Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest for Armani shows him looking — not too hard — for his t-shirt. Do you remember when maids rather than footballers were treated as sex-objects? No? OK, I must be getting very old indeed. But of course this tradition is what the ad is playing on — the reversal, or reflection/refraction, of ‘the male gaze’ that has happened in the last couple of decades that is the signature style of metrosexuality. And likewise it trumps the traditional presumption of feminine passivity and submissiveness: the maid is doing the perving.
Now, I’m all in favour of Cristiano wandering around half-naked, especially the bit where the camera zooms in on his astonishing thighs, but can we please have something just a little more convincing next time? I mean, it’s entirely believable that he would be more interested in his favourite t-shirt than the pretty maid, but are we really supposed to believe that he wouldn’t notice someone scoping him?
After all, every cell in his breathtaking body is clearly soaking up the attention of the camera lens.…
Tip: Andre Murracas
Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest fashion foible, painted toe-nails has provoked the usual bitchy, mocking response that is attached to anything Ronaldo in the Anglo media. Despite — or perhaps because of — the way they seem to regard him as a sure-fire way of selling newspapers.
The announcement of the birth of his son by a surrogate mother last week also presented another opportunity to give him a good kicking. Some, like Celia Walden in The Telegraph, really going overboard in the expression of their tainted, twisted love. It almost makes me regret outing the male narcissism of metrosexuality. As one of the commenters on the Telegraph website points out, her husband Piers Morgan is everything she complains about in Ronaldo — but untaltented and unattractive. More generally it goes without saying that Ronaldo’s vanity would be considered normal and healthy and worthy of approbation in say, a much less pretty female journalist.
It’s possible, I suppose, that Ronaldo painted his toenails as a riposte to the ‘Twinkletoes’ school playground nickname (Twinkletoes was a fairy, geddit?) given to him by football fans and the tabloids during his stint at Manchester United. But much more probable he painted his toenails just because he thought it would be fun and might look nice. Which is an outrage.
Really, it’s no wonder that a year after leaving these shores the UK press continue to love-hate him so. This boy from a humble Portuguese family is very rich. He’s famous. He’s fabulously talented. He’s young. He’s absurdly good looking. And he doesn’t owe anyone anything. Worst of all, he knows it and doesn’t bother to hide this knowledge. And he thinks nothing of painting his toenails because he feels like it, rather than because Esquire magazine told him to. Yes, he’s a spoilt child, but then — so are the gods.
Here are a couple of other recently snapped photos which may help explain the jealousy mere mortals feel towards him. (And let me assure you most people working in journalism are very mortal indeed — inwardly and outwardly.)
Tip: Mark W
After all those ads in which Becks thrusted his giant Armani wrapped package in our faces if not down our throats, an Italian satirical TV show decided to do a little consumer product testing. You know that in Italy they like to handle the sausage and tomatoes — and haggle over the price — before they part with their Euros.
Both parties are clearly unimpressed.
For those who don’t speak the most beautiful, most musical language in the world: the rubber-gloved lady shouts at a hooded, glowering Beckham driving off in his (ridiculously large) car full of minders: ‘HOW COULD YOU TAKE US FOR A RIDE!!??’
The incident has caused some anger in the UK, and some see it as outright sexual assault. But if you are paid very large wedges of cash to put your lunchbox on the side of buses to sell overpriced underwear to the masses then perhaps the only shocking thing is that more punters don’t cop a feel of the goods.
My congratulations go to Cristiano Ronaldo, who once again is stepping into Beck’s pricey shoes – and briefs. Ronaldo has just been named Armani’s new international ‘spokesmodel’. (Presumably his legs and packet are going to do all the talking.)
Poor Becks, Mr Armani’s previous sporno star, discarded by his Italian designer sugar daddy like yesterday’s trade, unpopular at Galaxy FC and currently sporting a Captain Birdseye beard, is increasingly looking like someone who was merely keeping that overpriced underwear warm for Ronaldo. In fact, being appointed Mr Armani’s international flasher – rather than the record-busting transfer deal to Real Madrid earlier this year — is the 100% cotton proof that Ronaldo has now finally and officially eclipsed Becks bulging profile in the metro-tarting stakes.
The crown of metrosexuality — and more importantly the pants — have been passed on to a new generation. Cristiano Ronaldo, ladies and gents, is the new metrosexual king/queen. (He may not have much taste, but that’s the wonderful thing about being king or queen: you don’t have to.)
Becks may have blazed a trail for footballing metrosexuality, but Ronaldo is looking like the finished, total product where Becks was merely the prototype. Ronaldo is genuinely, boyishly (and annoyingly) beautiful, where Becks, well into his thirties now, increasingly looks like mutton very expensively dressed as lamb.
I don’t think though that Becks will fade away any time soon. Despite all the talk about his his fetching looks, he never was a great beauty. No, really. It was the passion of his desire to be desired that was always the compelling thing about him — and as he gets older that passion will probably only increase.
