Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fifty Shades of Creepy

“You start to get creepy when you get to be a certain age.” So sayeth Whoopi Goldberg on The View the week after the release of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. The show that day had male guest host Ryan Paevey who had tried out for the role of Christian Grey. He didn’t get the part, despite an admirable physique, as evidenced in a blown up ad where he modeled underwear. The waistband read “Girls On Top.” The younger hosts offered appreciative comments on his physique.

Whoopi chose to avoid any cougar-like observations, saying she always pictures a younger man holding a baby rattle. Instead, she wanted to know where she could find underwear with that message on it. This was followed by her “You start to get creepy” pronouncement. I have to agree with her. The TV ads and news items that landed on my scratch paper this week all add up to Fifty Shades of Creepy. More on that in a moment.

Like Whoopi, I don’t indulge in fantasies about younger men. But then, I’ve generally been attracted to older men for whom I might have been the younger fantasy. Or not. My husband is eleven-plus years older than I am, and he’s closer to my age by six years than the man I co-owned a house with before him. But like Whoopi, I’m getting creepier in other ways.

I read all three volumes in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. (Gifts from a friend, I swear.) The first was the trashiest, and as poorly written as reviewers claimed. The second one actually spent time on character development and toned down the BDSM. Author E. L. James clearly ran out of petrol by the time she penned the third one. I slogged through it only to find that things ended like a fairy tale, far removed from the original premise (and promise). I have absolutely no desire to see the movie.

While I don’t lust after younger men, I do appreciate a fine example of maleness in its prime. By prime, I mean anything from mid-twenties to late-eighties. That age-spread alone should elevate me on the creepy meter. Unfortunately, there aren’t many fine late-prime specimens paraded in the media. That leaves me enjoying the early-prime ones.

Take for example #HotDudesReading. It’s a collection of photos taken by a group of women who set up an Instagram account. The men are all reading books or newspapers during their subway rides, seemingly oblivious to the women admiring them. The project is supposed to emphasize that smart men can be sexy. It also appears to say that smart, sexy men are frequently hirsute.

Dudes reading led to a hunk dancing. I watched the BuzzFeed video of Ukrainian ballet star, Sergei Polunin, soloing to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” My friend Vicki brought this clip to my attention. She and I regularly attended the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet in the 1970’s when we both worked in Manhattan. Sergei’s performance brought back fond memories of us swooning over Mikhail Baryshnikov’s fabulous buns. It also explains why Putin wants to reclaim the Ukraine for Russia.

As you can see, creepiness is in the eye of the beholder. It can also be its own reward. Sigh. By the way, Misha is only two years and change younger than I am, so I can still lust after him without feeling creepy.

Returning now to the underwear theme that began this post. After The View aired, I Googled Ryan Paevey. Apparently he’s not just an actor on General Hospital, but also a model—mostly of underwear, it seems. In addition to the “Girls-On-Top” option, the Internet also has shots of him in pairs with “Get A Grip” and “I Want Out” on the waistband. (These appear to be ads for Schultz Jeans, for my fellow-creeps who want to see more.)

Finally, we have a hysterical commercial for Duluth Trading’s Buck Naked Underwear. A rather paunchy cartoon male in “regular” underwear has his private parts in a vice grip and a crank on his behind. He turns the crank, making his undies all the more uncomfortable. (Any of you ladies out there thinking “mammogram”?) Then he tries a pair of Buck Naked underwear and begins dancing with joy to banjo music. A black rectangle obscures his privates. The tag line is “No Pinch. No Stink. No Sweat.”

I confess. I’m more mesmerized by the Buck Naked commercial than I am by HotDudesReading or Ryan what’s-his-name in the Schultz ads. Just color my shade of creepy humorous.

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