Take a second to think of what you would define as male beauty. Who does it look like? What does this person sound or act like? (If you’re a woman, do this activity by comparing yourself to the same sex.) Now, do you fit the standard? See, the tricky thing about ideals, is that they rob us of the things that make us special by focusing on everyone else. But as Cameron, a late-twentysomething New Yorker now living in London, shows us, we can never hope to understand the beauty of others if we can’t first see it in ourselves.
When I think about what I’d define as male beauty, I’d have to say it’s smoky. I say that because we’ve made it smoky. No one talks about male beauty. It’s almost as if society feels that a man isn’t supposed to be beautiful, which I find to be false. When I think of other animals and the male sex, they are the beautiful ones. Bright colors, mane, hair, size, but you go to the human race and we’ve put so much smoke in front of it. It’s a thick ass smog you can find in L.A. It’s complex. It has to come with comfort for a man to consider himself beautiful.
I think male beauty is seen as an oxymoron because they are supposed to be rough, tough, rugged. But I look at a lot of men, and they’re stunning. Most men don’t wear make-up and they are fine as hell. So when you have a really beautiful man: his body, strength, his hands, his back, his feet, his jawline, his brow bone; it’s majestic.
I don’t feel like I fit it the standard of male beauty completely. I’ve always seen myself on the slight end, build-wise. It wasn’t until recently that I recognized that I had broad shoulders and that came as a surprise to me because I thought I had softer features. For a long time, the manliest thing I thought I had was my moustache and my deep voice. Those were the two things that defined it.
When I think about what I’d define as male beauty, I’d have to say it’s smoky. I say that because we’ve made it smoky. No one talks about male beauty. It’s almost as if society feels that a man isn’t supposed to be beautiful, which I find to be false.
When I was younger, I had a big butt, and I didn’t play sports until I got into track in high school. And even then there were guys that were so much bigger than I was. So when I think of the term “Adonis” and whether or not I fit the bill, I wouldn’t consider myself that because I don’t have the body type. Do I think I’m beautiful? Hell yeah. But if we are going to talk about 100% purebred, masculine energy, no.
When I finally had the self-esteem to realize/accept that I was cute, I took it and ran with it. I learned how to smile in a certain way to get what I wanted. When the first person told me I had big beautiful eyes, I took that and ran with it, too. I would make my eyes bigger and more doe-eyed. I knew how to bat my eyelashes very nicely. I got used to getting what I wanted and wasn’t afraid to use my wit and feminine wiles.
I’ve lured a lot of people in. I’ve been like a praying mantis, especially in my senior year of high school into college and a couple of years after that. I knew that recipe for each and every guy. I got to really see what made them tick, and then what made them tick even more. I was always focused on not just how I could bring a man in, but how I could keep them. The problem was that there was also the side of me that really wanted that companionship, to feel fulfilled.
In my eyes, to feel fulfilled, I needed a man there. But once I got them, it was an empty fulfillment. So when I got them, I was with them for the wrong reasons. And when they were done and they got up and left, it was as if they ripped my tail off. That made me think I wasn’t good enough, that my wiles were good enough to get them but not good enough to keep them. And that’s when it started to fuck my head up.
When I finally had the self-esteem to realize/accept that I was cute, I took it and ran with it. I learned how to smile in a certain way to get what I wanted.
Anything as simple as, “Am I not pretty enough? Am I not good enough?” to “Am I only good enough for sex? Am I boring? Am I not bad enough?” All of the thoughts and scenarios that played out in my head centered around me not being good enough. In my mind, the recipe was right—I added just enough sugar and spice that I should have been able to keep them—but they kept leaving.
For a long time, I did not feel attractive, so I thought about all the things that I felt were wrong about me to justify their actions because in my mind it had to be my fault. I’d tell myself I had a chipped tooth, my head was shaped funny, I walked on my tiptoes, my ears were pointy, and that my smile was crooked.
When I was younger, I never thought I would get my ideal man because I didn’t find myself attractive enough to get him. So, in my head, I always settled for less. Now this isn’t to discredit the guys I’ve dated, but from what I thought was the ideal man versus what I dated, they never matched. And even when I did get closer to that ideal, the guys I was interested in never reciprocated. They treated me as cute.
There’s this one guy who was kind of a porn star. He was in a Noah’s Arc episode. He summoned me over and proceeded to spit game. In the back of my head, I was like, “Why are you talking to me?” He was light-skinned, chiseled face, six-foot, had a bald head, and was clearly popular.
Everybody wanted him. We even exchanged numbers and started texting. And then things got really fuzzy. He would always say how he wanted to take me out, but it never happened. And then all of a sudden he disappeared. When that happened, I was like, “Yeah, I’m just not attractive enough.”
For a long time, I did not feel attractive, so I thought about all the things that I felt were wrong about me to justify their actions because in my mind it had to be my fault.
There were some guys that even despite them being handsome, they were just shitty. And there were some guys who despite their sex appeal were just awful. For example, there was one guy I recently ran into from my past. I told him that he played the hell out of me. He said he was a completely different person back then and apologized profusely.
I remembered being smitten over him because he was very well endowed, that’s it. But even though he had that, I remember him as the man who showed up two hours late to the train stop to meet me. The guy who took me over to his house where he said he was going to have a dance class that never happened, and ultimately the guy who dumped me because he was into guys that weren’t really into him.
Back then, I remember wanting to hang on to the sex as long as I could because I didn’t feel like I had the looks to get anything better. I was really desperate to be found hot, sexy, or whatever, as long as I could have a guy I could go to bed with to caress and hold. It didn’t matter that he didn’t fit my ideal man description, if I had a man, right? But I eventually learned the truth behind that answer, and that whether I knew it or not, it would always be my choice.
Over the years, I’ve been able to change my perspective when it comes to beauty as a whole, especially my own. Whereas I used to focus on all the things I thought were wrong about me, I feel it’s okay to be flawed. It’s okay to celebrate yourself. Flaunt it. Exaggerate it even. Somebody is going to LOVE it; they are going to love all those quirky things about you.
As long as you stay committed to being yourself, someone is really going to get you for who you are, how you look, how you think, how you operate.