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For Ugly Duckling Boys (Like Me): Queer Eye for the Old(er) Gay Guy

As I’m fast approaching something-something years old (and not hating it), I decided it was time to share a little grooming advice. I see a lot of you naked and clothed, and some of you could use a few pointers. Some of what I have to share is just plain common sense, but you would be amazed how fear of aging can cloud our ability reason just when we need it the most. This is advice, straight up. Take what you need, leave the rest.

Who am I to give advice? An ugly, older dude who still manages to get laid on a regular basis – and sometimes by other, much-hotter dudes. I don’t know what they see in me (probably just a crime of convenience), but I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

I remember Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. During it’s heyday I never gave it the time of day because fashion queens, in general, always give me the heebie-jeebies and that goes double for mincing, gay stereotypes proclaiming that they are representing my peoples. Ugh. Ick. I avoided that show like the plague it was. In the back of my mind, I also kept thinking – doesn’t charity begin at home? Shouldn’t these queens be helping out members of their own before helping save straight America?

Well, metrosexuality aside, they are not around to do anymore damage or help the hygienically challenged. But I am, and I’m here to help out my own. So, here a few things I have learned about looking your best, especially as you begin to approach your gay shelf-life expiration date – which begins right around the age of 30 and gets more and more dire the less you take care of business.


Face: Shave twice a day. Going out or hooking up after 4:00 pm? Shave. A smooth face is a younger looking one and whisker burn is never comfortable or pretty. If you have a beard, unless you’re going for that funky coal miner/creepy biker look, I suggest keeping it trim and neat. And don’t use that stupid beard darkening crap; it makes it look like you drew a beard on your face with a magic marker. Keep it simple and natural.

If you have a mustache, keep it clean and neat, even if you’re going for that Sam Elliot look. Wait, let me clarify – especially if you’re going for that Sam Elliot look. As we age, nothing looks worse that having food stuck to our face, so pay attention to that stuff.

Body: Trim it. Seriously? I love fur. Love it. But as we get older, so does our fur. It takes on a life, shape and color all of its own with odd patches of varying lengths and textures becoming part of the norm. Pubic hair should not be mistaken for dental floss or a chia pet. So trim it. Keep it pretty. Shape it on your body so it flatters and does not detract. Think silhouette. Doing so may not hide the fact that you are getting older or, (God forbid) out of shape, but it may confuse the young enough to get in their pants. Fur can be used as camouflage, yes, but you still want them to make out that you are human and not Sasquatch in origin. Bears? Bears can get away with almost anything, but I think the wilder you let the body fur go, the smaller the population that will be attracted to you. I like my bears neat.

As for your ass. I like a hairy ass. Love those plumb, firm globes nicely covered in a fine pelt of beautifully splayed hair. But a hairy asshole? That’s just a toilet tissue nightmare, if you know what I mean. For daily use as God intended, I shave mine once in awhile in order to keep my sanity in the john. As for photographs, getting fucked or showing it off? I personally think it looks better if there is a small clearing around the pucker. You’re more likely to have someone dive in if the buffet is clean and orderly looking.

Head: If you are blessed enough to have hair, keep it trim, short and in a style that befits your age. No Justin Biebers, please. Leave that to the lesbians. And none of that gooped-up, upswept, spiky shit either. Hair product is for dumb-as-a-post Jersey boys and the clueless young. On anyone over forty it looks exactly like what it is: hair product. And that is not sexy. That is just a goopy turn off. Keep it short, trimmed, age-appropriately styled and natural.

For those of us not blessed with a lifetime of a head of luscious, full, lustrous hair? Get a cheap head clipper at Walgreens and buzz your dome to 1/8” inch. Or, if you have the time, like the look, and were born with a pristine shaped skull – shave it. This goes for those of you with that eagle’s nest thing going on. You know, those dudes with the balding dome peaking out of a mountain of side hair? Do yourself a favor and stop looking ridiculous. You will save a lot of money on hair cuts and increase your chances of getting laid. A large portion of the population finds bald/buzzed heads very masculine and sexy. Hair Club for Men? Don’t waste your money. The moment my hand grazes that ridge where you hair goes from what God gave you to what man hath created for the insecure, for me, the romance is over. Sorry, but it never looks quite right. Where a ball cap instead.

Hair Length: Keep it short. Long hair doesn’t look good on anyone male. Period. Okay, so you can get away with it up until say, age 30, if you the top isn’t thinning. But after that? Might as well prepare a turd salad and wear it on your head. And speaking of turd salads – dreadlocks? No. Not on anyone at any age. That be the opposite of sexy, mon.

