Gay butterflies

(Only the first image — daddy and boy in sexual medias res — is problematic; but it’s probably over the line for Facebook these days, and it might be for you too, even though it’s penisless. The penises are in an AZBlogX posting “Gay butterflies”, in three mansex collages with word play and butterflies.)

It started with a visual re-run yesterday in “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar”:

A collage of mine (from my 10/21/16 posting “Another Spanish lesson”, with a Daddy / Boy scene illustrating el papá taking charge of the body of his boy:

Butterfly symbolism 1: fragile, feminine, effeminate.


From “Another Spanish lesson”: the collage is

… ornamented with butterflies, symbols of fragility but also showiness, and so pressed into service as symbols of male homosexuality, especially effeminate — swishy, flagrant, and seductive — homosexuality.  Excerpts from Green’s Dictionary of Slang under butterfly, with dates of first cites:

1 an effeminate weakling [1892] 2 (US) an over-dressed, flashy person [1902] 4 (orig. US black) an attractive young woman [1930]   5 (US campus) a flirt [1949] 6 (also butterfly boy) an effeminate male homosexual [1960]

Butterfly symbolism: flamboyant. So symbolic of fragility, femininity, effeminacy. But also of flamboyance, as in this NOAD entry:

adj. gay: brightly colored; showy; brilliant: a gay profusion of purple and pink sweet peas.

On to the plant world. In particular to the very flamboyant plant Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as butterfly weed (as well as milkweed), with its bright orange flowers:


On the genus, from Wikipedia:

Asclepias L. (1753), the milkweeds, is an American genus of herbaceous perennial, dicotyledonous plants that contains over 140 known species. It previously belonged to the family Asclepiadaceae, but this is now classified as the subfamily Asclepiadoideae of the dogbane family Apocynaceae.

Milkweed is named for its latex, a milky substance containing cardiac glycosides termed cardenolides that is exuded where cells are damaged. Most species are toxic.

Carl Linnaeus named the genus after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing

… American milkweeds are an important nectar source for native bees, wasps, and other nectar-seeking insects, though non-native honey bees commonly get trapped in the stigmatic slits and die. Milkweeds are also the larval food source for monarch butterflies and their relatives, as well as a variety of other herbivorous insects (including numerous beetles, moths, and true bugs) specialized to feed on the plants despite their chemical defenses.

… Although milkweed is not grown commercially at a large scale, the plant has had many uses through human history. The milkweed filaments from the coma (the “floss”) are hollow and coated with wax, and have good insulation qualities. During World War II, over 5,000 t (5,500 short tons) of milkweed floss were collected in the United States as a substitute for kapok.

(#3) Asclepias syriaca seed pods, upper image from August and lower from December

As for A. tuberosa, plant breeders have managed to come up with a variety that merits the name ‘Gay Butterflies’:

(#4) Asclepias tuberosa ‘Gay Butterflies’: a brilliantly colored milkweed with fiery shades of red, orange, and yellow in summer

Butterfly symbolism: fickle. Then there’s fickleness:

adj. fickle: changing frequently, especially as regards one’s loyalties, interests, or affection: Web patrons are a notoriously fickle lot, bouncing from one site to another on a whim | the weather is forever fickle. (NOAD)

In particular gay fickleness: as butterflies flutter or flit from flower to flower, so (the story goes) fags prance from man to man.

Fickleness is generally seen as a feminine trait (Così fan tutte ‘So do they all’, conveying that women are fickle). But also as a trait of rash, self-regarding, and philandering young men: farfalloni amorosi, amorous butterflies. Coming at things from the food angle, consider this from my 11/5/17 posting “Attenuative morphology”:

Start from Italian farfall-a (fem.) ‘butterfly’ and farfall-e (fem. pl.) ‘butterfly / bowtie pasta’ … From these, diminutives farfall-in-a (fem.) ‘little butterfly’ and farfall-in-o (masc.) ‘bowtie’, and an augmentative farfall-on-e (masc.) ‘big butterfly, philanderer’, (fem. pl.) ‘large farfalle pasta’. (Cue “Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso”.)

The cue is to more Mozart. From Wikipedia:

“Non più andrai” (You shall go no more) is an aria for bass from Mozart’s 1786 opera The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492. The Italian libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784). It is sung by Figaro at the end of the first act.

First verse, with a clunky translation:

Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso,
notte e giorno d’intorno girando;
delle belle turbando il riposo
Narcisetto, Adoncino d’amor.

You shall frolic no more, lustful butterfly,
Day and night flitting to and fro;
Disturbing ladies in their sleep
Little Narcissus, Adonis of love.

In this YouTube video you can experience Bryn Terfel singing the aria (1989 in Cardiff) — and acting broadly with facial expressions.

Girls do it, (straight) guys do it, so of course gay guys do it, double strength.

Pink Narcissus. Flamboyant gay erotic fantasies, suffused in fag pink and butterfly imagery. From Wikipedia:


Pink Narcissus is a 1971 American arthouse drama film by James Bidgood visualizing the erotic fantasies of a gay male prostitute.

Between visits from his keeper, or john, a handsome male prostitute (Bobby Kendall), alone in his apartment, lounges, fantasizing about worlds where he is the central character. For example, he pictures himself as a matador, a Roman slave boy and the emperor who condemns him, and the keeper of a male harem for whom another male performs a belly dance.

…Bidgood’s unmistakably kitschy style has later been imitated and refined by artists such as Pierre et Gilles.

Butterfly symbolism: metamorphosis. The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, from the mundanely earthbound to the fabulously airborne,  is powerfully, viscerally, symbolic of coming out:


(I haven’t identified who created the image and paired it with the text.)

Not just any butterly, but a rainbow-flag butterfly. Unsurprisingly, these abound, in great profusion. A rainbow card from Zazzle:


(Another source has it as a business card, along with butterflies with various national flags superimposed on them.)

The symbolism of gay metamorphosis combines easily with queer flamboyance, as for this marcher in NYC Pride (2009):

(#8) Take these broken wings and learn to fly / All your life /
You were only waiting for this moment to arise (Lennon/McCartney, “Blackbird”)

The mansex butterflies. Three AMZ collages in today’s AZBlogX posting “Gay butterflies”: word play, mansex, and  butterflies:

#1 Baskets of Joy 1: play on basket; oral and manual sex; yellow, blue, and lime green butterflies

#2 Bangers & Mash 5: play on bang; anal sex; red and purple butterflies (pig and pork as a bonus)

#3 A Queen’s Fury: gay item queen; anal sex; monarch butterflies (suggestive caption as a bonus)

If you’re gay and sexed up, everything goes better with clouds of butterflies.


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