Oeufs Masculin à La Francaise

Apparently, French briefs will turn your ‘oeufs’ into a tasty and nicely-presented h’omelette. Should you be attacked by a smil­ing, impec­cably retro-styled woman with a hammer.

This viral ad for men’s under­wear by Le Slip Francais is cer­tainly atten­tion — or rather, nut — grabbing. Particularly in when you com­pare it to the sexed-up advert­ising of, say, Armani and CK, appeal­ing as they do to male sen­su­al­ity and desirab­il­ity, not to men­tion open-legged, under-dressed male vulnerability.

But I’m not sure this mes­sage will sell many briefs to men who aren’t very heav­ily into CBT.

Though per­haps the tar­get audi­ence (as my advert­ising friend Honourable Husband poin­ted out else­where) for this oeuf-hammering is actu­ally women — who are look­ing for an Xmas present for a male partner.

If so, all I can say is that it’s a part­ner they must feel some­what ambi­val­ent about.

Whatever this ad for designer cas­tra­tion anxiety’s mer­its, I think the art dir­ec­tion is deli­cious. Note how the lamp-shades, the stereo-gram top and the hammer-wielding lady’s nail var­nish all match.

It’s the details that mat­ter when you’re mak­ing ‘oeufs’ splatter.

h/t Hans Versluys

Nadal’s Locker Room Service

Is that a rac­quet in your pants? Or are you just pleased to see a camera?

Darkly hand­some 29 year old ten­nis ace Rafael Nadal’s new ad for Tommy Hilfiger has more than a hint of a Tom Cruise Top Gun locker room scene about it.

It also goes fur­ther than any other recent under­wear ads in com­modi­fy­ing celebrity cock. All but shov­ing it down our all-consuming maws. It’s a big budget ver­sion of a web-cam show.

The ad begins with the cam­era, appar­ently held by a heavy-breathing voyeur pre­tend­ing to towel off after a shower  - i.e. the view­ing pub­lic — slyly star­ing at Cruise/Nadal’s pert bum filling out his designer jeans as he enters the locker room. Then zoom­ing in as the win­ner of four­teen ‘Grand Slams’ strips, seem­ingly unawares.

We clock his ath­letic back, his cotton-clad buns, his tanned, toned, centre court thighs, his abs, and — WOAH! — his ‘open stance’ packet. Is that just the carefully-angled light? Or a pros­thesis? Or is he actu­ally turned on??

And is he going to have our eye out with it if he pulls those pricey pants down?

Just as we are about to find out, Nadal decides to end his little show — shak­ing his head at us with a naughty grin that says he knew full well what we were up to and enjoyed every minute of it. And then he vol­leys us his still warm ‘top-seeded’ Hilfiger under­wear. So kind.

A few years back, when Nadal was still in his mid-twenties, it was another designer, Mr Armani, who was offer­ing us Nadal bent over a builder’s bench, and chopped into smooth, sexy, slip­pery pieces in an abjectly objec­ti­fy­ing video.

In the latest cam­paign Nadal’s world-class rear still has a star­ring role, but now, nearly 30 — and the envel­ope of what’s accept­able in main­stream advert­ising hav­ing been well-and-truly pushed in our faces — he not only sports chest hair but also, a very prom­in­ent penis.

Which reminds me. Perhaps I’ve been pay­ing too much atten­tion, but in the vid Nadal seems to be dress­ing to his right and ‘rest­ing’ at 0:10. But by 0:11 he’s dress­ing left and a semi-finalist.

That’s some service.

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.

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.

Well-Oiled, Precision-Engineered German Spornosexuality

This recent German ad caught my eye. Or rather, some silky smooth, highly-grabable German glu­tes leapt out of my mon­itor and rammed them­selves in my face.

My German is rather poor, but the ad would appear to be for lady’s body-cream called Aldo Vandini. Expensive body-cream, judging by the size of that obscenely lux­uri­ous bath-living room the shame­less young man is oil­ing him­self and his precision-engineered but­tocks up in. I don’t know about you, but I found myself rather dis­trac­ted by it. Perhaps I’m deeply shal­low, but I couldn’t decide which I wanted more. His bum or the bath-fittings.

Butt’ I think it’s pretty clear what the real product and object of desire is here – as it so often is in advert­ising these days: The tarty male body.

The ad is shot voyeur­ist­ic­ally. We, the viewer, appear to be loiter­ing in the door­way, breath­ing heav­ily, our eyes linger­ing on his nicely-lit back and but­tocks – but we’re listen­ing to opera, so we’re not being sleazy – while he bends over to sniff the aro­matic body-rub, which we’ll assume isn’t actu­ally poppers-infused. He’s not afraid of the fem­in­ine product, just likes the way it smells and how it feels.

Likewise, he’s not afraid of the ‘fem­in­ine’, ‘pass­ive’ pos­i­tion of being looked at – from behind. Towards the end, the finely-featured scamp looks over his shoulder, clocks us per­ving over him, smiles and just car­ries on rub­bing him­self up. Deliberately or not, this German ad, aimed appar­ently at women, has spoken in the lin­gua franca of the delight­ful, play­ful, sen­sual ambi­gu­ity of mod­ern, sporno­sexual mas­culin­ity – and the assert­ive sexual appet­ite of mod­ern femininity.

And also, as I’ve shown with my drool­ing, the ambi­gu­ity of just who is watching.

Man-Knockers on the London Underground

A funny thing happened to Mark Simpson on the way to the ‘Being a Man’ forum

I almost fell off the plat­form when I saw this body­build­ing sup­ple­ments poster bust­ing out all over the London Underground recently - around the same time as all that indig­nant hul­laba­loo sur­round­ing The Sun’s infam­ous now-you-don’t-see-them-any-more-now-you-do-again lady busts.

There they were, depil­ated man-knockers (and pixelated knack­ers) nakedly objec­ti­fied in the rush hour for all to see: men and women, chil­dren and adults, wide-eyed tour­ists and jaded loc­als. No need to buy a copy of a declin­ing tabloid news­pa­per, open it and turn to page three to ‘exploit’ this model’s tits and abs. Just look up from your smart­phone. Shameless male top­less and bottomless-ness plastered all over the walls for every­one to ‘gaze’ at while wait­ing for the next obscenely over­crowded Elephant & Castle train, per­haps car­ry­ing Laura Mulvey.

Even worse, the poster encour­aged other young men to objec­tify them­selves (‘reveal your­self’), and spend their hard-earned cash buy­ing sup­ple­ments that they hope will help to make them more desir­able, more sale­able, more shag­gable — bustier. Men are the new glam­our models.

The web­site for the sup­ple­ment com­pany includes ‘cover model’ as one of the poten­tial ‘goals’ that their sporno­sexual cus­tom­ers might be inter­ested in:

…lean muscle has become an industry recog­nised term that is now syn­onym­ous with a cover model look. To achieve a cover model body, the key con­sid­er­a­tion is to increase muscle whilst keep­ing body fat to an abso­lute minimum’.

And lib­eral use of Photoshop.

Funnily enough, I was on my way to appear on a panel at the Southbank Centre talk­ing about ‘Being a Man’ when I was con­fron­ted with these man-knockers. On the panel I was respond­ing to a present­a­tion by the artist and TV presenter Grayson Perry. Who is a bit of man knocker him­self — in a more ‘crit­ical’ sense.

Perry’s present­a­tion (along the lines of this piece for the New Statesman) was acerbic, enter­tain­ing and not without insight, but some­times seemed at least thirty years out of date. And I know this because I myself am only twenty years out of date.

My main issue with it was not that it prob­lem­at­ised and patho­lo­gised mas­culin­ity and ‘toxic’ testoster­one and the Sauronic ‘male gaze’ — which it did in spades — but that it reified, pos­sibly fet­ish­ised mas­culin­ity as some­thing unchan­ging, some­thing mono­lithic. Sometimes the biggest crit­ics of mas­culin­ity are its biggest believ­ers — includ­ing cross-dressing fem­in­ist men.

Of course, I tend to notice far too much what some don’t care to see at all — and I began my com­ments by warn­ing the audi­ence that I like men. A LOT. But I was sur­prised how little Mr Perry seemed to under­stand me when talk­ing about the eager self-objectification young men today go in for and the break­down of what I call the het­ero­sexual divi­sion of labour, of look­ing and of loving.

I won­der if he uses the tube? Or even his eyes?

