Category Archives: Men

How a Bullfighter Scarred Me for Life at 14

Hand autographed postcard from “El Cesar” I got back in 1989 in Madrid, Spain.

First of all I should tell you I lived in Spain as a child from 1977 – 1979. My dad was studying Spanish classical guitar. Both my parents speak Spanish, and my brother and I grew up speaking it while we lived there. (but a 2 and 3-year-old’s vocabulary didn’t get me far.)

I’ve told you this so you know I have a deep abiding love for most things Spanish. This postcard was hard to come by. When this postcard came into my possession, I was 14-years-old and very shy. I spoke very little Spanish, and was awkward. I was never the self-confident teen. I was the one tripping over my own arms and legs. I was a mess.

My family had returned to Spain for a 5 week vacation to visit family friends in July 1989, and we were staying in a hotel in Madrid. One evening as we were leaving to go to dinner, the hotel owner’s wife motioned for me to come to the desk. There was lots of winking, smiling, and cajoling. I didn’t understand half of what she was saying. Thankfully my parents were there to translate for me. This kind old lady pressed this postcard in my hand, and shoved me into an enormous crown of people. I had no idea what was going on. My mom told me that the old lady wanted me to have a “real” toreador’s autograph. It wouldn’t be a complete visit to Spain for me as an American without meeting one.

The lobby was crowded with locals and tourists waiting to talk to El Cesar and get his autograph. In Spain, toreadors are a bit like rock stars. They’re famous, usually good-looking, and always play to the adoring crowd. The group surrounding him was mostly women, but there were also a good number of grown men wanting to talk strategy, or get a photo taken with him. The old lady who handed me the post card kept shooing me with her hand and saying “go on, go on.”

Somehow, as the crowd pressed in around this good-looking man, I was also shoved in from behind. I don’t know if it was by the hotel owner’s wife, my mom, or the locals, but somehow I ended up right in front of El Cesar with the postcard and a simpleton’s smile.

I’m not sure what charmed him the most. My blush, my stammer in broken Spanish, or the look of complete horror in my eyes. He chucked me under the chin and said I was lovely. Ever the charming Spaniard.

When I got home, I couldn’t keep the postcard. It reminded me of how embarrassed I was asking for his autograph, so I sent it as a souvenir to my best friend. Early last month (and 23 years later) she emailed me this picture for a laugh. It dredged up lots of memories. I was embarrassed again, I also laughed and remember how good-looking Spanish men can be in tight pants, pink silk socks, and sequins.

P.S. I did see a bull-fight when I was 21-years-old and studying in Spain while in University, but it made me sick. I guess all I can say is I was young and dumb. The only thing I still enjoy about that part of Spanish culture are the costumes, and the way the men look in them.

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Bedazzling, Guilty Pleasures, and Male Virility

I have to thank Google reader for this post. I came across this article about the props needed for the new film Rock of Ages while I was reading this morning. What really caught my eye was reading the word codpiece.

So if you don’t have a chance to read the article, let me sum it up for you. There is a man who makes script specific props for Hollywood, and for the new movie Rock of Ages he was asked to make a jeweled codpiece for Tom Cruise’s character Stacee Jaxx.

 I’ve been looking for an image of the prop, and I haven’t been able to find one.

The reason this really made me stop and do a double take is that first and foremost, I am a child of the 80s. I love 80s music. I will unabashedly admit to it. It’s my guilty pleasure. Just watching the trailer made me nostalgic. Second, I’ve never paid much attention to what rockers wear in concert because I’ve never been to a rock concert. When I read that Tom’s character was wearing a codpiece, I was surprised to say the least.  (By the way, I’ve never been to a concert because I’d rather spend $100 or more dollars on shoes, a handbag, or cosmetics.)

When I hear the word codpiece, I think courtiers in the time of King Henry VIII of England. It’s not that the codpiece wasn’t around long before, but I know lots about English renaissance court fashion. I learned about this during my misspent youth following my parents around to renaissance fairs and renaissance costume workshops in my tween years. My dad has a beautifully detailed King Henry VIII costume. He also plays the renaissance lute. Back in the 80s, when my dad was in his 30s, and had a full beard, he could easily have played Henry VIII.

