Friday, May 18, 2007

Being Fuzzy, Being Proud. But As Hot and Hairy As We Like Them, Some Guys Want to Shave Off Their Sexyness

Guys get serious about shaving their bodies
Neely Tucker / Washington Post

Spring, and a young man's thoughts turn to chest hair.

Also, that of the back, the belly, the shoulder and maybe regions farther south. It turns out that there is a hair-removal waxing procedure called the "Boy-zilian," the male equivalent of the Brazilian bikini wax, for which you would have to put your ankle behind your head in order to do it yourself, and we never want to think about that again.

Your chest, back, shoulders. Summer beckons. The pool, the beach. Skin revealed. Worries: Slack gut, man-boobs, back fur, being regarded as a metrosexual. You don't want to be prissy (unless you're into that), and yet you don't want to be so hirsute that some guy comes up to you at the pool, going: "Burt? Burt Reynolds?"

"Body hair is a major category of what guys worry about," says Glenn O'Brien, author of "The Style Guy" and a column by that title for GQ magazine. "It's in the realm of 'What color socks match my shoes and pants?' I could write a column on it every month."

You might be thinking this is a fad. One of those alleged trends like feminists burning their bras back in the day, or maybe like the mullet haircuts on guys in the 1980s.
This is not so.

Consider: Last May, Philips Norelco rolled out the $34.99 Bodygroom BG 2020, a shaver designed to trim or shave body hair. "It blew our sales projections out of the water," says Shannon Jenest, a spokeswoman for the company. "It took off in ways we couldn't imagine. We tripled our original forecast by the end of the year."

Or: Men's Health, a magazine aimed at working guys who work out, has had exactly two guys with chest hair on the cover in the last 17 years, according to Brian Boye, the magazine's fashion and grooming editor.

Or: Last summer, a guy named Brett Marut in Santa Monica, Calif., came out with a thing called Mangroomer. It's essentially a shaver on a stick, designed to enable you to reach around and shave your back. He priced it at $39.95, looking to appeal to guys in Flyover, America, who were too self-conscious to go to a salon to get it done, or even let their friends know they were trying it out. He didn't have much money, so he just put a couple of ads on Internet search engines. It was an instant hit, blossomed at online retailers and, 10 months later, Mangroomer is in every Bed Bath & Beyond in the country.

There's also Nair for Men, which sells for about $5 and promises to get rid of hair in four minutes by rubbing a cream on it.

Waxing, shaving, depilating, lasering men's body hair: It's all part of the beautification of the male animal, an aesthetic that genuflects before the ancient Greeks.
In real life, it is boys, not men, who are devoid of body hair, and for ages one sign of adult male virility was chest hair. To be devoid was to be effeminate. This continued in Western and American pop culture right through the last century. Men never considered grooming below the neck.

Nobody has an exact beginning point, but bodybuilders, starting with, say, Jack LaLanne in the 1940s, would hearken to that Grecian ideal, shaving their bodies for competition, the better for judges to appreciate every oiled and sculpted pec. There's a picture of LaLanne posing beachside about 1950. He looks like he's made out of marble. The only hair visible is on his head.

By the early 1980s, the hairless chest and back was catching on with gay guys. Like earrings, it began to cross over to fashion-conscious straight men, athletes and celebrities, and then into the mainstream.

"When it comes to vanity, gay men have been at the forefront, the trendsetters," Boye says.
"But now, with all the celebrities, magazine covers, the movies, it's appropriate and acceptable for anyone who wants to go bald to do it."
When I had finally thought the hairy musclebear look had returned for good, this article appears. I only hope it is a fad. Hot hairy guys rule. Mega hairy muscle hugs to that, and thankgoodness for our hot hairy muscle studs. Keep that body hair, sexy guys.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Have Never Agreed With Andrew Sullivan, But I Guess There Is A First Time For Everything

And rarely do I continue a topic, but the Lord Browne of British Petroleum fame, deserves more coverage, because for loving another guy, though really young, and getting caught, and denying it, all of this brought a very powerful business executive to his knees.

Here are our Andy's thoughts on the whole mess.

Trapped in a glass closet of his own making
Andrew Sullivan

"The rule of thumb with all gay scandals is a very simple one. Would the same thing be a scandal if the central figure were heterosexual? In Lord Browne’s case the answer is clearly yes. It would still have been a scandal – a little one, to be sure, but a scandal nonetheless.

