The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys
The main problem with this photo book is that the editor appears to have foolishly abided by a Draconian ‘equal opportunities’ scheme in her selection process, inevitably resulting in a heavy compromise on the ‘gorgeous’ criterion. The evidence of this can clearly be seen by the quality of images: most of the men look weird and quite how they managed to make an appearance in this collection of Gorgeous Guys is puzzling. This is a shame.
If this were truly to be The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys then all notions of ‘political correctness’, ‘variety’ and ‘art’ would need to be blown out of the water. I don’t want a close-up of male genitalia, pubes festooned with sickly purple flowers, leading my squeaming1 eye down to a pale, flaccid phallus which flops to the right, only to reveal a most uncalled-for glimpse of the gooch. Nor do I want to be confronted, nay accosted, by the monstrosity of a man who has metal spikes sticking out of his head and enough facial piercings to match. I want a constant stream of chiseled jaws, six-packs, beautiful biceps, big penises and firm butts.
I know that I may come across like a close-minded, female chauvinist pig, but I am defiantly sticking by my views. I will not put up with the nauseating feeling that seeps through my being, triggered by the unwelcome image of a fuzzy, overweight, chode-brandishing, vertically-challenged man, who stares back at me from his undeservingly glossy page, feebly trying to feign a ‘come hither’ look. Too bad the gloss isn’t so glossy as to reflect my reading light into a blinding glare and block out the chubby hubby from my vision. Out of sight, out of mind.
Luckily, if you flick through the book carefully enough, you might stumble across a rare yet exquisite example of the male form, worthy of a thorough ogle. These diamonds in the rough nearly make it all seem worthwhile. See for instance, the work by Christopher Makos, whose black and white photos of statuesque beauties, reminiscent of Calvin Klein underwear models, bring the aesthetics of the book back into line, almost like an admonition.
But be warned of the ephemeral nature of such gratifying moments! Of course, I had to find this out the hard way. Mid-perusal, I came upon a lovely cherub-faced specimen and staring deep into his eyes I was soon lost in the hazy pleasure garden of a teen girl fantasy. Feeling faint from the dizzy heights of my castle in the air, my hand suddenly slipped a little, the pages flicked back, and I was abruptly awoken from my reverie by a porcine fellow, arms crossed, astride a rock, completely naked but for a pair of hideous thigh-high black PVC boots. I plummeted out of Boy Heaven and straight down into a very black hole from which I did not reemerge for a considerable amount of time. It was a most unpleasant experience, and I would not wish it upon anyone else.
In trying to put my thoughts on this photo collection as concisely as possible, I find myself alluding to the sage that is Forrest Gump. This book is like a cheap box of chocolates: definitely too much to stomach in one go but you can delve in from time to time, and although more often than not you will end up with something quite unpalatable, occasionally you will be blessed with something tasty to suck on. Make sure to make the most of such a fortuitous moment.
The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys, edited by Barbara Cardy; Robinson Publishers; ISBN: 978-1-84901-374-1; £10.99
1 A completely warranted neologism.