Gay Santas 2016

(References to male bodies and man-man sex.)

Another chapter in the annual celebration of cultural, as opposed to religious, Christmas — a set of customs and practices that includes, among other things (in the U.S.),  Christmas trees, mistletoe, eggnog, Christmas cards, Christmas presents, garlands, Christmas cookies, fruitcake, sentimental reverence for snow, gingerbread, roast turkey (or duck or goose), Christmas songs, Christmas ham, secret Santas, colored lights, red and green everything, candy canes, television shows, a zillion Christmas movies (more appearing every year), wreaths, and of course human Santa Clauses: soliciting charitable contributions on the street, taking gift lists from children in malls and stores, and handing out gifts at children’s parties.

Plus gay Santa Claus images, some of them of men just posing in Santa drag with a homoerotic subtext, many of them behaving flamboyantly gaily: cavorting with the three gay reindeer (Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, but especially Prancer), exposing themselves in public, molesting handsome young men, and kissing Daddy under the mistletoe (or more flagrantly, performing acts of enthusiastic m2m sex with him under the Christmas tree).

From the stupendous array of gay Santa goodies available, I’ve chosen only five this year: all but one found on Tumblr; three photos of men in costume, two drawings; all with beards; none of them X-rated (despite a rich lode of phallically explicit images to choose from), but one just barely not; all but one showing Santa with his characteristic cap; and several combining the gay Santa theme with a gay geek or nerd theme.

Santa #1: Lee Tucker. Not only a real person, but someone I know (and a gay techie). The photo is one he put up on Facebook for the Christmas season :

(#1)

Lee’s caption: Who’s the biggest Ho Ho Ho?

The conventional cap, in dark red, but bold fashion choices for the rest of his Santa ensemble: red checked shirt, silver tie, and a bright red jacket, apparently a blazer. Otherwise projecting unconventionality and niceness in roughly equal parts.

Santa #2: Otter Potter. Another, younger, geek, with a precious Christmas bone in his mouth.

(#2)

Good boy!

The bright lavender cap is a nice touch.

Santa #3: gogovi. He comes in flecks of silver. All over himself (belly, chest, face), naughty boy:

(#3)

Conventional cap, but all the rest is fashion-forward. The Santa coat has been reduced to a very short men’s bolero top (but with snowflake applique, for visual interest), and the Santa trousers have been eliminated completely, in favor of tight short-short checked trunks, with red suspenders pulled down for this photo. All designed to show off his delicious pecs, abs, and inguinal cleft.

Santa #4: randy Santa Daddy:

(#4)

Billy Boy fondles Santa’s treasure, and Santa fondles his. (AMZ’s caption)

Right on the X-line, this one. Santa of course has no cap, so he can display his bald head. And his Santa coat is open, to display his hairy chest. All combined to contrast maximally with Billy Boy’s smooth blond youthfulness.

I found this on the Tumblr site of Harrison Tucker (posting under several names, most often HarrysonTucker), who seems to be a young gay geek with an interest in fashion and a passion for running. Tucker doesn’t credit an artist for the drawing; the image is reproduced in many places, mostly with a link to Tucker. (The style is like Josman’s, and the image also incorporates Josman’s preoccupation with intergenerational sex, but I haven’t found this specific image in Josman’s work.)

Santa #5: Santa with a Harry Bush hard boy. In #4, Santa’s in charge, t to Billy’s b. In fact, Billy Boy is soliciting Santa’s cock (while Santa is taking Billy Boy’s ass), so that Santa is acting as sexual topman to Billy as bottom boy. The roles are reversed in this Harry Bush illustration:

(#5)

Here, Santa is begging sexual favors from the insolent young stud, offering him a ’66 Chevy Corvette in exchange for access to his cock. In Bush’s world, young men have sex (of all kinds) with one another, but interact with adult men (especially authority figures) primarily by having the older men service them.

About Harry Bush: Hard Boys, ed. by Robert Mainardi (2007):

(#6)

Harry Bush’s drawings for magazines such as Physique Pictorial, Mr. Sun, Touch, Drummer, and Stroke combined masterful technique, exceptionally well-endowed subjects, and a wicked sense of humor that made his work extremely popular. Despite long periods of self-imposed retirement and a fear of being outed that led him to destroy much of his own work, the reclusive artist’s drawings were as recognized and recognizable as those of Tom of Finland throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Hard Boys examines the life and work of this brilliant, mysterious, and paradoxical gay artist. Featured are some of Bush’s best-known works along with previously unpublished drawings from the artist’s private sketchbooks, as well as excerpts from Bush’s correspondence that offer insight into a complex personality: egomaniacal artist, self-critical individual, frustrated homosexual, and acerbic social commentator. This eagerly awaited collection allows fans to rediscover Bush’s witty, beautifully executed work while exposing it to a much wider audience. (from the publisher’s blurb)

The sexual content is crude; the illustrations are wonderfully done.

