This past weekend, I attended a giant trade show. One of those events where people from all over the country who work in the same field come together to network. Since the large venue was in Los Angeles, many of these people viewed the opportunity as a vacation, as well as a chance to generate work. So they brought along their significant others. Which provided a fascinating glimpse into how gay men from the various places across the nation dress, and how they perceive themselves.
What I discovered, with amusement, is that many couples match. Each other. As in, they look alike.
Now, I don’t mean to exclude women from this observation. There were plenty of ladies with the exact same hair styles, and the exact same body types, wearing strikingly similar outfits. However, it was the gay men that exhibited more than just matchy-matchy sameness of appearance. They also, probably unwittingly, exhibited their preferences in type.
These preferences, due to the wide range in city of origins spread about the nation but convened in one place over the course of the weekend, clearly pointed to an interesting conclusion:
Gay men love themselves.
I don’t mean they are narcissistic and vain. I mean they are mostly (many of them, enough to make it a thing,) drawn to the same type as themselves. Same body type. Same face type. Same overall person.
Some of this might be attributed to the dog/owner tendency, where people and their dogs start to resemble one another. Some of it may be because one half of the couple has no real interest in fashion or style, and simply allows the other half to take over that department and mold them into a more pleasing version of themselves. Or, some of it may just come from economy. Spend enough time together, and you start to borrow one another’s clothing, and have your hair done at the same salon, work out in the same way, or be influenced by the same local trends.
Whatever the reason, or combinations of reasons, I found it fascinating to watch the male couples who match, and try to guess where they might be from.
There was the tall stud viewed from behind. Snug fabric stretched across every part of his body that was clothed. From the ankles up to the collar of his skin tight, custom tailored to fit him like a glove shirt. Same with the pants, clinging tightly to his knees and across his perfectly sculpted butt. How he was able to sit down, I have no idea.
Sure enough, a few paces away was his reflection, only with brown hair instead of blond. Same cut, same style, same product, just a different color. (For now…)
You could have put them together if everyone in the room was transformed by a spell into Lego pieces. Out of the thousands of pegs and holes, you could have found these two with no trouble and clicked them into one.
Then there were the two pretend lumberjacks. Could have been Halloween in Denver, and these two were going to a ball dressed as what they perceived to be West Hollywood stereotypes. The hair cut that every gay man is supposedly required to wear. Buzzed on the sides and back, obnoxiously long on top and slicked back. The carefully pruned and shaped slightly overgrown beard. Admit it, you’ve seen this look.
They were wearing matching flannel shirts and goose feather vests, which were not at all puffy. Not designed for warmth, they were designed to look like gay men wear them. The couple carried matching leather bags, strapped across the back in a way that could only be described as masculine. By the HGTV host who did a segment featuring leather bags, which must be worn strapped across the back. Manly.
Two cute Latino boys with insanely toned bodies were in painted on tee shirts and skinny jeans. Same sneakers, naturally, and those were neon yellow. The easier to locate one another in case of a black out? What was striking about these two was not the clothing, nor the mirror image Maybelline eye brows, but the specific body type. Both were diminutive, with long torsos and short legs. They had the appearance of those mini ponies children ride in petting zoos. Adorable little satyrs.
The two from… I’ll guess a state where Denny’s is the place to go on date night… made an intentional effort to appear excessively casual. As if they rejected any notion of fashion or trends, thereby producing an impression that serious thought went into their socks with sandals, and football jerseys with baseball hats. Both were overweight in the same way, and both were pink. In the face. The body type and complexion possibly a result of their too frequent date night destination.
A tall, super tanned former GQ model stood by himself. He must have been stunning twenty years ago. He was stunning now. Expensive suit, cut with precision. Expensive shoes, even from yards away I could tell. He was shiny. All over. Shiny white hair. Shiny gold dripping from his wrists and neck. It wasn’t difficult to imagine what kind of car he drives. His partner wasn’t around, but I’m sure he looks every bit as much like a high end realtor from Florida.
There must be something to it. All these gay men looking at their partners and seeing themselves. Is it easier to overlook the perceived shortcomings? Easier to focus on the strengths?
Some guys do actually prefer the opposite. I know when I lived in Sydney, and went to the gay clubs on Oxford Street, I was only ever approached by two types. Either it was the bulky muscle monkeys, or the guys with shaved heads. (I’m slender, and had long hair at the time.)
You can find a wide variety of combinations in relationships, of course, so there is no set rule. Nor should there be. All the more interesting when you notice so many gay couples in the same place over the course of the same weekend, demonstrating a clear preference for a carbon copy of themselves.