Open up your Grindr, lads. Now tell me what you see?
It’s the same story everywhere.
When every fourth guy on Grindr looks like he has stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch underwear catalogue, you know you might have a problem. It’s no surprise that we’ve been trained to get out of the closet, and go straight to the gym, but now we are doing so on our spinning cycles.
It’s simple, if there’s one thing you need as a gay man today, it’s a body. You might want to think differently, but eight out of 10 times you are not going to get a great deal of interest from another gay man just because you look like you listen to Mozart, and devour literary classics for breakfast. Sadly, muscles are in and they are never going to go out of style (they are sort of like florals during spring, only better). We might have reached the age of technology, but deep down, we’d rather be men of steel.
Now, most gay men like to remove their flimsy cotton V-necks at a moment’s notice, showcasing their kilometer-wide chests and xylophone abs as if they were starring in an Indian remake of Magic Mike. They make other men (like me) gulp and vow to start going to the gym from next Monday.
Or next month.
But who are these men again? The ones who spend hours preening at the gym, and promise to split their post-workout protein shake with you, when they’d rather be splitting your legs in the showers instead?
You might have met the Hipster a few weeks ago, How do you sort the gym rats from the ones that scour the food court at the mall (like me again)? Here’s how you spot one, when he’s not asking you to spot him as he weight trains at the gym:
The Gym Freak hates it when people call him a gym freak, or worse, a gym rat. He prefers the term Fitness Enthusiast. He has a vest with the same emblazoned on it.
He has eye-popping biceps, billboard-worthy pecs, a tray of abs that can balance half a dozen eggs and broad shoulders that are the shape of a cozy armchair. You can even sit on him, but only when he’s doing a plank.
He says he does not have a ‘type’, but will proudly put up #Masc4Masc on his Grindr profile.
He follows it with a succinct ‘No fats, no femmes’ in his bio.
And a photo of his glistening abs (more than six, less than eight) as his picture.
He has a day for Triceps. It’s on Thursday.
He dresses up sexily for the gym.
He wears trainers that match his gym shorts. Sometimes, when he’s feeling attractive, he wears leggings.
The only time he cheated was when he cheated on his diet plan with a double cheese hamburger five Sundays ago. He’s not forgiven himself ever since.
He doesn’t need an alarm clock. He is the alarm clock.
The Gym Freak counts his calories every day. He allows himself 500 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch and a mere 300 calories for dinner.
His protein shake accounts for 500 calories every serving.
His gym face is his orgasm face.
He spends two hours hitting the gym every day, and another two hours thinking about it.
He hates it when people typecast gay men as the quintessential gym-obsessed fitness freaks. He’ll tell you all about it as you help him count his reps at the free weight section.
He has all of The Body Coach’s workouts saved in his internet browser. He watches it whenever he has free time. While on the treadmill. On his way to work. At dinner. Just before he falls asleep. While jerking off. In the loo. At his best friend’s wedding.
The last time he ate a French fry was back in 2010. Whenever he gets the occasional craving, he realises that abs are not built over potatoes. He cries himself to sleep then.
He hates going on long vacations, because it breaks his strict regime.
But when he does, he looks for a hotel with a 24/7 gym, and a heated indoor pool. He gets excited if they have a massage room.
On more than one occasion, he’s thanked God for great genes, and grilled chicken.
He takes a #TransformationTuesday picture every week. And every day of the week.
When he can’t, he makes his personal trainer take one for him.
He’ll use any chance that he gets to go shirtless. At the beach. In the sauna. By the swimming pool. On a run. When he’s reading at home. While going grocery shopping.
He’ll tell you that your vodka and soda has 85 calories as you order your drink, when you are out on a date with him.
He knows because he looked it up online.
He’ll then call for a Caesar salad, with extra chicken. He’ll tell the waiter to hold the croutons, and the vinaigrette dressing.
He has an app that reminds him to drink water every hour. He has an app that reminds him that he has to run every other day. He has an app that reminds him he’s overshot his calorie intake for the day. He wishes he had an app that tells him where he can find someone to go the gym with.
He has a separate drawer for his Lycra gym wear. It’s right beside his bed.
His iPhone gallery is littered with gym selfies. And the occasional shot of sunrise from his morning jogs at the beach.
He will tell you that the Mint Chocolate Chip protein shake will taste like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but he’ll know that he’s lying to you.
He knows the exact benefits of whey protein.
One night, over wheat crackers and low-fat cheese, he’ll cry to his friends about how all the gay boys only love him for his body.
But he’ll forget to mention that his Grindr profile picture is an aesthetic shot of his chiseled torso.
Which mentions that he’s looking for ‘gym-fit muscular men only’.
He’ll only touch beer if it’s gluten free.
He’ll tell everyone who listens how he likes it raw. When you cock your eyebrows at him, he’ll guffaw loudly and tell you that he’s talking about his special nutritionist-prescribed diet. The one with dehydrated sunflower seed crackers, juiced kale and dried goji berries. What he won’t tell you is that he secretly hopes that raw walnuts taste like bacon.
He gets serious separation anxiety if he skips the gym a day. He skips dinner the same night.
He hates flirting with other men at the gym, because how would he train otherwise?
He goes on a juice cleanse twice every month.
He uses the hash tag #NoPainNoGain, but he doesn’t use it ironically.
When he pictures his future with any potential plus one, he pictures the two of them breaking into a sweat (both in and out of bed) and grabbing a protein smoothie to go after. They exchange rings at the beach, after which they run off (literally) into the sunset.
He knows the exact days when all the personal trainers at the gym are on holiday, and when their birthdays fall. He gets them gluten-free cupcakes then.
Without any frosting.
The Gym Freak is never going to be happy with the way he looks. He’ll always have something to complain about. Too much fat. Too little muscle. Too much cardio. Too little sweat. He’ll go to the gym the very next day, and work on the part of his body that bothers him, even though he knows that spot reduction doesn’t work.
But that’s the thing.
I want to be a gym freak myself.