Aug 19, 2016

I'm Too Sexy for This Song

When I was living in West Hollywood in the spring of 1992, everybody loved and hated the song "I'm Too Sexy," with a strong dance beat and lyrics like:

I'm too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts.
I'm too sexy for my car, too sexy by far
I'm too sexy for my hat, too sexy for my cat
And I'm too sexy for this song.

Everybody loved it because we could gawk at the performer, the bald, tan, and extremely muscular Richard Fairbrass of Right Said Fred.

Everybody hated it because we thought this guy was too narcissistic, "full of himself."  We didn't get that it was a satire on the fashion industry, with self-possessed models:

I am a model, you know what I mean,
And I do my little turn on the catwalk.

British singer Richard Fairbrass performed with several glam artists, including Boy George and David Bowie, before teaming up with his younger brother Fred (born Christopher) for the duo Right Said Fred.  Guitarist Rob Manzoli joined them in 1990. They named themselves after a 1962 novelty song about guys trying to lift a heavy piece of furniture.

"Right," said Fred, "Both of us together 
One each end and steady as we go." 
Tried to shift it, couldn't even lift it 
We was getting nowhere, and so we had a cup of tea and
"Right," said Fred.

Richard was openly involved in a gay relationship, a rarity in the 1990s when even Boy George claimed to be straight.  Later he came out as bisexual.

Right Said Fred had no more hit songs in the U.S., but they continued to write and perform in the U.K. for nearly a decade.  "You're My Mate" remains a favorite for its "friends trump romance" lyrics:

I'll tell you what I think, I think he's a pain
He ain't got a car, but he drives you insane
Let's go for a drink and sink a few
Enough about him let's talk about you
Cause you're my mate, and I will stand by you.

After Right Said Fred folded, Richard became the host of the British LGBT series Gaytime TV (1995-1999).

He is involved with many charities. Here he meets brain tumor survivor Josh Wilson.

And he's still too sexy for his shirt.

Ballet Beefcake and Bulges

Although actors are increasingly likely to be shirtless on tv and in movies, their bulges are carefully hidden from view, sometimes literally taped back.

Ballet is the only art form where bulges are commonly visible.

Everyone knows it, but no one talks about it.  Spandex tights are necessary to allow the dancer a full range of movement, and your eyes are supposed to be trained onto the dance, not the beneath the belt gifts.

But really, who can look at anything else?

Sometimes there are shirtless shots that add to the aesthetic display.  But you still can't take your eyes off the ballet bulge.

You can see bulges at some of the most famous opera houses in the world.  This is Mathias Heymann of the Opera national de Paris.

But down home works just as well, as Ronnie Underwood of the Oklahoma City Ballet demonstrates.

Ballet dancers start at a very young age.  The Latvian ballet star Timofej Andrijashenko began performing professionally while still in his teens.

I couldn't resist a more recent photo.

The Prix de Lausanne is an annual competition for dancers aged 15 to 18 who are not yet professionals.  Oscar Frame won in 2015.

But they rarely perform for more than a decade.  Roberto Bolle, age 41, has had an extraordinary long career.

Aug 16, 2016

Is it Racist to Have a Type?

I've met many white guys who say things like "I'm not at all racist, I'm just not into Black men sexually."  Or Asians, or Hispanics, or Native Americans...

When I look surprised, they continue: "It's a taste, not a statement of social status.  If you're not into fat guys or guys with small endowments, or guys with beards, it doesn't mean you don't want to hang out with them, or be their friends, or that you think they're inferior socially -- just the bedroom is off limits.   They don't turn you on."

Ok, is liking your men thin, or big beneath the belt, or clean shaven the same thing as liking them white?

Not at all.

Let's say you are not attracted to dark skin.  You like your men pale.

It's never a set-in-stone rule.  Everyone is open to exceptions with the right guy.  I am not at all into blonds or redheads -- except when I am.

I like them big, muscular, bodybuilders, or husky or fat.  But I've been with skinny.

Even if, for some crazy reason, you have a set-in-stone rule -- only pale guys can ever get through your bedroom door  -- is every Black, Asian, and Hispanic guy automatically disqualified?

