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

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Tag: manly strap-ons

Irritating Male Skincare

Men’s skincare commercials can be the pits. What’s the point of ‘all natural’ ingredients if the ad brings you out in a rash?

This one from the butchly-named Bulldog currently airing on UK television, is one of the most irritating I’ve seen – in a very competitive field.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmbFbhOwH7I

In it two bearded elves beavering away in Santa’s workshop talk about how much they ‘love Christmas’. Then the one on the left announces: ‘We spend all year making gifts for people all over the world but we don’t get anything for each other. I mean who says guys can’t give other guys gifts, right?’.

His chum doesn’t answer. He just looks terrified.

‘So… I got you something,’ continues the chirpy one, bringing out a tube of Bulldog. ‘It’s moisturiser! For men!’

But they’re elves, not men. American elves. No wonder his chum doesn’t know what to do with the moisturiser for men.

Of course, that’s not the real reason for his strange behaviour. It’s because his buddy has failed to recognise the ‘man rules’ that dictate that men don’t give other men presents. Let alone moisturiser! Even moisturiser for men! Ho, ho, ho!

Bulldog is a UK brand that has had a lot of success in the US, probably in part because of that butch name – America likes its metrosexuality with manly strap-ons.

Though quite why anyone would spend their hard-earned cash on a moisturiser named after a dog with a wrinkly face I have no idea. No matter how reassuringly ‘fierce’, ‘alpha male’ and ‘big penised’ the brand connotation is.

This ad though is airing on UK television and seems to have been made by a British advertising agency. So I’m not sure why the elves are American, or why the ad is based on ‘man rules’ that I suspect are a bigger deal in the US than the UK.

Exploiting the ‘comedy awkwardness’ of men giving presents to other men is retrograde enough in an ad for male cosmetics, but this ad milks the ‘awkwardness’ to the point where there is almost a sense of homo panic about it.

The giftee appears unable to actually accept the gift, or even acknowledge or process its existence. It’s like his buddy just slapped a giant tube of anal lube on the desk.

Though that would actually be funny. Unlike this ad.

Then again, maybe I’ve been played. Maybe there’s a follow-up ad in which the awkward elf gets over himself and gives his chum a big manly hug and some ball antiperspirant gel.

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’, the ‘heteropolitan’ 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 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.

Menbarrassing Advertising

You may remember I recently blogged about the Brazilian Dove Men+Care shampoo ad in Brazil. The one with the male office drone transformed, to his horror, into a beautiful Beyonce Drag Queen. Because he used the wrong kind of cosmetic. The kind that doesn’t double Dove’s money.

It had a rather laughable message, but at least it was funny and well made.

These British ads for Dove Men+Care shower gel and deodorant currently running on UKTV are different. They have a laughable message but aren’t funny or well-made. In fact, they are so dull, so grey, so patronising and so painfully straight acting faux-blokey (all the men who use our male beauty products have lots of kids and go to the footie) it’s positively menbarrassing. It’s like an ad scripted by Loaded in 1994.

The ‘joke’ is that men aren’t really human. They’re machinery or breeding pets that need a ‘man manual’ – geddit? – to maintain them. They’re objects – in the real, unsexy, inanimate meaning of the word. And if men don’t use Dove’s MAN deodorant their arms will fall off. Or their balls might be infertile.

Can you imagine the outcry if Dove took this kind of ‘objectifying’ approach with a beauty product aimed at women? But of course, that wouldn’t happen. Because Dove/Unilever is the gigantic corporation behind the women-are-all-beautiful-and-whole-human-beings (so long as they’re white and young – and buy our products) Campaign for Real Beauty’

Whilst we’re cringing, here’s another menbarrassing ad. One that manages to patronise both men and women. It’s for something called Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler (which hopefully is less cumbersome to use than say), currently airing in the US. Although it is also painfully straight acting, at least there’s more to look at, especially if Kate Upton is your kind of crumpet – and apparently she is plenty of guys’ idea of a hot buttery treat.

But really, could anything be creepier than the way that pimpish guy with the shit-eating grin introduces the female models telling us what they think about men’s body hair before they do, as if they might otherwise forget their lines? Is this really what reassuring heterosexuality looks like?

Compare it to the refreshing cleverness and directness of the Philips ‘I’d f*ck me’ ad. (OK, OK I’ll admit I fancied the male model in the silly sun hat more than Kate Upton….)

Given the fact that porn is the lingua franca of men’s body shaving, I think we all know what they mean by ‘edge’.

Tip: DAKrolak

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