Thursday, March 05, 2009

Too much of a good thing?

I have a confession...

If you didn't already know, I really like guy eye-candy.

At first it was an innocent flirtation - a few minutes a day. My "collection" grew and grew and I always wanted more. Then, when I got caught by my son (almost a year ago), and confronted my wife about it, I deleted my entire collection and swore it off completely and went cold turkey for months.

Slowly, I've crawled back into the guy eye-candy search and collection mode. It's never journeyed into the p&m addiction, as I've been able to set and keep personal limits in those regards. But, now as the "collection" grows again, I find myself thick in the hunt for more. And more. And more. It's consuming too much time.

I love the bromancing pictures, the artsy compositions of the male form, the romancing pictures, the good looking guy that I envy. It's not something that is sexual (or is that me just in denial?). It's not even an arousal thing (I find no desire to go to harder stuff - in fact it turns me off). So what is it? Why do I allow myself to get into this search mode of finding beautiful guys?

Is it a substitute for a male relationship that I've never satisfied? Is it because I'm getting older and regretting the lost youth (as noted in my last post)? Is it because I don't satisfy my needs with p&m? Is it because I don't watch cable TV?

I've been able to keep this controlled, but I'm concerned it's becoming too much of a habit.

Am I alone in this? Any thoughts or advice or counsel?


playasinmar said...

L... was right?

Scott said...

Do you spend time looking at what you've collected, or is most of your time dedicated to the actual act of collecting itself?

I'm a collector.

I have upwards of 40,000 tracks in my digital music library, and I'll bet I haven't listened to more than a third of them, yet I keep adding to it.

I have two burned DVDs containing somewhere around 15,000 fonts that I've downloaded from various free sites around the 'net, yet I only ever have a couple hundred installed at any given time and nearly always choose from those when I'm designing something.

We own somewhere between 600 and 700 movies on DVD, and we buy an average of two or three new movies every month, yet we rarely have time to sit through a half-hour sitcom, let alone a 90-120 minute movie.

For some reason I have a need to acquire things that I don't really need, and once I've acquired them I'll more often than not put them on a shelf and never look at them again. (Thankfully, most of my acquisitions tend to be digital and hard drive space is cheap. Our home would be stuffed to the gills if my psychosis tended more toward physical objects).

Note that everything I collect is related to an interest or passion of mine... I love music. I love typography and design. I love cinema. My need to have is linked to things that I enjoy.

Maybe you're a collector too?

Beck said...

PLAYA: "L" who? :)

SCOTT: No, I hardly ever go back... It's a collection thing, a search and find and then move on. So, why do I do I feel compelled to do it? Why does anyone collect?

Bravone said...

Beck, You need to read "The Velvet Rage." The fellow you referred to me a few months ago sent me a copy. While my story is different in many ways, the general themes are spot on. I am only 2/3 of the way through, but would recommend it to anyone gay, ssa, sga, homosexual, ddr, dvic, lmnop, etc.

Oh, by the way, I used to do the same accumulation thing you do, but with porn. I rarely rarely went back to look at it, but couldn't save enough. I think it could be categorized as a bit obsessive/compulsive, but I am not doctor. Glad that is in my past, a huge waste of time and extremely damaging to my spirit.

Beck said...

BRAVONE: I'll have to look up "The Velvet Rage". From your comment, I can't tell if it is applicable to me and this post or not. What is it about?

As for the search-n-find / photo-accumulation-compulsive-behavior thing, does it make a difference whether it is porn or not? Since what I'm doing is NOT porn, does that make it worthwhile verses a totally "huge waste of time and extremely damaging to my spirit"?

When is something damaging and wasteful? Right now it is taking too much of my time...

Same with blogging. Blogging can also be obsessive / compulsive (as you've found out). When does blogging become wateful and damaging?

One can argue that all things in moderation, particularly if they aren't harmful or destructive - but I'm not sure where my behavior is heading - and just the fact that I'm questioning it and finding it becoming more of a habit than I am comfortable with indicates that it's getting into the "harmful" stage.

Maybe it's time for the delete-key and the cold-turkey approach again. :(

robert said...

I wonder how it might be different if you were collecting photos of beautiful women?

I was traveling recently with a hetero couple who had been married 35 years. Each was so blase about the other's sexual fantasies; they seemed almost to delight that there were any left for either of them.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"...the artsy compositions of the male form, the romancing pictures, the good looking guy that I envy."

