Some people don't know they're 'sex symbols'

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On and off I’ve toyed with the notion of making a web page of people I’ve found attractive over the decades. I even went as far to collect a couple of images: the first boy to play Lassie’s master on TV and Barbara Bain when she was on Mission Impossible. Who’d be next, Richard Chamberlain or Diana Rigg?

Well, that is certainly unexceptional. Ms. Peel was featured as TV’s most sexy woman of all time (or something) last year. A gallery of famous faces would be boring. Even the peculiar loci of my sexual aesthetics wouldn’t prevent that. (My taste in twinks is no more evolved than Tiger Beat’s.) Nelly guys instead of merely pretty ones have never figured much in the popular imagination.

When I was imagining the page of lovely people I did think of a couple of personal websites I’d seen. Oddly enough both were owned by crossdressers. One earns some sort of living as a drag queen but it was the image of himself without the wig and doodads simply as a very feminine male that I wanted to steal. The other image was of the fellow en femme. That one I snatched and used. Not as decoration but illustration on an old page I’d written about gay crossdressers. I never asked permission, once I realized I’d done that I removed it.

Sadly I can’t come up with pictures of old tricks, boyfriends and boys glimpsed on street corners. The last I regret the most. I carry around a tattered mental catalog of guys barely seen. They were the ones who’d haunt my fantasies for years. Willowy, blonde, sporting a cap or tie, rarely a bit of eyeliner. Whatever has become of them they have a separate life in my memory: the Bowie manqué sitting in midtown Atlanta’s Krystal. I went around the block for a second shy glance.

Or even the – shades of Charlie Brown – the red-haired girl. Nothing sexual there, I was somewhere between six and eight. Not orange but rare natural strawberry, her hair held me rapt. Maybe the source of my lifelong fascination with red hair.

When I was trying to get a better look at a gray-haired guys eyes in the shop today was when it hit me that my most fondly remember faces are those of people I’ve seen in the flesh. I may wasted time watching The Partridge Family or Ricky Martin videos. But I’ve never wondered what it’d be like to sleep with a pop culture product as the boy with the sharp nose and weak chin or the woman with the intelligent eyes and worry line across her forehead.

When I was wondering why I could easily imagine people saying the preference for fantasy objects from real life was a proof of morality or sanity. But lust isn’t moral or sane. I think it might be another aspect of my own bias toward the individual. The too-long neck is what makes the object of desire superior to the mass-market item.

Some might say that the pop culture icon is unapproachable and unattainable. That sounds like a premise for a romantic comedy. The pretty boy down the block isn’t going to be more available than the celebrity surrounded by his flak. But the former offers more potential for fantasy. The movie star and pop singer is too defined by his presentation. The barely-seen boy is open to whatever you might imagine.

The last paragraph is bullshit. Clearly zillions of people can project whatever their libido desires on the Playmate of the month or soap opera star: bend to my will; let me bend to yours.

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Thanks,
Richard

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