Of course not.  Many People of Color have relatively light skin, and many Caucasians are quite dark, either naturally, or through tanning beds. Spot the Caucasian in the photos below:

Actually, there aren't any significant physical traits shared by every member of any racial groups.  That's a myth.  No matter what configuration of skin, hair, and eye color you find attractive, there will be some white, Black, Asian, and Hispanic guys with it.  Why block them out?

So what, exactly, are you not attracted to?

1. An Image in Your Head.  Let's say you're "not attracted" to Asian guys.  The image in your head is probably of a very specific Asian guy: short, thin, smooth-skinned, beardless, under-endowed, sort of feminine.  You're forgetting about the many Asian men who are tall, muscular, chunky, kind of hairy, and aggressively masculine.  Why cut yourself off from an entire population based on a stereotype?

2. Social Status.  Sociology tells us that we are attracted to markers of social position, wealth, prestige, and power.  Institutional racism means that "whiteness" is valued, and markers of racial difference devalued.  Juries are more likely to convict black defendants than white defendants charged with exactly the same crime.  Students give black professors lower course evaluations than white professors.  And in the bedroom, you want to ally yourself with someone of a "high" social status.

People of Color often report that white guys who date them expect to be dominant, "in charge" of the relationship, as fitting their "higher" social status.

3. Culture.  Racial minorities have developed distinctive subcultures, with their own distinctive foods, costumes, vocabulary, music, and social norms. Group members differ in their participation, but the culture is always out there.  Maybe you're worried about trying to fit into a culture that you don't know well.

4. Family.  Many of my relatives practice "subconscious" racism, the little things that signify social exclusion, such as subconsciously rolling up the car windows when we enter a black neighborhood.  My father is a little more consciously racist.  When I date Black, Asian, and Hispanic guys, I always think very carefully about how to bring up the subject.  Maybe you're thinking "I'm not into that group" because you fear your family's disapproval.

So you're not attracted to negative stereotypes, markers of low social status, a different culture, and your family's disapproval.  Gee, it sounds almost like what you had to go through to acknowledge your attraction to men in the first place,

See also: Alan and I Cruise for Thugs; Body Shaming

Aaron Stone: Superhero and Android

The Disney Channel is famous for its teencoms, light comedies about teenagers in real-life situations, sometimes with a paranormal element.  But Aaron Stone (2009-2010) was action-adventure, with minimal laugh-tracking.

 It starred Kelly Blatz as Charlie Landers, a 16-year old boy who must assume the identity of video game superhero Aaron Stone to save the world.  He has a gay-vague android sidekick, STAN (J.P. Manoux, right); a female sidekick, Emma, and a younger brother.

As with most Disney Channel series, there were many heterosexual romances, but also substantial gay subtexts. Charlie and STAN have last-minute rescues, full-body hugs, breakups and reconciliations.   Jason (David Lambert) crushes on girls, but also has a rather obvious crush on Charlie, and finally discovers his secret identity.

There is a gay-vague couple, the South Asian "brothers" Vas and Ram Mehta (Vas Saranga, Jesse Rath), who double-date with Charlie and Emma.

Darker, and with a more complex mythology than its competitors, Aaron Stone lasted for only a season and a half before sinking.  But there is still an avid fanbase shipping Charlie and Jason or Vas and Ram, or mixing the pairs up.

It's not out on DVD, but you can see episodes on youtube.

Kelly Blatz went on to star in Glory Daze (2010-2011), the short-lived drama about a college fraternity in the 1980s (his fratmates included Matt Bush).

David Lambert is currently starring in The Fosters, about a lesbian couple with foster children, along with Jake T. Austin.

Jesse Rath and Vas Saranga went on to star in the Canadian teencom Mudpit (2010-2011).  Jesse, who is gay in real life, is currently starring in the sci-fi series Defiance .

Aug 14, 2016

Laurel and Hardy: 1930s Gay Couple

One Christmastime in junior high, around 1973 or 1974, I happen to be walking through the room while Grandma Davis and her friend are watching an old black and white movie on tv.  Two guys, one fat and one skinny, are getting into a slapstick scrape.

"They don't make movies like that nowadays," Grandma Davis exclaims.

