Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Feminism was a movement to interest women in lesbianism. It failed. Interest in gay men was a success. The Equal Rights Amendment was about remuneration for work. In this case, women were not to be paid less than males for the same work. This made sense, of course. Typing at a computer, for example, should not earn women less then men. The key is "same work" at the same level of competence--from microsurgery to bricklaying.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Men's Beauty

No one looks at women any more, except other women, and when they do, it is to find blemishes and faults. Women aspire to uniformity. Men no longer look at women (except on film, on television and the internet—not in person) because feminists have forbidden this, judging that gazing objectifies and therefore attacks and harms women. Men don’t want to harm women, so we have stopped looking (in person)—especially since if accused of such looking, we are guilty of intent to harm until acquitted by the woman who says she wanted to looked at to enhance her self-esteem, which was damaged as the result of having been looked at in predatory ways by men. More than being chastened, men might even be charged, detained and arrested for such behavior. And so, men (who enjoy looking) have begun to look at other men. We have always looked admiringly at other men, of course.
This book is about men’s beauty, which has always been compelling. (See the history of art beginning with the Greeks.) Let’s look. Let’s see.


Everything I will say here is elaboration of the obvious. Of course, we miss nearly everything important by not attending to the obvious, and that men are more beautiful than women is one of the most obvious things in the world. Again, this has been documented in the West since the ancient Greeks, beginning with Phidias.
Men are beautiful in an indefinite number of ways depending on whether you look them one at a time, or in a pair (the most remarkable situation imaginable for their beauty to be evoked by each other in a sort of mirroring effect), or in a group such as an athletic team (for example, swimmers lined up for a heat, soccer players warming up). The setting and the act being carried out each has its own special ways of showing man’s beauty: spread out on a bed or the beach sleeping, looking at himself in a full-length mirror, sprawling, taking a cell-phone call (pacing and rubbing his body while talking, one of the most important new scenarios provided by technology for a man to unself-consciously display his body), standing still in the surf in saggers or speedos, preparing to dive off a ten-meter platform, executing a dive, dancing alone or with other men (Pilobolus), rock-face climbing, conducting an orchestra, hoisting his son above his head, flexing for fun, leaning against a wall with his hands behind his head or in his front (or back) jeans pockets, working out (here we have thousands of possibilities), exhausted from running, taking off his shirt, taking off his shirt for no particular reason, any time he is standing next to a woman, or taking a friendly body punch (a “buddy punch)”. It’s interesting that men have a certain exceptional beauty when they are exerting tremendous effort or are in mild pain. This is because men have been in such situations so often that a milder version of that look has become part of male physiognomy.
Some actions that show men’s beauty are very common but no less exceptional, since each man does everything differently. Each time we see a man’s beauty defined differently: walking down the street, stretching, rubbing his stomach, adjusting the level of his jeans or shorts, taking a deep breath, slouching or leaning back anywhere, smiling, not smiling. (The reader should add to the list!)
None of my inventories will be exhaustive. They cannot be. There is an indeterminate number of ways a man can do something that allow a man’s beauty to appear. The reader is invited to add to any list in the margins of this book and also start a list of his own. In general, this is a “workbook” for men, something to spend some time with after a work-out. The reader is invited to send the author examples from each inventory.
This book is about men’s physical beauty. Men are beautiful in other ways, too, but all this has been adequately described in world literature and in the record left in what men have accomplished in science and the arts—buildings, machines, songs and other works of art. Men’s inner beauty has been described in works on ethics—how to live well—written by the great philosophers. Every beautiful piece of music, every beautiful sentence composed by a man is an example of a man’s beauty represented in a formal medium.
Men’s beauty varies by age. We can crudely divide men into age-types such as boys, youths or adolescents, young men, middle-age men (men in their “prime”), old men. Each age-type will have certain common features that let us see boys and men at their best. The classifications are arbitrary, though. It doesn’t matter what numeric age a man is or what we call him (in English there is a poverty of words for males at various times in life), because since he is a man he will be beautiful in some way any time you look at him. On the other hand, a friend once observed that everyone has a time in life when the person looks his most beautiful. This is true for men.
We can describe men’s beauty body part by body part, move by move. Keep in mind, though, that these distinctions—these body parts we have names for and acts we have names for—will in sum always have left out some important detail of a man’s body or what he can do. Therefore the best way to talk about the beauty of men is to approach it instance by instance, man by man. In principle, as you can see, this book must eventually run to hundreds of volumes, many times as many volumes as the Patrologia Latina—every word of the Church Fathers written in Latin. But, no, that is not quite accurate. We will need a chapter for each man in our collection and that would take anyone (like me) dozens of lifetimes writing twenty hours a day like another worshiper, Kierkegaard.
My plan is to take men one by one, tell you what is beautiful about him, then about him, then about him—and so on. I have seen many men, but not nearly enough. Every day I see dozens and so I will have to be selective. This is tragic. I can only hope other men will begin to do what I am doing.
Then there’s the pathos of wishing I had seen him ten years earlier or could see him in another five years. Given imagination, this would multiply the volumes this work must have, since men—again, aka boy, youth, man—change. The bright side is that, on a given day a man might just come into my life, cross my path, at one of those moments of perfection I mentioned earlier that my friend was talking about. I am open to that and on the look-out for those times, those men.
I won’t provide illustrations since everyday followers of the internet upload a few hundred thousand images of beautiful men. I invite everyone to start his own iPhoto collection of digital images today and add a few dozen new items each day. You will feel better, smile more often, and see the presence of God more than ever. Remember the famous biblical utterance ecce homo (spoken by Jesus) means both “behold the man” and “what a man!”
Comparisons with women will be inevitable here. But since I do not intend it to be about plainness or max-factured masks to disguise plainness, the comparisons will be few. But that really doesn’t make sense. No, I should avoid comparisons altogether, not with women (because none are beautiful), and not with men, since one cannot compare gods.
Having committed to an unfinishable book of describing individual beautiful men, there are nevertheless a few generalities to start with. There are a few features of all men that are so beautiful that they deserve special mention. This is a random sampling from a treasure trove, so forgive me if I have left out a feature you would have offered up front. They are all visible but more visible in some men. If you look closely, of course, you will see them in every man at some point in his life. Whether it’s the forearm, abs, biceps, pectorals, quadriceps, each man has his favorite parts of the male body, his own and other men’s, parts we admire in each other and are happy to point out to a fellowman. Here are a few of the most beautiful:

