This column was first published in Attitude issue 276, November 2016.
Watching Naked Attraction, which is how I now spend 80 per cent of my waking hours, it occurred to me; the whole world has gone gay. I mean, really. Demanding to see a man’s D before committing to a date? Gay men have been doing that for years. Possibly since the Stone Age, when I imagine we used cave paintings to etch “Dom top seeks bttm” above a stick figure displaying a flatteringly-angled boner (can any archaeologists out there corroborate this?)
The Channel 4 nude dating show sees contestants choose a match based on isolated parts of their naked bodies (the face is shown last), dismissing one potential partner in each round. During the first episode, presenter Anna Richardson asked a picker, “Have you ever been faced by six penises?” It’s a question which most gay men I know would answer with a nonplussed “yes, obviously” – but was apparently a novelty for straight viewers.
And Naked Attraction is just the tip of the iceberg. Has anyone else noticed that in 2016 the average 20-something British man is indistinguishable from a Bel Ami hopeful? In 1998, author Michael Cunningham wrote that in their baseball caps and basketball shorts “gay men have taken to imitating the boys who tortured them in high school.” Now it seems that things have gone full circle, and the male cast of Ex on The Beach are apparently too busy fake-tanning and manscaping to realise that their closest aesthetic relative is a tanked-up muscle queen holidaying in Mykonos. It is an undisputed fact that there is nothing in this world – not musicals, not Liza Minnelli, not full penetrative sex between two men – is gayer than the sight of TOWIE’s Mark Wright in a Speedo.
That’s without getting started on dating. Tinder is widely credited with revolutionising modern romance, but arrived a full three years after our app equivalent, Grindr. As far back as 1999, while straight people were still indulging in bizarre mating rituals such as going to dinner parties and being set up by friends, gay men were ordering dates as if they were a like Domino’s, on Gaydar. These days there are gay apps for bears, members of the military and even Sam Smith fans (Probably. I mean, I’m just guessing). Meanwhile, straight people are still getting their heads around having a locked folder on their iPhone. It’s sweet, really.
Of course, there’s more to being homo than body fascism and anonymous sex. But it’s only a matter of time until straights discover the rest of gay culture – some of them have already cottoned onto Ariana Grande. Trust me, it’ll be no time before they are exaggerating their connections to famous people and choreographing full routines to Beyoncé singles with the best of us. Down tools huns, our work here is done.
You can check out Joe Stone’s latest column in the new issue of Attitude, available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude, in shops, and to order from newsstand.co.uk. Follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_Stone_.