This entire admission is gay AF…but that’s why we’re here, right?

I have Six Pack Abs Envy, especially as a gay man.

To be completely honest, I’ve even been slightly envious of those guys whose genetics keep their midsections lean no matter what they eat or drink.

This isn’t a new revelation or an admission unique to being gay, there’s an entire billion dollar global industry built around supposedly helping people shed belly fat and reveal their hidden abs underneath.

But forget a defined six pack, I’ve never even had a flat stomach my entire life. 

Even in my teens when a lot of us Black kids look like naturally athletic and toned, malnourished twinks.

After a pudgy stage in elementary school that was wiped out by a drastic growth spurt in middle school, I’ve always been slim to medium built with the stubborn lower belly pudge. Sort of like this:

Admittedly, this is far from “fat.” Especially by America’s standards…even more especially for heterosexual Black men. Most of the women in my family tell me that I need to EAT MORE!

But in the Gay Community, this is pretty much considered obese. The colloquial term is “gay fat.”

As a teenager, I was always low-key envious of nearly all of my male cousins…and all of the slim to muscular, basketball playing, high school boys I had crushes on while growing up.

As they casually walked around shirtless looking lean and fit, I kept my clothes on knowing that underneath I looked like this:

Then, as a closeted college student, seeing all of the attractive young Black men at my HBCU in Atlanta made me even more envious. Especially in the dorms where they would all nonchalantly walk around or come to hang out in me and my straight dorm mate’s room shirtless.

No matter how much I worked out, I never looked as good as this when I wore those sleeveless undershirts (we sometimes call these shirts “wife beaters,” smh):

Then I essentially “came Out” and felt comfortable with my sexuality enough to go to gay clubs and parties. This is where my seemingly dormant body image issues metastasized even more.

Nearly 100% of the advertising for said parties featured shirtless, oiled up men with six pack abs.

And now, with the advent of self promoting social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, modern young gay men see even more examples of seemingly effortless flat stomachs and six packed torsos.

All of which can affect their self esteems or cause them to unnecessarily obsess over their physical appearance.

Not to mention the Fitness Models, Personal Trainers and Athletic Celebrities on social media who not only flaunt their washboard abs, they even show us how they maintain them.

I’ve written before about my fandom for street music rapper, Ace Hood. On his Instagram page, he shows off his abs in new posts daily.

And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a clothed beefy “fat” guy on a dating app, only to find out that they actually have a flatter stomach than I’ve ever had in my entire skinny-fat life.

What’s the big deal, you may ask. Most gay men my age are in the same predicament. And many of them have long since stopped caring about competing with the bodies of the young.

I think one of my my main motivators is how I look in clothes. I’ve always been on the slimmer side of the spectrum physically and came to like when fashion started shifting towards more close fitting clothing (ie: slim fit jeans and shirts). So while I’d love to look like this:

I typically end up buying more looser fitting clothing to “hide the curves” in my midsection, so to speak. Still not bad looking, but not what I’d prefer.

If I truly cared, I guess I could have made it a goal and burned off that last bit of lower belly pudge. Hell, I could make it a goal even now at my 41-going-on-42 years of age. This applies even more so for our younger readers who struggle with stomach fat, given their higher metabolisms.

True, it’s harder to lose fat for men my age and older. For many of us, our metabolisms slow to a crawl and the “middle age spread” begins. But losing the belly fat is not impossible. Especially with dedication, discipline and determined dieting and exercise.

But now that I have a solid career that allows me disposable income (yay, no kids!) to actually enjoy more of what life has to offer (ie: traveling domestically and abroad, dining out, going to bars, etc), I ask myself:

Do I want to sacrifice those things I enjoy just for a flat stomach?

Would I be doing it for me?

Or would I be doing it for ‘Likes’ and the admiration/attraction of others in the gay community?

Would I be doing it to help my dating life?

If so, would I want someone who didn’t want me with the stomach pudge (apparently my body’s natural state of being)? Would I have to maintain that just to keep them around?

Do I need a flat stomach and a six pack merely to attract the potential partner and then let it fade away once I’m sure that we’re solidly together?

Or would obtaining a flat stomach and abs actually be just a lifelong personal goal finally achieved? Look good, feel good…right?

What are your thoughts?

Can you relate?

Or are you one of the men where having a flat stomach is natural for you? Is it overrated or do you feel that it is a goal everyone should achieve?