The Cuddle

Image shows a thick black circle with a cartoon otter inside it. The otter is holding a drinks carton with a straw sticking out of it. The carton says "Gay Juice" on it.
The Otter joins and hopefully we’ll hear more from him.

We have a new contributor. Going by the name The Otter (and he is!), here he gives us an insight to a lesson learned about appearance. Speaking personally, the lesson he learns here is one it took me a long time to learn and it’s empowering to hear someone else say it and showing us that we’re not alone. But don’t take my word for it. Read what The Otter says in his first piece. It’ll be worth it.

Dear Reader,

As the first of these that I’ve ever written, I think it most appropriate to start with the earliest story I have.

Travel back with me to 2006, I was 18 years old, just starting collage and through some unfortunate incident that happened to my roommate (he’s fine, no one died other then his pride) I found myself living in a student apartment, alone. Every teenagers dream! I had the freedom and ability to explore my sexuality, who I was and who I might become and, I was away from the prying eyes of others.

Like most at that age, there are more than enough stories of exploration and discovery. The one that I feel is most prudent to share with you now is one of inexperience and perception. My own mistaken perception of what constituted being viewed as ‘attractive’ to be exact.

At that age, I had no idea what I was doing and feeling or how to overcome those feelings of insecurity I was experiencing, as well as the anxiety. I had this bright idea one day, I was going to shave my body hair off and be smooth. It seemed like such a obvious thing to do! The few guys that I’d encountered up to that point where smooth and all the hottest photos were of smooth chested guys. Also all the porn I’d seen starred smooth men. Clearly part of the reason I considered myself unattractive was the fact that I was hairy.

image shows the top of a wooden table. On the table are various sharing and grooming tools. These include a shaving brush, shaving soap. beard pomade, scissors, hair clippers and a comb.
“For the better part of 6 months, every 3 or 4 days, I would shave my body from the neck down.”

For the better part of 6 months, every 3 or 4 days, I would shave my body from the neck down. Yes, I know what your thinking and, yes, shaving my back without assistance was a frustrating anatomical problem. I did this until one fateful hookup! Since I can’t gain the necessary permission to use his name I’ll refer to him simply as “Daddy.”

Many good things happened that day, yet the one that I will always hold dear happened during the best and simplest act of all – the cuddle.

You see, this hookup had happened 3 days after my last body shave and from talking to Daddy to hi arriving it left little time to complete this process. I was still about 90% smooth and thought “Fuck it, it will be fine” and didn’t think of it after that. Until the cuddle!

I rememeber it vividly. As his hands where rubbing up and down my back he suddenly stopped, looked me in the eye and bluntly asked “Do you shave?” There were many emotions that coursed through my body in that moment, all from that one simple question.

The question spiralled me into a vortex of panic and, in that panic, I told him the truth. I can only imagine how I looked in that moment, but it was apparently enough to justify follow up questions.

One question after another followed, ultimately leading me to reveal that I was shaving my body in an attempt to look attractive. He calmly and patiently lead me, kicking and screaming, to a harsh truth.

I was not doing this for me. I was not doing this because I wanted to be hairless or even liked being smooth. The truth was even though no one had told me or forced me, no one in particular was involved, I was still desperately altering myself to fit into someone else’s view of what was considered attractive. To be seen and deemed worthy of notice and affection.

That day I learned a very valuable lesson. When it comes to how I looked and the kind of alterations I might consider, it would be done on my terms. Because I wanted to, because I liked how it looked, because it felt right for me to do it.

As I grew and evolved I eventually understood why he approached this conversation with such unyielding determination. I was at the very start of a journey of exploration, full of twists and turns, of positives and negatives, and fundamentally figuring out who I was and along that wonderful roller-coaster. I have met those who would’ve taken advantage of my fears and insecurities, those who would’ve happily, and without a seconds thought, warped and damaged me in ways I cannot even begin to comprehend. Those who would eagerly force me to be something they wanted me to be, for their satisfaction and gratification, for their benefit and not my own.

I was lucky he had got to me first. He had taken the time to educate me about the potential dangers that lurk within myself, to stop the car and turn it around back to the start.

I have, and will, always hold this lesson close to my heart and, although I have probably explained it poorly, it is my hope that whoever may read this rambling will find some pearls of wisdom that will assist and help them.

Go explore! Experiment and discover who you are. Have the courage to let yourself be you! Take suggestions given with the purpose of that discovery, but you do it because it’s what you want to do. And you do it on your terms!

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