Gay Guy/Straight Guy Dilemna: Underwear Ads Where You Least Expect 'Em

Straight Guy,

I want some straight guy perspective, so you're my first call.

My question is, how do straight men react to depictions of male sexuality?

Let me give you the specific example that sparks my question. I made it to the gym last night, and found that the locker room had been appointed with three or four posters. Ads, really. Calvin Klein underwear ads.

Apparently, Calvin Klein has a underwear celebrity super-model tighty-whitey packer named Jamie Dornan. I've gotten behind in my fashion news -- Where is my copy of "W magazine," dammit? He's modeled for Klein for a while, and Dornan also was part of an international search for a new man to "don the legendary Calvins" for ads. Talk about the Battle of the Bulge.

So, I walk into the locker room and there's three or four of these posters. Same images and more as in the links above. The posters
aren't overwhelming, about 9" x 11." No jokes, please. But inescapable.

My first reaction was to shut my eyes with a wince, like I was in pain. I think my reaction was just from surprise, that the posters were so out of place and unexpected. This is a neighborhood gym, pretty low drama. Not gay unfriendly, but not in boystown. The gym's idea of locker room decor is a swine flu FAQ. So, I think my blink was from disbelief.

The gym must be making a little revenue from this. Or, maybe they think it's motivating, that it will inspire a great work out. If it's inspiration it's supposed to create, then, yes, I'm inspired, just not to hit the treadmill.

As I discreetly inspected a poster a close range -- I am a HUGE fan of black and white photography -- I started to wonder how the straight guys in the locker room react. I don't know how to survey one of them, so I'm asking you.

How would you react? It's not like it's porn, there's no sex, but it's all about male sexuality. And it's pretty in your face.

Would these ads, especially if you can't just turn the page, bug you? Do you just look past it without seeing it? Do you turn away? Does it inspire a check out the competition impulse? Is it annoying? Embarrassing? Do you look at it and say -- apologies to Wanda Sykes --That's so gay?

Let me know, SG. Readers, what about you?

--Gay Guy


Straight Guy said...

Yeah, I guess there are only two choices: the posters serve as (1) motivation and/or (2) titillation.

Sorry, missing on both counts. We're able to recognize a physical ideal when we see it, and what guy wouldn't want to hit the beach in that kind of shape? But I also quickly recognize that, beyond the workouts, there's a ton of manscaping, oiling, grooming, tanning, etc, going on... If that's not gay, then it's metro enough to lose my interest.

Enjoy. No need to wince or sneak your peeks. Hardly worse than the objectification we endorse.

Herb Ritts is the long time CK photo source, right? Gay? Think so, but he's got some insight into the straight male mind, too. Some of his long-ago Cindy Crawford and Stephanie Seymore (sp?) shoots were... um... memorable.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

I am not a man, but can only imagine the pressure of the ideals of what a man should like as presented in ads such as this and the media. Similar to the idealized physicality of what a woman should look like. Sadly these are from the media and sadly some succumb to the pressure and make attempts to look like what the media portrays. I have come across men who also have eating disorder and almost develop an "addiction" to working out. Don't get me wrong, I think that poster is hot and the dude is hot, but really, how long does it take for someone to look like that and how much air brushing is involved when these posters are published. I believe that the ideal image for both men and women is whatever they are comfortable with within themselves. Just sayin'

BothWays said...

I used to have a Stephanie Seymore full sized Victoria's Secret poster. What I would do for a full sized Jamie Dornan Calvin Klein poster.

Spot said...

I'm not a guy, but I married one. Lol. Pretty sure my husband would either not notice these ads (that's why we call him captain oblivious) or if he did would just shrug and walk on.

As a woman, oh my yum pretty much sums up my reaction. Would I date that guy? Probably not as he obviously spends more time on his appearance then I do, but I would for sure spend some quality time with him!

And, you didn't ask...but if they put up VS ads in the girls locker room? Most of us do check other women out. It wouldn't motivate me really but I would maybe sigh and remember when I looked half that good. =] And then I'd turn to whoever was with me and be all snarky "those boobs are sooo fake!". =]


straight in upstate said...

My reaction: another idealized image to A) make some bucks B) disappoint everyone who can't look like that or bed someone who looks like that. I don't think much about it beyond that, but the lockerroom placement is interesting - I bet and hope the gym is selling wall space. Or, y'all are on Candid Camera to see who's checking it out and who isn't.

Kathryn said...

Huh. Well. What? Did you ask a question?

Seriously....he is...yummy. But, you didn't ask that...did you?

I found myself wondering how I'd feel if they put some perfectly airbrushed, photoshopped, practically-nude photos of women in the ladie's locker room. I'd probably be pissed. Like I don't know that society would like all of us to look like that? I would feel that they (the gym owners) were in some twisted way trying to motivate me, but it wouldn't work. It would just piss me off, because since no-one really looks like that, it's an unattainable dream. I guess guys don't think this way, right?

JosephAlan said...

I was wondering the same thing when I look at underwear ads. I actually have some models names down from ads in Men,s Health and GQ. It gives me motivation because I always felt vulnerable in my briefs or boxers. So I think if these guys can be guys in their schivies why cant I?

I got for comfort in my underwear; type of workout, fabric, dressing up or dressing down. Think guys just also use it as an ego booster too.

Anonymous said...

It's inappropriate, IMO. I wouldn't want sexually suggestive photos of women in the gym I frequent, no matter how attractive they were. Why not put up pics of famous athletes instead? That would make more sense, and be far more tasteful, with less chance of making anyone uneasy. Sexually oriented material belongs someplace else.

fashionable bra top said...

I have come across men who also have eating disorder and almost develop an "addiction" to working out. Don't get me wrong, I think that poster is hot and the dude is hot, but really, how long does it take for someone to look like that and how much air brushing is involved when these posters are published.

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