To my readers......


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

The Caps and Collars/ Flat Cap Gang story at Google Groups has been on a break since January, I hope to resume shortly. (see Group News for link)

Message updated 5th May 2024

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Bareass Blogs No 39

Bareass Broad-shouldered Business Type

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Monday 28 October 2019

Bareass Blogs No 37

Bareass Bedside Manner
(Bad Behaviour in the Beauty Parlour)


Friday 25 October 2019

First Catch Your Rogue - 18 The Eccentric Professor

Mark - I've Changed My Mind
The boys heard about the story in an interview on the radio.
The Professor of History at the University, described as bookish, eccentric and absent minded,
had just found out that he was the owner of a valuable painting by Canaletto

The boys thought Canaletto was a kind of ice cream, but they knew what a fast buck was.
They just had to break his window at night and snatch the valuable painting off the wall 
They'd be able to sell it on at the Car Boot sale, before he was even up in the morning.

Unfortunately the boys didn't listen right through to the end of the interview
If they had, they'd have heard that he wasn't your average Professor of History.
He'd been a martial arts champion in the army and was still a part-time cage fighter.
His eccentricities included weight training in his basement at night, to combat insomnia.

It wasn't really the boy's fault that they got caught.
There was no alarm on the building and they didn't make a lot of noise getting in.
The radio report had even told them exactly where the painting was hung.
The weight room  was very well insulated, you couldn't hear - or be heard in there.

But it chanced in the middle of his workout, that the Professor remembered
that he needed to check a reference in the library for his lecture in the morning.

The boys were quite shocked to be confronted by a muscular man in his underpants.
They were even more surprised how he took control of the situation and of them,
using a confident, assertive manner, honed on years of taming wild students.

He made them feel mistaken not bad, just deprived of proper rearing and guidance.
He said it didn't feel right to call in the Police and unleash the power of the courts,
when a little friendly instruction might set them on the road to more fulfilling lives.

Later the boys couldn't remember quite how he persuaded them to take off their clothes
There was something about discarding preconceptions, becoming equals, man to man.
They thought preconceptions was about too many beers before sex with the girlfriend.

He said he would not turn them in but show them something special instead.
and once they were nearly naked it wasn't that easy to just turn and leave,
or to back out of the agreement which it seemed they had made without realising it.

Persuaded and intimidated by their mentor's strength and personal skills
the boys felt their best course, their only course, was to bend
and receive the traditional rebuke for youthful mistakes.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Photo-manip by 'Mark' at Jockspank

For other 'rogues' click on the label below

Tuesday 22 October 2019

The Art of TooBoShoo

TooBoShoo - Discipline
This unusual image showing a bondage milking scene is drawn in the traditional Japanese manner but it's actually by a Chinese artist who calls himself TooBoShoo. (*see my footnote on names). The idea of tying a man up and relieving him of his semen pretty much sums up the bondage fetish but the ritualistic manner of the bondage here and presence of a priestly milker with respectful acolyte introduces mystical and slightly menacing overtones. 

The meaning of the title is not obvious, perhaps it's suggesting that the captive is also a member of the religious order, who has fallen from grace. He has a notably chunky build, however, which makes me wonder if he's a local villager, the blacksmith perhaps, or a passing traveller who has been detained to confess his sins! Presumably the fruit of his loins is destined for some sort of communion ceremony.

You can speculate about the technique they have used to elevate their helpless subject, is it the rope harness hitched to the tree or a devious utilisation of one of those sawn-off branch stubs we can see further up? Restraining both his arms and his legs behind the tree trunk accentuates his helplessness and also his vulnerability by opening up the front of his body. You can see the humiliation and dismay in his face.

TooBoShoo - Milk Tech
There's a similar theme here given a sci-fi twist. Despite the absence of any sort of exposed flesh there's an interesting erotic contrast between the burly donor and the clean-shaven, salivating milkman. It focuses attention on the mechanics of the ceremony and the control situation which is going on here, one that is rather more subtle than the previous example. As before the provider is restrained in an elevated position but he also is wearing a face mask. We do not know whether the mask provides a supply of performance enhancing gas or whether it is intended as a kind of breathing control device (with similar aims). 

There's a neatness and completeness about this composition which is very pleasing. If you visit the link given below you will find more explicit variations of this theme but they feature fantasy furry human/animals which aren't my bag but the erotics are worth a look.
TooBoShoo - Fighting
There's a touch of the fantastic in this image too with sci-fi buildings, mysterious forces in evidence and an assailant wearing barbarian, S&M-style accessories. The man he is groping though is very human and down to earth indeed, a workman type of character with muscle-masculine credentials. Those qualities makes his reduction to being another man's plaything doubly erotic.

