A follow-up to yesterday’s posting about men in harnesses, which added shoulder / holster harnesses and Y harnesses to cross / X harnesses and bulldog harnesses: mail from a Facebook friend with a photo of two boyfriends in rope harnesses:
Archive for the ‘Language of clothing’ Category
(Except for the names of bdsm gear and the slang term gimp, this is mostly about sexual practices.)
My posting of December 20th had a section on gay men with a preference for Arab partners that had a piece on Cuban-American gay pornstar Damien Crosse, including a hot picture of Crosse wearing a type of harness I wasn’t familiar with:
Those two straps clearly go under his armits to get connected in the back and then go over his shoulders. It turns out that such a harness (a piece of fetishwear, for sexual display of the body or for restraint) is known as a shoulder harness, or, because of its resemblance to devices for holstering pistols, a holster harness. I’ve had a lot of trouble finding a holster harness that has buckles for adjustment in the back (rather than the one on Crosse, with buckles in the front, where the wearer can easily adjust the buckles himself) being worn by a real human being, but I did find a version on a manikin.
Then on to yet another type of harness, the Y harness, and to some other types of fetishwear, in particular chaps and the bondage suit or gimp suit.
Today’s name that just popped into my head, for no reason I could think of. From NOAD2:
penumbra the partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object. [also figurative uses] ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: modern Latin, from Latin paene ‘almost’ + umbra ‘shadow’ [OED3 (Sept. 2005): Johannes Kepler Ad Vitellionem Paralipomena (1604)]
I think it’s wonderful that this was devised by Kepler as a technical term in astronomy. As a technical term in English it comes paired with umbra:
the fully shaded inner region of a shadow cast by an opaque object, especially the area on the earth or moon experiencing the total phase of an eclipse. (NOAD2)
A diagram illustrating both terms, without the complexities of eclipses:
Two parts to the word penumbra, pen(e)- and umbra, each putting the word into relationships with a cluster of other words in English.
Passed on to me through several Facebook pages, this vintage clothing ad from the PlaidStallions.com site (providing pages from 70s catalogs; the catalog this one came from is not identified):
These are knit trousers — bell-bottoms in fact — with fancy bottoms, where bottom is intended to refer to
(1) ‘the lowest point or part’ of something (NOAD2), in this case, the lowest part of the trousers
Entertainingly, there are three other possible senses here: one given by NOAD2 —
(2) informal ‘buttocks’
— and two not: a sexual sense (opposed to top), denoting
(3) someone who takes the receptive role in anal intercourse (or, by extension, someone who takes the receptive or submissive role in other sexual acts)
and a sense from the clothing trade, denoting
(4) a garment worn on the lower half of the body (vs. a top, a garment worn on the top half of the body)
So fancy bottoms could refer to fancy asses / butts (a number of Facebook readers were enchanted with the idea); or to sexual bottoms who are fancy, in one or another sense of fancy; or to garments for wear on the lower half of the body that are fancy (say, by being made of cloth printed with a fancy pattern, or by having extra features of one sort or another.
There is some discussion of the sexual senses, in a gay context, in postings linked to from this blog on 6/3/13. And of the clothing-trade sense in four postings on this blog:
7/11/11: “Active bottoms” (link), with both bottom and active in clothing-trade senses (active ‘for (vigorous) activities’, as in active wear vs. leisure wear)
1013/11: “More bottoms” (link), with Big and Tall Bottoms
3/29/13: “Colored bottoms” (link)
10/29/13: “More bottoms and tops” (link), with buy a bottom, get a top
These sightings are entertaining because of the potential ambiguity between the clothing-trade and the sexual senses. (Ok, itr’s cheap entertainment.)
There is yet a fifth sense that bottoms might have picked up, but apparently hasn’t — as a truncation of bell-bottoms, in which case fancy bottoms could refer to fancy bell-bottomed trousers (fancy all over, not just fancy at the bottom). Such garments certainly exist; here’s a striking number from a Burning Man:
But it seems that among the alternatives to bell-bottoms — flares, boot-cut or boot-fit trousers, even the occasional truncation to bells — we do not find bottoms.
(The male body, man-man sex, and roles in sex. You have been warned.)
Yesterday’s Daily Jocks ad brings us some commanding presences:
Dominic in Dugout briefs
Mester in an Alpha harness
Dominic’s in control, and he
Knows what he wants you to
Do; submit to him. Or you can
Serve his brother
Mester; they’re both ready to
We’re in the CellBlock 13 world of high masculinity, doms and subs, masters and slaves, and sexual fetishes.
It started with Lauren Hall-Lew (an American in Edinburgh) reporting on her daughter’s query about BrE and AmE on head band. Commenters brought in hair band, hair bobble, and scrunchie, and I mentioned sweatbands for sports use, which come as wrist bands and head bands.
I was eventually led to websites selling not just sweatbands, but rainbow sweatbands, and that led me to some more rainbow sportswear, in particular tube socks. So it turned into a gay rainbow day. (There’s a firm called, wonderfully, Pride Socks.)
Back on the 10th, I posted on a beautifully muscled and athletic male ballet dancer (and his dance belt). Now some follow-ups, starting with a couple of photos from Mike McKinley (balletomane and former Trock) — another ballet dancer, one with extraordinary musculature, and a male pas de deux (as a bonus, naked) — which led to Matthew Bourne and his paired male dancers.
It seems to be Verbing Day; maybe it has to do with the vernal equinox, which was yesterday. Earlier: to glowstick. And now: to Birkenstock, in a 3/23 New Yorker piece by Rebecca Mead, “Sole Cycle: The homely Birkenstock gets a fashion makeover”, about sandals. Shearling-lined Birkenstocks:
From p. 48 of the piece:
[David Kahan, who runs Birkenstock’s American division] explained that the boots and shoes arriving in stores this fall would still be recognizable as Birkenstocks but would capitalize on other trends in the marketplace. “I use ‘Birkenstock’ as a verb,” he said. “We did a sneaker bottom for spring — sneakers are a hot trend in the market, so we Birkenstocked it. We Birkenstocked Doc Martens; we Birkenstocked a motorcycle boot.” There was even a Birkenstocked Ugg: a fur-lined bootie with a ridged sneaker bottom and two sandal-like leather straps across the foot.