Muscle Shoals

Reminisce: photo by Ben Hoke

Actually, it’s neither Muscle Shoals nor Muscle Beach, but rather like Muscle Valley, as these tots flex their biceps in a ridge overlooking California’s Antelope Valley in 1962. With perseverance, they might have tanks like Popeye.

Yes, It IS Hot Enough For Me

Arbutus 1943

In sweltering heat, this poor college boy made use of a fan and handkerchief, since the dorm in which he resided lacked conditioned air.

And while we’re discussing undershirts and hot stuff, let me just post this.

Deeee-lish. Yes, please.

And while we’re on the subject of mustaches, how about this shot of Sam Elliot wearing a dandy yellow, rainbowwinged wifebeater?

Beefcake. It’s what’s for dinner.

And maybe a box of chocolates. ūüôā


Why Paint The Town Red When You Can Paint Your Home Pink?

Even more cliche than those drugstore Father’s Day cards referencing golf and ale consumption and handyman tools, are the ones that show Dad taking a paint roller to his bird’s egg blue brick house and painting it Pepto-Bismol pink.

LIFE 1967

Okay, so he’s actually painting a pink house blue. That makes more sense. Perhaps Mom just painted it pink a month ago for Mother’s Day, and now it’s HIS day and his color. He gets eleven months of blue, but she only gets four weeks of pink. That’s not fair.

But, really, what’s wrong with the pink? Pink houses were so coveted in the 80s, in fact, that John Cougar Mellencamp even wrote a song about it.

Here he is in the video, excitedly pumping up the cheerleader and sweat-domed, sleeveless buddy whom he had recruited to paint the basic white clapboard house behind him. All hail pink houses! And really, ain’t that America, for you and me?

The ad continues with way more paragraphs than necessary, as was the way back in the day, when people weren’t reading posts on phones and had plenty of time to sit and read a short-story-length ad on paint.

And what mid-century dad didn’t appreciate a can of SPRED Glide-On, not to be confused with Astroglide? Glidden also made a latex wall paint called SPRED Satin, for even fancier fathers.

So maybe Dad didn’t want a pink house for good reason. What do you think? A palace fit for a king? Not even for a vacation house? Sometimes less is more.

Miami Vice-Basilius

1971 U.T. Omega Psi Phi

Again–I did not pledge, so I cannot fully comprehend Greek life. All I can do is¬†surmise that McBride and the Ride here bought dress shoes in bulk, with good arch support, in order to perform these complex yoga moves. This picture is 43 years old, so I doubt they can work their lumbar region like that these days, but stranger things have happened.

I like how Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike left enough personal¬†space¬†between groins to still seem tough and masculine. As far as personal preference, I’ll have to say Bertram has the nicest smile (Berri just seems angry or confused), and John Taylor (one of the long-lost Duran Duran Taylor boys) seems to smugly be bringing up the caboose (happy to have no one behind him). All in all, a nice portrait of unity, representing the four stated goals of the fraternity: manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Uplift?

Buckles Of Swash

In a recent conversation with fellow blogger, Benson, we discussed actor Errol Flynn, who often played daring and dauntless characters, ripe with resourcefulness, chivalry, and swordfighting skills. He is remembered as the consummate swashbuckler. A biography of Flynn is even titled Portrait of a Swashbuckler.

The fearless and fabulous Flynn in 1940's "The Sea Hawk"
The fearless and fabulous Flynn in 1940’s “The Sea Hawk”

Not to be outdone, the biography series of Douglas Fairbanks, The Great Swashbuckler, features scenes of him in iconic swashbuckling roles such as The Three Musketeers. Watch him get his swashbuckle on.

I fear the term is going by the wayside, and this has to stop. Per wikipedia, the word swashbuckler generally describes a protagonist who is heroic and idealistic to the bone and who rescues damsels in distress. His opponent is typically characterized as the dastardly villain.

I have never gone in for romance novels, was never tempted by colorful covers of longhaired Fabios and heaving bosoms¬†beneath¬†torn bodices. But it’s not hard to understand why a woman would enjoy fantasizing¬†about an honorable, courageous hero, eager to defeat evil as well as capture her body heart.

I did, however,¬†see The Adventures of¬†Robin Hood¬†and¬†The Princess Bride, the latter in my formative years, which left a generation of adolescent girls seeking their own Farm Boy-turned-dueling Dread Pirate Roberts, who would say, “As you wish” to their every desire. What lady wouldn’t want that?

One need not read to deeply into it to determine the suggestiveness of a hero who is good with his sword. And I do believe Robin Hood is quoted as saying, “Rise and rise again.”

So are there any modern day swashbucklers? Captain Jack Sparrow in the recent Pirates of the Carribbean franchise with his pirate swaggah, could pass for a swashbuckler. One might even argue that Indiana Jones played a cocky swashbuckler, engaging in daring and romantic adventures, although he lacked the ostentatious bravado. And the mustache. 

In any event, the swashbuckling archetype, driven nearly into extinction after its overexposure in movies and mid-century TV shows, is due for re-entry.




Girls Don’t Make Passes At Boys Who Crochet Doilies


Years ago, when I was single and determined not to repeat the sins of the past, I made a list of what I wanted in the next (and final) man. I have misplaced said list, but I recall that one was that he did not drive a Miata (apparently there were Miatas in spades at the time, and ain’t nobody got time to rebuild the confidence of a man who’s overcompensating), that he did not smoke (I was tired of doing laundry that smelled like a bar), and that he could change his own oil (preferably in his truck). He also could not be vegan nor vegetarian, and he would have to be quick on the draw if Enya popped up on the radio, because Heaven knows I hate me some Enya. Change that station pronto! Apparently I’m not the only one.


But nowhere on that list did it require that he be a skilled yarnswoman or masterquilter or whatever you call one who sews things (other than Chinese minors in factories). When I did finally begin dating my now-husband, he met about 90% of that list. So I took him. Only after we were married, did I realize that a deer-hunting, guitar-playing, camo-clad Texas boy could also operate the pedal of a sewing machine. And when our son inevitably ripped buttons off his clothes or tore his jeans, my husband could fix it. Like Rosey Freaking Grier.

roseygOkay, he wasn’t hunched over with a needle and thread on a shag carpet next to a gold couch, doing a self-portrait, but you get my point. On the seesaw of gender identity, the seesaw weighed heavily on the masculine. But he could still fix my hem of my Ally McBeal power suit if need be, so I could get back to my fluorescent-lit office job, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan. Yep, that’s me in my Enjoli.

But don’t go thinking we ladies all want sensitive men. We don’t. You can use tools, but you don’t have to be one. Mostly we just want to talk. Sit next to us and listen while we TALK TALK TALK incessantly about whatever is on our minds. Just nod and “hmmm” periodically and let us use up our daily word count, which is approximately 13,000 more words than yours. Case in point:


Sitting Pretty

Hey, Einstein, why are you wearing ladies’ sandals? ¬†It’s the theory of RELATIVITY, not femininity.

And what about Marion Morrison, the butchest guy of all time? ¬†The virtual paragon of manhood? ¬†What is this get-up?¬† No, I won’t mess with The Duke. ¬†After all, he said, “I don’t have to assert my virility. I think my career has shown that I’m not exactly a pantywaist.”

Okay, you two, you can keep your man cards.  But it takes a REAL man to sit patiently through this.

I hope he had a steady hand…

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