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    Pretty baby / You look so heavenly

    Downtown Lad asks an age-old question with the snark factor removed:

    Are gay people better looking? That’s a serious question. One of my gay friends mentioned how all of his gay male friends were better looking than their male siblings. Why is this?

    • Because gay men use moisturizer?

    • We keep in shape, because (like women) we know that men are visual, and we have to stay fit in order to stay attractive?
    • The gay gene is the same one for good looks?

    I’m inclined to think the factor with the most effect is item 2, along with some others.

    For one thing, gay bars in New York and other big metro areas attract a self-selecting population that is disproportionately (though far from entirely) made up of guys who believe they belong among other beautiful people. That’s often at least in part because they’re of above-average attractiveness themselves.

    Also, in addition to staying fit, urban gay guys are more likely to dress carefully than straight guys. Most of us tend to gravitate toward clothes that fit neatly and trimly–even those who don’t care about style and stick to khakis + chambray shirt. A homely man can make himself look way, way yummier with flattering hair and well-cut clothes; sometimes, he can even work the beau-laid thing to his advantage if he’s confident enough and has interesting bone structure.

    Of course, if you had a good sample size of gay men and their straight brothers, you could test the third and most interesting proposition, theoretically, by checking things like face and body symmetry, thickness and luster of hair (in those who don’t do the shaved-head thing), clarity of complexion, and other universal signals for sexual attractiveness. Who knows? Maybe there is a correlation. It doesn’t seem any more far-fetched than our over-representation in arty careers.

    5 Responses to “Pretty baby / You look so heavenly”

    1. Janis Gore says:

      My gay brother is not essentially better looking than his four brothers, but does take more care of his appearance — a little trimmer, a smoother shave, better ironed clothes with sharper creases.

      His manners are also a bit more refined.

    2. Michael says:

      That’s cause we gays is classier.

    3. Eric Scheie says:

      Which males have, over the course of the centuries, most defined the Western standard of male attractiveness?

      I’m afraid it’s as ancient as Antinous.

    4. Janis Gore says:

      If you say so, Michael.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:


      “That’s cause we gays is classier.”

      Especially in your neighborhood, apparently. :)

      Janis, it’s impossible for me to imagine your being related to anyone without impeccable manners, but it’s also nice to think of your gay brother as setting the bar super-high.

      Eric, are you talking about gays or ephebes? I only ask because what you wrote could be taken to mean that gay guys involved in design and cosmetology influence fashion, or it could be taken to mean that gay guys actually set the standards for looks. It’s interesting because it gives me a thought: When actors and media types —gay or straight–get plastic surgery, do they usually think they need to look more what we would call “pretty,” or are they strictly trying to take years off their faces to get back to what they themselves used to look like? It’s not that celebrity narcissism interests me (that’s one gay stereotype I don’t fulfill at all), but that actors are constantly responding to what they think the public expects from them.

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