I can sort of relate, even though I'm a hetero female. I don't collect pictures, but most women are attracted to photos of other women. Not in a sexual way, but more in a fantasy way. That's what keeps magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan in business. It's not men buying these mags, it's women who want to see "perfect" pictures of other women so that they can dream about looking like them themselves. I've probably spent lots of time looking at photos of other females, without even realizing it, as I try to copy their makeup or hairstyles. It's pretty sad, really, when I think about how much time I've probably spent looking at photos of Salma Hayek or Catherine Zeta-Jones, fantasizing about looking like that. Dream on, FD. :)

Maybe it's a female thing. It's perfectly acceptable for women to buy womens magazines that are filled with women. But men looking at men is always assumed to be sexual, even if it's not really a sexual photo. Double standard, I guess.

Beck said...

ROBERT: I certainly have "something left", but that isn't the point. This isn't about fantasy as much as a continuation of the theme of longing for what was, or envy of what never was and will never be, mixed with an appreciation for simple beauty.

FD: I really appreciate your female perspective on this issue. Again, it really is more like you say, and would be similar to women buying Women's magazines for the purpose of admiring other women and appreciating beauty.

And you're right... though it may be a big waste of time down the road of vanity, there is a double standard. A woman can buy and "study" a woman's magazine and no one thinks anything of it, while a man doing the same thing with a men's magazine is thought of as having a "sexual fantasy" or "sexual fix". Interesting thought. I wonder why? I think, in time, as more men become more fashion and style conscious, this stigma will diminish.

That said, it's still a big waste of time and frivolous pursuits of envy and longing and I've got to get back in control of my life and be more productive and stop dwelling on this envy.

Or is it really that bad to be an admirer and appreciator of "male beauty"?

Here in this community we are debating the eternal nature of homosexuality, the political outcomes of Prop. 8, and the Church's stand on both - and here I'm debating with myself the pros and cons of admiring the male form... I think I'll crawl back into my hole now. :(

Superstar said...

I still have a dozen posters from back in the working days at Abercrombie & Fitch. Just say the word and they're yours for the collection. ;)

JK. They're mine, all mine! Raaaa!

Bror said...

Yes, what is life without eye candy. Not much, if you ask me. My favorite eye candy is the live kind. It's amazing how in an instant you can be totally reminded of how attracted you are to the male body. And yes, it is not always sexual, I have seen guys who I believe are very handsome but not in a sexual way. I believe it's a good thing to be able to look because for one thing it makes me happy. I always wonder sometimes if they are like me. Would he freak out if I told him he was beautiful? If possible, I always try to introduce myself or a least talk to this "eye candy" now days. Before, I would just let it slid away. Anyway Beck, yes, eye candy is good. My wife and I are always asking each other if we think a particular guy is hot. So far we don't agree very often. It's fun.

Beck said...

SUPERSTAR: HA HA HA! I remember years ago being in Boston at Quincy Market and walked by the A&F new store with huge building high posters on the building wall. I was there to photograph the historic architecture but couldn't help being distracted by those A&F posters. I was too afraid to go into the store back then as the whole thing made me wiggly inside... and to think I didn't accept that I was gay. What was I thinking?

BROR: Thanks for the positive spin. It does bring joy and for the most part it isn't sexual - I'd like to get to the point where my wife and I could sit down and watch the passing eye-candy and make comments over who is hot and who is not. That will be the day when I know I've arrived at a comfortable healthy level of this whole thing.

Yes, the live stuff is better - but typically I am too intimidated to go up to a really hot guy and start a conversation. I'm way too timid and intimidated to do that. I've never had that much self-confidence, particularly around good looking males.

Maybe someday?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Makes you wonder if Michelangelo had to worry about all the implications when he sculpted David. Did he have to feel guilty for devoting so much time to depicting a naked man, or was everyone able to see it for what it was: a work of art appreciating the perfect male body?

I can look at an art piece like David and not see anything sexual about it. Unfortunately, I think that most of the images we see today in media are sexually-charged. But not all of them are. I think it's important to distinguish between cheap, sexual, slutty, and sensual, inspirational, and ideal. I think it's definitely possible to feel that a photo or piece of art is sensual without it being sexual. It can sometimes be a fine line though, and more often than not the line is crossed in this day and age. Artists used to be into glorifying the human body (such as with Michelangelo's David), whereas most today seem more interested in prostituting it. But there is still great art in the modern world, whether it be paintings, sculptures, or photographs.

Max Power said...


I saw this, laughed, and thought of this post of yours. Be sure to read the title of the book laying on the dashboard.

Beck said...

MAX: Thanks for the chortle! I loved it. And I loved that you thought of my blog when you saw the photo... HA HA HA