In all the costume workshops I went to, I learned that men (especially King Henry VIII) used the codpiece to show off their junk to the ladies. It was a sign of male virility. The larger the codpiece, the more virile the man. Of course, there came a time when it became a piece of jewelry as well. To attract more attention to the codpieces, courtiers would pin on expensive jewels. Of course, not to be out done, there is an anecdotal story of King Henry VIII saying that no one was allowed to have a larger or more bejeweled codpiece than him.

So why am I surprised to find that many male rock stars have worn codpieces? I suppose now that I think of it, I’m not. Men of prestige and riches calling attention to their supposed male virility. Why wouldn’t you strap on a bejeweled cock pocket when you have thousands of screaming fans yelling your name?

I’m trying to think if we women have an equivalent. The Million Dollar Bra? I’m not sure it’s the same. What do you think?

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My Lust List

As I was up clicking around last night on Pinterest, I happened to mention to my husband that I had this Yes Please! board, and one thing on there really reminded me of him. He put his tablet down, so he could come over and see my Pinterest board. As I brought it up, I realized that there were pins on this board of other men. Damn! Now what? I explained that everything on this board was something that that made me smile. Although  there were pictures of three men, it really wasn’t that bad since one of them was Fred Astaire.

I wasn’t showing this Pinterest board to my husband because of the men, but because of something that reminded me of him so much, I think I have to have one. It’s this bag.

Mustache Tote from Etsy.com

This and many other non-beauty and non-fashion items are on this board. They are things that make me smile. My husband loves to pun. He loves to make jokes with words. He loves it when I groan at his jokes, it’s the highest form of flattery. I know this makes him sound like a total geek. He is a bit. A super smart, well read, emotionally available, and damn good looking geek. That’s why I love him.

I was worried he wouldn’t take kindly to my pin of Adam Levine, Maroon 5‘s front man. He smiled indulgently, admired the bag, and asked who Adam was. Then I launched into who, and why, and NBC’s The Voice. My husband then surprised me when he said “You know what? I think you should blog about all the men you’ve lusted after before.” What! Really? He told me to start with all my early hollywood loves, and finish with my current crushes.

So here I go. I’m going to keep it classy, and make sure all the men are dressed. I’ve never been one for bare chested/half dressed men. Not even in my teen years. When everyone else was reading Bop magazine in 1987, I was reading Gone with the Wind. When my girlfriends had pictures of Kirk Cameron in their lockers, my room was plastered with Clark Gable. In my teen years, I was all about older men who were fashionably dressed. That’s why I grew up hooked on classic 1930 and 1940 movies.

Clark Gable - I fell in love with Clark when he played Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. I saw it for the first time when I was 5.

Cary Grant - I saw him first in His Girl Friday, and I've been hooked ever since.

Robert Mitchum - I've watched so many of his films, and I'm always mesmerized by dimple in his chin.

Christopher Plummer - I so had the hots for Pappa Von Trapp!

James Garner - I fell in love with James Garner in Move Over Darling with Doris Day. He's been a favorite ever since.

Okay, I'll admit it. I watched 21 Jump Street in the 80s. I fell in lust with Johnny Depp. Who didn't? He's still gorgeous, and such an amazing actor.

My husband called Ralph "Lord Voldemort" himself. I always think of the English Patient. I love Ralph Fiennes.

Joseph Fiennes is also a favorite of mine. Between Shakespeare in Love, and Elizabeth, I was head over heels.

Eric Bana - Everyone was talking about Brad Pitt in Troy, but I fell in love with Eric Bana. He is beautiful.

Gerard Butler - One amazing looking Scotsman. Hell yes!

And the man who started it all, Adam Levine. Lead singer of Maroon 5, Judge on NBC's The Voice, and good looking dude.

I just noticed that all of these men have dark hair. Maybe that’s why Brad Pitt never had a chance with me. That must be why my own husband is also a very good looking dark haired man. There is also enough facial scruff and mustaches in these pictures to help me understand why I love the tote bag. My own husband sports facial hair too. Funny that.

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