If a leading executive of a large company had met his girlfriend through an escort service and had subsequently attempted to lie about that in court, then he would have been forced to resign early as well. Browne has not been subject to a double standard or penalised because he is gay. Perjury is perjury. Ask Bill Clinton. Or Jonathan Aitken.

The more interesting question, it seems to me, is a prior one: why was Browne subject to blackmail in the first place?

It does not appear that he abused his position at BP to help Jeff Chevalier, his former boyfriend. BP doesn’t claim any financial impropriety. In fact, apart from the perjury and before the break-up, Browne seems to have been a gentleman throughout. So what was he afraid of? Yes, he’d met his lover through an escort service. An embarrassing detail, but not exactly the kind of thing to force a big executive to launch a legal jihad against a newspaper.

His real fear, it appears, was of being “outed” in the mass media, of having the fact of his sexual orientation a public matter. This is why, in an act of Wildean rashness, he brought The Mail on Sunday injunction. This is why he threw mounds of money and hired the best lawyers to keep a petty nonstory out of the papers.

But the principle for Browne was a clear one. He explained it thus: “In my 41 years with BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life. I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private.”

And yet the facts do not entirely bear this interpretation out. Browne openly socialised with his young lover, introduced him to colleagues and many members of the British Establishment. No one seems to have taken exception.

Tony and Gordon and Peter are not likely to take offence at an adult man in a gay relationship, however young and however attractive the lover. In fact the long list of honours and privileges and testimonials to Browne’s character bespeaks a British elite completely comfortable with a powerful and accomplished gay man in their midst.

Browne rose about as far as one can in the business world and is by any rational standard ridiculously wealthy. He lives in a country where gay couples have equal standing in the law (although still denied the word “marriage”), where gay culture is completely mainstream and where gay sex has been legal – for the most part at least – for 40 years and is now legal everywhere at the age of 16.

The pity one instinctively feels for Browne at this moment is therefore not because he was a man undone by homophobia. It is because he was a man undone by its opposite – by a culture so comfortable and at ease with homosexuality that it had surpassed his own comfort level and rendered his own strict view of “privacy” completely moot.

Browne was clearly struggling to cope with this social change and was experimenting in the new world. But in such experiments he was inexperienced. And the inexperience led to misjudgment. It often does.

Try to think of it from his perspective. Think of the world that the 59-year-old Browne has inhabited in one lifetime. When he was a teenager, homosexuality was literally unspeakable in polite society. British authorities were injecting the great Alan Turing with hormones to “cure” him of his orientation just as Browne was leaving primary school.

For the first 19 years of his life Browne could have been imprisoned for a relationship with another man. During his formative years of adolescence, Browne learnt what every gay boy or girl had to learn at the time: if you do not keep this a terrible secret you will perish.
Even after being largely decriminalised in 1967 the culture remained a strong force sustaining the stigma that Browne internalised. In the 1960s and 1970s it was far from easy for an ambitious scientist and businessman to have a life – that is, a mature relationship with another man – while having a serious career.

The secrecy and fear that were soldered onto a gay man’s psyche were not as easily detached from the world as a piece of Victorian legislation. And as the gay rights movement first blossomed as a countercultural force, it did not easily include Browne and his ilk – Establishment, mannered, private men and women.

For that generation their “discretion” was, and is, a matter of honour and pride. That this pride was inevitably entangled with the remnants of shame did not make it any the less treasured. “I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private” is almost a credo for a man of Browne’s generation. Younger generations scoff at this but they never had to acquire the psychological armour that a gay man needed in that era.

Societies, moreover, change more quickly than individuals do. This is especially the case with gay culture. Gays are a unique minority because we are almost all brought up as if we were heterosexuals in heterosexual families. We learn what it is to be gay from the general culture we imbibe as children and teens. As it changes, gay kids change. And quickly.

The difference between a culture that can safely mock “the only gay in the village” as comedy and a culture that would have beaten that gay to a pulp five decades ago is a vast one. And yet we have forgotten it so easily. A gay man who has lived through each of those decades is not in such an easy position.

I meet young gay men today who take it for granted that they can get married to someone they fall in love with.

