Sunday, October 16, 2005


I usually buy Details, a men's fashion magazine, just to look at the pretty pictures. Why yes, as it happens, I am that shallow. I blame Armani. They refuse to hire me as a show/stage tailor for their men's suit collection (#2 on my dream job list, right after Godiva Factory Quality Control Manager.)

Along with the bevy of drop-dead gorgeous male models in the October 05 issue of Details, there's also an interesting article in it by Jeff Gordinier. The unfortunate, Freudian-slip title of the piece is The Pussification of the American Man (begins on page 97) but don't let that turn you off. Even if the author is yahooing over the extinction of the alpha male (and, quite possibly, the Y chromosome) it's short and sharply written, and destined to be included in someone's alt-lit antho. I can even see the title: Check Your Package at the Door, Please. Running across the bottom of the article's pages is a timeline by Anna-Kaisa Walker with 95 new defining moments in masculinity that offers some parallel pop culture landmarks. Keep drinking that Perrier, Jeff.

Another small marvel (no pun intended) is Bart Blasengame's article on page 160 about penis size, Sticking Up for the Little Guy -- Bigger Doesn't Mean Better. He tries to combat a common stereotype with, what else, another stereotype. Big girls are always being told to move to Europe, where our zaftig dimensions are appreciated, right? Well, if you're hung like a Christmas light, Bart implies you should move to Asia, because that's all the little Asian women can handle -- which betrays how much Bart knows about Asians and women in general.

Appalling but amusing stuff. I may actually have to start reading this rag.


  1. Anonymous4:32 AM

    That title isn't a Freudian slip, either in the popular or technical sense.

  2. Anonymous5:21 AM

    Oh, yeah, that's why you always see these 4' tall Asian chicks with 6'8" tall guys. Can we extrapolate as to who is hung like a Christmas light???

  3. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Anonymous wrote: That title isn't a Freudian slip, either in the popular or technical sense.

    It might help to read the article. The author is supposedly defending modern men's rights to be more feminine, something he claims is valuable and desirable, but uses a slang female anatomical term as a derogatory label for men (he also does this in the text of the article as well.) The unconscious hostility toward women doesn't help his case.

  4. Big Caveat: I haven't read the article. I did a quick bit of googling, but I can't find even an excerpt online.

    That said: I don't think that the fact that the author uses 'pussy' in the way that he does means that he's hostile to women.

    Calling a man a 'pussy' isn't an insult because women aren't as good as men, it is an insult because women are different from men. In my experience, it is used when one man wants to point out countermasculine behavior. That doesn't mean it isn't crude, of course; it is. But it is a street-level use of synecdoche, that of letting the part stand for the whole. We all do it: we talk about 'Hollywood', letting it stand for the entire entertainment industry, and we call men 'dicks' in assorted ways.

    What 'pussy' refers to, in this context, is the state of being feminine, not the state of being an actual vagina. I don't think that, given the subject of the article, that using 'pussy' and 'pussification' in this way means that the author is hostile to women. Also, I gather (if I gather correctly) that the article is generally approving of the feminization of the [North] American male, and if this is true, the use of 'pussy' is justifiable because it is both good copywriting and hiply ironic.

    Having said all that, I must return to the Big Caveat: I haven't read the article. I'm just going on the assumption implicit in Freudian slip.

  5. I never would have considered you to be shallow until you applied that tag to yourself. I simply presumed you read the magazine for research.

    And I'm tired of the "bigger is always better" presumption. I haven't had a lot of experience in this area--nor do I intend to widen the circle of experience, but what little I have had lends itself to the "smaller is better" school of thought. Of course, you mileage may vary. I believe it's an intensely personal preference, rendered less important by the quality of the person one is with instead of his physical attributes. Of course, for the immediate, short-term only implementation...

  6. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Bigger is better is a myth in my book. Although I don't have a lot of comparisons to make, I generally find it is what is attached to the bigger or smaller that rocks me... the whole package, so to speak :) I would hate to see some smaller great guy move out of the country just because he thinks he'll be better appreciated somewhere else!
    As for "pussification", I like alpha men, always have and always will. I wonder what positive rights of passage our young men have today that their sisters don't. I don't have children, but I do have neices and a nephew, and as they approach adulthood, I really haven't seen anything that is just his. I know there is more to adulthood than rights of passage, but is that a symptom?

  7. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Lovely topic. It's nice to see you discussing dicks. Women are far to reticient in covering their often burning interest in the topic.

    What's attached to it is highly important, sure, in addition to how it's handled.

    But when he asks, "What do you want?" during intimate activity, and you're dying to answer, "A big dick," the relationship may be headed toward rocky roads.

    It simply goes to personal preferences and what physical standards for your mate you choose to maintain.

    You know men have them for us by the boatload--no fat chicks, no flat chicks, no ugly chicks--so what's wrong with us taking a stand for no pinkie dick?

    But a smaller-dicked guy has no reason to leave the country. Why not work on oral skills and overall charm for those ladies who deem those qualities more important, and take comfort in the fact that sometimes the bigger ones hurt, and average is usually just fine.

  8. In this case, Goldilocks was on to something - 'medium' is usually the right size. ;-)

    bye the by, I 'read' GQ for all the same reasons you read Details....

  9. Anonymous5:29 PM

    I always thought it was

    Volume X Staying Power


  10. I'm reminded of Kurt Vonnegut's comment on his penis in Breakfast of Champions -- what was it, one inch long, five and a half inches wide?

  11. Anonymous3:00 AM

    PBW said: "It might help to read the article."

    I understand.

    It's still not a Freudian slip.


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