The New York Times is noting an evolution of the it-boy male model from waif-ish twink skate-rat into someone “who feels like he’s a man.” I’m fully on board with this trend, though not, I believe, for the reasons that the NYT author supposes is behind the circle-of-life return to square-jawed handsomeness. I seriously am not longing for a mythical past when “men were men.” I just tend to like my hunks in the barrel long enough to soak up some oaky tannins. A fresh off the vine, cork-and-uncork-it youth is like a Rosé: sweet, innocent, and always trending on the way in or on the way out. More maturity, a fuller body, and deeper complexity is a lot more tasty, year-after-year.
I’m not an all or nothing kind of guy, though. The skate-rat brawler can tell a sweet story that a big pec muscleboy can’t tell (and vice versa, of course). And a skate-rat slamfest with a big muscle boy can be pure ecstasy, particularly if the muscleboy is seriously taken by surprise by the skate-rat’s ferocity, skill, and determination to bash a hunk.
Of course, talking about a mature body on a male model requires putting pencil to paper to make some counter-intuitive calculations. Counting years on a male model is a little like figuring up “dog years.” The ridiculous pressure to be superhumanly and eternally beautiful (by commercial standards, at least) can skew the numbers, making 30 year old model David Gandy, above, seem grandfatherly next to 18 year old fence rail, Jordan Coulter. For the record, David would bring me to my knees with a come-hither look in an instant, whereas Jordan would require evidence of a sense of humor, cocky self-assurance, and last but not least, a valid driver’s license as proof of age. David facing off with Jordan, with Jordan managing to jump onto “grandpa’s” back and bring the muscle man to his knees with a vicious rear choke, however, would be a delight to suit me in most any mood.
So whether the skate-rats are on their way out, or already returning as chic retro days after being pronounced so-last-year (as seems usually the pace of trendiness), I’m a supporter of diverse bodies, as long as they’re sweaty, locked in combat, and ready to order. But when pressed (squeezed, pounded, or slammed), I’m a sucker for beefy, thoughtful maturity over impulsive, waif-ish twinkiness, nine times out of ten.