Even with a Birdseye beard.
By Mark Simpson (collected in Metrosexy)
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best footballers ever to play in this country — and one of the best looking — brought out the worst in the English.
He prickled you see, our ugly, mean-minded, spiteful, spitting jealousy. We were jealous of his talent, his looks, his body, his youth, his money and most of all of his total lack of interest in what the English media and terrace culture thought of him and his dress sense and the way they kept shouting ‘winker!’, ‘poof!’, ‘twinkletoes!!’ to try and get his attention.
It just made us even more frenzied and passionate and helpless that the way we obsessed over everything about him from the darkness of his tan to the size of his beach shorts meant nothing to him. He ignored our stalkerish behaviour, and our playground bullying, and just kept on being Cristiano. He didn’t need us. He didn’t even bloody notice us. He was hot. He knew he was hot. And worst of all, there was nothing we could do about it. No wonder we hated him.
And now it seems he’s leaving us behind for good – and will probably forget about us before he even lands in Madrid. The bastard!
Our most popular tabloid The Sun has run a particularly bitchy campaign against him for years. Most recently, they devoted pages of phoney outrage to the fact that he wore a pink baseball cap on holiday in LA, and had the effrontery to wear a flower in his ear. Apparently he’s also personally to blame for turning today’s pro footballers into metrosexuals and is the evil ‘queen’ behind what they like to call ‘The Campions League’.
In short, Ronaldo has been on the receiving end of abuse that would be deemed ‘homophobic’ in a trice if it were directed at someone actually gay. But this isn’t just homophobia in the form of metrophobia, this is good old English hypocrisy at work: The Sun exploits the way young footballers look today to sell papers, filling their pages almost daily with pictures of them being tarty – and then of course damns them for making us look at them.
Ronaldo united the English in ways that few other things do these days. The editor of snooty Esquire for instance, a magazine that likes to see itself as being the opposite end of the media and social spectrum to The Sun, recently joined in the national gang bang of Ronaldo, taking aim at his pretty pouting face in a piece sniffing at the vulgarity of English footballers, and the way they ‘pile on the designer labels with gay abandon (Ronaldo), accessorise with far too many sparkly things (Ronaldo) and haven’t yet discovered that logos a go-go have gone out of fashion (Ronaldo).’
Yes dear, but Ronaldo has more natural beauty, sexiness and vitality in his left foot than a hundred back issues of Esquire – a magazine that would benefit enormously from a little vulgarity: I mean, it might be mistaken for something actually alive. It’s probably Ronaldo’s ‘gay abandon’ which is the most wonderful and insufferable thing about him to the English. After all, it’s the sign that someone is genuinely free – they genuinely don’t care what the neighbours/bloke down the pub/The Sun/Esquire think, and they do and wear what they like, damn them.
This is also probably the reason why he was hated so much for his on-pitch naughtiness – not so much the cheating itself, but the brazenness of it. The flamboyance of it! Ronaldo was hated and envied because he broke the rules in plain view. And could behave like a spoilt child. The English you see can never forgive someone for doing publicly what they have to spend so much time and energy hiding.
As Ronaldo said, matter-of-factly, in response to the English media’s frenzy over the pink hat with the flower: ‘I don’t see what is wrong with that if you are comfortable with your sexuality.’ But the English aren’t comfortable, Ronaldo. In any sense. Don’t remind us of it!.
David Beckham managed, more or less, to get away with sarongs and nail polish and worse. But that was partly because Beckham wasn’t as talented a footballer as Ronaldo, wasn’t as pretty, or as young – and, unlike Ronaldo, was very, very concerned with handling the English press and his public image: he really cared about us and what we thought, and so was generally regarded as ‘nice’. Most importantly, in the end Becks was English. He may have been a tart, but he was our tart (though at the moment he appears to be Mr Armani’s.)
The problem with Portuguese Ronaldo, and the reason ultimately why he was so resented and the target of such passionate ambivalence, was that he wasn’t ours. He was always only on loan – which is why whenever rumours of a move abroad surfaced the hate campaign in the press would reach new, tremulous heights.
But now he’s really going. And we’re really going to miss him. But being English, the way we’ll express that is by saying: ‘Good riddance, you WINKER!!’
Copyright Mark Simpson 2009
Britain’s best-selling newspaper The Sun has been working itself into a confused lather about our metrosexual footballers, again. Like me, it just can’t leave them alone.
In a long, hand-wringing — and graphically illustrated — article spread over the centre pages last Friday headlined ‘Preen Team’ they ask ‘What the hell is going on with our footballers?’
Led by the Premier League’s arch-metrosexual Cristiano Ronaldo, football has this summer gone camper than a row of tents.
This week Ronaldo continued his holiday tour by hanging out in a pair of tight silver shorts in LA — and had the world’s gay men coming over all funny.