"Nowadays all you see is sex, sex, sex," her friend complains. "Thankfully the boys weren't interested in women."

My ears perk up.  Not interested in women?  Maybe they were interested in each other?

I sit down, but the movie is nearly over.  "Who were they?"  I ask.

"Why, what do they teach in those hippie schools of yours?"  Grandma Davis  asked.  "It was Laurel and Hardy, the greatest comedy team in history!"

Later, in the Washington Junior High library, I read about the bumbling man-child Stan Laurel and the fat blustering Oliver Hardy (reminiscent of Gilligan and the Skipper on Gilligan's Island), who starred together in over 70 shorts and 23 feature films from the 1920s to the 1950s.  But many of their films involved wives, and both were married to women in real life.

Grandma's friend was wrong.

Years later, in Bloomington, around 1983 or 1984, I turn on the tv one dull Saturday afternoon, hoping for an old beefcake movie.  Instead, I see two women wearing men's suits.  One is talking on the telephone to Oliver Hardy.  "I'd love for you to meet my husband," she says, glancing at her partner, who smiles.


Did I just see a lesbian couple in a 1930s movie?

 Apparently not.  The movie was Sons of the Desert (1933), with Laurel and Hardy as a couple of henpecked husbands who sneak away to go to a lodge convention in Chicago.  Their wives have become wise to the deception, and are planning a comeuppance.  Not lesbians.

But the gay subtexts come fast and furious in the Laurel and Hardy world.

The two often have wives, but only as obstacles to be overcome in their quest to be together.

They often flirt -- literally flirt -- with police officers, boxers, and sundry macho figures.

They often don drag, or act the 1930s "pansy."  And they are devoted to each other, with an obviously physical relationship.

In The Celluloid Closet (1978), Vito Russo discusses the 1932 short Their First Mistake.  As usual, the wives are jealous.  In this case, it's just Ollie's wife, who forbids him from seeing Stan.  So Ollie gives her a baby (somehow) to distract her.  But the plan backfires, and she files for divorce, naming Stan as the "other woman."  The movie ends with Stan and Ollie as a domestic couple raising the child themselves.

Can you get more overt than that?

12 Unexpected Nickelodeon Teen Hunks

Of the three major juvenile tv networks, The Disney Channel has nearly sewn up the beefcake.  But Nickelodeon has its share, too,  gleefully displaying spectacular pecs and abs not only of the main cast, but of the pesky kid brothers, fey antagonists, and bespectacled nerds.

1. David Cade as Jett Stetson, a snobbish, arrogant actor who bedevils the down-to-earth boy band on Big Time Rush.  David previously starred in the gay-themed Steam Room Stories.

2. Former model Jordan Nichols (left) as spoiled rich kid Cameron Vanhauser, who bedevils the teenage martial artists on Supah Ninjas.

3. Gay actor Lucas Cruikshank as Marvin Marvin, an alien hiding out with a Earth family, whose impressive physique belies his goofball character.  Plus Angel Amaral (left) as his goofy best friend Ben.

4. Raja Penske of Unfabulous.

5. Avan Jogia (left) as Beck Oliver, an artsy, somewhat feminine student at the Los Angeles High School for the Performing Arts on Victorious.

6. Nathan Kress as Freddie, the nerdy camera operator for the teen-produced webshow ICarly.  Though his biceps began to swell to epic proportions as the years passed, he steadfastly refused to appear shirtless on camera.

7. Glenn McCuen (left) as Aloe, yet another snobbish bully, in the buddy comedy Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures. 

8. Another former model, Eugene Simon, as the abrasive, manipulative Jerome Clark on House of Anubis.

9. On Grachi, the Nickelodeon Latin America series about a teenage witch, oddball outsider Tony Gordillo wears nerd horn-rimmed glasses and garishly unfashionable clothing, but when the nerd costume comes off, he's supermodel Mauricio Henao (left).

10. Miles Szanto, who previously fell in love with Xavier Samuel in Drowning on Australian tv, as the devoted servant of teenage Alex, The Elephant Princess.

11. Sebastian Gregory as JB, Alex's best friend.

12. Jack Griffo (left) as Max Thunderman, a 14-year old who shares superpowers with his twin sister, on The Thundermans (upcoming).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...