Oh, dem rainbow bones

(underwear, swimwear, plus references to men’s raunchy bits and one (edited, but decidedly hot) image of gay male pronging — so not for kids or the sexually modest)

The day started with some Elia beachwear in gayboy-themed patterns, in my posting “Hey, buddy, we’ve been waiting for you!” While I was posting that, among the swarm of swimwear and underwear ads that infest my Facebook page came a deeply goofy ad for Skull and Bones underwear (and related apparel), set in a subway car:

(#1) Not your usual premium underwear ad: floral designs for such underwear have become common, but this one is based on Dutch masters; potently sexy ads are all over the place, but this one is framed instead as a kid just horsing around — still it manages to be sweetly sexy (don’t you want to nuzzle that adorable belly?); and, yes, check out the subway car cards

As it happens, flagrant man-on-man sex in a moving subway car is a subgenre of gay porn, one I find strangely moving, so the ad came with an extra resonance for me. (Example soon to come.)

The ad took me to the S&B website, where I was greeted with this banner display for the company’s swimwear line:

(#2) Whoa! Pride Rainbow on the right; yes, it turns out they have a whole Pride collection, with hipwear of several types — swimwear, underwear, and gymwear (well, jock straps)

From this collection, two items of underwear:

(#3) The Pride check [that is, checked] brief

(#4) The Bear Pride trunk (worn by a model who’s obviously no bear, though he could be playing a bear-lover)

Digression on hipwear. A useful term for items of apparel worn on the hips, embracing and enclosing — often showcasing as well — the two foci of gay male desire, the penis in front and the anus in back.

Digression on the hipbones. The hipbones are the cradle for these prizes — the rainbow bones par excellence — and also the mediation between the lower body and the upper body. The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the backbone, as the song goes.

From Wikipedia:

“Dem Bones” (also called “Dry Bones” and “Dem Dry Bones”) is a spiritual song. The melody was composed by author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) and his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson. It was first recorded by The Famous Myers Jubilee Singers in 1928. Both a long and a shortened version of the song are widely known. The lyrics are inspired by Ezekiel 37:1–14, where the prophet Ezekiel visits the Valley of Dry Bones and prophesies that they will one day be resurrected at God’s command, picturing the realization of the New Jerusalem.

Oh, dem rainbow bones! Hear the word of the Lord.

Digression on Jeff Quinn taking it between the rainbow bones from Jim Pulver. In a fictive NYC subway car (cf. #1). In the stunningly hot scene 5 from Inch by Inch (Falcon, 1986):

(#5) Standing doggy, sort of; the scene is a memorable hard fuck, but (in my opinion) more memorable for Quinn’s facial expressions throughout the fuck (screen capture from the flick, not a posed shot)

Will these digressions never end? Yes. We get back to S&B with this 2017 ad shot featuring Dutch-master floral hipwear, in NYC, but not the subway:

(#6) A two-man drama; write your own script

Well, yes, it’s funny. Funny-hot, like #1. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that S&B also has a line of really very pretty lace hipwear for men, in several pastel colors. Plus a more traditional line of leather gear, high macho. And remember the Pride line. From all of this, you would conclude that the company is run by some extremely gay-friendly people with good taste and a wicked sense of playful humor.

So you turn to the About Us section of the website and its amazing ad copy (all in lower-case). Which starts out as a garden-variety hymn to quality and adult masculinity, of the sort that premium men’s underwear lines churn out routinely. But at the point I have underlined, it bursts into a riff on self-mocking masculinity (and I burst into laughter); the bold face at the end is in the original text:

skull & bones mission is to give men more than just a flashy selection of undergarments and basics. we wanted to create a line that focused on beautiful prints, would treat each individual pair as a work of art, and would maintain the luxurious quality that men have come to expect. … tying luxury and excitement together for adult men.

… the creation of the skull & bones logo was easy. we wanted a symbol that represented a revolt against underwear conventionality and instead conveyed attitude and masculinity.

something that would remind men of their mortality, to forget fear, and to live life. something to illustrate the courage to go out every day and to take what you want while you can. something that would make you smirk at the office when you thought about the bold pattern right underneath your gray suit. something from the history of New York City — where our idea was born.

so we chose the skull & crossbones because of its past use in military flags and insignia to illustrate courage and ferocity, and because, in 1829, new york state began to use the symbol to warn the world that something was dangerous.

In november of 2015, the skull and crossbones started its next movement in history — as the logo for skull & bones. a symbol designed for the perfect fucking gentleman.

There is a genuine message here, and it’s wonderful:

It’s All Fucking Masculine.

Beautifully crafted pastel pink panties are masculine. Totally smooth bodies, armpits shaved, are masculine. Hairy bodies in thick leather harnesses are masculine. Artiness and good taste are masculine. Scholarliness is masculine. Screaming eagle tattoos are masculine. Twinks are masculine. Impudent goofing around in public is masculine. Being unserious and playful is masculine. Good manners are masculine. Moose-knuckles and unremarkable crotches are both masculine (see the guys in #6). Proclaiming your queerness via your rainbow swimming trunks is masculine. Being secretly gay is masculine. Whatever.

Yes, it tips towards conventional male boldness, action, and dominance. But I think we can read this manifesto as celebrating the perfect fucking gentleman, but also extending a welcome to the perfect fucked gentleman, not to mention those who might be seen as dangerous because they subvert normative masculinity.


3 Responses to “Oh, dem rainbow bones”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    flagrant man-on-man sex in a moving subway car is a subgenre of gay porn, one I find strangely moving

    I see what you did there.

    I have a slightly hazy memory of a post somewhere (probably soc.motss newsgroup) in which a mutual friend of ours recounted such an encounter.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    I have the same hazy (and juicy) memory, but with no more details than you have. You and I are old, Father Robert…

    • Robert Coren Says:

      On reflection I realized that this event must have taken place between 2008 and 2015, which means probably LiveJournal rather than soc.motss.

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