I’m Vincent Scarfo and I’m from Flanders, New Jersey.
Growing up, I was bullied for not only being gay but also for being fat. A lot of the bullying around being gay was also more tied to my higher voice and not so much to my actual being gay, because I was bullied for that before I even knew what being gay was.
So when I was in college, I was part of this LGBT group and it was a lot of very skinny, attractive, white men. And that almost became a dating circle for a lot of people on college campus. So it was like you go to these meetings to meet a boyfriend or to meet somebody. But being a bigger guy, I didn’t always feel confident that the other people there were interested in me considering it was this very homogenous group.
I was almost embracing my more masculine side and being like, my voice is high but I’m not really very feminine in a lot of the other things that I do. So I joined a fraternity, I spent a lot more time with straight men. I wanted to kind of explore that side of myself. While being in a fraternity was kind of the non-stereotypical experience, I feel like I didn’t really do the “let’s go to parties, let’s hook up, let’s have sex and do all this stuff.” I actually graduated from college and I was still a virgin.
I joined a few different websites, like I was on Bigger City and Growler. I was using these dating sites to find guys who were smaller but interested in bigger men. When I went to Los Angeles for grad school, I had deleted and reuploaded all those apps several times, I feel like as most men do.
It was my second year starting grad school and I was talking to this one guy. I decided to meet up with him and we met in downtown Los Angeles and we got sushi and then we were walking around. The next time I saw him was maybe a few days later and we just hung out and watched a movie and I think I cheesily asked him to be my boyfriend and he was like, “Yeah!” We just started dating after our third date.
It being my first relationship, I didn’t really know what things were deal breakers and what things were stuff that you need to work on. There was kind of this last-straw moment that was just like, you know what, I need to end this relationship and see what’s out there, and if what is out there is nothing, I have to be okay with that for a while.
I got a job posting sent to me by my mentor for this job in Philadelphia. So I came for an in-person interview in Philly. [They] took me out to El Vez for dinner one night, which was right in the middle of the Gayborhood.
When I first moved here, I feel like I would go out ot the bars and I was looking around for a boyfriend, still. It was very much like, oh who am I going to find to hook up with or go on a date with? There’s this one guy that I had seen a few times and we had been dancing together, we were getting pretty cozy, and he went in for a kiss. I had assumed that they would not be into me because I was a bear or bigger and they were a skinny guy, so I was like they’re not going to be into me. So when they went in for the kiss, I was a little bit put-off. I was like, oh what’s happening, I’m so confused right now.
I had let that moment pass because I wasn’t ready for it. I came to realize that it wasn’t actually what I looked like or if I was fat or if I was skinny. It was more that they were, in that moment, attracted to me and who I was
One time, I was with my friend and we’re just like, let’s just hang out, let’s go dance. So we went upstairs and we were just dancing and going along with the music and two guys came over and talked to us and we were just, kind of, having fun. I wound up making out with one of those guys and got his phone number and I feel like it was a night-and-day experience from when I was going out and looking for something or looking for someone to make out with or someone to date and it was more about, I’m here to have fun with my friend and just be who I am. And then people, kind of, I feel are attracted that and they come to you because they’re like, “That person’s having fun. Let’s go talk to them.” Instead of, “Oh that person’s looking for something. Let’s get away from them.”
It’s not perfect. My life didn’t magically change. Sometimes that insecurity creeps back in but it’s just kind of trying to remember that when I am in that moment and when I do act that way and when I enjoy myself, a lot better things happen. So it’s an ongoing thing where i have to keep telling myself to stay in that mentality, but when I do, it works.