4Men - Style

From toys to furniture, sneakers to hairdo's. Everything that makes a South African gay man's life interesting

Man on Man Competition

By Alex James

Its a well known fact that when you put a group of gay guys in a room there’s no telling what will happen. Either we all join hands and sing a drunk medley of cheesy love songs or it becomes a battle of wits and tits. Unfortunately nine times out of ten it’s the battle of wits and tits.

There’s something about a man’s psyche that makes him feel the need to be better than his fellow comrade. This is very obvious among straight men, especially in reality shows. (Seen Geordie Shore lately?) Whether he’s fighting for love, coaxing his way out of the boardroom or playing mind tricks with his competitors, the need to win seems to overpower all logic.

In recent years the world has known the queer community to be a strong group of people with similar goals. We’re seen on the news holding each others hand and proclaiming the same messages of equality, but what they fail to understand is that we too are in competition with one another, only it’s rarely seen on the surface. Underneath the Kumbayas and proclamations for community, we’re no different than the average man. We want to win.

I’ve seen and experienced it more times than I can count. There’s an invisible sense of urgency bubbling over us in conversation that eventually turns into action. As soon as a hot guy eyes our friend on the street we’re quick to try and make us feel better about ourselves by changing the focus towards us. When another gay guy threatens our intelligence we’re quick to take it to heart. Somehow our egos become louder than our esteem and we’re eager to put him in his place no matter the cost.

What’s the cause for so much competition? With so much happening in gay culture, the sexiest and most powerful still reign high on the food chain. Not only does it create a social label but it’s also the source of self-esteem. The higher up we are on it the better we feel about ourselves. Satisfaction never comes until we’re the hottest, smartest and, most importantly, the eye candy in the room. But there comes a time when the urgency to win blinds us to how we’re treating people.

We’ve all said things we instantly regret. Every time I find myself in a moment of needing to preserve my self-esteem it’s as if the world turns black and white and Dr. Jekyl comes out to bite the nearest threat. Sometimes it’s the people I love most. Not until I see the bigger picture do I realize the sacrifice.

There’s a difference between wanting to be the best at a skill and wanting to be accepted by society. We all hate the feeling of being discarded. It turns us into slaves of reputation, hungry to convince the world we’re worthy of praise. We don’t just want to be the best. We want to be envied, fought over, talked about, worshipped and adored. But even if it’s possible to obtain these things, there’s still something very crucial missing from the picture: our own approval.

If the source of our self-contentment is continuously fueled by the world, it’s going to end as soon as they change their mind. It’s only inside ourselves we find value but when it’s sacrifice to society we become much more susceptible to biting the first hand that threatens us. Life becomes an endless competition instead of living a life of authenticity.

Happiness comes from self-worth, not from a social food chain. The longer we compare ourselves to made-up fantasies the less likely we’ll discover our potential. We don’t need to be better than someone else to feel good about what we have to offer. No matter how threatened we feel, no one can be compared to originality. What most guys fail to understand is that the best rewards come from knowing thyself.

The only reason why we feel threatened by others is because we’re scared the world will look past us, but the secret is no one looks passed a person of true character. When you know your value, you grow a sense of humility and worth – both of which are life’s most precious commodities.


Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr