A profile on the truck driving Republican Presidential hopeful from Boston Scott Brown in Vanity Fair caused a few chuckles last week with his wife’s cheeky revelation about the pink leather shorts he wore to his first date with her in the 1980s. Here’s the money shot:
“The pinkish color drained from [Brown’s] face when I asked him about it during a conversation in his campaign office just before we took off in the truck. He clarified that the shorts weren’t something that he went out and purchased — it wasn’t like that at all. ‘I did the couture shows, and instead of paying in cash, they paid in clothes,’ he said. ‘And one of the things I had to wear were leather shorts. And these happened to be pink.’”
It’s certainly a relief to know Mr Brown didn’t buy them – that would be kinda faggy – that instead he was given the pink leather shorts for sashaying up and down the catwalk at a couture show.
How funny to think that the US was the only country that had anything approaching a serious backlash against metrosexuality, back in the mid-Noughties. Oh, come on now, surely you remember? That so-called ‘menaissance’? Those prissy lists of ‘manly’ ‘do’s and don’ts’? And those completely non-ironic ‘Reclaim your manhood – go shopping in a Hummer’ ads? It got lots of coverage in the press at the time. Supposedly metro was out and retro ‘regular guys’ were back in. Oh, and George W. Bush was re-elected in part on an anti-gay marriage anti-metro ticket (his Democrat opponent was portrayed by the Republican machine as a girly-man metrosexual passifist).
And yet, just a few years on, faux Texan ‘bring it on!’ George Bush has been replaced by a svelte mixed-race President who starts every day with a workout, who ran a campaign based on slogans printed in the GQ font, and who is, for all Michelle’s prettiness, something of his own First Lady.
And now the great white hope of the Republicans, who whipped Obama’s skinny ass in a Democrat stronghold, is a former Cosmo centreforld and male couture model who liked to wear pink leather shorts because they showed off his tanned legs.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about Scott Brown’s very successful 1980s male modelling career, looking at the pictures, is this: he wouldn’t get the work today. He’d have to do hardcore gay porn. And certainly not Falcon or any respectable studio – no, Scott would have to do fetish/extreme stuff. Fisting in black (not pink) leather, that kind of thing. Or cash-in on his surname. And he still wouldn’t get paid very much. Though they probably would let him keep one of the XXL toys.
I’m not being bitchy. No, really. I’m just being realistic. And anyway, it’s not about him; it’s about us.
He was nice enough looking in a wooden sort of way, but since the 1980s an entire generation of young men have been raised to be male models – and they work at it a lot harder than Scott evidently did. They also look at themselves a lot harder. Scott had it relatively easy because there was much less awareness of what was ‘desirable’ in the male body back then – amongst women and men. Young men as a sex hadn’t learned to desire to be desired. That was still officially women’s role. And because there was probably also rather more in the way of stigma attached to his profession there was even less competition.
Yes, it looks like Scott had a pert bum and what they used to call back then a ‘hunky’ physique – but today it would be a case of ‘Don’t call us dear, we’ll call you.’ Such is the choice available of absurdly desirable, obscenely fit young men, I doubt anyone would even bother to tell him what he so obviously needed to do: get down the gym and take steroids and crystal meth. (And if you work really hard and you’re really lucky you’ll end up on Jersey Shore.)
His body looks far too natural to be credible today as a idealised male image: the lack of porno pecs, a six-pack and ‘cum-gutters’ is heinous. The untrimmed, un-waxed body hair is grievous. The unbleached teeth unforgiveable. He wouldn’t make the audition for today’s male Cosmo – Men’s Health – let alone the cover.
In fact, the most buffed and pumped thing about the young Scott Brown to our critical 21st Century eyes is his hairdo.