party in the fip

Body Image Issues Alive and Well in Fire Island Over Memorial Day Weekend

Ah, Memorial Day Weekend. Hopefully you enjoyed yourself a three-day weekend of ribs, margaritas, and belly flops. Maybe you spent the extended break from work with your parents or your kids; your neighbors and their kids; or you got the hell away from screaming toddlers and made your way to a gay mecca like Palm Springs or Fire Island. In that case, let’s hope you spent the last three months with your 5 Times A Week trainer and cut out your carb intake, because it’s swimsuit season and the gays are a discriminating bunch.

Michael K. Lavers, the activist-journo and Boy In Bushwick blogger, relays that his slimming down did not go unnoticed by the Fire Island fellas. And thank god, because we would hate to hear about somebody who gained weight since Labor Day. He blogs:

Image truly matters on Fire Island. Who you wear, where you work out, who lives in your house, which neighborhood in the city you live and even what time you arrive at Tea (and with whom) are among the common questions and observations one will hear on the boards and walks. And while the fact I manage the Fire Island News affords me some notoriety (or fill in the blank) on the beach, the attention I received over the Memorial Day weekend because of my weight loss remains nothing short of fascinating.

Literally dozens of people in the Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove and even Ocean Beach noted my “transformation” and even “half of me disappeared during the off-season”–queue the sound bites about pescaderianism, exercise, less alcohol consumption and the tailor here in Bushwick who has financially benefited from my many visits over the last few months. A chuckle and a humble thank you almost always followed these compliments, but one friend in the Grove offered a particularly poignant reminder as we chatted around 1 a.m. on Saturday: Remember the people who flirted with you before you lost weight.

And completely ignore them, those chubby chasers.

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  • DL

    And then there are those of us who went to the local gay clothing-optional beach (in one of those flyover states the gay media pretends don’t exist until we legalize or ban gay marriage or start electing GLBT people to office) and didn’t care that we were fat, naked and surrounded by gym bunnies in expensive suits, most of which were so small and so tight that they weren’t leaving anything more to the imagination than I was.

    And – shocker! – we still got invitations to go find a quiet spot in the trees for a little fun.

    Maybe folks need to get away from the gay meccas more.

  • Mary

    You chose an unfortunate photograph to illustrate the story.

  • scott ny'er

    Or maybe these peeps would have noticed at work or any other day or place the weight loss, because losing weight is a significant accomplishment and it’s nice to notice and praise that. Be it hetero, homo, whatever.

  • Ted B.

    After observing the gay scene for nearly 35-years now, I’m reluctantly-forced to observe that “body-concious PC” is at an all-time-high these days. Whether teen or oldster, if you can’t look good in a speedo or board shorts just don’t bother showing-up…or you’re invisible or worse.


  • alan brickman

    whats wrong with being in shape?…..sounds too jealous for me….

  • alan brickman


  • WalMartWannabe

    Sad little gay men with big pecs and no brains.

  • Henry Holland

    It’s easy to see
    That you are one of us
    Ain’t it funny
    How we all seem to look the same?

    The Who

  • AlwaysGay

    The only reason Michael K. Lavers cared about what these muscular gay men thought is because he wanted one and couldn’t get one. If he was interested in overweight gay men then these muscular gay men’s opinions wouldn’t matter. There are a lot of out-of-shape gay men who like to shame and guilt gay men who have worked out and built a great looking body to bring them into their misery. If you want a man you have to do the work to get one. Many gay men like hard, muscular bodies including me. I work out six days a week and am very close to achieving the body I want. It can be done.

  • Aaron

    @AlwaysGay: Good for you :) Now work on your personality you vain, arrogant airhead!

  • Aaron

    @alan brickman: There’s nothing wrong with being in shape. And jealousy is not the issue. But being a braggart, vanity and arrogance look good on no one! Oh, btw, take off your jealous glasses. You seem to see jealousy everywhere, even where there isn’t any.

  • Cam

    I see New York is enforcing a chest hair ban on the Island.

  • Aaron

    @Cam: Cam, this reminds me of when I was in high school. Everyone had to be exactly the same. All cut from the same mold. If anyone was ever so slightly different from the norm, they would be ostracized. The exact same thing is going on in the gay community, especially on Fire Island. Haven’t we been discriminated upon enough? Must we discriminate amongst ourselves?

  • ewe

    Those guys are genetically inclined to look that way and it did not take them a lot of gym sessions to obtain that particular look in this photo (especially for all of these guys obviously under the age of 30.) I would suggest they pay more attention to leg workouts. It is suggested at least one hour a week. Having said that i do think they are attractive but so what.

  • party everywhere

    “Body image issues”?

    All people should watch what they eat and get some exercise…whether they hang out on Fire Island or Staten Island.

    America being one of the most obese nations in the world is what I call an “issue.”

  • Vman455

    Umm–“cue”, not “queue”.

  • AlwaysGay

    @ewe: It takes work to get bodies like the men in the above photograph have. Muscle doesn’t develop on it’s own. If these men started out at 150 lbs at 5’9″ then they could achieve the body they currently have within three months on a low intensity five day a week work out schedule and proper diet.

