Went to see male strip troupe Forbidden Nights at a theatre in North East England this week – I’m a sucker for a bit of culture, me.
And who could resist an evening billed as a ‘spectacle of desires, passion and excitement’ filled with ‘acrobats, fire acts, aerial artists and world-renowned circus performers’?
Especially when they ‘have not only mastered the art of strip tease, but do it in a way that has never been done before’.
A new way to flash your tackle? No wonder the auditorium, which seats 1000, was packed out.
Though me and my fit (non-bum) chum were the only men.
The women behind us, who like most of the audience were well lubricated long before the Baby Oil was cracked open, were loudly discussing my chum.
‘SUCH a waste!’
‘I KNOW!! In’t it ALWAYS the way!’
The show alas didn’t deliver the goods. Despite the ladies of Darlo roaring like Armageddon: ‘GET YER COCKS OUT!!’
The ‘acrobatics’ consisted of a few backflips, the ‘fire act’ was a damp squib. The ‘aerial artist’ was more impressive, but sadly not very fuckable.
Forbidden Nights fell between two stools – a ‘circus strip act’ that is neither really a circus act nor a strip act. The promised striptease ‘in a way that has never been done before’ turned out to be one that is all tease and no strip.
It was also painfully straight. And I’m not talking about the shockingly bad choreography (they desperately needed the talents of this guy). Or the hen night vibe and the man-bunned straight male compere making jokes about ‘lady facials’ and ‘swallowing cum’. I’m talking about the way the guys on stage don’t interact at all. I can’t remember them touching one another once – or even acknowledging one another. Even non-filth acrobats do that.
Of course, I’m biased, but this seemed to me to be a terrible waste of talent. I suspect that if the guys interacted more, even just in that tried-and-tested slightly flirtatious boyband fashion, the women would love it.
Then again, why am I giving away this kind of advice for free instead of just putting together my own strip troupe and cleaning up? Or at least just holding LOTS of auditions….
There was almost a riot after the bathetically anti-climactic ‘shower scene’ finale – no dick and barely a glimpse of bum cheek. Just lots of shimmying in silhouette behind a paper blind.
Tickets were £25 a pop.
One woman was shouting in the foyer: ‘I’VE SEEN MORE COCK IN ASDA ON A WET SUNDAY!’
Oh, and the swole guy in the middle of the poster (above) with the inked stars – the one who looks like a gay porn star and was the real reason me and my chum were there – wasn’t in the show.
Nor, frankly, were the bodies in the poster attached to the faces that were.
Obviously, someone tipped him off as to just how demanding 998 North Eastern women determined to have a good time can be.
In a new Mother’s Day-themed KFC ad he leads a selection of prime succulents: stripped, battered and deep-fried, covered in MILFy sauciness -- just begging to be eaten.
‘I LOVE you mom!’
So many baskets and buns -- so little time.
OK, it’s fingerlickingly awful. Mind you, you have to give it credit for taking on not one but two taboos in one ad: cannibalism and incest.
It’s possible of course, in an age of viral annoying advertising, that its awfulness was intentional. That I was meant to groan at this ad, its terrible taste, and share it, snarkily. In which case, it worked a treat.
But even if it was intentionally awful, it’s difficult today to imagine the roles reversed and a KFC ad featuring a troupe of female strippers moaning “I LOVE you, dad!” served up deep-fried in a bucket.
But then, as the ASA ruled a while back, men can’t be objectified. And in fact, because men can’t be objectified this ad doesn’t exist. And these ads don’t exist either. So obviously this KFC ad is just a bad dream brought on by indigestion -- probably caused by eating too much fast food.
Mark Simpson on the decline and fall of male modesty
Telly seems to have been hacking my brain lately. The filthiest parts.
Just when you thought ITV2, the people who brought us Love Island couldn’t get any more spornographic, and the underdressed, over-muscled guys they insist on making us ogle entirely against our will couldn’t get any sluttier, along comes Bromans. A gladiator-themed reality game show about ‘modern geezers in the time of Caesar’ that seems intent on taking sporno back to its sword-and-sandals (‘S&M’ for short) roots.