Nose/Ears: As we get older, this becomes more and more of an issue. I have gone from trimming said hairs from once a week to three times a week. They sneak up on you, so pay attention to them. Every time you shave your face, check out your nose and ear holes. This stuff, unchecked, adds years to your appearance. And the odd, weird-ass hair is not isolated to only the ears and nose. They can sprout anywhere. So be on guard. I would also like to recommend that you buzz your eyebrows to ¼” inch. It helps keep that owly, crazy Andy Rooney look from becoming part of your look.

Bottom Line?: Run a clean house. When you are young – and I mean under the age of 25 – you can get away with that “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” look. Grooming is not high on the priority list because if they are reasonably good looking and in shape, they can pull it off. But after the age of 30? You have start developing some grooming habits that will sustain you well into your 60’s. No need to shave everything you got. After a certain age, nobody is going to mistake you for a 19 year old boy no matter how smooth you are. So keep it looking sharp, but natural – that is the essence of a sexy, older man.

Clothing / Jewelry

Too Young for You: No A&F. Hell, don’t even be doing the Gap. Get real and get classy – not trendy. Trends are for the young – of body, not spirit. Preserve your self-respect by buying age appropriate clothing with a timeless, classic flair. Keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be designer labels, either. In fact, avoid clothing with logos, brand names and the like. You are not a billboard. The young can get away with that, you cannot. The sole exception to that rule would be sports wear where a Nike swish can help balance your own swish.

Pudgy and Bald?: Multiple, conflicting patterns may make you think you’re being fashion forward, but in the end you just look like a sweaty, pale, dumpling in a clown suit. Tasteful pin stripes (button down) or a single, broad stripe across the chest (sweater or polo) is something we can all get away with, but beyond that look we should all be looking for solids in colors and fabrics that will have some shelf life. After a certain age – color can be a good thing, if carefully selected and tastefully done.

Got a Belly?: You can go one of two ways, depending on your comfort level. You can do the layer thing and try to hide it, but really, why? If you do go that route, be sure your clothing is clean and neat. Avoid sloppy, dirty, soiled, stained and worn. The other way you could go? Put it out there for the world to see. Some of us find it sexy. On occasion and depending on the dude, I do, find it sexy. It is not my bod of choice, but I am not immune to the allure of a nice firm furry belly. I was watching this documentary about the Bear Nation, and there is a legion of fans out there waiting to worship at your feet. Not comfortable with the Bear title? Then change your diet and get to a gym. Or change your diet and start walking everywhere.

Clothing Fit: Avoid tight clothing, unless you absolutely have the body for it. Nothing is less appealing than an overstuffed sausage past its prime. Think in terms of ripples (sexy), not folds (not sexy). Got muscles? cool, show ‘em off. Got man boobs? Get to the gym and hide those mothers in the meantime.

Active Wear: Rule of thumb: just because you think it looks sexy on others and gives you a little chubby just thinking about wearing them, it may not be right for you.

As with day wear – tight is rarely right. And skimpy is rarely appropriate for gay men of a certain age or proportion. I personally get a thrill when I see a dashing man on a hot summer day, jogging, wearing nothing but a pair of those tiny flimsy, high-slit, running shorts. Dark fur on those legs… grrrrr. He doesn’t need to be handsome (I like flaws), but he does need to be in shape. But if you are just starting a work-out regimen after having not been to a gym or active for over six months, please do us all a favor and keep it modest. Once you’re all height/weight proportionate, trim and firm – then let your outer sexy show, a little. Until then? Loose fitting jogging pants and a loose t-shirt fit the bill.

Some work out clothing, especially upper-body wear is only meant to be worn by steroid popping body builders. So leave those neon, skinny, no-sleeve tops to those that look good in them (personally, the roid look is a total turn-off). You? Stick to the basics so you don’t embarrass yourself. As for bottoms (I mean pants), lycra is also only meant for those already in shape. It may give you the impression that you are wearing a magic girdle, but in reality? Not so good. So leave those bike shorts to those that have been biking hardcore for a lifetime, they are the only ones with the ass, thighs and abs to pull them off.

Jewelry: Too much is too much. If you are wearing more than one piece of jewelry on your hands, you are wearing too much jewelry. Bracelets? Never flattering on a man. Necklaces? Rarely flattering on a man. Multiple piercings in your ears? May work if you are shaved bald and built like Mr. Clean, but otherwise… it just gets confusing. Keep those earrings tasteful and small. Also: one is usually enough. Yes, taste is a subjective thing, but it is also something that can be acquired… mostly by learning from the mistakes of others.


