MIDWAY: Blokes’ beauty
Women comment on each other’s appearance all the time — so why can’t men do the same? Have you seen Keira Knightley in The Duchess? What about Daniel Day-Lewisin There Will Be Blood? Do you agree that one is beautiful and the other pretty? I’m not talking about the beauty that emanates from a person’s soul. No, I’m being strictly superficial. Day-Lewis has a beautiful face and a wonderful figure. Knightley has a pretty face and a size-below-zero figure. You can’t even call it boyish. It’s boyish-ish.
Must I, at this point, declare my sexuality, so we all know where we are and exactly what I want to do to Daniel? There’s no need. If I mention the beauty of another man, it’s obvious - I must be gay. OK, I’m a husband and father, but when did that tell you anything? Why would I go to such lengths to prove I’m straight unless I were a gay man in denial? I must be gay because male beauty isn’t openly celebrated in our society by men, unless they are gay.
All I want is equality with women. When women write about female beauty, their sexuality is never in question. It’s open season for all women — gay, straight, old, young, gorgeous, ugly, bitter — to bang on about each other’s hair, lips, eyes, cheeks, neck, breasts, stomach, legs, thighs, feet, nails, clothes and make-up. They do it publicly and behind each other’s backs. Women are fearless. Men are silent. In my experience, men never talk about each other’s appearance, either behind each other’s backs or face to face and testicles to testicles. It’s as if the male body is invisible to other males whereas, in fact, most male bodies get more visible by the year, as the belly oozes over the belt like a suet pudding boiling over a saucepan
Let me walk among the middle-aged spreaders, in which a hundred blokes, all in black Levi’s and white T-shirts, pointlessly swap clothes and are told that their bellies look “awesome”. Male obesity might shrink to nothing if men showed that degree of bodily kinship with their fellow men. Bring on the male supermodels, to whose condition we can all aspire: Kurt Moss, Claud Schiffer, Angus Deyn, Tel Macpherson, Norm E Campbell, Len Da-Evangelista. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a jog.