When I was their age – only two decades ago – an argument for gay marriage was about as radical as it gets. If I feel somewhat left behind I can only imagine the perplexity Browne is grappling with this weekend.

Sympathy has its limits of course. Browne is a wealthy and privileged man. His remarkable achievements will soon outlast his temporary embarrassment. Besides, he foolishly tried to have it both ways: to live a life as an openly gay man, but to insist on controlling the disclosure of every aspect of that identity. In a culture where gayness is now unexceptional you cannot get away with this. You cannot simply segment your emotional and sexual life into a hermetically sealed “private zone”. No heterosexual can.

With acceptance come the same rules of public and private that heterosexuals have to live with. Browne could not be private about being gay in some contexts and public in other ones. Even a man as rich and powerful as he is cannot control the culture with that degree of precision.
He lived in what is best described as a glass closet. It’s when a gay man wants to have an openly gay life but not a publicly disclosed one. He tries to manage the contours of his identity on his own terms and in the way he was accustomed to in decades past. But those days are gone. With new freedom comes a transparency that also demands a new responsibility.

These are not easy adjustments, they merit compassion and understanding. But they are necessary if gay equality is to mean something tangible. Others didn’t see his glass closet but Browne did. That was the asymmetry that eventually righted itself. And so the glass shattered and the shards wounded. But the wounds heal. For so many others they already have. "

So the moral to the story maybe, be picky and careful who you chose, if you want to remain in a glass closet. But like glass houses, you'll soon be exposed, no matter how hard you try to cover up matters. An openly gay life and a publicly disclosed one do go hand-in-hand. One leads to the other, no matter how one tries to keep them separate. So you got to live with it and its consequences. In the long run, it will always be the better decision.

Friday, May 04, 2007

My 300th Blog Post. Unfortunately I Have To Report Yet Again About the Sexual Escapades of Powerful Closeted Gay Men

Oh how weak affairs of the cock and sometimes, heart are. But seriously, couldn't this have been handled differently? Is hiding a boytoy and then getting caught and exposed worth all the scandal, financial loss, and scrutiny?

As many of you may have read or heard, Lord John Browne, the former Chief Executive Officer of British Petroleum (BP) has been implicated in a corporate scandal involving his former gay lover, which has forced the 58 year old Lord Browne to resign his position in the company.

The following are exerpts from an article appearing in the publication, This Is London.

Dressed in Prada and housed in luxury, the young gay lover of Lord Browne, the shamed ex Chief Executive Officer of British Petroleum.

Lord Browne fell for the charms of Jeff Chevalier, (pictured above), a young Canadian computer operator, in 2002.

It is unclear how their paths crossed - Lord Browne originally claimed it was a chance meeting while he was "exercising" in Battersea Park, near his luxury London home, but later admitted that this was a lie. The truth was recently revealed that the two met courtesy of a male excort service. (More of this below).

However, it is clear that the pair became partners for four years and during that time Chevalier "adopted Lord Browne's [the Claimant's] lifestyle and was provided by him with food, travel, clothes and accommodation at a fairly luxurious level.

According to reports, the end of the affair came in 2006. According to court papers, when the relationship ended, Mr Chevalier went home to Canada but "found himself in financial difficulties and also having to adjust to a drastically reduced lifestyle".

Lord Browne helped his former lover by giving him money to help pay for a 12-month lease on a flat in Toronto and to buy furnishings after promising Chevalier "that if needed, [he] would assist in the first year of me transitioning from living in multi-million pound homes around the world, flying in private jets, five-star hotels, £2,000 suits, and so on to a less than modest life in Canada."

But Chevalier soon fell on hard times, the computer business Lord Browne bankrolled, now bankrupt, and by the end of 2006 was asking Lord Browne for more money.

On Christmas Eve, he emailed his ex-lover on holiday in the Caribbean, telling him: "I have nothing left to lose ... I am facing hunger and homelessness after four years of sharing your lifestyle ... the least I am asking for is some assistance ... please respond ... I do not want to embarrass you in any way but I am being cornered by your lack of response to my myriad attempts at communication."

It was after this missive, which Chevalier denied was intended as a threat, that he decided to make the affair public and Browne reached for his lawyers.

But as more of the story unfolds, the two met up, thanks to the website,

It is not known what drew Lord Browne to the site or when he first visited. It could have been idle curiosity, or perhaps it was word of mouth.

But at some point in 2002, it apparently led the multi-millionaire to Jeff Chevalier.

The site has a gallery of 100 male 'escorts'. Some appear in leather outfits and chains, others in a string of provocative poses some with faces visible, others hidden to disguise their identity. Underneath each image is a name. These include Romeo, Beloved and Big Alex.
Users can click on the image that takes their fancy and find individual profile pages with personal information and the promise of more pictures.

The homepage opens with the welcome 'Thank you for choosing to visit our site' and the offer of a first-name, friendly and personal service.

It claims to be the UK's first and largest web-based agency and an award winner, set up in 1998.
Bold lettering proclaims that all models featured on the site are over 18.

Suited and Booted is advertised with a string of similar agencies in listings columns on the Internet. One advertisement reads: 'Stunning, educated guys with great personalities and friendly attitude. One call to us and we make all the arrangements.'

Another promises 'discrete, friendly service from guys who enjoy their work'.

Curiously appears to have a social conscience. A £1 charity donation is promised for every booking.

Yesterday the agency did not respond to phone calls or e-mail. Visitors to the website saw a message stating: 'We apologise that is down due to technical reasons.'

I guess this source for boytoys won't be providing any outcalls this weekend in London.

So where is our boy Jeff hiding? According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, the whereabouts of Jeff Chevalier remained a mystery yesterday with his former lover suspecting that the 27-year-old Canadian, who single-handedly brought down a British oil tycoon, is holed up somewhere until his story is published in a London tabloid newspaper that bought it.

"I'm sure [The Mail on Sunday] has got him out of Toronto so no one can talk to him," John Trickey, ( an appropriate name, especially if they had ever gotten married), Mr. Chevalier's 48-year-old former lover, said yesterday from his Toronto home.

Mr. Chevalier's brother, Blair, also said he was not in the city. "I don't want to speak with you," Blair said before hanging up his cellphone.

The young Canadian is at the centre of a British scandal. Lord John Browne, the chief executive officer of BP PLC, abruptly resigned this week after losing a court battle to keep secret the details of a four-year affair with Mr. Chevalier. Now, The Mail on Sunday can publish details of the relationship.

Our boy Jeff has been described by his former lover as someone who loved a life of privilege that included whirlwind trips to London and New York and shopping sprees at Holt Renfrew.

Mr. Trickey said the young man left him when his Internet business was starting to collapse. He left for London and later met Lord Browne through an escort agency.

Mr. Trickey said he kept in touch with Mr. Chevalier. "Lord Browne lavished him with clothes and exclusive restaurants and trips," Mr. Trickey said yesterday.

Mr. Chevalier's sister, Courtney, did not respond to multiple requests for an interview yesterday. A woman who picked up the phone at the number listed for Mr. Chevalier's relative hung up when told it was a reporter calling. No one answered the building intercom buzzer for a Rexdale apartment listed as belonging to "Tom Chevalier."

After Mr. Chevalier's relationship with Lord Browne ended last year, he threatened to embarrass the oil tycoon, according to a court ruling. Mr. Chevalier alleges that Lord Browne used BP money to support him and shared company secrets.

Lord Browne denies those allegations. BP chairman John Sutherland said in a statement that the company has investigated the allegations and found them baseless. The scandal has left the blogsphere buzzing with theories and opinions about the relationship between the business tycoon and the Canadian.

But on a sadder note, why is this surprising? So Lord Browne (LB) wanted to act as a "daddy" to a young gay lad. Acting with his cock and on the downlow, LB, by not, first publically acknowledging this relationship, affair, early on, could have prevented the scandal by showing the public one side, or at least, pretending that Jeff was his assistant. But it seems that LB was hooked by the candy between the sheets and not necessarilyby the brains of the boy.

Like the "good, gay and horny" former governor from New Jersey, James E. McGreevey, LB chose to hide this from the press and the public. By being outed, LB faces the same shame as McGreevey did, before he could put a positive spin on it, and proclaim himself to be a "proud Gay American".

There is nothing wrong with older guy, younger guy relationships. But all of these men have handled them very badly. It takes a special kind of commitment to make them work. The boy has to have respect for the man, and the man has to have respect for the boy. Money and power, just seems to complicate matters.