Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bending it

This is a late post because ... well, it just is. But this morning, shoveling oatmeal into my mouth, I began to catch up on the newspapers and found an intriguing article in the Washington Post about two designer underwear campaigns featuring sports stars. Of course I can't remember who the other guy was, but David Beckham was signed for Armani. And here he is in his skivvies and all his ripped perfection. Ooh.

Now the thing is, he looks ultra sulky, and Beckham has a killer smile (oh, and okay, he's some sort of football--that's soccer to most of you--genius married to a stick insect) and seems to be a nice sort of guy as superstars go. So why sell something based on strength and menace?

Which brings me to my attempt to define masculinity, or what I consider masculinity; that a man truly secure in his masculinity might do things that are not stereotypically male. The hero of Forbidden Shores, for instance, does his own laundry, in an age where gentlemen had servants and/or females for that sort of thing. Beckham, bless him, appeared publicly in a sarong--this may also have been when he posed for a gay magazine--I'm not sure, because I borrowed this pic from a Swedish blog (the name of the pic is humpa.jpg, which I find hilarious, but probably means something innocuous in Swedish).

He's pale, muscular if on the skinny side, and much less glossy. The oil and ice-cube-for-the nipples assistants were not needed at this shot. He still has that wonderful muscular body, but he looks as though he's just dropped to the floor after fighting... or something. Very male, very human, very sexy, very vulnerable. Would it sell underwear? Probably not. Appear on an erotic romance cover? Probably not.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I find the concept of a strong man showing his vulnerable side very sexy. How about you?


Sharon Page said...

Great post, Jane! I love the idea of the hero showing his vulnerabilities--I think it's so important in romance. To me it shows trust, and I agree, it shows the hero is comfortable in his masculinity. I think that's why I can't quite get into the Alpha guy--I like a strong guy, but one who is also secure enough to laugh at himself, or see his faults. Maybe he doesn't know how to deal with them, but he's able to admit they are there.
Plus, I think there's something very sexy about guys doing their own laundry (or mine, for that matter) :-)

Kate Pearce said...

I'm sorry-did you ask a question? I'm still too busy looking at dear Becks in all his gorgeousness.

I love vulnerable heroes-I love peeling away their layers until they give up their soft centers-am I mixing metaphors here? possibly because I just started writing a new book and editing another one at the same time

Jane Lockwood said...

Duh, he's wearing a kilt. So humpa must be Swedish for kilt (obviously). It took a better monitor to identify the tartan.

Pam Rosenthal said...

Last summer, when the producers Desperate Housewives announced they were going to move a gay couple onto their street this season, male gay websites were buzzing with suggestions. As my friend Jeff Weinstein observed in his wonderful queer arts/culture blog , "for my money, Rufus Wainwright and David Beckham were inspired choices."