Homosexualist text and subtext in “men’s” magazines


Details, October 2003

2003.10.04 – My reading of the pink-coloured entrails of Details (“for men”), in a quest for gay references and invert symbolism in this, the “hippest” of “men’s magazines,” the one specifically created for “all” men, hereby continues.

October 2003 issue:

Cover boy

You can’t butch up Justin Timberlake no matter how hard you try. Sleaze him up (or down), yes. Street him up. Trash ’im up. But not butch.

Still, stylist Joe Zee (outside the United States, Zed), who moonlights for Gap adverts and is the only Asian-American anywhere within a hundred miles of this issue, tarts Justin up in a laughably-prepackaged Harley T-shirt. Dowagers with botox injections and Morticia-black dye jobs wear Harley T-shirts to their Pilates classes.

Or was this an unwitting homage to a lost decade, rather as Limbertake has done himself by portraying Elton John in an Elton John video?

J.T. has a lot going for him, including a channelling of sexiness and mutable male sex appeal that even he does not understand. I mean, check the Aréna Hommes Plus photo spread.

One demerit point for opportunity squandered. (Further half-point deducted for the magazine’s obliviousness to the superbly photogenic, apparently ambisexualist Dave Matthews, whose signature lips are ill-presented in a feature “article.”)

Next time, fag it up a bit more. Oh, but we’ll run across that word shortly.

Bare chests in this issue

Must be open to the waist to be enumerated.

Laughing with or laughing at?

Insider ribaldry or high-gloss bashing? You make the call.

Covert homoeroticism

If you want to talk about gay sex, just frigging do it. I’m too old for flashbacks of reading the sublimated queerness of my brothers’ Penthouse and Playboy Letters columns.


Rufus Wainwright’s album Want is mini-reviewed on page 76, reinforcing his complaint that only the straight press covers him.