To my readers......


Thanks for visiting mitchmen, home of Mitchell's Gay Art

The Caps and Collars/ Flat Cap Gang story at Google Groups is on a summer break until July. (see Group News for link)

Message updated 25th June 2023

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Mitchell's - 'In Praise of Sailors' - 12

The pictures of MacLane and Art Bob depict the fascination with sailors in the 50’s.
In the first picture (44), MacLane presents the sailors' masculinity
by portraying them in poses which echo heroic Greek statues.


At first glance it’s a fairly bland and dated ‘pin up’ picture.
But look closer - the sailor’s expression and depiction of their clothing
with restrained but lovingly drawn bulges, bring the image to life in a quite startling way.

MacLane’s second picture here (45) is an informal visualisation of life on board
depicting bored, youthful sailors living together.


The uniform of the ’postman’ on the right is nicely drawn and even shows a little bulge,
but the depiction of most of the figures is not particularly erotic in style
 - apart from the handsome foreground figure, whose nudity is heightened
by sweaty highlighting and just visible underwear
which is clearly not providing much modesty at the front.
The eye is drawn to this hunky young man
who is clearly thinking lustful thoughts about his girl back home.
This is unnoticed by his companions but we can secretly tap into his heightened sexual state.
MacLane’s subtlety was dictated by the laws of the time of course,
but Art Bob is more adventurous.
In Idols (46) his sailor is the object of desire for both a man and a woman.


Strangely enough the woman and the man both seem to be in a different class of sophistication and attractiveness compared with the sailor who apart from pert cheeks is rather frumpy looking. Perhaps Art Bob thought the uniform was all that was needed! The competition is fierce between the two coquettes. The woman even appears to have dropped a lace handkerchief as a ploy - although the physics of the situation suggest it was there before she arrived. No matter, the outcome is a foregone conclusion since the sailor is reading a male muscle magazine.
The secret language of gays triumphs over heterosexual womanly wiles!


The final picture is another Art Bob number (47). Another complex story is being told. Two sailors seem to be stranded in the desert with their kitbags and a cowboy is directing one of them to the nearest gas station - which is clearly not near! Quite why the middle sailor is so alarmed is unclear. Perhaps the long walk ahead or the camp attire of the cowboy, maybe he is conversant with the handkerchief code and doesn’t fancy being alone with him. The cowboy is holding something else in his hand which might explain more (the reins of his horse?) but I'm nott sure what it is. I love the depiction of the sailors in this picture - both the butch seated one and the boyish doll-like one on the left. This artist too shows his love of the sexiness of the sailors caps and trousers in his depiction of them.

Continued here

 Read this series from episode 1

Monday 29 December 2008

Mitchell's - In Praise of Sailors - 11

There is a considerable body of art with modern sailors as subjects. Back in the early 20th century it was common to use drawings and paintings to illustrate adverts and press articles and I’ve reproduced a small selection here.

The gunnery pictures were popular but it’s hard not to see homo-erotic overtones in the way the theme is presented.

Look at the juxtapositioning of the shell and the sailor peering through the gunsight.

The next article looks at gay art interpretations of 'sailordom'

Read this series from episode 1

Sunday 28 December 2008

Mitchell's 'In Praise of Sailors' - 10

Dressing little boys as sailors was popular with the Victorians and inevitably, given the fascination with the image, the look finds it’s way into fashion wear every so often (39). The full blown look like this is probably too much like fancy dress for most lads


Even raunchy men dally with the iconography (40)
and this restrained use is more effective but not suitable as street wear!

The advertising media also draw on the imagery,
this example featuring the Ginch Gonch boys is rather nice (41).


The next episode will look at Sailors in Homoerotic Art

Read this series from episode 1

Friday 26 December 2008

Mitchell's 'In Praise of Sailors' - 9

Erotic images featuring sailors were staple fare in the 50’s (35).


Near nudity was permitted.
These pictures are cute,  but in a way they miss the point
 and don‘t covey that essential earthy masculinity (36).

In the UK, the Royale Studio specialised in uniform pictures with S&M flavours exploiting the reputation of the service for harsh and cruel punishments which was probably undeserved (37).

The models in these pictures were supposedly real servicemen. The uniforms were sometimes worn in bizarre combinations but often used very effectively to display male characteristics -like chunky thighs!.


The sado-masochism overtones continue today (38) and I’m not complaining!

Read this series from episode 1

Thursday 25 December 2008

Mitchell's 'In Praise of Sailors' - 8

Sailors seem glamorous but the job they do is not.
To face the dangers and create an effective fighting unit,
considerable discipline is required (30)


Much of it will seem pointless and repetitive to the servicemen 
but the comradeship and fun is real and good (31)

But there are long nights at sea to be endured (32)


Alone in a strange port (33) the roving life may not seem that great.


