Blue roses

Today’s ad from Daily Jocks, with a sale on men’s high-end underwear from Australian firms, in recognition of Australia Day (tomorrow, the 26th):


(#1) The 2eros Midnight Rose pattern (blue roses on a deep purple background), in a swim slip (Speedo-style swimsuit, but Speedo is a trade name) on the left and swimshorts on the right

Ad copy:

Celebrate Australia Day with DailyJocks and get 15% off your favourite Australian brands including; 2eros, Teamm8, Marcuse, Supawear & many more!

My parody caption:

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Blue roses are my place on earth

Australia Day. From Wikipedia:

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.

Race and ethnicity. For obvious reasons, Australian aboriginal peoples have, apparently, been folded into Australia Day with great uneasiness. In any case, the model on the right in #1 (in the swimshorts) is certainly not aboriginal. It’s possible he’s intended to be African Australian. From Wikipedia:

African Australians are Australians of African ancestry. Large-scale immigration from Africa to Australia is only a recent phenomenon, with Europe and Asia traditionally being the largest sources of migration to Australia. In 2005–06, permanent settler arrivals to Australia included 4,000 South Africans and 3,800 Sudanese, constituting the sixth and seventh largest sources of migrants, respectively.

African Australians are from diverse racial, cultural, linguistic, religious, educational and employment backgrounds. The majority (72.6%) of African emigrants to Australia are from southern and eastern Africa. The Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies all residents into cultural and ethnic groups according to geographical origin, including the many Afrikaner migrants from Southern Africa in the Sub-Saharan region.

Africans may have come to Australia as skilled migrants, refugees, through family reunion, or as secondary migrants from other countries.

More likely, he’s intended to appeal to 2eros customers in the US or the UK, in which case he’s African American (of sub-Saharan slave descent) or Black British (of African or Caribbean descent).

Gaze and stance. When male models are presented together in photos, specifically in ads (for underwear, for men’s high fashion, for gay porn, whatever), some relationship between them is coded into their facial expressions, gaze, and stance. In #1, swim-slip guy (the white guy) is staring off camera, engaging in his gaze neither his audience nor swimshorts guy (a brown-skinned guy who would conventionally be labeled black); this makes him at least unchallenging, quite possibly submissive. The submissive reading is reinforced by swimshorts guy’s right arm negligently resting on swim-slip guy’s shoulder, claiming rights to his body; and by swimshorts guy’s bold gaze into our eyes, the eyes of the viewers.

So the relationship between the two men is coded as intimate; this is at least mildly transgressive, since they’re an interracial couple. And then the black guy is coded as dominant (t to the white guy’s b), which is more seriously transgressive, since that’s a racial role reversal (but one that a fair number of white gay men find emotionally satisfying — remember that the target audience for these ads is white gay men).

Blue roses. Now some abstract iconography, and some botanical notes. From Wikipedia:


(#2) Blue silk roses (like the ones in the Midnight Rose pattern)

A blue rose is a flower of the genus Rosa (family Rosaceae) that presents blue-to-violet pigmentation instead of the more common red, white, or yellow. Blue roses are often portrayed in literature and art as symbols of love, prosperity, or immortality. However, because of genetic limitations, they do not exist in nature. In 2004, researchers used genetic modification to create roses that contain the blue pigment delphinidin.

… Since blue roses do not exist in nature, as roses lack the specific gene that has the ability to produce a “true blue” color, blue roses are traditionally created by dyeing white roses. [And of course roses of any color can be make from silk.]

In addition, there’s the color blue as a symbol of male homosexuality, as noted in a 11/19/15 posting of mine:

the color blue has been associated with gay men, as in the (now-deceased) gay pornographic magazine Blueboy

Meanwhile, as noted here many times, a rose flower often serves as  a sexcavity symbol — vaginal or anal.

So the blue roses in the Midnight Rose pattern drip with suggestions of mansex. “Blue roses are my place on earth” conveys a man’s desire to lose himself, and find himself, in another man’s body.

“Blue roses are my place on earth”. The line is my parodic take-off on

Blue heaven is my place on earth

which is how I, and a great many other people, recall a central line of Belinda Carlisle’s 1987 hit song (by Rick Nowels & Ellen Shipley). But in fact the central lines are:

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, heaven is a place on earth

(with ooh, heaven, not blue heaven). Listen to it here:

(#3) The mondegreened blue heaven (no doubt influenced by My Blue Heaven) is pretty much unshakeable for me, even though I know it’s a mishearing

5 Responses to “Blue roses”

  1. kenru Says:

    FWIW, I never caught the “blue heaven” bug. It was always “ooh, heaven is a place on earth.”

  2. Bob Richmond Says:

    The best known literary blue roses must be the ones in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, where they’re a mondegreen of “pleurosis”, a disease not defined in the play, other than the fact that it left the protagonist with a limp.

    To judge by my father’s 1920 Dorland Medical Dictionary (always my go-to for ancient medical words), OED2, and a Google search, there is no such word. “Pleurisy” is the obvious guess, but seems to be only part of the story. The Greek word “pleura” apparently originally meant “side”, and pleurisy is a pain in the side.

    OED2 gives “pleurotonos”, a bending of the body to one side, formed on analogy to “opisthotonos”, a word I learned in medical school. And many zoologic terms use the word pleura to mean ‘side’ – thus the pleurodire or side-necked turtles, which withdraw their heads to one side, unlike cryptodire turtles, who withdraw them in the up-and-down plane.

    So did someone somewhere use the word “pleurosis” to mean ‘limping’?

  3. Robert Coren Says:

    A year and change ago I visited a rose plantation in Ecuador, where among other things they did show us intensely blue roses — dyed, of course — for which there is apparently an especially big market in Japan and/or China.

  4. [BLOG] Some Sunday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky free-associates around blue roses, homoerotic and […]

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