Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stages Of Attraction

“You are Hot! Are you kidding me” said an older gentleman not so long ago at a club.

 It was from a man who followed me around and complimented me all night long. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the compliments; it was that I didn’t know how to react to them other than to point out what I believed were my physical flaws. The sixteen year old boy in me wouldn’t let this thirty-two year old man he became recognize his own attraction. Bald head, goatee, loop gold earrings on each ear, tight tee shirt exposing the results of working out four to five days a week was what this older man was seeing, but my own eyes only saw that lanky, curly haired boy in the reflection of my own memory. I wasn’t a poster boy of confidence, hell didn’t even come close. Girls didn’t show me any attention; I was too shy and hidden in my own ugliness to even recognize if they tried. But I realized as I hit my twenties that my own view of attraction played a large part in finding myself unattractive. Society plays a big role in our stages of attraction.

The funny part about my experience in that club was that it was the very club I used to go to a few years ago when I wasn’t so muscular or gave any sign of confidence. I was often left standing there while my friends go all the attention. The tall muscular Italian stud in Bob was attraction, the light skinned Jason who had the distinct Latin features was attraction. Attraction wasn’t me. Sure I had many of the “your cutes” but I had no one drooling over me. I found myself standing in a familiar position when I first started going out to gay clubs, the position of being in the background rarely recognized. I don’t believe that’s simply a gay thing, it’s pretty much all of society. But it was so much more evident as I begin to see the type of men guys would flock to and trip over their feet for. I couldn’t even imagine how it felt to stand in my friends shoes.

I refused to change for anyone except myself. One day I sat in my apartment after a night out with echoes of a guy telling me that I needed to lose my belly as if I didn’t know that myself. It wasn’t as much hurtful as it was a reminder to myself that I wasn’t taking care of myself and fulfilling my own happiness. That guy became my motivation of dedication in becoming that person I kept hidden. I exhorted a shyness when I went out or around certain people that made me seem like a bore or uninterested. I wore baggy clothes and layers and stood with my arms closed which made me seem unapproachable. And I didn’t exhibit any confidence making me an easy target for ridicule. I knew there had to be a change in myself and those changes begin to happen the more I felt good about myself.

Now I can enter a club or any environment and be the focus of attention from both men and women. It feels good but it’s not really an attention I welcome. Just like I wasn’t seen for who I was on the inside as a teen and in my twenties, I wasn’t being seen for who I was as a thirty something year old guy considered to be hot. It was all the about looks and attraction that determined who talked to you but it was all really the same, there was still a loneliness. I became too cautious in wondering why people talked to me that I still wasn’t social until someone pointed out to me one day that I seemed to exert more confidence and seemed way more approachable. Now I go out and I actually talk to people and the confidence shows which make me more attractive. People get to see that I’m not a bore, but a funny person; they see my heart and enjoy conversation although I’m very soft spoken. I made quite the transformation in just a few years but it feels good because I did it for myself. Attraction is going to vary from person to person but no one is going to love you until and unless you love yourself.


  1. Appreciate your thoughts, Tarringo. The arc of being an "attractive" gay man is so long, so full of mirrors reflecting inner substances and thoughts. My ex partner who became a roid-using bodybuilder, shattering his personal world to attain a sense of attraction, only to see his chubby teenage body whenever men looked at him. I have my own weight issues, feeling upset when thin and noticed, preferring that people see "the real me." You are definitely correct about self-esteem and confidence...nothing could be more attractive.

  2. Thank you..its an everyday challenge..but one we have to have the strength to overcome

  3. WOW! I can't get over how amazing this post is Mr. Vaughan!!!!!

    I always told myself I would NEVER date because I'd rather be inexperienced than hurt. I am a young gay college student growing up in NYC - where if you have facial hair - no one wants you because you seem to experienced. A lot of the LGBTQ community between the ages of 18-26 in NYC treat themselves like royalty and everyone else gets thrown under the bus if expectations aren't met. BUT by telling myself to remain inexperienced I did myself a favor. I have become more confident and have even fallen in love with myself, who I am and what I am about. When other people choose to consider me unattractive I tell myself that I am not unattractive at all! Just because I don't meet someone's expectations doesn't mean I should beat myself up! I love your blog and please continue to spread the word! I admire everything about this!

    Also, one of the things that have kept me confident is making films. I thought I could share this with you