Being in NYC always makes me a little nervous. Sooner or later, something will get said to me while I am there that makes me want to assume the fetal position and rock back and forth searching for my happy place. Twice, while visiting NYC, I was I am fat. Yes, told. To my face. And while I don't consider myself fat, nor do I think many other people would either, I accept the fact that perhaps in New York, I AM fat - in comparison to the millions of men who look like they just stepped off of magazine covers.
I was dancing at Roxy in a group with three old friends and a few new ones. One of the new ones, let's call him "Newbie", and I were having fun, dancing and cutting up, laughing alot and getting along - not in a "I hope this ends up in the bedroom" kind of fun, but more like a buddy type of thing. All of us were dancing shirtless, which for me was a big deal as it was 2001 and I had only been working out for about a year with more progress yet to be made. At one point during the night, on the dancefloor, Newbie looks over his sunglasses at me and says, "You know what? You're really big." Yeah, I reply, I am a big boy.
"No, I mean there," he spits out, pointing to my mid-section. Well, I am working on it, I say apologetically.
"Because the rest of you is going on: big shoulders, great chest, cute face. But that's gotta go." And then he added the clincher, "I'd fuck you if it wasn't for that." I was dazed. In his way, I think, he meant it as a compliment. At least, that is what I choose to tell myself as I refuse to believe that someone could choose to be that mean to someone else.
I attended The Black Party in 2002. I was standing on the side of the dancefloor, just people watching, when I caught the eye of a very muscular black man. He was 6'4", 230 or so with shoulders broader than mine and what looked to be a 30 inch waist. He approached me and we started talking. Eventually we got on the subject of builds and I said something about never being built like him. He came back with, "No that's good, I like chubby men." As my jaw dropped lower, my eyes widened. "I'm whaaaaat???" He moves towards me, as if to grab or hug me or something, and I back away. That might be a compliment in Harlem, but it's not where I come from, I bellow, trying very hard not to cross my arms and stamp my foot for emphasis.
Granted it's been awhile since I've been called fat in NYC (last time I was there in September a certain hottie told me I was "built"), but it stays with me. I almost feel inferior there. Might be why I love Chicago so much. Out here, pretty isn't the 'in' thing. A hearty strong man seems to be the poster child for the midwest. And that criteria I definitely fit.