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    So their minds are soft and lazy

    Why do ads targeted at gay men always have to feature shirtless kouros figures, ask Michael and Chris? (It was especially fun to read this complaint on a blog called “boy’s briefs” with a masthead photograph of a few hundred shirtless men milling around in the sun.)

    I think part of it has to do with the kind of advertising they’re looking at. I don’t exactly make a habit of reading Out or The Advocate (or, if it’s still around, Genre) when I’m back in the States–all that contemptuous muttering tends to make people at surrounding tables look up from their coffee–but you see plenty of ordinary ads there with properly clothed people.

    Unsolicited mail and cheapo ads tucked in 2″ X 2″ boxes on back pages are placed by different companies. They target not “gay men” in general but the lowest common denominator–by which I mean both the types of guys who organize their entire lives around making pick-ups and the sucker in all of us who falls for non-reasoning that says, “Buying XYZ will unleash pleasures akin to having a romp with that muffin there in the picture.” It’s not as if you didn’t see farm and automotive equipment being pitched to straight men with pictures of busty women in bikinis and pink workgloves, too.

    Personally, I find these things tedious more for (warning: old, tired complaint ahead) the homogeneity of the men than for anything else. Back in the Calvin Klein bus ad era, the N’aired chests and improbably defined muscles were allusive and stimulating. I still remember smiling up at the giant Samsung ad (with the brawny man with a microwave under his arm) across from Port Authority whenever I came back to New York from home a decade ago. Now that every picture of a gay guy outside Honcho looks like that–usually showing the face with a bland Ken doll expression, too–it’s played out and enervating. Seeing a guy with a jaw full of whiskers and a chest resurfaced to look like vinyl, my first thought these days is less like Mmmm! and more like I hope you keep your nails trimmed, ’cause you are gonna be feelin’ the itch day after tomorrow, honey!

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