a very busy and a very expensive month of September for me. If you were to see it only through Facebook and Instagram it would look like I was living a much more lavish lifestyle than I am. Before I jump into the nitty-gritty let me also point out that I’m not writing this as a form of backdoor bragging. I simply think that more information is always better. Seeing the real price of things is made that much more useful when you are also able to see how they are paid for.

The Plan

I should begin by explaining why September is so special. My birthday month has turned into one jam-packed page on the calendar. It all starts the day after my birthday when I fly to New Orleans for Southern Decadence. After NOLA the new iPhone should be coming out and I plan on upgrading as soon as possible. I’m ending the money train with a week-long vacation in Hawaii.

I’m returning to New Orleans for the second time for the fun of Southern Decadence. While it’s not an official bear run it has many similarities. Although there are several cheaper options I really liked staying at the “host” hotel because of their great rooftop pool. It also helps that so many of the other gays stay there too. Once I’m partied out I have a couple of weeks to relax and save before September 18th. That is the rumored day of the new (as yet unnamed) Apple iPhone release. I became upgrade eligible back in June but decided to hold out instead of buying the 6. While waiting I’ve been stalking every Apple rumor blog and 9/18 has been the most consistent date mentioned. I won’t be getting the Plus size phone but I will be upgrading to the 128GB model. If all of the rumored dated hold true then it’s extremely important that I get my new phone on the very first day because on Saturday 9/19 I get on an 8am flight headed for Hawaii. Yes after one vacation and a $400 phone I’ve also added a week on the beaches of Maui. This trip came about sort of last-minute and was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Money

Those are all fancy plans but you’re probably already asking yourself how the hell am I going to pay for it all? Trust me I’m asking myself the same question. With a paycheck of about $1100 every two weeks here is the breakdown.

Southern Decadence:

  • Hotel: Approx $500
  • Flights: $150

The total cost for the hotel room is $1000 but luckily I’m splitting my room with my best friend Justin so I’ll only be responsible for half. Also I lucked out this month and won an award at work that gave me a $500 bonus. That bonus money will be going directly to the Omni hotel. My flights were booked several months ago and I was able to pay for those directly out-of-pocket without using credit cards. Thank you Southwest for having a sale. So most of the up front costs for New Orleans have been accounted for.

iPhone 6s (or 7?):

  • 128GB 6s: $400

My upgrade falls directly in between iPhone releases. Every year I have to choose between the current phone which has been out for several months or waiting another 4 months for the newest incarnation. Last year I looked ahead and decided I was going to wait. I wanted to be able to get the newest features and I figured out that the longer I wait the more birthdays and Christmases I could use to amass Apple store gift cards. For the last year every time someone has asked me what I’d like as a gift I’ve told them to go to the Apple store. So far I have $175 in my iPhone fund and with my upcoming birthday I hope to get even closer to the $400 total. If all goes well I’ll only have to shell out about $150 which by the way will go on a credit card.

Hawaii:

  • Flight: $645
  • Condo Rental: $325
  • Rental Car: $62

Hawaii came about because my boyfriend and his roommate heard that September prices were relativity low and they have both always dreamed of going. We started looking and as it turns out the flights were shockingly cheap. Instead of a hotel we used AirBnB to find a great condo for rent and then I got a good deal on a rental to get us around the island. We’re all able to save some money because we’re splitting the condo rental and car three ways. The total for a week in Maui is $1032. I’d like to tell you I had some master plan or secret savings to pay for this trip but sadly that’s not the case. This whole adventure is being paid for by credit cards. Credit cards that will take a long time to pay off.

My goal of being so honest about all this is to give people a glimpse behind the curtain. I wanted to show you that I don’t have a lot of money but with creative advanced planning and deep credit card debt I am able to live above my means. That’s really the point of it all too. Credit cards make it all possible, at least in my case. When you sit home and feel envious about everyone being at a bear run without you keep in mind that they might also be choosing fun over saving money. They may have the same bank account balance as you do but are just more willing to use Visa to pay the way. I’m not saying either one is better but money in the bank is a very good thing even though it doesn’t provide many fun Instagram pictures. While my September is booked solid I should also point out some of the events I chose to skip. This year I said no to Tidal Wave in Orlando, VBRU in Vegas, and Bear Week in Ptown. There were also a couple of gay softball weekend trips that I passed on in order to save money. By the way Bear Week probably would’ve been more expensive than a week in Maui and that’s a little fucked up. So I’ll have my moment in the sun soon but to get there I also stayed home for several travel opportunities. I guess my point is that it’s all a matter of perspective. It may look like everyone else is having more fun than you but sometimes patience and planning provide the best reward.

