The following is exerpted from an article appearing at http://www.edgephiladelphia.com
Tim Bergling is the Margaret Mead of the tribal rituals, customs, and psycho-sexual behavior of gay men. The author of Sissyphobia: Gay men and Effeminate Behavior, Reeling in the Years: Gay Men’s Perspectives on Age and Ageism, and his latest, Chasing Adonis, looks at the cult and illusion of male beauty. Through interviews and polling, Bergling collates and dissects the raw data on the gay male pecking order.
Bergling’s research is more anecdotal than scientific, but there is something to be said for keeping it real with unorthodox field work. Scrap anthropological methodology; Adonis is part John Rechy and part Sex and the City. This volume is a survival guide for the sex romps of Fire Island, the local parks and truckstops, and the bathhouses, mostly past, from the meat racks to the cloths racks, the gyms, the bars, the Halls of Congress, and all points inbetween.
Of course, much of this reflects what is on the GLBT codes-and-conduct, hard-wired gaydar, with individual tweaks, that Bergling seeks to speciously, validate, if not prove. The real fun is Bergling’s collection of tales of elusive encounters with beautiful men - the mythic gardener, the swim god, the ripe go-go boy at Tracks, a now closed DC gay disco, and all those elusive Adonises that have blipped across various beaten-down paths. Bergling has practical advice about gay mating dances - from hook-ups to dating etiquette - and any attendant head games. Passages on how to be rejected with dignity, or reject someone delicately, for instance, can serve as a ’how to’ manual to avoid seduction missteps.
The chapter on body types wittily reads like old Charles Atlas testimonials of weight lifting, but completely uninhibited from a homo point of view. Thankfully, it isn’t cutesy, a la Queer Eye. But, like Narcissus, obsession with the body becomes as shallow in the mind as the broken image in the water. Berling even relates a personal story about a ’hands on’ assignment for Instinct Magazine about masterbating in cyberspace.
And so, through the author, you learn in reading this book, "Who's a dude or dud?" Didn’t Cosmopolitan conduct the same survey in the 70s (or was that After Dark?) (God, this guy really did his research) He even devotes an entire chapter, titled, "Survey Says," with results on pie-charts from a cross section of gay men on what they find as hot or not.
Case in point: a chart divided into slices marked with legends like, I do not exercise; I exercise, but don’t belong to any gym; I go to a gym to work out; I go to the gym to check out other guys; I go to the gym to work out, and to check out other guys. Some charts track trends as relevant as the percentage of men who were fat once and then lost weight (and visa versa). We all have our types, such as "I like guys with fuzzy bodies, lots of body hair," and as crucial as the percentage of men who say, "I like guys with a lot of muscle. Deep...dense... tissue, here.
At its best, Adonis’ stories about what drives gay male libido makes it an erotic journey about queer male sexual energy. Not to mock the sincerity of the shallowness of gay male obsession with the body, which, as Bergling proves, can be mind-numbingly profound. Bergling write in a witty manner that he allows the reader to expose himself to why, for the most part, gay men are so shallow.
It is really a shame that gay guys look only at the surface. Oh what they are missing. I too sometimes get carried away by the flesh. (Hell, I post those hottie pix above to get your attention). But being superficial isn't going to get you the man of your dreams. Yea, its nice to see a hot guy shirtless, and beefy. But can he be passionate, hot in the sack, and make a mean french toast in the morning? Guys who waste away their lives looking for Adonis will be left with an empty life. There is something hot about any guy. You just have to invest time to explore those hidden gems.