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COMMUNITY: Many of us have at least one photo that when displayed elicits the response from others, “You used to be hot.” The gay male friend who makes such a comment would insist it’s a compliment. But, some of us mentally end the sentence with “and you’re not now.” If we’re able to laugh, we can move on. If we take offense, we’ll stay stuck in suffering.

There aren’t a lot of gay men over 50 who think of themselves as “hot.” They’re handsome, distinguished, foxy, but not “hot” by the pervasively implied cultural criteria.

Sometimes on social media, older gay men post a picture of themselves when they were “hot,” or of someone else who would draw the attention of gay men. False advertisement leads to disappointment, and sometimes anger, if someone feels they have wasted their time in the pursuit of perfection, or quick sex.

I often wonder how young male matinee idols handle the loss of income, and celebrity status, when they’re no longer “hot.” Because their identity is so tied into their appearance, I would think they’d struggle more than I do with the face in the mirror.

There is a huge price to pay if you identify with your beauty. You suffer much more when a guest sees a picture of you in your youth and remarks, “You used to be really hot!

– Brian McNaught


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