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Andrew Sullivan points out that the tan/muscle/visible boxer-briefs band vibe popularized by Jersey Shore is pretty much a wholesale adoption of “the steroid look perfected by gays in the early 2000s.” It wouldn’t be the first time that gay fashion had its delayed revenge on straight style. What strikes me most is how self-obsessed, how self-referential, and how self-objectifying it all is. Or really, self-alienating — a guy’s abs take on this semi-independent, alien character usually reserved only for that part of the male anatomy often accused of doing its thinking for itself.
When Andrew and others predict ‘the end of gay culture’ in a big sea of bourgeois normalcy, I look at something like this strange development and I think, hmm, perhaps that’s not exactly it. We have this persistent desire to be able to oscillate back and forth between the comfortable, predictable, everyday world and the crazy planet or wild side. I doubt that’s going away. And I do think that the looser our sexual mores get, the more dramatic that oscillation is likely to become.Published in