Once upon a time Sylvester.se was the hottest gay site around, and guys who wanted to market themselves as masculine used the term “straight acting”, it was one of the default choices available on your profile. I always considered the term straight acting as an expression of gay self-hatred. Then qruiser.com came along and the term “grabbig” appeared which has the same straight acting qualities but added a youthful touch to it. And now, Grindr added tribes to their app, and one of the tribes is “jock”. But what is a jock? And is the term relevant in a non-American gay context?

I turn to the Urban Dictionary site and the most popular definition of jock is: “To clear things up, there is a major difference between jocks and athletes. Jocks tend to abuse their popularity while the athlete really mind who they talk or hang out with. Signs of a jock: Rude, arrogant, stupid, beats up people, dates only cheerleader and hangs around other jocks.” Yes, that sounds like something one would love to be associated with. Other definitions found online include a love for sports and a super fit body, the result of hard work at the gym. One of the more recent portrayal of the straight jock in contemporary culture is the character Jason Stackhouse portrayed by Ryan Kwanten in True Blood.

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But how does the straight jock differ from the gay jock? Well, first there is the age factor, while jock in a straight context seems to be a person not over 25. The gay jock, according to how the term is being used at Grindr, can be over 40. And since guys lie about their true age, the gay jock can be round 50. The straight jock has a six-pack; the gay jock wears Abercrombie & Fitch. He necessary does not have the perfect body, and he communicating the identity and the idea of straight, youthful, fit masculinity. I am not saying the all gay jocks are lying about their body, age or kind of masculinity, I am suggesting that gays tend to interpreted and use the term more freely and that they use the term as a code for youthful masculinity in order climb in the erotic hierarchy. And when it comes to the douchebag connotations; is it in fact yet another sign of a harsher dating climate and less solidarity expressed on Grindr and other gay communities? I am referring to expressions like “No Asians”, “No queens” and “No fat old guys” and other racist, ageist and internalised homophobic remarks used frequently today.

What about the sex? If you transfer The Urban Dictionary to a gay context, jocks have sex only with other jocks. One guy on Datalounge writes “Jock is code for ‘manly on the streets, bottom in the sheets’.” In William feat Detox and Vicky Vox’s Boy Is A Bottom she sings “He’s a jock / Least wears one on a date.” And in a way that single line summons everything up; a complex identity based on straight masculinity, youthfulness and sports that in a gay context is about getting laid. It has many similarities with the gay interpretation of the sharp skinhead. The straight sharp skin is all about English working class masculinity, style and music. The gay skin is all about Ben Sherman shirts and being urinated on for sexual purposes.

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