Eight 21st century lads are to be transported back to the Roman Empire to see if they can cut it as gladiators.
The handsome boys will fight it out with help from their loving girlfriends. They may have the muscles but do these lads have what it takes to go down in history?
Missed single entendre alert!
Cameras will follow eight modern day couples as they’re transported to an ancient world where they’ll live and fight like gladiators did 2000 years ago
If gladiators wore gold lame briefs and were ‘fresh as fuck’.
‘We who are about to do flyes salute your glutes!’
Note though how the first attribute of the boys is ‘handsome’, the second is ‘muscles’ – while the girlfriends are merely ‘helpful’ and ‘loving’. Likewise, the trailer and the title openly foregrounds the leather-harnessed tarty ‘geezers’ as the main visual/erotic attraction, seemingly going one logical step further than Love Island.
Bromans | Spanking New Series | ITV2
All this – plus the fact it looks camper than a Roman army laid up for the night – made me tremble with more anticipation than Dr. Frank N. Furter at Rocky’s first leather jockstrap contest.
The first episode aired last Thursday and didn’t disappoint visually, providing the promised spornographic guy candy – including a slave market scene which, intentionally or not, looked like a stark statement about the objectification of men on telly today.
The lads were ‘forced’ – i.e. allowed – to strip bollock-naked, chained up in the arena and left to sweat and bake in the hot gaze of millions of TV viewers, while covering their shaved immodesty with their hands.
Some of them weren’t exactly very conscientious about covering up: after all, like most young men today, they had painstakingly depilated themselves ready for their close-up. And neither were the VT editors.
The odd thing though is that although this flashing was happening in broad noonlight on primetime most of the guys didn’t look terribly naked at all. The ink, the waxing, the sculpting, the oiling, and the total lack of shame made sure of that. But then, the spornosexual body is designed and ‘built’ to be seen unclothed.
As the men sweated in chains the women (in skimpy bikinis) scrabbled about in the dust, fighting over a limited number of bags of clothes for the men. But this seemed entirely pointless as neither the men nor the viewers really wanted them to find any. Those ‘geezers’ whose partners failed to get them any clothes – entirely by chance, the swoliest, most shredded guys – had to wear a posing pouch straight out of Athletic Model Guild back issues for the rest of the episode. They didn’t look exactly crestfallen.
As reality TV though, the first episode teetered on the edge of floppiness. Bromans was not built in a day, only semi-erected. Hopefully future episodes (eight in total) will prove me wrong, but on the basis of last week’s outing it looked almost as if the title and the trailer was the whole point. Though admittedly, one that was entirely worth it.
Perhaps it’s just because I’m a big homo, but I’m also not entirely sure at the moment what the women on Bromans bring to the toga party, apart from visual proof of the heterosexuality of guys who otherwise look like gay-for-pay porn stars. And perhaps also an alibi for the straight men watching the show (though I doubt today’s young men really need one). As a female friend put it to me about the WAGs: ‘they just get in the way’.
Also because I’m a big homo, I thought some of the campery was poorly ‘executed’. The Emperor’s skinny assistant Dominus who presides over the games has obviously been cast and dressed to look like Kenneth Williams but isn’t really cutting it. They should have cast Julian Clary – who would know that ‘Not many men enter the Emperor’s ring’ is a setup, not a punchline.
David McIntosh and admirer.
That said, the casting of former Royal Marine Commando and now pectastic pro sporno (i.e. ‘fitness model’) David McIntosh, a man who can only be described as terrifyingly beautiful, as ‘Doctore’, the gladiator drill-sergeant, was perfect. His job is to beast the boys over the next seven weeks for our pleasure, and possibly theirs too. I’m sure lots of people would pay for the privilege of feeling the lash of his whip.
McIntosh certainly had the most awesome eyeliner of anyone on Bromans, which as in Love Island, was careful to include clips of some of the male contestants discussing their grooming routines: ‘I spent two hours to look this good, know what I mean?’ boasted one male hussy.
Tom and Rhiannon
Tom Trotter, a posh semi pro rugby player and humpy fitness model with really great hair was also shown telling us that he is ‘quite feminine, really’. I was especially taken with Tom and also inked Brandon Myers, another fitness model and Instagram personality, who was funny and vulgar in a broad Estuary accent: ‘I just did a nervous fart -- can you smell it?’.
