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The 'Daddy' of the Metrosexual, the Retrosexual, & spawner of the Spornosexual

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Wouldn’t You Just Die?

Thanks to my Canadian friend Elise for forwarding this gem: A (late 1960s?) TV skit starring Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin and Orson Welles, no less, at the hair salon – making mock of feminine vanities.

The jokes then of course depended on the absurd gender reversal/confusion of three chaps taking such trouble over their appearance. The very idea of a male hair salon! Ho! Ho!  (Though maybe there is an acknowledgement that Martin took a just a bit too much time over his bouffant.)

Thank goodness they didn’t know what was coming (or even what was going on around them in the hippy ‘unisex’ counterculture of the 1960s).  The gags are still funny after all this time – but possibly for more ironic, more metro reasons.

Note the Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson in-joke, decades before their sexuality was public knowledge:

Orson Welles: ‘You must promise not to breathe a word of this, but I was at a party last night and Tab and Rock turned up wearing identical blazers!’

Jimmy Stewart: ‘Wouldn’t you just die?’

It’s a funny line, but perhaps Tab and Rock are mentioned as an example of the kind of men around then who might be expected to take care over their appearance, the homosexual exception to the heterosexual rule. Wouldn’t a lot of straight men back then have just died if they knew that men like Tab and Rock – and male spas – would become normal.

When our trio of loveable old fogeys escape from the driers, whip off their capes and reveal their mid-century male showbiz uniforms, those Pelican boiler-suits, they look more dated now than even the concept of finishing a skit with a song and (wobbly) dance.


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