Adventures in homomasculinity: the pink jock

(A lot about jockstraps and their contents, so not to everyone’s taste.)

Following on my postings about butch fagginess in men’s underwear, more intersections of styles of masculinity with styles of homosexuality, still with men’s underwear as signs of these styles.

The background, from my 10/14 posting “Space Candy”

(#1) A (candy) pink jock in PUMP!’s playful Space Candy line, with my note: “a pink jockstrap nicely combines max-macho in the underwear world with high-faggy in color symbolism”

Pink jockstraps (which deserve a separate posting [this is it]) generally take us off the end of the pier at the butch-faggy boardwalk: what we’ve got there is usually a stone-solid muscle queen, a guy with the best of male musculature, in a way-high homo presentation of self.

But not always: the ways of both gender identity and sexuality identity are complex (and I can offer the vision of me in nothing but a candy-pink jock — an actual historical event (from decades ago), but not available in a photograph — as but one evidence of their intricacies).

So here’s the thing about jockstraps: they are symbols of active masculinity by virtue of

(a) their association with men’s athletics and locker rooms; for some men, the sight of a jockstrap is enough to evoke the muscular exertions of men’s sports and even the smell of male sweat in a locker room; and

(b) the fact that they encase the male genitals in a pouch (so, metonymically,  they’re symbols of those genitals) and, as an unintended side effect, they thrust the package forward and display it

Meanwhile, from the rear view, they frame and display the male buttocks, which have characteristically masculine forms, but also serve (metonymically again, by the association of the buttocks with the anus) as symbols of receptive sexuality.

So there’s a lot in there for queer guys.

The color pink. The candy pink in #1 is a pale red of low saturation. The pink of this pink triangle is a bit darker, more saturated, and slightly more bluish in hue:

(#2) The pink triangle as gay symbol, from the Wikipedia article on the symbol

This shade of pink is in the middle between the light, pastel pinks and the darker, more saturated, neon shades of some pink jocks:

(#3) From the International Jock site, the Puma Pro-Tech Jockstrap in (neon) pink

Contrast #3 with this playful minimal jock (probably used mostly for display of the goods rather than sporting action):

(#4) Also from the International Jock site, the Gregg Homme Bubble G’Homme Jockstrap in (pastel bubble-gum) pink

On the color pink and its variants, from Wikipedia:

In optics, the word “pink” can refer to any of the pale shades of colors between bluish red to red in hue, of medium to high lightness, and of low to moderate saturation. Although pink is generally considered a tint of red, the hues of most shades of pink are slightly bluish, and lie between red and magenta. A few variations of pink, such as salmon color, lean toward orange.

Pink jocks tend to be fairly strongly differentiated in shade, either saturated and bright (interpretable as flaunty, aggressive, or macho) or pastel and light (interpretable as elegant, seductive, playful, or effeminate). These ranges of color interpretation come from the wider culture — so that it’s unikely that a straight guy would wear something like #4 in the locker room. In queer contexts, on jockstraps, they lend their color connotations to the complex high-masculine symbolism of the jockstrap itself, to yield an assortment of different homomasculine presentations of self — complexes of styles of masculinity with styles of homosexuality — which we can only hint at through labels like gay macho, butch faggy, jock fem, or sissy hunk.

And then of course, pink jockstraps (like much more mundane things) are what we make of them; they come with some built-in and easily available affordances, but there’s a lot you can do with those. Here I’ll just open the topic up a little bit further, given the three examples above as background.

Playing with your pink jockstrap. One pastel pink example and one saturated pink example (with a side excursion to a remarkable bikini brief related in spirit to the second of these).

First, from the Touch of Modern site, “Filthy jockstrap // pink cheeks”:

(#4) “The Filthy Collection uses a custom, dirty wash over a stretch fabric blend to create a grungy look. Made with C-IN2’s sustainable stretch cotton blend, it’s a lot of edge in body-hugging package.”

Basic butch faggy — the dick and balls displayed in the pouch of a jockstrap, but in feminine pink — overlaid with the high-macho message of filth: negligent masculine mess, deliberate sexual dirtiness. (Actually, if they han’t told me that the jock was supposedto be filthy, I would have taken it to be a delicate abstract pattern in pink and gray.)

Then, way flagrant, in saturated pink, with lace straps — their fagginess offset by a sturdy pouch (and waistband) of masculine black stretch microfiber: a Mensuas CandyMan jockstrap in pink (also available in black, blue, and green):

(#5) CandyMan, front view

(#6) CandyMan, rear view

A fun jock. It’s hard for me to imagine a situation in which you’d wear such a thing seriously, in any sense of seriously, but I’m willing to be illuminated. And then we have a more thoroughgoing adventure in pink lace (in a bikini brief rather than a jockstrap, but it’s the same basic idea): on,

(#7) The aishani Sissy Pouch Panties: bikini briefs for men (“sexy panties for men”), in 10 colors

What a wonderful object: maximum display of the dick, plus all that lovely pink lace, and the name Sissy Pouch Panties. In this case I know someone who really would, seriously, wear this garment.

Some years ago I made the acquaintance of a young man — call him Todd — for whom this would have been the absolutely perfect piece of underwear. Todd was fond of wearing pink lace panties, but lamented not being able to find ones that allowed him to comfortably display his fairly sizable dick, of which he was both fond and proud. (He settled on women’s panties in large sizes, but they really weren’t the objects of his undergarment desire.)

Todd saw himself as a gay/queer man (that is, as a man and as a man whose sexual desires were directed at other men), but as a particular species or subtype of queer, namely a sissy, a homomasculine identity that for him meant not actual identification with women, but instead an identification with a particular ideal of fagginess; he recognized that there were a number of such ideals, but his personal one involved emotional submissiveness, frivolous playfulness in queer contexts, much affectionate behavior, great pleasure in secretly wearing certain items of female apparel (of which pink lace panties were the apotheosis), and a powerful oral-insertive, anal-receptive pattern of sexual desire, which he thought of as having a hot (literal) dick and a hot (figurative) cunt. (Who knows where such emotional configurations come from? Who cares? But there it was.)

He was quite clear that he didn’t want to be a woman; he wanted to be the best damn sissy in the world. (Meanwhile, he was stuck in a small Southern town, and I was a telephone call to the world of his dreams.)

This was many years ago, and we didn’t have the genderqueer label then, but I doubt that Todd would have accepted it. From NOAD:

adj. genderqueer: denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders … noun: a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders …

The label has some utility if used fairly narrowly, but if it takes in any sort of departure from conventional gender associations, then it takes in far too much: just in the world of queer men, it would cover men who engage in mansex but reject affectionate relationships; men who are exclusively bottoms; men who are oriented only towards men and are affectionate with their partners but take only insertive roles in sex; and on and on. Todd envisioned a world of homomasculine identities that went beyond gender and sexual orientation, but that had a nameable place for him in it. Talking with him about his ideal of sissyhood (in interludes between episodes of telephone sex and friendly chat about our daily lives) connected to the sociolinguistic literature on personas and encouraged me to appreciate that larger world of homomasculine identities.

2 Responses to “Adventures in homomasculinity: the pink jock”

  1. [BLOG] Some Tuesday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky looks at the weird masculinity of the pink […]

  2. Fun jocks and their models | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] about overlaps and multiple functions. For something more realistic, consider the discussion in my 10/16/19 posting “Adventures in homomasculinity: the pink jock”, […]

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