Gay Men Don’t Get Fat
January 18, 2012
Recently The New York Times interviewed Simon Doonan, a major player in the fashion industry, about his new book Gay Men Don’t Get Fat. In the book, Doonan, a gay man, uses humor to talk about sexual orientation and food. In Doonan’s world, there are two clear categories of food: straight and gay. This idea made his interview over lunch with a New York Times writer very funny.
Doonan was critical of his interviewer for getting a panini loaded with meat and cheese, because this kind of food is typical of the way Doonan says heterosexual men eat. Doonan’s humorous play on stereotypes about sexual orientation included remarking that a baby arugula salad is a gay dish, while the meatloaf on the menu is “the Burt Reynolds of foods.” Doonan enjoys poking fun at both the heterosexual and gay and says that “bisexual eating” is the best way to “stay svelte” or thin.
Sadly his fashion industry mentality shows itself in his humor when he repeatedly remarks that “heterosexual foods” are the cause for the hefty nature of many of his heterosexual friends. Doonan’s fear of fatty foods isn’t so much about health as it is about looks. This is a dangerous line of thinking because it places too much emphasis on being thin and what you look like. Sure plenty of foods out there are unhealthy, but you should be wary of these foods because of your health, not the size of your clothing. Had Doonan emphasized that healthy foods were good for the heart, then his message would have been worthwhile. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the genes to look slim. What is important is to keep our bodies healthy.
In the end, I think Doonan’s humor far outweighed his unhealthy ideas about body image. And in spite of his obsession with being thin (what else would we expect from someone who works in the fashion industry?), I found the interview to be a delightfully funny read.
Photo by Henry Hargreaves