Bad Influences

Have you been bombarded by so-called Influencers lately? Speaking from personal experience; I have and it’s been tedious.

When I was a kid…no, that’s not right. Earlier this century, back in the aughts, being an influencer was kind of a rare thing. Usually, it was someone from the media or a local personality. I encountered a lot of them when I was opening the “don’t call it a flagship” Sur la Table in Bellevue, Washington in ’09.

Thank gawd it was a rare thing back then.

They.

Were.

Precious.

Most of them were women, maybe a step or two above a debutante or socialite. Mostly by a decade or more in age and a tenuous claim to a job. Most of those jobs amounted to being a blogger, back before everyone had one.

But there were a couple of published lifestyle authors and an occasional morning show host that came with some gravitas. They were important to be able to connect with and talk to because they had an audience and they knew that connecting with me was about promoting the brand I represented versus a vested interest in their own self-promotion.

Unlike the other dilettantes and poseurs.

But today, it seems like dilettantes and poseurs are all that’s left of the once almost illustrious title of influencer.

What’s more, just like one doesn’t call it a comeback or refer to oneself as hot or cool…maybe true influencers don’t call themselves influencers.

I started thinking about this just before Christmas while visiting with the ‘phew. He’s in the middle of his freshman year of college and we were just catching up on his quick trip to SoCal to attend a music festival called Rolling Loud. He’d gone with some of his high school classmates. When we came around to next year and whether upgrading to the VIP experience would be worth the extra $100/ticket – he thinks it will be, so why not? – money in general came up.

Tickets: $250-350

Airfare: $250? I’m guessing, but it’s in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas peak travel season, so I bet they aren’t giving away plane seats.

Hotel: $150/night for three nights, and this is for a hotel room near USC so it could be more!

Plus Ubers everywhere and food.

So, yeah. Money came up.

That segued into a classmate of his who he said was an influencer for he didn’t know what, but she got around $3k a couple times a month for whatever she did.

For the first time this holiday season, I was able to maintain a neutral expression while inside I was doing my best Gilbert Gottfried and disbelief was spewing out of my figurative mouth while I mentally debunked everything.

My immediate thoughts, when I began turning this over in my head later that night, was all of the self-proclaimed influencers in my Instagram feed. Don’t be surprised, but I follow a lot of random gay guys.

Ok, fine…take a moment to regroup.

Better?

Off we go, then.

There’s a guy I follow named Ben Something. By all initial accounts, he was just this cute lil college kid in NYC that liked showing off his dimples and nice butt on his Instagram feed.

Then it turns out that he’s dating a fairly well known gay porn performer. Ok, I know the porn star is a bottom, and the Ben kid sure pinged as a bottom, so I wasn’t surprised to see them both post “single again” Insta-stories within a couple hours of one another.

Kids. So cute.

I wasn’t even surprised when Ben was dating someone else less than a week later.

Lost Boys. But this is part of finding oneself, right? And he’s an appropriate age for it.

<Looking at you, PNW guys in your 30s…>

Then I started seeing him post “paid partnership” pics on behalf of Pure for Men, which is a supplement for men who engage in receptive anal sex. I’ve never looked into it, but I’m assuming it’s basically a $20 solution for a $5 problem.

I actually dug around the Amazon for a bit and proved my own theory without disproving my own hyperbole: psyllium supplement is $.17/dose and Pure for Men is $.85/dose.

Then I got to watch a trip to Paris, that turned out to be a meet up with his ex…and several other actors for CockyBoys. I’m sure you can figure out what the trip was actually for. Seriously, though…who flies porn “stars” into Paris to make a movie?

What a time to be alive.

I mean, getting by on your looks.

To recap: Pure for Men mouthpiece, CockyBoys actor…and all this time I thought he was a ballet student. Yeah. Regardless, there’s a life plan full of intent.

Then there’s the 19 y/o Aussie bodybuilder…I started following him after seeing a before/after pic of his struggle with acne.

Frankly, the before pic was the stuff of teenage nightmares. I felt awful for him. But his story was impressive. He’d managed his acne with a combination of medicine and diet.

It was very Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, so I was drawn to it. Plus, the FS&ND guy was also an Aussie, which I found to be an interesting coincidence.

Turned out, the Aussie kid was only 18. He’d not only managed to overcome his acne through his dive into nutrition. Following diet up with exercise, he’d transformed himself from a 98 lb weakling – sorry, I’m not converting that empirical expression into metric – into a buff bodybuilder.

He competes now.

