Will Harris on the price of being perfect
Sitting in a shopping centre toilet, trousers round my ankles and swigging from a bottle of Courvoisier, it occurs to me I’m a long way from perfect. I should explain. The reason for this unconventional pit-stop is my friend M, or rather my friend M’s habit of inviting me to very grand house parties with very affluent gay men, which I always find easier to face after a slug of Dutch courage. Upwardly mobile, well-connected and fastidiously groomed, legend has it the A-gays can make or break a man with one flick of a fourth generation smartphone.
As expected, M’s town house is crawling with high-functioning homos; lawyers, bankers, stars of stage and screen. Outside, the rain is driving down, so the A-gays are crammed against the French windows, each one a sardine with an expense account. Which is how, somewhere between Ben Summerskill and a pitcher of Campari, I find myself pressed up against a South African. He works for Bloomberg and he’s cute.
“Did you know,” he says, “the average model in Nuts magazine is size 14.” I tell him I did not. “Oh yah,” he continues. “Straight men want curves. The desire for women to be size zero doesn’t come from men; it comes from other women.”
“So it’s not society telling us to be perfect; it’s something we tell ourselves? Is that what you’re saying?”
“I’m saying we are society,” he steps back to make way for a Swedish male model made entirely of hair. “Being an A-list gay, it costs money. It’s not just the gym membership; it’s the skin, the hair, the teeth.”
“Not a problem for me.” I pull my lips back, rictus style.
“Your bottom set could use a little work. Hey, you’re the one talking about perfection; it’s an unforgiving principle.”
This couple are spending more each month on their bodies than I spend on rent
As I bid the South African a less than fond farewell, I bump into an Aussie couple I know. They are not A-gays, but have been granted free passage tonight under the global gay currency of having really big arms. I’m curious how much perfect guns like theirs cost.
“Well, N probably spends about £430 a month,” S tells me. “Personal training mostly, but also gym fees, supplements…”
“Protein,” growls N.
“I probably spend a little less than that; maybe £400 a month.”
I blink. You don’t have to be Carol Vorderman to work this one out. Together, this couple are spending more each month on their bodies than I spend on rent.
“Oh, it’s not that much really,” says M, ever the host, carving fat slices off a Nigella Lawson gammon he woke up at 5am to stud with cloves. “No wives. No kids. Who else are we going to spend it on?”
As he carves, the light glints off the TAG Heuer at his wrist, and I wonder if he has a point.