Santa actors. In the images above, we see men presented as (gay) Santas for the sake of a photo or illustration; they are fantasy images. In the somewhat more complicated real world, men take on playing the role of Santa Claus as a job, and ordinarily their identities outside of this job are seen as irrelevant. But with several startling exceptions, one being that if it’s revealed that a man playing Santa Claus is in fact gay, there’s one hell of an uproar, given that Santa actors largely interact with children, and there’s a widespread (false) belief that all gay men are pedophiles.

The other startling exception has to do with race, ethnicity, and religion. Megyn Kelly explained to the world on her Fox News show back in 2013 that Santa Claus is white, so a black man playing Santa (as one now does at the Mall of America) is simply unacceptable, and a great many people have agreed with her, vehemently. (Kelly also told us, preposterously, that Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jew, was also white.) In any case, a black man has a hard time getting hired to play Santa, except possibly in a context that’s all-black. (And maybe not even there: if you truly believe that Santa is white, then he’s white no matter where he is, even in the black ghetto.)

Now, move (for a moment) from race to ethnicity: what about latino/hispanic Santa Clauses, Native American, and Asian-American Santa Clauses (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, in particular)? George Takei notes that in the internment camps back in the 1940s, they had Japanese-American Santa Clauses. (Of course they did; who else would they get? The important point is that they had a Santa Claus — because they were, after all, Americans, and Santa Claus is an American cultural tradition.)

I suspect that “ethnic” (latino, Native American, Asian-American) Santa Clauses are not easily accepted, except (again) possibly in mono-ethnic contexts. The general rule is that white Anglo parents would be very reluctant to expose their children to a Santa Claus who didn’t look (normatively) “American” (while “ethnic” or “minority” parents should expect that, possibly except in a 100% minority ghetto, all Santa Clauses will be Anglo whites).

I’m not at all sure how far this suspicion of the Other extends. Are recognizably (southern) Italian, Greek, or Irish Santa Clauses acceptable, now that these ethnic groups have been assimilated to whiteness? What about Santa Clauses with “foreign accents” (even British, Australian, or French)? How do these things work in Hawaii? (I’m sure that things are looser there, and a Santa Claus might even wear an aloha shirt.)

One further step. Many Americans aren’t particularly good at distinguishing Jews from gentiles, and in consequence a fair number of Jewish men have gotten jobs as Santa actors. Are they in danger of losing their jobs if they’re found out? The Santa Claus role has nothing to do with Christianity, so they shouldn’t be. But…

Now to the neat stuff. The cultural customs and practices associated with commercial Christmas vary enormously from place to place, and most of this variation arises within these places, rather than by cultural diffusion. That brings me to Japan, a country with a neglible Christian presence in the society and culture, but with a set of Christmas customs and practices, which the Japanese see as “American”, that is, derived from the U.S., even though many of them are not in fact borrowings of American Christmas customs.

Christmas trees are now available in Japan, but apparently artificial ones are much easier to find than natural trees. And decorations for the trees, some gorgeous or whimsical, are easily available.

But then there’s the food. Japanese Christmas cake for Christmas eve, which has cream and berries on it, so it doesn’t keep well, and has no real U.S. counterpart. And KFC (or other fast-food) fried chicken; one report says that 1 out of 3 Japanese adults has fried chicken for Christmas.

In music, there are gigantic performances of the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as a regular feature of Christmas in Japan.

Then Santa Claus, in visual representations as a Buddhist monk, anime figures, Colonel Sanders, or kindly old bearded Western men. And Santa actors, who ideally should look “American”. American visitors are sometimes impressed into service as Santa actors. One American long-time resident in Japan, blogging as “The Japan Guy”, writes on “Being Santa Claus in Japan”:

I find it interesting, that I never once had to don a Santa suit while living in the United States, but since I’ve been here in Japan, every single year, without fail, something comes up where I always end up in a Santa suit. (link)

The kick is that he’s black — a fact that makes him really really American in Japanese eyes, not someone you could conceivably take to be Japanese (or even European). This is not the best picture of him, but it does show him on a magazine cover with associates:

(#7)

What disqualifies him in America makes him desirable in Japan. (Note: most Japanese know very little indeed about race in the U.S.)

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