  • Ian

    Barf, you can take and KEEP the pictured obviously self-involved narcissists who only care about their designer briefs & shades, along with what your exact body fat & income ratio’s are. I hope all that preening obsession in their 20’s & early 30’s will serve their sense of personal life satisfaction when they look back in their 50’s, 60’s & 70’s when they find themselves most probably all alone.

  • WTF

    It’s the same shit every year and it brings us down to a sad, sad place. If I were among those illustrated in the excerpt above, I would go on a bloody fucking shooting rampage until I rid the world of these vapid, consumerist wastes of oxygen. Perhaps that’s too harsh, but if cosmic irony had any merit, those shallow, nasty cunts would find themselves spat upon by younger, hotter models in only a few short years. “Eeew! You’re, like, so old or whatever.” Tick, tick, tick …

  • jason

    I have a very shapely body myself but I’m also very modest. I don’t go around talking about cut abdomens. It’s all so vain. I think Carly Simon should dedicate her song “You’re So Vain” to the Fire Island crowd.

  • ron

    I wouldn’t look twice at any of those “men’ in the photo. Nothing sexy about them.

  • Chapeau

    If your entire life and self-esteem is based upon judging others based upon the labels they wear, who they are seen with, what gym they work out at .. or whether your have a gym perfect body .. then I feel sorry for you.

    The LGBT Community is made up of folks from every walk of life and every body type … how vapid can you be?

  • Caligator

    The best part is that these boys work for hours and hours to look “athletic” and like a “jock”…have you seen most of these boys ever play a sport? They have the coordination of a toddler.

    I play lots of Vball at Will Rogers State Beach and its so funny seeing these ripped up muscle boys try to play volleyball. Awkward!

    There is nothing wrong with looking good and taking care of your body, but its all about balance..MIND BODY AND SOUL…unfortunately many of the boys leave a few of those out!

  • tofer david

    i have no interest in fire island. i love the beach, on my own, with a good book, the waves, wind, sand to my own.

    i just try and imagine standing around therapy, g lounge, barracuda, club 57 or some other place in speedos along with everyone else. it doesn’t interest me.

    i can go on a group vacation anywhere. fun is where you make it.

  • TonyD

    I think NYC gay men donated all body hair to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Way to go! ;)

  • ewe

    @AlwaysGay: You are mistaken.

  • Edfu

    It was this way when I first started going to Fire Island Pines in 1973, and it has never changed (except for the body hair). On Fire Island (and many, many other gay places) muscle rules. I doubt it ever will not.

  • Phil

    At everybody raging about “gym bunnies,” get off your high fucking horse. I hope you can see the hypocrisy in complaining about not judging people based on their appearances. Meaning you do the same, if you didn’t quite catch that. I am calling you hypocrites. If you didn’t quite catch that.

    Yes, you pretty much have to work out to look good. Putting in the effort to look good does -not- automatically make you a vain, narcissistic fuck. If a hot guy blows you off, it’s obviously because he’s too vapid and shallow to notice the real you: is bitchy, shallow and prejudiced.

  • Becky

    Surely out of shape gay men judging the pictured guys just mirrors their pictured guys judgement of out of shape men? In the end, both sides are making shallow judgements based on appearance. Any of the pictured guys could actually be very nice, but how would you know? You consider yourself intellectually above these ‘vapid airheads’.

  • Cam

    Ugh, spare me from the commenters who assume that anybody mocking anybody that they (The first poster) thinks is attractive must be some obese old troll.

    I have news for you. The oiled and shaven guys in this picture are not attractive to me, why? Because after you wake up with razor burn all over your crotch beecause they’ve had the backs of their legs shaved or waxes, and you have razor burn on your chest from their chest stubble that you got while making out, and your sheets smell like Tanning excellerator, and spray on tan, I think it’s enough of a turn off for me to be able to comment that I don’t like this look without you trying to add years onto my age or pounds onto my weight. Did it ever occur to you that we may not like this look because we’ve seen it, been with it, didn’t want it again?

  • TonyD

    Nothing wrong with muscle- if you work hard for it, by all means, show it off! Sadly, the steroid queens I met in Miami took it overboard and had nothing to talk about but cycling on steroids; everything needs to be taken in moderation.

  • Ken S

    They’re nicely shaped in the picture but I’d be concerned about skin cancer, they all have such toasted complexions. :-/ And at risk of making generalizations about them, it’s been my experience that when you have that many nicely-shaped gay boys all stripped down and looking so ‘happy’ in each other’s company, at least part of that glee is ego/vanity-driven. And ego can be like mass: if enough of it gravitates together in one place it forms a singularity so dense that no light can escape its event horizon :-P

    It’s just pretty well-documented in social psychology that tight social groups strengthen their internal connectedness by ostracizing those outside their group and by stressing what sets them apart, promoting their own traits and demoting ‘the other.’ Like cults do. And when what’s bringing and binding you together is mainly that you’re all so ‘hot and fabulous,’ it seems inevitable that you’ll end up ostracizing others based on very superficial criteria. One can only hope that these guys aren’t typical case studies in that, because it’s always nice when someone exceeds our expectations.

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