Skin: Yep. You know the drill. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – especially after shaving. In the summer, not so much, but as winter approaches and our skin dries out you are going to need to pay some special attention to your legs and arms. The face? Leave a coat of cream (you know the kind I mean) on it all day. Think of it as a layer of protection between you and the world.

Brush Your Teeth: It is the only way to guarantee fresh breath. I avoid onions and excessive garlic when at all possible. Those come out your pores and nothing is worse than an older dude who reeks like Grandma’s root cellar. Mouthwash? I like it straight and to the point – Listerine basic. Kills germs, but will not guarantee fresh breath. Oh, and brush that tongue. Nobody wants to stick there dick in a mouth with a coated tongue.

Exercise: Okay… in this day and age? Nobody has an excuse. We are the best educated bunch a gay fucks ever. We have access to more gym equipment, diet advice, work-out plans, television networks, motivational speakers, trainers and food plans than every before, thanks to the internet and cable television. We all know that 20 minutes a day is the bare minimum we should be doing. Everybody has more than enough leisure time, flex time, quality time, and my-time to accomplish some kind of exercise on a daily basis. Make it a priority. It pays big dividends.

We also know that diet alone is not going to keep gravity from winning. You can be as skinny as a stick, but if that muscle is not firm then the likelihood of you inspiring somebody else’s muscle to get firm is, pardon the pun, slim to none. So move it. Groove it. Get up and dance, dance, dance. Is it hard work? Well, it should be, or you are not doing enough. Will there be days when you don’t want to do it? Hell, yes. Bottom line? No excuses. Bad back? That does not mean you cannot exercise – in fact, your physician will probably be able to design an entire work-out for you that will help strengthen your back. That’s core, baby. That’s the part that keeps your tummy and posture in check.

Paunch - Sit-Ups and Diet: You booze, you lose. That paunch? You can keep that in check with a little effort, a little exercise and a little restraint. Educate yourself about what foods will bloat you and avoid. Bloat makes you look older than you need to. Also – mass quantities are something you could afford to consume prior the age of 30. Your metabolism changed after that and if your diet did not, then you are asking for a tire around your middle. Can’t see your dick because your belly is in the way? Well, that belly will also prevent others from wanting to see your dick. So do something about it, unless you are comfortable being a Bear, which is a very valid choice. Bears have a rabid following. Comfortable with that? Than work it, baby. And fat does not a Bear make. Firm it up.

Crunches? Sit-ups? OMG. They are so uncomfortable at first. Everything will be so sore, you will want to quit, but don’t. Because it gets easier. It gets better. You have to be committed and you have to be consistent. Use good form, don’t over-extend, over-do and don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do this. Yes, getting rid of a gut, even a tiny one, takes a lot longer than we wish it would, but not taking action today just compounds the problem. Sure, there are chubby chasers out there… but there are way more chubbies (and I don’t mean hard dicks) than there are chasers. Yes, on occasion, even I am in awe of and not immune to the allure of the hot, furry, firm, round, belly of a put together Bear. It is a look I have spermed all over a number of times, but it is a look and fantasy that will work for me only once. After that? You become a human being and the fantasy is over and so is my fascination with your gut.

Fake Tans: Fake tans look fake. Orange is never a color your skin should be. Keep it natural and don’t over tan outdoors, either. A glazed ham is not something anyone wants to rub their dick on.

Food: Fast food is the devil. It is evil. Bar food is fast food. If it is deep fried it is a bad idea. Just say no. Eat real food – not processed crap. Don’t be a pussy – eat some non-breaded, non-fried fish. Fresh and simple is best.


Let Them Come to You: Hard lesson to learn. We see something hot and tasty – we feel we must act. We must possess it. It is our God-given right to cruise. Reality? If they are younger than you there is a good chance they will not be all that into you. If they are into older men, or more specifically, if they are into you, they will let you know. Aggressive chicken hawks are a total creep out.