***

The recently-released movie ver­sion of Fifty Shades of Grey has been attacked by some fem­in­ists for set­ting back ‘the cause of woman­hood’ (because it fea­tures female sub­missive­ness and male mas­ter­ful­ness) and for glor­i­fy­ing ‘abuse’ (des­pite being very con­sen­sual). Notwithstanding it is writ­ten by a woman, dir­ec­ted by a woman (Sam Taylor-Johnson), green-lighted by a woman — and of course enorm­ously pop­u­lar with women. Likewise, the rehab­il­it­a­tion of female mas­ochism in the last dec­ade or so seems to have been for­got­ten and replaced by sus­pi­cion of women who like their sex sub­missive and spanky.

I haven’t seen the movie, I’m still recov­er­ing from going to see the last ‘event’ ‘chick flick’, so can’t com­ment on whether or not the women involved in mak­ing it and the mil­lions going to see are suf­fer­ing from ‘false con­scious­ness’. And obvi­ously I don’t know much about woman­hood anyway.

But I have watched the offi­cial trailer. Repeatedly. The mas­ter­ful Mr Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a standard-issue sporno­sexual who prob­ably has a Bulk Powders Gold Card. In the 2.23 min trailer there are 7 top­less shots of his sculp­ted torso, includ­ing a mir­ror shot which gives you a sim­ul­tan­eous, spitroast­ing front and rear view of it, vs 1.5 of Ms Steele (Dakota Johnson), sans nipples in her case. Oh, and one side shot of her panties — with Dornan’s pretty face in front of them.

My favour­ite shot though shows him play­ing his grand piano shirt­less, in a scene that looks a bit Behind the Candelabras - but with Liberace as the toy-boy. I sup­pose that the grand piano rep­res­ents Ms Steele sub­mit­ting to the skill­ful fin­gers of Mr Grey. But it looks like a very camp — sorry, I mean mas­ter­ful — form of masturbation.

 

Swing it Around Like You’re in a TV Commercial’

Mark Simpson on how Lynx grew up. And kissed a boy.

 “Swing it around like you’re in a TV commercial.”

I like this spunky new hair gel ‘Now can be amaz­ing’ ad from Lynx, cur­rently air­ing in Australia. Especially since it’s the per­fect anti­dote to the ball-shrivelling dreary para­noia of ads like this.

In fact, it’s prob­ably my favour­ite ad since Philips/Norelco ‘I’d F*ck Me’ where a young man play­fully chats him­self up in front of the bath­room mir­ror. Like the Philips ad this one isn’t afraid of its own shadow, and instead of mak­ing apo­lo­gies just embraces and cel­eb­rates male beauty and van­ity — and the spirit mak­ing the most of it while you have it.

More than this, it’s an ad which encour­ages young men to be any­thing that they want to be — to be ‘amaz­ing’. In much the same way that young women have been encour­aged for some time.

Hence the ‘Kiss the hot­test girl — or the hot­test boy’ moment. This is not, as has been pro­claimed by gay blogs, a ‘gay kiss’ so much as a bi-curious one, since it’s the same guy kiss­ing the girl and then the boy. Which is in keep­ing with what we might term the James Dean ethic of the ad — don’t go through life with ‘one hand tied behind your back’. Especially if it’s your best hand.

This is par­tic­u­larly impress­ive com­ing from Lynx (known as Axe in the US), a brand which is not usu­ally asso­ci­ated with pro­gress­ive advert­ising and in fact often asso­ci­ated instead with a hys­ter­ical het­ero­sexu­al­ity: ‘I only smell nice coz it attracts women and that proves I’m not gay, OK?’. (Though there have been sort-of excep­tions, such as this Axe ad star­ring Ben Affleck back in 2007.)

But then, I told Lynx all about their hys­ter­ical het­ero­sexu­al­ity and how dated it was in a world in which young men take male van­ity and self care for gran­ted — and aspire to be everything - when they con­tac­ted me last sum­mer ask­ing for my input into their re-branding. I’d com­pletely for­got­ten about this con­sulta­tion when I saw the ad, and just thought it was cool. I don’t know for sure whether my cri­tique made it into the brief for this ad, but it seems quite pos­sible I may have been admir­ing my own reflection.

Though being hon­est, I’m not entirely sure he’s really made the most of his hair with that bird’s nest look.…