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Does the Gay Men’s Health Summit make me look fat?

I took more time than usual choosing an outfit this morning, because of two terribly conflicting forces. First, I was on my way to the first day of the National Gay Men’s Health Summit and, diametrically opposed to this fact, I went shopping for pants yesterday and discovered I now measure a 36 waist.

ScaleBelieve me, I know I have my priorities screwed up. And I should celebrate the fact that I have now been smoke-free for seven months, and clean and sober for 21 months. Funny how quitting cigarettes and crystal meth can wreak havoc with your waistline.

But I’ve bought into gay cultural norms all my life. The hair, the body, the gym membership, the dance floor, you name it. My recovery process has rid me of a lot of my old ideas, but standing in a Niemann Marcus dressing room trying to squeeze into a size 36 definitely tests everything I’ve learned about loving myself and accepting my aging process.

Fate laughed at me in that dressing room, and kept right on cracking up when I arrived at the conference today and saw the first scheduled workshop: Body Image and Weight Issues Among Gay Men. Hilarious.

The video blog will introduce you to some of the fine people at this conference, and a discussion with the facilitator and another participant after the Body Image workshop (sorry for the intermittent audio track problems). You’ll notice I layered my outfit, to little avail. Tomorrow, I’m considering a caftan. Or I’ll realize what a silly old fool I can be, and return to the comfort zone of my worn 501’s.

I’ll be at the Summit all week and hope to report back with another video blog. Meanwhile, please be well.




By | 2011-11-04T07:32:14+00:00 August 26th, 2010|Gay Life, Living with HIV/AIDS, My Fabulous Disease|3 Comments


  1. don warner saklad August 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    How widespread is the strategy of “BEFORE we have sex let’s get tested TOGETHER for A VARIETY of STDs.” Do sexual health checkups reduce the ambiguity and can they be like anything else POTENTIAL sex partners do together? If you needed surgery would you want the surgeon to wash before operating? If you needed a blood transfusion would you want the blood tested before or after the transfusion?…

    see also
    “tested together” alerts

    (Thanks, Don. I appreciate your points, though sex for me isn’t as invasive or bloody as surgery, thank goodness. But I like the idea of being mutually tested before choosing to have unprotected, monogamous sex. — Mark)

  2. George Medeiros August 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I was in the same workshop as you and only lasted till the first break- It made me so uncomfortable to talk about how I felt about my body image growing up i broke out in a sweat. Then I had my body fat tested and scored 31%, which for my age is considered obese. Needless to say I was self-conscious for the rest of the Summit. But I’m really trying to watch what I eat and I go to the gym 3 times a week, so I should just accept myself as I am and be glad I’m still alive after 29 years of dealing with HIV.

  3. Anthony Johnson September 1, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I think we put to much emphasis on what we look like and if we fit in. We are so concerned that Tom, Dick, or Harry won’t like us or will look down on us because we are a bit thicker in the waist or our hair is not coiffed just right. I think if we focused more on the inner person, the rest will follow. If we learn that the clothes we wear and the car we drive really doesn’t matter, then we may just find out we are all okay just the way we are.

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