He’s an avid follower of fashion too, Mr Myers: ‘I loved the Roman fashions,’ he has said. ‘I was the stylist of the palace for both the boys and the girls. The men’s togas made my tattoos look really good.’ And they did.
I think both Tom and Brandon have real star quality – though actually I’m not sure that my brains is much involved in that opinion.
So I got even more excited when I thought I noticed that Tom and Brandon seemed to be quite taken with one another, bromantically speaking. Probably more out of wishful-thinking than anything else, I tweeted that they were the Chris and Kem (the couple that really won this year’s Love Island) of Bromans.
So imagine how I felt when Brandon found my tweet, gave it a thumbs up – and tweeted Tom about it, asking ‘what you reckon Tom?’.
Tom reckoned yes. ‘I’ll take that’ he tweeted back.
(FYI according to the tabs, baby-faced Brandon, like Love Island’s Chris, is supposed to have an XXL penis that he’s not shy about showing off. I am of course following him now. Avidly.)
Straight after Bromans, Chris and Kem appeared on the ITV2 game show Celebrity Juice, where they had a chocolate eclair strapped to their groins and were instructed by the host Keith Lemon to lick the icing off each other’s strapacaketome as quickly as possible. They obliged, in a 69 position – camera zooming in for extreme close-ups, as they sucked on each other’s cream-filled treats. Expertly, as it turned out.
As you will know all too well if you’re a regular visitor to this blog, I don’t have a problem with male ‘objectification‘. More please.
But there’s objectification and there’s objectification. Despite not being altogether innocent of sadistic tendencies, I’m not sure I’m also cool with treating hot ‘objects’ that gladden the eye as idiots who deserve a good slapping for making us perve over them.
OK, I might think it sometimes, but I probably wouldn’t say it out loud.
But food giant Muller have no such inhibitions. They’re acting out this sadistic ambivalence loud and proud in front of millions. In their latest TV ad a young, attractive, nearly naked pole vaulter with a smooth, edible body is scoped by the camera in extreme close-up while a young, pretty, also fit -- but less naked and less ‘objectified’ -- blond woman scoffs the smooth, rather less edible-looking product.
She is so excited by the ‘fat free’ claim for the product that she yells it out loud -- ‘FAT FREE!’ -- distracting the vaulter, who hits his buff chums in the head -- and in the butt -- with his BIG POLE.
Mischievous NEW 2017 Müllerlight Greek Style Yogurt UK TV Advert
It’s slightly reminiscent of the recent Bonmarche TV ad campaign, in which random men were ‘accidentally’ beaten up by sassy ‘ladies’ -- to communicate ‘female empowerment’ and sell clothes.
Though in the Pole Vaulter ad, apart perhaps from the fact he glances at the yoghurt scoffer and raises a wolfish eyebrow, there doesn’t appear to be much of a pretense at some kind of dubious feminist statement. And of course, the smacked about men are objectified as well.
We could, if we were inclined to give a giant multinational the benefit of the doubt, perhaps treat this as a one-off by Muller (annual turnover 5BN Euros). But this is not the first time Muller have beaten up on (fit) men.
In fact, there’s a whole series of ads from the last few years flogging their (apparently female-targeted) food product, all using the same formula: gawp at men’s bodies to get the viewer’s attention, and then punish the male trollops for being so damn hot and making us drool over them.
HUR-HUR the dishy lifeguard I was drooling over fell on his arse!
Müllerlight Greek Style Luscious Lemon Lifeguard
LOL! the hot volleyballer I was eating up got hit in the head!
Muller Light Greek Style Advert (UK) - 2016
HAR! The tasty swimmer I was drinking in fell off the diving board!
Müllerlight Chocolate Fix
OMG! The delish Greek god lost his big ball!
NEW 2017 Müllerlight Whipped Greek Style UK TV Advert
Now, I don’t think these ads are something to report Muller to the ASA over -- though they would be in a flash if it was a bloke eating yoghurt and sexy women were getting get hit in the head. And I’m certainly not ‘offended’ by them -- but I am intrigued how Muller and their ad agency clearly think this is such a cool and successful format that they keep repeating it.