Your Brand: After a certain time in the arena, every gladiator comes to know their strengths and weaknesses. Our consumers are our best source of information – they will tell us if we were not blessed in the looks department, if our body has seen better days, or if sexy is something that never visited our building. Listen and learn and react. React by taking action and doing what you can to improve you as a product – reinvent your brand – not by trying to be something you’re not, but by making the most of what you got and who you are. Not a looker? Get witty. Be informed. Learn to be charming. Get smart. Get a great job. Make a lot of money. Got hit by an ugly stick – work that body at the gym. Hone that fucker until it doesn’t matter that your ears are bigger than Dumbo’s or that you are bald and ugly as any alien any UFO every puked forth. Work what you have. Improve what you can. Don’t get lost in bitterness and depression. Got no self-esteem? Then manufacture some. Self-esteem is just like a smile. Maybe you’re not happy, but I have found there is truth to the adage that if you smile, pretty soon you’re feeling better. And nobody likes a Bitter Betty or a Mopey Mary; both are real dick-killers.

Drink and Talk Less / Listen More: You do not need to be the center of attention to be the life of the party. Listening is a vastly underrated and underutilized skill. Asking the right questions of another person can keep a conversation lively and personable. How do you know what the right questions are? Listen to them. They are your best resource for what is right for them. They will tell you what you need to be asking about. And keep the alcohol to a minimum. Not only is it bad for your head and heart, but it creates loose lips and I can’t think of a single activity, socially or sexually, where that is a plus. Again – you booze, you loose. Nobody wants to fuck a drunk or risk waking up with one in the morning – except another drunk.

Keep Your Shirt On: Men of a certain age… unless they are hitting the gym for over an hour a day, four days a week, need to keep their shirts on in bars, on the dance floor and at gay pride. There is a difference between pecs and man boobs. Learn it. Man boobs are not sexy. Neither is the undeveloped chest of a 14 year old boy – ever – but especially when it is attached to the torso of a man over 40. So leave ‘em on.


Don’t Promise What you May not be Able to Deliver: You tell me you are a hardcore top and you want to fuck the devil out of my hot hole. Oh, yeah? Bring it on – exorcise me. Bring it, but don’t bring me any excuses. I want what’s coming to me. Don’t make the mistake of overselling your abilities. The buyer is always going to be the only opinion that ultimately matters and you may get away with coming up short in the action department once, but you will never get that buyer to return to your store.

Also, don’t tell me you’re a top and then expect me to come over and shove my dick up your ass. Homo don’t play that way. Bait and switch, my ass. If I top, it is because I plan to top or knew that it was a least a possibility. Flip-flopping is a skill that needs to be prepared for and is not a given.

Poppers are Not Pretty and Tina is Just Plain Ugly: That says it all.

Poppers, when done in the right amount and timed correctly can make a beautiful thing totally outrageous, but too many poppers and the excuses start flowing. And doing more isn’t going to fix it, fool. So relax and do only enough to enhance the experience; not overpower it. And yes, been there, done that, know better, will make that mistake again – I suppose (I’m stupid that way). But I know not to do them if I want to top. And I know not to do too many too quickly if I want to bottom for more than twenty minutes.

Tina? Here is the be all and end all - don’t be a stupid motherfucker. Don’t do Tina. Ever. It makes for the worst sex. The older you are? The worse it gets. And nothing is less sexy than a strung out, can’t get it up, older man, dripping with flop sweat and desperation, not making a shred of sense, who is acting like he has drunk 14 pots of coffee. That is ugly, not sexy. You can fool yourself on Tina, but those of us immune to her charms, we know what’s going on, and we are not having any of your sorry ass.

Well, there it is. For what it’s worth. This is part of a formula that seems to be working for me. I am still able to land some really tasty treats from time to time. And in between those times, I do alright for myself. I am so not perfect. I am so flawed and damaged. I have made so many mistakes. And my body is not all that and it never will be all that. Life comes with built-in limitations. As I’ve stated on here before – I was not blessed in the looks department. What I have learned is that ugly boys become even uglier older men, so I have had to figure out how to make the best of a less-than-gifted situation. I’ve become quite disciplined about it, especially my work-outs at the gym as well as the time spend walking outdoors (it’s called cruising, but frequently, when there is nothing cruise worthy in sight, it becomes a hike). On occasion I will overeat. I acknowledge it and do my best to correct the behavior, examine the source for said behavior and take action. But I do take action.

So this concentration on and determination to improve myself would lead one to assume that I am a pompous, full-of-myself, inflated ego bearing, narcissist? But, no. I don’t have all the answers. Not for anybody. Not even for me. You and the world around you – the one you interact with on a daily basis - are your best resources. Listen. As for me? I remain empathetic. For I remember all too clearly those days when…

“Dreams are all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls (boys)…
…like me.”
- At Seventeen by Janis Ian

I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve been given, I’m happy with who and what I am, and know that I don’t need more than I already have. Life is good. It’s a gift. Enjoy it.

Be kind to yourself.

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