Is that a Paschal Peep in your pouch?

From Chris Hansen on Facebook, a late entry in this year’s Easter Peepstakes: a model who dreamt he played with yellow Peeps in his Aronik swimwear:

(#1)

About the company, its products, its models, its symbol, and its name

But first, two more samples of Aronik Peepsiana: a hunk in pink, and yellow bro-play:

(#2)

(#3)

The company, its products, and its models. From its website:

We are a swimwear brand based in Salt Lake City aimed at providing quality, vibrant, & fashionable swimsuits for men.

Very restrained language, but the company is well-known for its flashy promotional campaigns, featuring amazingly muscular models in brightly colored skimpy tight swimsuits, many of the models sporting significant moose-knuckles (case in point: Yellow PeepsHunk in #1 and #3). The company’s ads absolutely drip muscular homoeroticism, and they’ve been much appreciated by gay websites passionately devoted to the male body.

For instance, the Homotrophy site (a ‘gay sexy blog”) — the name is intended as a portmanteau of homosexual and photography, but it could also be read as a compound homo + trophy ‘trophy for homos’ — which “features mainly new face models, new fashion designers, and new photographers. Nonetheless Homotrophy also features some well-known people as well, mostly photographers”. The site does enthusiastic spreads on Aronik models every now and again.

Then there’s the Gay Body Blog, where you can find a 5/21/14 posting “The Ridiculous Boys Of Aronik Swimwear”:

There I was thinking we had finally gotten over the massive craze of insanely hot tight muscled abs you could grate cheese on. I was looking around out there today and I found this shoot for Aronik Swimwear with some of the most ridiculously handsome and ripped hunks I think I have ever seen in one shoot.

Don’t hold back, guys.

The symbol and the name. So far we have big splashes of homocarnality. In Salt Lake City, which might give you pause, since everything we’ve seen up to now runs right against LDS teachings and practices. Yellow PeepsHunk is decidedly un-Mormon.

But then there’s the bee, the symbol of the Aronik company — and, in association with the beehive (itself a symbol of Mormonism’s pioneer past, signifying industry, harmony, and cooperation), it’s all over Salt Lake City.

Digression on the busy bee: a poetic interlude. The honeybee as a symbol of industry or cooperation or both has a substantial history before Joseph Smith; in particular, it’s served as a figure in Christian moralizing. Notable in this regard: Isaac Watts’s “Against Idleness and Mischief” (1715), which begins:

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

The Watts text achieved a certain sort of fame in Lewis Carroll’s parody “How Doth the Little Crocodile”, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865):

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

And now I’ve parodied them both, and gayed them way up, in an Aronik version:

How do Aronik musclehunks
Improve their solid tails
And flaunt their massive packages
And stroke their treasure trails!

How like the cheerful honeybee,
Who offers men his assets,
He welcomes his admirers in
And sweetly shares his sweat.

By way of illustration: a solid Aronik tail and an elegant Aronik treasure trail:

(#4)

(#5)

Now to the company name. At first, I tried to see the name as a play on ironic, but then it occurred to me to consider Aaronic; if I were LDS, I’d have gotten this one right away. From Wikipedia (with the most relevant passage boldfaced):

The Aaronic priesthood (… also called the priesthood of Aaron or the Levitical priesthood) is the lesser of the two (or sometimes three) orders of priesthood recognized in the Latter Day Saint movement.

… Latter Day Saints believe that John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic priesthood directly upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on May 15, 1829.

… In the LDS Church today, the Aaronic priesthood has taken on a role as a source of training, leadership, and service for adolescent boys and new converts. It is often called a “preparatory priesthood.” Holders of the Aaronic priesthood whom the church considers worthy are advanced to an office in the Melchizedek priesthood as a matter of course around the age of 18, or in the case of adult converts, after approximately a year of active church membership.

The Aaronic priesthood is open only to men and boys, twelve years old or older, who are considered worthy after a personal interview with their bishop. Requirements for worthiness include abstaining from all extra-marital sexual practices, following the Word of Wisdom (a code requiring abstinence from drinking alcohol, smoking, and consumption of coffee and tea), payment of tithes, and attending church services.

To LDS thinking, all male-male sex is an extra-marital sexual practice (even if you are legally married, since the LDS Church does not recognize same-sex marriage). All masturbation (including that accompanying the viewing of homoerotic imagery, like Aronik ads) is sinful as well. So here Aronik is very much not Aaronic. Presumably the choice of the company’s name was deliberately cheeky, rebellious, transgressive, in fact sacrilegious. Even, possibly, meant as ironic.

In line with this blasphemous attitude, the 2017 Aronik swimsuit collection is named the Temple Square Collection. One very un-LDS item from the collection, plus Wikipedia on Temple Square:

(#6)

Temple Square is a 10-acre complex, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah. In recent years, the usage of the name has gradually changed to include several other church facilities that are immediately adjacent to Temple Square. Contained within Temple Square are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument, and two visitors’ centers.

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