August 4, 2007

I DON'T LIKE BANDWAGONS

If everyone is doing something or has something or wants something, that same thing’ll probably turn me off. One of my defining paradoxes is a proclivity for wanting to be accepted and loved by the masses while simultaneously trying to remain on the periphery of the mainstream.

All this to say, Mr. Periphery jumped on the gay-gym fashion bandwagon this afternoon and donned the current uniform of the de rigueur faggot athlete: I worked out in camouflage shorts. Alert the media.


Now, real sportsmen - which I fancy myself to be - train in veritable sportswear. But Divers/cite is happening this weekend and I used the impending festivities to rationalize a pushing of the appropriate-athletic-attire envelope.

Alas, I quickly realized it was just plain wrong for me to be sporting pseudo-military gear while pumping iron. As if the impracticality of long, heavy, multi-pocketed shorts wasn’t bad enough: Worse, I looked like everybody else who'd jumped on that same frickin' bandwagon.

I felt entirely out of my element, totally untrue to myself, because I fit right in with the rest of the trendy boys.

Oh how I longed for the periphery this afternoon. What a curse to be a cookie-cutter queer, even for just a little while.

*****

Easy now, Self. You have to allow for contradictions in yourself. No one is just one thing.

20 comments:

SharkBoy said...

Enjoy Divers/Cite this weekend.

I work out in surf short from BillyBong that my b/f bought at a Goodwill store. And couldn't give a flying F what the rest of the mainly queer crowd think of it at my gym... but it took me years to get there.. lol

Mike said...

We want pictures, please.

Trey said...

Yes, pictures. For some reason I think they would look very good on you!

Antonio said...

I worked out in cargo shorts once. By the end of the workout, my upper shorts were soaked in sweat. It looked like I pissed myself, but the piss somehow went up.

Mateo In San Diego said...

Good topic! Yet the relatively small size of this entry downplays the weight with which this ongoing internal struggle rests on your shoulders. It's a simple issue, though with its share of complexities - your love/hate relationship with yearning to be accepted in a scene, and thereby finally finding "a home" ... only to realize the family from whom you seek acceptance totally repulses you and, worse yet, are invariably superficial. In your particular case, this is all made even more puzzling when most people take a look at you and assume that you're an active member of the hairy-guy/hot-daddy/musclebear scene... only to find that, in getting to know you, you're pretty much an autonomous loner who still considers himself looking for his place in the big social-scene puzzle. All you’d need is to want it and you could be an instant super-hero mascot among musclebears, if only you saw yourself as a character in that comic book. I guess you realize the role requires you to be 2-D in areas you're unwilling to flatten. But... ugh, I am being the goony friend with his atypical “you can do it if you want it” speech. Irritating. Let's focus on your writing...

Your latest attempt at what you describe as if you engaged in social labotimization came when you, gasp!, worked out in camouflage shorts in celebration of Divers/cite; an event which you now look back upon with self-disgust as you ponder your lapse in judgment; discovering that in wearing those shorts you were being "totally untrue to myself" and out of your element... because, as you write, you "...fit right in with the trendy boys."

Well dog forbid you should celebrate an event with your community and fit in.

Make sure you sufficiently beat yourself up over that one... and NEVER try something new and different again. As long as you stay in your comfort zone, taking no risks and refusing to explore and define your identity, you'll never have such a traumatic experience again. Just stay at home and watch the Golden Girls... less risky on your ego. Okay, enough sarcasm... lemme give it to you straight.

So you got excited about a special event and decided to dress up for it? GREAT! That's fun. Oh, you mean you didn't like how it felt to look like everyone else who'd also decided to celebrate in the same way? You found it kinda made you feel like you were a member of a club with a few icky members? Well, that's a risk that comes with being a member of a large group. There's always gonna be a couple of grossoids... just as there are invariably a few guys just like you... who, too, probably wish they had stuck to their usual, more comfortable attire... focus on them, not on the one's that bug you.

