Four ladies in red

From my old friend Matt Adams a few days ago, a wonderful sexy-funny image of his creation, composed while he and his husband Justin were on holiday at a gay b&b in the Canary Islands — a thoroughly satisfying semi-tropical place for people who live in the Netherlands, as Matt and Justin do, to vacate in while their adopted country slips into northern European winter (and all without leaving the EU); and of course a major travel destination for gay men (the beaches, in particular, are fabulous).

The composition, which I’ll analyze in more detail in a later posting, uses an image of Matt being playfully flirty while projecting an intense, earthy cruise (like, you can almost smell his sweat) — designed, if you’re in Matt’s intended audience, to make you laugh out loud and arouse you sexually, all at once. (Hey, it worked for me.)

Meanwhile, as background and counterpoint, Matt used one of four photos on display in that b&b in the Canaries, the Ladies in Red: highly sexualized (and stylized) images of women, which I would characterize as pin-up head shots, dripping with the redness of hot femininity and sexual bodyparts.

Today’s posting is mostly about the Ladies in Red. Matt and I haven’t been able to find out anything about the source of the images; they’re picked up and used in various advertisements (without credit), and Google Images seems to offer only that they’re stock photos of pin-up women. But there are at least four of them, and they’re clearly part of a thematic set. So one function of this posting is to present them to my readers in the hope that somebody out there can find out where they come from and what they were originally designed for.

Matt + Lady #3. Matt, presenting himself as a high-M queer — I also chronicle high-F queers, but Matt is as he is, and he enjoys playing on this persona — doing a sidelong glance that is not your classic side-eye (with its negative associations), but is instead a flirtatious gesture characteristic of straight women (trolling for straight men) and gay men (trolling for other gay men). A gesture I will, mischievously and hyperbolically, call fuck-eye. More on side-eye and fuck-eye in a later posting.

(#1) Note that, along with everything else that’s going on here, Matt is smiling

But on to the Ladies. Here’s the set of four that I got from Matt (I’ve played some with the skin tones and shades of red to provide a bit of variety in the photos):

(Lady #1)

(Lady #2)

(Lady #3)

(Lady #4)

They are all looking straight ahead, engaging the viewer with their direct gazes. They are all wearing red-rimmed eyeglasses, in four different styles. They all have strikingly red lips — red lips (especially open or pursed lips) being potentially heavily weighted symbolically, serving much like a red rose; see my 8/29/13 posting “Kissing the rose” on the symbolisms, especially the carnal symbolisms, of the red rose. They all have remarkable hair styles, four different ones (Matt in #1 also has a remarkable hair style; he’s been playing a lot with his hair styles, and his mustache styles too).

Two of the Ladies (#1 and #4) have the redness reinforced by other features of the photo. Two of them (#3 and #4) have a potentially phallic index finger extended (perhaps also serving as an attention-getting device, or a shushing gesture, or whatever). Two of them (#1 and #3) have parted or pursed lips.

So: potentially sexual symbolism is distributed in different ways across the four images (beyond the shared red lips and glasses rims).

Pinups (or pin-ups). Classic pinups are images of women in highly stylized poses offering their bodies for sex; see the Page on this blog about my postings on pinups, including adaptations of the genre for male models. My suggestion now is that some head shots can be viewed as similar offers. Certainly the four Ladies seem drenched in sex.

Bonus: the Canary Islands. From Wikipedia:

The Canary Islands, also known informally as the Canaries, is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean … At their closest point to the African mainland, they are 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Morocco. They are the southernmost of the autonomous communities of Spain … The archipelago is economically and politically European, and is part of the European Union.

(#2) Location of the Canary Islands relative to the Spanish mainland

… The Canary Islands, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote, are a major tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year. This is due to their beaches, tropical to subtropical climate, and important natural attractions

As I noted above, the Canaries are big gay travel destinations.

[Update, from Matt on 10/30:

I sent the rental owner a message asking where he got the prints. He said he bought them at a furniture store here in Las Palmas 2 years ago but they no longer have them there. Hopefully one of your readers will crack the case.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: