The ultimate party jockstrap

(The title should warn you about what’s coming. There will be talk — in generally decorous language, but still — about men’s bodies as objects of sexual desire and about man-on-man sex, so not recommended for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday’s Daily Jocks e-mail sale ad:

ad copy:

The ultimate party jockstrap from Vaux! Crafted exclusively from breathable, lightweight athletic nylon/spandex material, Vaux Playa Jockstrap is guaranteed to keep you cool and looking sexy af ūüėą.

Now, these images are designed to focus the viewer’s gaze on the visual center of the image, the model’s amply filled jockstrap (embracing the object of the intended viewer’s sexual desire but also what’s on sale here) and then, inevitably, the model’s handsome face, because people are strongly face-oriented. Then you appreciate the model’s beautifully developed body and notice the angling of his body in what is in fact a conventional beefcake pose. Buy my clothes and you can become me, or at least fantasize about doing me.

I’ll go on to analyze how the ad drips with gay sex, but after I appreciated the promise of the model’s dick and balls in that jockstrap and the warmth of his gaze — I am, after all, a big ol’ fag, a gay man with a high sex drive and an inventive and diverse fantasy sex life — I just delighted in the beauty of the clothes, which made me smile with pleasure. Every man should wear such beautiful things. Not necessarily in a jockstrap, or of course in what looks like a shredded crop top (though those would be admirably functional as gay partywear — more on this below), but in briefs, swimsuits, shirts of all kinds, and shorts.

Now on to the sociocultural analysis …

The ad, in brief. This is a¬†heavily coded piece of ad writing, dripping with gay sex, with an extra dose of Black male sexiness from the really fine Black model in the ad (powerful Black men are conventional objects of gay male desire) and the choice of the marketing name Playa (the AAVE pronunciation of the sexual noun player) for the jockstrap line. And then locating the clothes as designed to be worn at a party — meaning a gay party, which is a very culture-specific event, not merely a party (‘a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment” (NOAD)) at which the guests are lgbt-folk and their friends. (In days long past, Jacques and I fairly often hosted low-key versions of gay parties, in this sense, at our house. But gay parties are a totally different thing; in days even longer past, I sometimes danced at gay parties in this sense, even picked up a boyfriend there once. In any case, it’s a world familiar to me.)

playa. From NOAD:

noun player: 1 … [c] (also¬†playa)¬†informal¬†a confident, successful man with many sexual partners:¬†she knows Harry is something of a player¬†|¬†she’s so wary of playas, she’s declared herself celibate.

The variant playa is the AAVE (non-rhotic) pronunciation, so it picks up the aura of Black male sexiness, without pretending to be a pronunciation in AAVE. Anyone can use this variant for its sexual flavoring (even if they don’t appreciate its ultimate source); it’s now just a connotatively tinged variant.

party in the ad¬†refers specifically to gay parties. From the¬†Do the Bay site “The Bay’s Best Gay Parties”:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that gay men take partying very seriously. For starters, we take longer getting ready than it took to get the¬†Queer Eye¬†reboot. Not only that, getting us out of the house in a timely manner is no small feat. By the time we do roll out, it’s late and the entire squad can find themselves ready to settle on some bland party. Well, we can’t have that any longer. That’s why we made a year-round party guide – in and well beyond the Castro. Pass us a drink, pump up the volume,¬†and dance your way through our guide to the best gay parties around.

These are dance events (in clubs, bars, and nightclubs), in which men display themselves sexually for other men (there are special-focus venues, for Latins (men and music), bears, Asians, twinks, and more). Most clubs don’t allow actual sex acts on the premises, but some have backrooms expressly for this purpose.



4 Responses to “The ultimate party jockstrap”

  1. Ellen Kaisse Says:

    I appreciated the explication of playa, which I had immediately read as ‚Äėbeach‚Äô in Spanish. Not entirely inappropriate for what he‚Äôs wearing, but the real meaning makes a lot more sense!

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I had a brief moment of exactly the same misreading. I haven’t checked to see if the jockstrap pattern is available in a swimsuit, but I hope it is. And then Playa could have a double meaning.

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    Jane Austen cannot possibly have imagined the extent to which the first six words of Pride and Prejudice would end up permeating our discourse.

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