Frankly, he’s rather overworked, in my opinion. Then again, that’s kind of the end goal for a bodybuilder: keep building body, right?

But his journey was inspirational. Until I tried listening to him talk. It was painful. Then again, teenagers are usually still learning their own voices, so I just hit mute and watched his sometimes fun beach antics with his friends and his impressive gym videos.

What I did learn from him, though, was he wanted to create a fitness culture on YouTube to help others find what he found through fitness and nutrition.

Not a bad goal.

Somewhere in there, he also created a clothing line of fitness apparel. Mostly sleeveless tops, but I assume he was going for a specific audience.

This past week, I saw a story of his that was captioned “last day at one of my three jobs”. That made me pay a little more attention to what had been going on with him. Working three jobs and about 50 hours a week is a lot with his fitness regimen-slash-gym time. Factor in commute time between jobs and it’s not just a 50 hour commitment, either.

Until

Later that day – the same damn day – he posted on his story that we should all follow his “private account” because he was starting an Only Fans page.

Where to start?

Ok. Only Fans is a feature that you can enable on Instagram that allows you to charge a monthly subscription for selfie porn.

Seriously.

I’ve seen many of these random gays I casually follow start Only Fans and then embarrassingly promote themselves to gain subscribers. They seem to charge $2.99-9.99 a month for the privilege of seeing their exclusive content.

I’ve actually found this internet secret that allows me to get free porn, so I’ve never once been tempted by this Only Fans nonsense. However, I remembered my nephew’s classmate and her alleged twice monthly $3000 payday.

That’s only 600 subscribers at $9.99/month. Plus, straight guys are way dumber about porn than gay guys. Maybe a hot co-ed can get more than another gay gym bunny.

Speaking of straight guys being idiots about porn? This Aussie kid is straight. Too narcissistic to stay that way in my opinion/experience, but he’s 19. He’ll probably figure it out. For now, he’s starting his Only Fans for $19.99/month!

Marketing to a gay audience at twice the market rate is a pretty bold marketing decision. We’ll see how that works out for him.

For now, I see him starting to pop up in the stories of guys around the world, whose sole purpose on Instagram is to help one another build their follower-ship into the tens of thousands.

Fine. I get that. We’re in the Me Generation on Crack. It’s all about the likes and follows.

For my part, these random people Instagram thinks I should follow? I do. Sometimes…if they don’t engage with me, then I unfollow them.

I’m sticking to social media being a social experiment versus playing into the likes and follows culture. If I wanted empty socialization, I’d hang out on hookup apps, aka: asocial media.

I figure if some guy in Brazil can post in Portuguese and engage with me in English, Australians, Brits and even Americans can be bothered to interact occasionally with their followers in their native language. It’s how I virtually separate good folks from pretty trash on line.

I know, I set a high bar for people. <eyeroll>

Anyway…this Aussie kid. Flash forward a few more days and he’s slashed his Only Fans to $9.99/month. Looks like he’s learning something. Nothing important, in my opinion…

But then he posts a pic of one of his bros and says they are going to be creating some “hot content” together for his Only Fans subscribers…maybe he’s learning something about himself that is important.

Or, not

Back in my day, cute young guys knew how to behave. Straight guys slept with as many people as possible, like it was their right. Gay guys acted like they were too good to deign settling for a lesser human as a sex partner, 10s Only was the attitude.

Now it’s Fans Only.

Noted.

Regardless, the meme makers have these guys covered.

See ya around, Influencers. When I see shit like this clogging up my corner of the internet

…I swipe and unfollow. I don’t know either of those guys. I guess I’m – surprisingly – not under the influence.

Bad Influences

13 thoughts on “Bad Influences

  1. I guess that makes me *influentially immune* I rarely, if ever, fall victim to these cash cows that others engage in. Life is too short to even bother to care what another generation is doing. I’m still trying to cope with the mistakes my generation made! Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I often wonder who actually does fall prey to this type of financial predation. There’s a couple of guys I engage with that literally travel the world, allegedly thanksvto their subscribers and paid partnerships. Embarrassingly, there’s been a couple that carelesslynposted their “Only Fans” homepage to show how many pics/videos were included in their exclusive content and accidentally showed they had less than a dozen followers…oops.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “But today, it seems like dilettantes and poseurs are all that’s left of the once almost illustrious title of influencer.” Meet the 21st Century Narcissist Man. (or Woman). Makes me want to write a screechingly angst riddled song. No wait. King Crimson did that. Hey, these days, the growing up Millenials make the 80s “me” generation yups look like Bambi in NorCal in the summer. Entitled. Beyond gay or any cultural genre pigeonhole, it is epidemic.

    Seems like 80s or 90s there was a biz buzz phrase that was betond networking (so passe) about circles of influence. I always thought it sounded like circles of flatulence and since I was born with enough gas to open an Exxon station and in my youth could fart fresh air on command, I thought it a great career move. The world is full of false signposts.

    And seriously. money for nothing from people who set themselves up as experts? Fuck. That. I don’t care if they’re gym rats or financial experts. A freind of mine once said he he was going to see a Tony Robbins event. Fifteen hundred bucks. I said “give me a Benjamin and I’ll run it down for you.” Yeah? “Yeah. Shit or get off the pot.” He went, said he wished he’d have givben me the Ben and stayed home. It’s a fucking racket. Posuers are the miscreant children of Social Media darlings. Journey found their Steve Perry replacement on HeyYouLookAtMeTube.

    That’ll be $2.50. You can owe me. No! You drink IPA! LIFESTYLE POSER! I’ll take a check.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My check might bounce, since I’ve basically been sitting alone in my own circle of flatulence for the past six months…but I do appreciate you being old school about it and not asking me to VenMo you! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I could like this post a million times!

    I was *just* having a conversation with a fellow blogger about so-called antisocial media. I get the appeal of get-rich-quick schemes, but the way alleged influencers have taken over the likes of Instagram is utterly obnoxious.

    Also, this is probably showing how old and out of touch I am, but I had never heard of Only Fans pages on Insta until reading your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely intended to absolve helicopter parents for how these Insta-Influencers came about by blaming the Zuck, but then decided to just air my gripe and be done with it.
      The fact your Insta-feed isn’t full of these opportunists probably means you’re not distracted by fluff like I am. It’s a good thing to not know first hand!
      Thanks for reading. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a timely and significant post. I just returned from spending five days with a cousin, her Italian hubby and their 20 years young, gay son. We had a great visit and I got some private convo time with ‘the kid.’ A college sophomore, all he wants is to suck dick and get laid. Fortunately, he’s smart and safe and the only influencer in his sphere is gaming. He could care less about what others think about him and vice versus. Not to say his mind-set won’t shift over time toward other distractions yet I returned home believing he may be on a better trajectory than many of his peers. A computer science major, he’s tech savvy yet he’s comfortable enough in his own skin to carve a path that’s aligned with his interests, not what others promote. He knows the void that is social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like someone had some good parenting…and uncle-ing! That’s the type of guy I’m happy to hear is being released into the wilds of our gay community: independent and with a good head on his shoulders.
      Could there be hope for our rag-tag and asunder community yet to come?
      Thanks for reading, but especially for commenting! That was just what I needed to read after clicking “publish” on my NYE blog. 😊

      Like

  5. Oh gosh.. I believe ‘real’ influencers would never call themselves influencers, but more notable, influencers are usually very quiet when it comes to money and how much they get from what. And I think having that as a job is completely fine… Just don’t be a dick about it and rub it in other people’s faces..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that the true influencers are much more discreet. The crop I’m witnessing these days are more like Vegans or Harvard alumni.
      You know the old joke about how to tell if someone is Vegan, right?
      Money is just one of those topics where my first inclination is that the person speaking is probably lying, just to an unknown degree. A 20 year old college co-ed claiming a $6k/mo earning while attending an Aggie college? Sorry, toots…it’s probably all financially down hill for you from here. 😂

      Like

  6. The elf on the shelf in the box. heh.
    And I love that muscle line guys get in their groin area (PINK and Gwen Stefani have it too) but acrodave kind of ruined it for me……..I’m now going to surgically remove your blog from my eyeballs and go do something else, but I’ll be back. Strong voice. Good writing. Word combos that make me go squee, plus it’s the perfect blog to read while dozing off and coming to – enhances the stream of consciousness. You remind me of my old best friend who died of the AIDS a long time ago. Once I showed up to his place in this fabulous (at least I thought so) red sweater dress from Benetton on Halloween. He said to me, “lovely, darling, you’ve come as a blood clot” I miss him so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A blood clot. OMG. Send help, dying.
      I love that you’ve enjoyed my sometimes deranged musings…I fear your reading rate will outpace my output, though! Luckily, there’s a backlog.
      I feel so busy right now, and it’s *all* from WordPress!
      My January goal is to post a blog every day, in the hopes of developing better writing routines.
      A fellow blogger just sent me a book he wrote to proof.
      But now, I have an overwhelming desire to disappear into your dating blog. You’ve probably discovered by now that I love procrastinating!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s