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Photo credit: Tumblr

2015 Republican Debate Fashion Recap

Jeb Bush

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One look at Jeb and you’d never know he was a Floridian. His skin and hair are both the color of day old oatmeal. A little tinted moisturizer can go a long way Jeb. However in his defense he does have the glazed over look similar to many of the elderly retirees that fill Florida nursing homes. You can almost imagine him watching the Price Is Right and sloppily sucking on pea soup. He’s hoping he can get some votes out of it by reminding you of your lovable senile old grandpa. His beach body would be nothing but translucent saggy man boobs.

Scott Walker

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Scott Walker is the Sarah Jessica Parker of the GOP. Sometimes he can look adorable and charming and other times he looks like a toothy horse face. Luckily he has that ultra-pouty bottom lip that always seduces us. The more I look at him though the more I’m convinced he’s actually a Muppet come to life. If he becomes president do we all get a doozer of our very own?! When he’s at the beach the only thing we’ll be looking at is his other horse like appendage.

Rand Paul

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It seems Rand Paul has taken all his fashion cues from the movie Ghost. More specifically the character of the murderous best friend Carl. His fluffy curled hair has that touseled just-out-of-the-shower look that is his trademark along with his signature wide eyes. While rumors of secret plastic surgery (face lights and eye jobs) have been circulating his reps deny it and insist it’s all due to getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night. His beach body is probably super tight and well defined with just a hint of scar tissue.

Mike Huckabee

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Mike Huckabee hasn’t aged well and he looks much older than his 59 year old age. Age has brought on bloating and suspiciously dark hair. Exactly how much money is Just For Men hair dye donating to his campaign? Also let me provide this simple beauty tip: When it comes to makeup and foundation, less is more. I suspect his beach body would tell a very similar story. An overly spray tanned old man trying too hard to look young.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz has a that classic news anchor hair that’s slightly greasy and never moves. Unfortunately it’s also his best feature. His oversize ears are only extenuated by his incredibly square head. And we won’t even talk about that nose. His beach body is the biggest mystery. I wonder if he’s nervous to take his shirt off at the beach due to obvious embarrassment over his square nipples?

John Kasich

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If you’re not familiar with John, he’d remind you of a less bloated Larry Sanders. You could hang a picture of his incredibly generic face in any office and pass it off as the CEO and no one would ever question it. He’s just another boring white guy in a suit. He should use brightly colors and large prints to try and stand out. When he’s at the beach I have no doubt that he’s rocking a pasty white dad bod with a farmers tan.

Ben Carson

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Ben Carson has style. His pinstripe suit and patterned tie give just a touch of flash. He looks sophisticated without looking boring but I guess that’s easy amongst a sea of forgettable white washed faces. I bet we’d be pleasantly surprised by a toned beach body complete with meaty butt muscles.

Marco Rubio

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Marco Rubio looks like an animatronic ken-doll with movable natural hair. At his first major presidential debate he stuck with the navy suit and red tie combo that is a staple of the Republican style guide. Like Huckabee he went a little over board with the makeup and foundation. He may have even been wearing pink lip gloss. Regardless he’d definitely win the beach body contest with all that white washed Cuban flavor.

Chris Christie

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Being from Jersey, Chris undoubtedly looks to Tony Soprano for fashion inspiration. Mr. Christie looks great in this classic navy suit. He knows that a dark color is slimming and that his light blue tie draws the eye up toward his face and away from any problem areas. Good work Chris! Prove to everyone that America is ready for a full figured commander and chief. With his swim trunks pulled high above his belly button he’d be proud of his beach body.

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This is dedicated to every female politician who has had to endure bullshit sexist commentary that focuses only on their appearance. I was inspired by one such article in the Washington Post examining the new hair style of DC Mayor Murial Bowser. These types of article are common place and no one seems to question their validity. I wanted to do my part to level the playing field. If it’s acceptable for the ladies than it should be just as acceptable for the men.

The Best Parts of a Man’s Body

As gay men and as bears we often have much more in common with the straight community than we think. However one of the key differences between us is our appreciation for the male body. Women tend to appreciate the whole package of a man but not every nook and crevice. For example, I’ve heard several comedians joke about the ugliness of balls. No shade to the ladies as it’s all a matter of taste but I notice they are often disgusted by a man’s most masculine characteristics.

For all the guys out there, straight and gay, here is a list to celebrate the parts of your body that don’t always get the love they deserve.

Balls

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Back Rolls 

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Belly Overhang

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Hairy Backs

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Thick Necks and Backs

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Booty

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Mushroom Tips

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Thick Thighs 

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Armpits 

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Nipples 

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Foreskin 

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Beards

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