All About Trey

Life, Travel, Adventure

The Adonis Complex

In the early to mid 1980s, GQ published an article called “The Adonis Complex.” It was about an emerging trend where the ideal shape of the male body, its physical form, was being changed to one of more muscular shape. Much like how the ideal feminine form had changed from voluptuous to thin, the same trend was happening with the male form.

Today’s it obvious that the ideal male form is one of a thin waist, muscular body, and of course a six (preferably an eight) pack abs. But this article was from over 20 years ago, before every men’s magazine had a muscular, thin, shirtless man on its cover. I remember the article pretty well. At the time, I was short and overweight and it seemed like an ideal form that I would never achieve.

Battling with my weight has been a challenge ever since. The things I did to make the weight restrictions while I was in the Navy where probably not very healthy. After I got out of the Navy, I did lose a lot of weight, but I’m still kind of big. I’ve got more muscles, but its something I deal with every day.

During the shower scene in “Take Me Out”, there were 8 guys lined up, naked. From 40 feet away, it was kind of an odd perspective. They were actors, playing baseball players, but none of them were in “perfect shape”. Which is kind of accurate, I think most ball players are just in okay shape. But to see these men lined up, it was interesting to look at them and to figure out which ones had characteristics that I found attractive. Broad shoulders and chest, decent biceps, a waist that was atleast narrower than their shoulders. Like most people, I’ve fully bought into what is considered the ideal male form. But how realistic is that?

After the play, I went home and caught the episode of Will & Grace where Will and Jack are helping a “newbie”, a guy just coming out of the closet. At the end of episode, the newbie declares his desire to look like the cover boy of a mens magazine, is wearing expensive, but uncomfortable shoes, and using credit to pay for it all. Will and Grace quipped that he really was gay: unrealistic body expectations, choosing fashion or comfort, and living beyond your means.

Unrealistic body expections. The gay community, always the early adopters and trendsetters, embraced the new masculine form. Add in the fact that masculine mean looked healthy and that the gay community was associating thin and gaunt with HIV and AIDS, the new ideal masculine form became the holy grail, something to be sought and treasured. But not everybody can be 6'2", 200 pounds, have a 44 inch chest and a 30 inch waist. The gay community worships this insane body image, and those who have it, are praised and sought after.

I’m in Ptown right now and it’s throwing me for a little bit of a loop. It’s Bear Week here. Walking down the street are guys who push 250, or 300 easy. Some of the bears are more muscle bears, but some are just big guys. These are guys who have accepted that they are big and, one assumes, are happy with it. They appreciate a little hair on the chest, facial hair, and/or a bit of paunch of a stomach. These guys are definitely masculine, but not in the Adonis manner. Is this a type of masculinity I want to strive for? Not really. But it is interesting and some of these guys are sexy. But the bears I’m attracted to seem to be the muscle bears, so I’m still buying into the Adonis complex. Just a different version of it.