“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.
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 NEVERDROPPED.
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.
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:
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.