Decolletage for men?

August 25, 2007


My byline “Roger Bourland writes about music and life” gives me a good deal of latitude on this blog. I find that in summer, I lapse into talking about “life” a bit more.

One of the words I’m setting in my new musical with Mel Shapiro is “décolletage” which refers to a woman’s choice to reveal her cleavage. Mitchell Morris and I were walking about The Grove the other day after watching RATATOUILLE, and I said: “Mitchell, look at the cleavage all around you.” It didn’t matter how old, young, fat, skinny, pretty or homely they were, nearly all the women we saw stroll by on this lovely warm August afternoon was showing major cleavage. Even as a gay man I have to say that I find myself gawking at cleavage. I feel “busted” just as straight men are when I can’t help looking down at their handsome décolletage.

The image at the top of this post made the rounds last year. It is an image of baseball player getting ready to receive a pitch from a pitcher. On the left, using eye tracking technology, we see what men look at, and on the right, what women look at. I haven’t found the original study to reveal exactly who the study group was, but I assume these are largely straight men. And this was the surprising point in the study, that straight men check out each other’s bulges.

I’m not one of those gay men who think everyone is bisexual or that all straight men could learn to be gay. I really don’t. But why do they look at each other’s packages?

This leads me to my biggest gripe. Why are American males so damn embarassed to show a bulge in their pants, or décolletage for men? I don’t buy the “grower not a shower” excuse. It is our culture who has decided that men should never show a bulge. I look forward to an era where showing your bulge becomes normal and fashionable, just as much as the décolletage we see everywhere in women. We fail to remember that barely 100 years ago, women didn’t dare show their legs much less the upper third of their breasts.

Yes, we’ve come a long way baby. But not with men’s penises. And in straight porno, why is that it’s ok to see every square inch of a naked woman, but DON’T show a man with an erection. (I guess that’s where straight men draw the line in the TMI category.)

I’m hoping penis liberation will be an issue in the 21st century, and that it ultimately will be no big deal.

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