And sexual relief may require an unglamorous, seedy transaction (34)


Around these strange contrasting facets of the sailors life a fabulous gay iconography has evolved which we will look at in the next installment.

Read this series from episode 1

Wednesday 24 December 2008

In Praise of Sailors by Mitchell - 7

Before we leave the Sailors formal uniform I’ll just mention white coloured version which we have already seen. This colour emphasises the shape of the body and adds bulk. There are associations with cleanliness and purity as well. We all know that a white outfit on any man is a very bold advertisement! (26)


I still remember seeing three USN sailors all dressed in white ambling down a street in my home town some years ago. It made an indelible impression, they seemed so tall, big and handsome!

Even in their fatigues sailors remain equally attractive - the buttoned breast pockets and epaulets emphasising chest and shoulders are universal military imagery of course but the trousers have the same allure as denim jeans with folds radiating out from the crotch area and worn areas emphasising rounded contours. And oh, those caps are so deliciously sexy! (27)

My fascination with sailors can be traced back to my formative years when Hollywood films depicting naval dramas in the Pacific in World War II were regular TV fare. Unlike the British Boys in the chilly Atlantic arena, our American cousins would strip off their shirts to fight……(28)


…… and to relax, creating erotic images that have never ceased to stir me. (29)


This picture illustrates nicely the comradeship of sailors
when it was still an exclusive male preserve.

Love those tattoos!

Tuesday 23 December 2008

In Praise of Sailors by Mitchell - 6

To complete our rummaging through sailors uniforms we finally we reach the flaring bell bottoms which - seen through our fashion-oriented eyes - could be thought of as flashy and impractical.
In some of the previous pictures in this series the bell bottom can seem untidy (19) or camp (18) but on the right man they are very masculine indeed (5) making the wearer seem tall, solid and strong but individualistic. The picture below captures this masculinity (23).

But if you think the flared bottoms of these trousers are just for show, you’d be wrong. They come from the time when sailors went bare footed to keep steady on a wet pitching deck and rolled their trousers up to keep them dry and out of the way while working. The bell bottom is ideal for this as shown in (24).

Sailors uniform drill still includes folding trousers up with horizontal creases.
The picture above is a studio pose of course, (25) below shows the real thing.


 Continued in next installment

Read this series from episode 1

Monday 22 December 2008

In Praise of Sailors by Mitchell - 5

In the Royal Navy the bottom hem of the jacket can be quite low showing off the crotch and lower buttocks to great effect - especially if the owner has chosen to tailor his trousers to a close fit (17).


The sailors jacket is worn outside the trousers so there is no belt to emphasise the waist. White belts are sometimes worn over the top to carry weaponry but to my mind the result is not particularly attractive. The cut of the body is sometimes close fitting so that a trim body can be displayed (18). These are real sailors by the way!


In other uniforms the lower hem is often at waist level (19)
allowing the fertile mind to visualise a pose with pants removed.

Underneath the USN short jacket the trousers sometimes have
 a buttoned flap covering the flies (20).


This modern sailor (21) wears the same style if you look closely
 - but I just wanted an excuse to show another attractive black sailor really!


The effect to the lustful male is the same as seeing the trouser zip. The obvious functionality is fantasy material whose erotic potential is exemplified by this fine erotic picture from the 50‘s (22).

Continued in the next episode

Read this series from episode 1

Sunday 21 December 2008

Mitchell's 'In Praise of Sailors' - 4

The attractions of the Naval Uniform do not stop at the headgear.
The open necked jackets frame and lengthen the sailors neck
which I find most erotic - see (11).

The shirt worn beneath the jacket further frames the neck - even if it is just a Tee-shirt. 
I must say Black sailors look terrific in the USN uniform. 
I warn my readers that I have a bit of a fetish for necks!

In the Royal Navy the neck is more open
and the under shirt has a square cut neckline which shows much more flesh.

These young lads are posing in new uniforms for the first time and don’t quite carry off the style - you can see they haven’t got to work on the caps yet! (12) Yesterday’s picture (7) shows more mature men in the same gear but, speaking as a Brit, I do think the US style looks better.

For cold weather there used to be an alternative under jersey in blue
which creates the same attractive result as the USN T-shirt (13).


The RN undershirt comes into it’s own when the jacket is removed.
Long sweeps of neck are revealed and the blue trim creates a characteristic naval ‘badge’ (14a).
(This picture is courtesy of Sting Pictures)


The blue trim fades with washing - a bit like denim does (14b).
 I don’t know why this should look attractive but it does!


We can’t leave this area of the body without mentioning the distinctive collars which fold back from the neck at the front and drop as a square down the back. The open-ness created by the fold emphasises the neck line creating an effect which is similar to a hood in modern fashions (15).

These collars have always seemed deliberately erotic to me
emphasising as they do the sweep of the neck in a most attractive way.
In combination with a short haircut, the result is irresistible! (16)

Read this series from episode 1