Er no, it had The Sun coming over all funny. For much of the summer, The Sun has been stalking Portuguese Ronaldo, the best footballer in the UK and also one of the best looking, who is currently convalescing after an injury (hence the unflattering blue footwear), trying to exploit his current unpopularity — the result of his plans to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid, and his failure to keep them, like his hot oiled bod, under wraps.
Like a jealous, spurned suitor, The Sun (along with most of the Brit tabloids) has been bitching and beating him up over his dark (Portuguese) tan, his shorts, his good looks — and his lack of apology for them. And trying to imply he is girly and, what is the same thing in their book, homo.
And who can blame him for wanting to leave the UK, where the biggest paper behaves like a school-ground bully with sexual identity issues? They’ve even published pictures of him smiling at a mate (who appears to be his brother), telling us that he’s cruising him. And I thought I had bumsex on the brain.
In a familiar trick, they’ve given space to the editor of ‘Britain’s best-selling gay magazine’ to gush about what a ‘gay idol’ Ronaldo is. Otherwise known as guilt by association. At the same time as proving they’re ‘not homophobic’ because they let the king of poofs have his say.
Friday’s article goes one step further and seems to blame Ronaldo for making an entire generation of footballers gay. I know he has nice legs, but I doubt even those pins have that kind of power.
But a perfectly-waxed chest and budgie smuggling shorts are just the tip of the iceberg.
A sun investigation has found the manbag and grooming obsession is rife among our highly-paid stars.
As you may have suspected, it turns out that this ‘investigation’ is just another excuse for lots of pics of young footballers without much on. An excuse even smaller than Ron’s silver shorts.
Though I can’t help but poke fun at The Sun’s hissy list of the metrosexual offences of our footie aces:
Chelsea ace Frank Lampard refused to go anywhere this summer without his salmon pink vest and matching shorts.
(Which we’ve Photoshopped to make look even pinker and gayer, just as we’ve done with Ronaldo’s tan to make him look even darker and even more of a girly dago.)
He has also been lugging around wife Elen Rives’ fuchsia handbag.
I think it suits Fabulous Frankie and he should nick it off her.
Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro actually SHAVED his mate’s chest and armpits on the deck of their holiday yacht this week in a show of shameless male bonding.
Actually SHAVED his mate’s chest and armpits? No! Well, I never! The shamelessness of it!
And Liverpool and Spain striker Fernando Torres spent most of last month by the pool with an Alice band in his hair while leafing through lifestyle magazines.
You can bet he wasn’t reading The Sun.
Ah, for the days of football when men were men and soap was never scented — or dropped. Right on cue The Sun wheels out 1970s footballer Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, to whinge about how in his day he got paid ten bob a week, cut his own hair with garden shears, ate gravel, and beat up poofs on sight (or so you’d be forgiven for thinking). Interesting that The Sun didn’t ask retired ‘hardman’ Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock back to play this role, after he failed to deliver the poof-baiting goods in a recent previous Sun article bemoaning the gayness of today’s football.
How The Sun loves to keep coming back to this theme of metro V retro, pretending of course to be on the side of retrosexuality against, well, homosexuality. Partly this is because it imagines that retrosexuality is synonymous with ‘working class’ — traditionally the majority of this tab’s readership — because The Sun is now edited by expensively educated types who are faking it.
By posing as champions of ‘Chopper’ Harris they present themselves as connected to that stoic proletarian tradition they actually have nothing to do with, and today’s consumerist, sensual, closetted metro Sun is a million fake-tanned miles from.
I suspect readers under the age of 30 that they know they desperately need to attract if they are to have any future at all, let alone continue to sell millions every day, are mostly turned off by this confused and conflicted metrophobic bullying, however jokey it’s presented as being. Especially those from a working class background. Why? Because they will probably see it as directed against them.
When repeatedly adopting this kind of cor, strewth, look at the pooftahs footballers are today! tone, The Sun just sounds like their nightmare fat dad.
Intentionally or not, this time the space given to the editor of Attitude to twitter about fashion and male freedom and footballers showing the way makes that gay mag sound much more in tune with younger Sun readers than The Sun itself.
Tip: Dave Harley
Just in time for the World Cup the July issue of the re-launched OUT features an essay by yours truly on the post-metrosexual pornolization of sport — or what I dub ‘sporno’. Here’s a (breathless) taster:
‘Sportsmen on this side of the Atlantic are increasingly openly acknowledging and flirting with their gay fans, à la David Beckham and Freddie Ljunberg (the man who actually looks the way Beckham thinks he looks). Both these thoroughbreds have posed for spreads in gay magazines and both have welcomed the attention of gay fans because they “have great taste”.
More than this, they and a whole new generation of young bucks, from twinky soccer players like Manchester United’s Alan Smith and Cristiano Ronaldo, to rougher prospects like Chelsea’s Joe Cole and AC Milan’s Kaka, keen to emulate their success, are actively pursuing sex-object status in a post-metrosexual, increasingly pornolized world.
In other words: they’re not just sports stars, but sporno stars’
You can read the full essay here.