Perhaps the fact that Muller is a Bavarian company needs to be factored in here. Bavaria has a strong tradition of ‘physical comedy‘. In other words, men falling over is fucking funny in the land of lederhosen and slapsticked thighs. And at least in this regard, Bavarian humour is globalised humour -- it doesn’t need dialogue/dubbing.
But it’s the way that slapstick sexualisation is used here that is key. In most of these ads the (idealised) female consumer appears oblivious to these (even more idealised) males -- she only has eyes for Muller Light. But the camera lingers over the ripped, lean, nearly-naked male at least as much as over the product -- because the viewer is likely not quite so interested in gazing at fat free yoghurt as they are in feasting on mouthwatering man-flesh.
(Full disclosure: this is probably the only reason I noticed the ad.)
Of course, the close-ups on the woman eating the yoghurt are ‘sexualised’ too, in that orgasmic, Cadburys Flake fellatio advertising cliche. But this is mostly to portray the plastic pot of aerated dairy products as even ‘yummier’ than the ‘hunks’.
That’s, like, totally objectifying. But pretty much a standard trope in mainstream advertising these days, and rather more common on TV than the ‘real’ or traditional form of objectification, i.e. of women. Apart from anything else, it doesn’t provoke protests -- and anyway, most TV viewers are female and most TV ads target female viewers.
Where the Muller ads go further is in debasing the male love-object. The hunks need to be punished for being so damn tempting. They obviously ‘love themselves’ -- who wouldn’t, with those ‘fat free’ muscular bodies? So they need to be taken down a peg or two. Or just hit in the head.
Mark Simpson on some happy, warm -- if scantily-dressed -- memories of 2016
Last Summer in Brazil a tiny island in the South Pacific took on all the major sporting superpowers -- and won the Olympics. Before a starting pistol was even fired.
When the flagbearer for Tonga, Pita Taukatofua, 32, made his sensational appearance at the opening ceremony in Rio, wearing just a grass skirt, a gallon of baby oil and a saucy grin -- while gripping his massive flagpole with both hands -- he melted Sugar Loaf Mountain and fused the internet. The Tongan’s torso glistening in a thousand spotlights. And billions of hot stares.
It was an historic moment. Finally, after all these years of hoping and praying, and all those letters I’ve written to my MP, male stripping had -- at last! -- been recognised as an Olympic sport.
Yes, the very nicely-put together Mr Taukatofua was nominally representing his country in the manly martial art of Taekwondo. But hardly anyone c ared about that. The slutty sexualisation of the sporting male body – what I have dubbed sporno – was the hottest, most popular game at the Rio Olympics.
And thanks to the wonders of modern telephoto lenses and HD widescreen technology – and the widespread use of lycra in modern sportswear – there was no end of money shots for the avid sporno fan. Wrestlers grappling each other’s groins.
Pole-vaulters poleaxed by their… poles.
Speed cyclists flashing their superhero thighs.
And decathletes like the Sweden’s (Christian?) Bjorn Barrefors going dramatically commando. The gaiety of the Games!
But it was men’s swimming and diving that proved to be the most spornographic event. Of course, Speedos are sporno anyway – not only because they’re skimpy but because they advertise the delicious versatility of the male body: offering us buns and lunchboxes at the same time. Decisions, decisions!
Spain’s men’s Olympic swim team/dance troupe
And if you think this is just down to my dirty mind, a meme widely circulating online mocked the placement of results banners on TV screens covering the swimmers’ swimsuits, claiming it made it look like they were porn stars. (And I wasn’t responsible for it -- honestly.)
David BOUDIA/Steele JOHNSON in hot flip-flop scene (though it seems their studio can’t decide what size their Johnsons’ are)
This Perfectly-Placed Banners Make These Olympic Swimmers Appear Naked | NowThis
Or perhaps the TV companies were providing an electronic fig-leaf for the almost starkers statuesque young men. After all, this was the year Team GB’s swimming trunks seemed to have been replaced by thongs. While it may have appeared like a salute to the host country’s famously brief beachwear -- and pubewear -- it turned out to be down to naughty Tom Daley’s doing. The British diver had advised Team GB designer Stella McCartney that the trunks he wore at the London Olympics in 2012 were ‘too big’.
