Magic Mike XXL: What It Tells Us About Modern Manhood

The Magic Mike movies are, truth be told, a bit of a nos­tal­gia trip. ‘Male strip­ping’ is actu­ally rather retro. It emerged as a phe­nomenon in the now impossibly innocent-looking 90s when the Chippendales and their orange muscles framed by bow ties, white cuffs and permed hair drove women wild – and Channing Tatum him­self was work­ing as a strip­per in Florida, before he became a Hollywood sex object.”

Yours mus­ing on today’s stripped-down stuffed-crotch mas­culin­ity in The Telegraph.

Manly Strap-Ons Still Selling Like Hot Bronuts

I usu­ally avoid link­ing to any­thing on Buzzfeed. On prin­ciple. I for­get exactly what that prin­ciple is but I’m sure it was a very good one.

However this list of ’27 gendered products’ is rather funny. ‘Gendered products’ is of course a polite way of say­ing manly strap-ons — things that have to be butched up so that men’s pen­ises don’t shrivel and blow away when they use/do them. Scary things like sun­screen and soap.

I say ‘men’s pen­ises’ but really I mean American men’s pen­ises. Most of the manly strap-ons are American — very American — and began to come on thick and strong dur­ing the faux back­lash the US had against met­ro­sexu­al­ity in the late Noughties. Remember the ‘menais­sance’? Thought not.

Strapping a ‘man’ word onto some­thing not very manly (man­scara, man­dates, man­bag) was a kind of phal­lic paci­fier, a lucky charm against any anxi­ety about sexual ambi­gu­ity. In other coun­tries, such as Australia, this might have been done with humour and irony — but not in the US.

It was after all the US which gave us, in all ser­i­ous­ness, the ‘lum­ber­sexual’ — the manly strap-on man (who worked in IT or artisan cof­fee retail). And before him the ‘uber­sexual’ and the ‘macho­sexual’. All hys­ter­ical reaction-formations to the metrosexual.

Four years ago I hoped that manly strap-ons and campy cod­pieces had peaked — or drooped — with ‘hegans’. You know, men who don’t eat meat but aren’t faggy at all but MANLY. I was so wrong. Apparently there is such a thing in the world as ‘Mangria’ — though prob­ably you shouldn’t drink it with a raised pinky, or even too much fruit. And ‘bronuts’. Which appar­ently you eat when you want to ‘snack like a man’. Whatever the bloody nora that means.

My favour­ite though is the manly soap with grips — a very prac­tical addi­tion: ensur­ing, of course, that it is NEVER DROPPED.

Mark Simpson Interviewed on Italian Swiss TV Channel RSI

At the end of last year I was inter­viewed by Sarah Ferraro of Italian Swiss TV chan­nel RSI for a doc about mod­ern mas­culin­ity air­ing Thursday (tomor­row) at 9pm.

Here are some advance clips that the makers of the doc kindly shared of me unre­lax­ing in a male spa in London’s Mayfair called The Refinery.

The ori­ginal inter­view, as you can ima­gine, las­ted hours.…

The doc­u­ment­ary should be avail­able to view on the RSI site here this Friday (with me dubbed into sexy Italian).

Keyless Entry & Male Versatility

“I call him lollipop”

The sexu­al­isa­tion of the male body probes new, perfectly-rounded depths in this European ad pro­mot­ing the ‘key­less entry’ fea­ture on Ford cars.

And pos­sibly the use of Ford key fobs as sex toys.

A remark­ably well-crafted ad, it makes excel­lent use of the increas­ingly blatant mod­ern phe­nomenon of meta­phys­ical — and increas­ingly phys­ical - male ver­sat­il­ity. How men in our sporno­sexual age are now act­ive and pass­ive. Tops and bot­toms. Subjects and objects. Heroic and tarty.

To the strains of an ‘inno­cent’ 1960s bubblegum pop track in which a girl com­pares her boy­friend to some­thing sweet to suck, every­one on the beach, male or female, young or old, gay or straight, is hav­ing a really good look at the worked-out, oiled-up grin­ning hot­tie in the tight trunks saun­ter­ing past.

So far, so nor­mal in a world in which the male body has become bouncy castle for the eyes.

As our beach babe approaches his car how­ever, we real­ise that every­one is sup­posedly star­ing because they are won­der­ing how he’s going to get into his locked, lovely new ride.

The oblig­at­ory, ‘objec­ti­fy­ing’ close ups of his packet and ass served up to us before­hand have only ‘served’ to make it clear that he hasn’t got any­thing down his pants, save his meat and two vege — plus two pert buns.

The car greed­ily unlocks itself when presen­ted with his lunch-packet. Which is entirely understandable.

But we’re star­ing right at his bubble butt strain­ing against his tight trunks when this happens.

And then the kiss-off strap­line spells out the anal­ity of all this:

FORD KEYLESS ENTRY

Where you keep your key is up to you.

So the ad is less about the lol­li­pop and more about the buttered buns. ‘Keyless entry’ is all about male ver­sat­il­ity, if not voraciousness.

Likewise the pop­ping sound-effect on the ‘Lollipop’ track at the end of the ad is now less sug­gest­ive of fel­la­tio than the removal of a car fob from a toned, er, trunk.