You did a good thing in wearing those camo-shorts at the gym. You tried something new. Did you feel stupid in the end? Maybe. But that says less about the shorts and the"bandwagon" (which, in this case, could also be called simply the "occasion") and more about your self-esteem. I know, I know... over-simplified and obvious. But oh so terribly kinda true. So the quest forges on to find your family... but look at the bright side, you can scratch another group off your list of hopefuls. As it turns out, Tank is not a member of the "hey let's all dress up in angel wings and speedos" club. Thank frickin’ god.

Jason said...

i really liked mateo's comment

i think it's an innate part of all us to consciously or subconsciously try to fit into a group

Dead Robot said...

I love it that you lament your dress decision and the horny gays just howl at you for pictures, missing the point entirely.

You seem like a smart, strong man. Smart strong men don't give a flying fuck if they're on a bandwagon or not. Smart strong men do what they want. But I draw the line at downloading Britney Spears from iTunes, however. That negates "smart".

Chris said...

Like I told you the other day, I'm going to buy you a pair of vertiable high-tech sweatpants. I know, I know, you like your legs to be free (and yes guys - the eyecandy factor there is high) but let me tell ya, these stretchy, sweat wicking, non smelly, light as air things are really awesome.

....and no comments about pantyhose...though I assure you our guy's assets won't be totally hidden.

Tank said...

I'm glad most of you got the point of the Bandwagon blog.

sharkboy: It took me years to get to this point too and I wouldn't wanna be in my 20s or 30s again, no way no how - BillyBong shorts notwithstanding.

antonio: Oy such a colourful image! But I sorta like it. Oink oink.

mateo: Another delicious mouthful outta you. Your analyses are pearls of insight and literary gems unto themselves. Bless you.

jason: ...and then there're those of us who consciously make an effort not to fit in anywhere. Pathetic, really.

dead robot: Britney who?

and chris: If I told you I like how you look in your pair of veritable high-tech sweatpants, would you hold me to it?

Scott-O-Rama said...

Remember back in the 80's and 90's (and to some extent still today) when everywhere you looked you saw gay men wearing the yellow work boots (a.k.a Come-fuck-me boots)?

Now that was a bandwagon!

Tank said...

scott-o-rama: I remember well the yellow boots. Classic.
I think the gay-guy-as-construction-worker/lumberjack thing started in the '70s, or maybe even earlier.
But I still wear mine to this day. I don't care if it dates me. I like the look.
Military gear has long been a gay wardrobe staple. But not at the gym - that's my point here. When we work out, if we do it right, our masculinity is overt and a costume isn't necessary.

BigAssBelle said...

haha!! boots as "come fuck me" footwear :-) mine were, of course, dagger-heeled black open-toed pumps which fairly screamed "throw me down!!" but i digress . . .

funny that i also have that tension between periphery and mad love o' the masses. wonder what causes that?

Jockohomo said...

"If everyone is doing something or has something or wants something, that same thing’ll probably turn me off" or what is knowns as the Groucho Marx principle...I don't want to be a member of a club that will have me as a member, or something like that!

Tank said...

bigassbelle: Terrific Teresa, pictured here, girlfriend of my adolesence, used to wear "throw me down!!" pumps when we went out dancing. Mind you, I didn't know anything about throwing anybody down in those days. But damn didn't I reckon her shoes elevated my own social status as a happenin' hetero.

jockohomo: You're right. Though I'm not trying to steal Groucho's line here. I wrote it 'cuz it's my truth.

jimbo said...

Nylon short-short running shorts always work for me.

rangergeek said...

This subject matter requires a photo attachment.

BigAssBelle said...

twat? no new tankishness? where are you, cupcake?

BigAssBelle said...

hey there ~ i just read your comment about 70% people having read only one book. please tell me more. i can't stand the thought of that. it's unbearable. it makes me feel as hopeless as anything i've read about politics. i'm sinking! inform me! please tell me you were kidding (i am afraid you were not).

jimbo said...

Do your best to bring back the late-80's zebra-stripe Zubazz (sp.?) workout shorts please. And put some Sun-In on while yer at it.

Derek said...

I want pictures too! I wear camo's to work out in, sometimes even camo tanks, my trainer called me GI Joe once. Now I just wear the shorts and white shirts.