His concern was entirely practical though. At least according to Tom: “They have to be small because everything has to stay in place,” he explained. “If you’re spinning around the last thing you want to do is have something come out of place!”
I’m not sure the viewing public entirely shared Tom’s concern here, but either way the ‘end’ result was that there was even less fabric to come between the voyeuring public and the divers. And even more opportunity to admire Olympic ‘obliques’ – or ‘cum gutters’, to give them their medical, Latin name.
Tom Daley & Daniel Goodfellow watching the playback & realising just how brief their new swim briefs are.
Which brings me to the spornographic climax of the actual Rio Olympics as opposed to the opening ceremony -- the synchronised 3M springboard men’s diving. British divers Jack Laugher, 21, and brunette Chris Mears, 23, inseparable -- and straight -- best pals (they live together as well as train and compete together), were the hottest, loveliest diving pair to goggle at.
And since diving is perhaps the most aesthetic Olympic sport of all, it was a wonderful affirmation when they turned out to be a golden pair in every sense -- making the best dives technically as well as aesthetically, becoming the first British divers ever to win Olympic gold.
Watching Jack and Chris’ bubble butts, v-backs, and curved thighs spin around in perfect, Speedo-synch was actually so sexy it was beyond sex. Compared to this perfection, actual shagging is just a big fat belly-flop. (Though I still would, mind.)
Likewise, their spontaneous shared happiness for one another on winning gold, Jack jumping into the arms of Chris -- hams, quads and glutes agogo -- looked as orgasmic as it was Platonic.
Stella McCartney personally painted on Jack Laugher’s Speedos. Wouldn’t you?
I should probably give a shout out here to the Olympic hot tub in Rio. It gave us viewers many hours of pleasure, in addition to keeping divers supple between dives. It’s a nice warm feeling to know that, thanks to anti-steam camera lens technology and also lowered inhibitions, we the viewers can nowadays join Olympic divers rinsing off in the showers after their splash and also sit with them in the steamy hot tub, relaxing and waiting for their next ‘go’. Much as you might at a gay sauna.
Gymnastics is the one sport that can give the aesthetics of diving a run and jump for its money. Whether on the pommel horse, flexing those triceps and tightening that butt, or doing ‘ringwork’ and flaring the lats, it offers viewer-voyeur a body-weight bodybuilding show that displays the form and balance of the perfectly-developed human frame – defying gravity. In much the same way erections do.
But gymnastics has a problem. Gymnasts wear too much. Way too much compared to today’s swimmers. In addition to over-modest singlets and criminally baggy shorts, they often have to wear full length pants/tights. And these are definitely not the kind of compression pants that the lads in my gym wear these days that leave nothing to the imagination while they do lunges.
Even the Rio skyline is aroused by the US male gymnastics team
No wonder the highly aestheticised Sam Mikulak captain of the US gymnastic team captain at Rio suggested just before the games began: ‘Maybe we should perform with our shirts off’ so that people could see ‘how yoked we are’.
Sam Mikulak showing Rio his bis, tris and jacked hair
Although he was ostensibly suggesting ways in which male gymnastics could become more popular in the US and step out of the shadow of women’s gymnastics, he was also expressing a timeless truth about his sport and the Olympics itself.
‘Gymnastics’ derives from the Ancient Greek for ‘exercise naked’. Greek gymnasia were full of naked male youths – being admired by Greek men. As were the Ancient Olympics at Delphi – though here the stitchless athletes could be gawped at by maiden women as well as men (though definitely not married women). Sport for the Greeks was starkers.
So in a sense US silver-medallist gymnast Danell Leyva was giving us a history lesson when he took his captain at his word. During the gymnastics gala towards the end of the Rio games he danced on the parallel bars and coquettishly peeled off his top, to loud audience whoops, and then performed half-naked, in a kind of aerial Magic Mike routine.
Or rather, an aerial version of the tarty flagbearer from Tonga.
This post is based on a piece by MS published in XY Magazine, Nov 2016