Hi Papabear, it’s Wolfthorne again.
I've been on a long arduous journey of accepting myself as gay, and while it has been a very weird if not interesting experience. Happiness is the most important thing for me, and I am in charge of my own happiness.
There is this one certain societal norm I have been trying to get over, though. And it involves terms of endearment, in this case, trying to understand the whole difference between cute and handsome.
When I was a child, my parents always called me handsome, and I suppose they called me cute at one point when I was a child. Nowadays, I've always seen myself as handsome. And usually I learned to associate cute with someone a person of the opposite sex would call me, not of the same sex.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that, whenever a man calls me cute—I can't explain it and I don't know why—but I get easily turned off by that word because: A) I'm afraid they're saying it because they're hitting on me and I usually respond with, "I prefer the term handsome, but thank you" just so I can turn them off back, and B) when a man calls me cute, it’s almost as if (pardon my French) they see me as their bitch or something.
What's even more confusing is that gay men USUALLY use the term for handsome in its general definition "a good looking person" (usually of a man). I, however, quote from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary which is not altogether inappropriate: "pleasing to look at; especially of a person: having a pleasing appearance that causes romantic or sexual feelings in someone."
And the definition USUALLY is associated for men. And if a man or woman were to call me that I'd have no problem. Cute, on the other hand: "attractive or pretty especially in a childish, youthful, or delicate way."
Makes me feel as if I'm almost not manly at all. Like I'm weak, or something easily tossed aside like a piece of trash, neither of which are true and I know this because I'm not a child, and I'm not delicate.
I look at myself, and I don't know if people mean handsome as a term for men who are burly or someone genuinely looks hot or if my parents called me handsome in a sense just to make me feel good about myself, or if they GENUINELY meant that, but I can't understand why I get turned off by it.
Is there any way that I can learn to not get turned off by the term "cute"? And what should I do if someone calls me that?
Wolfthorne (age 23)
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I have never seen a photo of you, so can’t judge whether you are “cute” or “handsome,” but either way these comments by others are meant as compliments, not in any way to denigrate you. Something you need to understand, Wolfthorne, is when you are among gay men, you are more likely to be complimented in terms that many would find more feminine. You can run into very butch-looking men, for example, who will call each other “girlfriend” or “sister.” Jim tried that on me a couple times and I told him to stop it because I don’t like being referred to in womanly terms. I’m a man, not a woman. So, I can understand you might object to being called “cute.” You’re a man, not a baby panda.
Because you are only 23, you might be subjected to the cute word more often. Yes, it is often applied to those with a more youthful appearance. But you don’t always have to be “delicate” or childish to be called cute. I think you’re reading too much into it. The times I have called someone cute, it was never to suggest someone was “a piece of trash.” If I wanted to do that, I would call them a slut or a skank LOL. In short, don’t be insulted, because I’m sure that those who call you cute mean it in a good way.
Now, if this happens again, don’t get mad, but you certainly can say something along these lines: “Thanks for the compliment, but I really don’t see myself as cute so much as devastatingly handsome.” And chuckle a bit and smile to show you are not offended and you’re just being facetious. Then, if you feel they merit it, give the other person a compliment back. If the only thing that is turning you off of a guy is that they used the word cute, you can easily get around that and begin striking up a conversation, maybe even get into some flirting that will turn you back on again. It would be a shame if you turned someone away just because of one poorly chosen word, would you not agree?
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