a. that long vein under the forearm
b. that vein along the side of the neck that bulges occasionally
c. the vein across the forehead that appears like a streak of lightning
d. large, useful hands
e. large, steadying feet
f. the long waist
g. that central groove down the center of a man’s gut covering the linea alba
h. the pattern of the abdominals (a man’s second face)
i. narrow hips
j. just the hint of biceps
k. the vein across biceps that are thicker
l. the linea fusca or treasure trail, the happy trail running from a man’s navel down to his bush
m. the saggital patterning of pubic hair (a man’s year-round Christmas tree, everblack no ornaments needed)
n. the wing span
o. pectorals
p. dry lips

Saturday, September 13, 2008


faces us
didn’t faze me,
‘til one fine day (today!)
I faced the music,
and in and about
a brighting volte-face

I see him from his otherside,
the side that lets me
leave him alone
after decades.

That facies—
deceptive, decisive—
its spell ended,
the smiling palindrome
looks away,
and I am free to see
him simply as he was.

A slight turn (imagine!),
and what once unmade me
makes me now, not his echo-
praxia, but a glance
(let’s face it!)
down my own way.

- September 13, 2008

Homogenderism, or Homogenderality

As women quickly evolve into boys (yes, there are some who cling to man-concocted femininity), men remain pretty much as they have been, except that the boyish is permitted expression more and more. Described by someone as female masculinity, the principal quality of female boys is awkwardness as women try to move as though they had a different body. But center of gravity will not change with the desire to be masculine. Nor will the ratio of the length of the torso to the body as a whole, especially the relatively narrower midriff compared to a chest enlarged by breasts. Hip size is not so different in males and females, although son males have the exceptional beauty of very narrow hips. Awkwardness, then. This brings me to the invention of the terms homogenderism and homogenderality to replace the ever useless term homosexuality. The discussion has been about gender, not sex, since the beginning of the era of sex and the sexual a little over a century ago. The sexualization of culture that followed has allowed for endless discussions putatively about gender, all of which missed the point that they so eagerly sought to make, that one day there will be one gender and that relationships will be uniform, uninformed by the sex of the person. This will be a contribution to the desexualization of culture. But who will we be? We see. We will all be boys. And so we move from heterosexuality via a preoccupation with homosexuality to homogenderality. What part does boyness play in this? That is the critical question.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Olympics

This year's summer olympics has been dominated by the male body. One figure, a swimmer, has stood out from all the rest. This is in the spirit of the original games, which though they did not include swimming, showcased the male body in its perfection. Let us consider returning to the origins. Since the modern olympic began in 1896, only four years passed before women were competing in them. Let's resume the OLYMPICS and run a concurrent women's international athletics competition. Women prefer single-sex venues, after all. Why be bothered with the presence of males?


If a young man walked into the café with as much of his body uncovered as the young woman with him, he would be asked to find "proper dress." What does this mean? It is an important question, since most young men's bodies would be as wonderful to look at. In fact there would be more detail to attract the eye: patches of hair, vascular paths, muscle shapes, bony highlights. And so why do we shelter this from view. Are men more modest?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fashion For The Fall

The major newspaper of a major city presents a hugely expensive special magazine section on fashions for women for the new season. Who looks at this? Who responds to it? Women look at it. Who will purchase these clothes? Men. Look closely at the "designs." What do they present? A more beautiful woman? No likely, since the point is to enhance the reputation of the designers, many of whom are men. The idea is to show something different. Most of what we see makes the "model" women even more artificial than their bodies that are made-up and designed.