I'm sure many of my readers will love the milking technique, jerking off inside the underwear resulting in cum-sodden material which is going to give this man an awkward and uncomfortable aftermath to deal with. Others, like him, may squirm at this earthiness. I can't say I have seen this situation depicted before, modern computer graphics can capture the translucent, wet underwear very well. Once again there's a compelling simplicity about this image.
TooBoShoo - Wrestling
TooBoShoo also takes his interest in men milking men into the wrestling arena, he calls it cum wrestling and it's a sport that he's made many images of. You will gather from the referee's pose in this scene, that ejaculation constitutes either a foul or a defeat. Either way, it's obviously a great embarrassment. 

There's a really good expression of energy and strength in the two wrestlers combat. I particularly like the hooked foot ploy which is preventing a defensive closing of the legs. There's potentially an even more dramatic picture if you imagine the other legs entangled in the same way and the two men toppling forward at the moment of climax. There's also some interesting portrayals in the supporting cast, who are watching around the mat. A clue to this artist's wider skills which we will see below. 

TooBoShoo - Commission
 That dynamic sense of brute forces colliding is even more evident here, supplemented by the proverbial brick wall in an image of two husky rugby players tackling each other. Even without the sexual element, this is a powerful and striking impression of a tough sport. The rugby scenario is a natural one for this artist's chunky characters and as a fan of rugby players myself, the conjunction of  shorts and muscular thighs is a delight. With the Rugby World Cup presently in progress in Japan it's also an highly appropriate image for me to include.

TooBoShoo - Santa 2018
 I know, I know it's not even Halloween yet! 
I don't usually 'do' Christmas anyway in this blog but this image is worth including in it's own right. It's has similar qualities to the previous ones, lauding masculine strength and power with a more than usually fit Santa dragging his heavy sleigh up a steep slope though deep snow. You can feel his pain! By some good fortune, the mishap that deprived him of his reindeer also destroyed most of his usual, camp, fur-trimmed outfit leaving him with just a pair of sexy, tattered, ass-clinging shorts and a bobble cap. There's some interesting presents on his sleigh if you look and the Disney-esque snowy trees are brilliant.

TooBoShoo - Christmas Eve
This depiction of Christmas is quite different and invokes some of the sentiment of Christmas domestics and home-comings in Hollywood movies like 'It's a Wonderful Life'. One of these men has been working as a Santa and it's a modest apartment, so you sense they are not wealthy. Though they are engrossed in their own mundane tasks there's a great sense of togetherness, calm and warmth as they prepare for the holiday ahead, one made extra special by the snow falling outside.  A marvellously understated expression of gay kinship and love, it's quite, quite beautiful.

TooBoShoo - 360 (degrees) Click to expand
You should be getting a sense of this artist's remarkable skills by now and this image extends it even further. At first sight it seems like some sort of medical facility but closer inspection shows that the patients are in fact restrained by chains and ropes and there's an ominous wheel on the side of one of the tables. It's mildly erotic with a particularly interesting bare top muscleman attending to the naked client on the right.

Some of the attendants here are clad in modern protective clothing, others look as if they have stepped out of a medieval pageant. Even Death seems to be here, stalking in the far background. The curious inversion of perspective creates an impression that this pseudo-medical torture chamber is a miniature world to it's inhabitants and the light of freedom and life is far away down a narrow passageway.

Whilst this artist often depicts fantastical scenes, the grey scale colouring and sombre atmosphere here communicates a more serious intent, I believe. A message that oppression never changes and it's suffocating. I'm not knowledgeable enough to truly understand how this applies to China, but I know artistic freedom there is at best a fragile one, I think it's also true of gay freedom, although ancient China was tolerant. You might like to revisit the 'Christmas Eve' picture in the light of this. Even if I don't fully understand it, credit to the artist for making his statement. Like the Russian artist Bubentkov I featured last year TooBoShoo deserves our moral support.

TooBoShoo - Kang
 It's hard to tell if this is playful, sexual frolicking or something more serious, ambiguity seems to be the continuing theme of this artists work. The mischievous cat outside and lucky cat toy inside don't help very much. The title seems to simply refer to a platform bed used in China.

It does look though as if this man is being beaten and the vegetable dildo is derogatory in intent. The implement on the right may be part of his punishment. I haven't a clue about the red rope, although internet searches throw up exotic, erotic connections.

There's a distinctive local flavour in the styling of this piece, the patterns of the bed and windows
 and the objects scattered around.

TooBoShoo - Stop You Jerk
Lastly, another great, but less serious image. I love the physique of this hunky patient (dressed only in his ankle tag!) but it's his energetic resistance that makes the image so memorable, while Doctor's calm domination is also beautifully depicted. The close-up framing gives extra emphasis to the mini-drama going on on the table, it adds sensual intimacy to the erotic message (contrast with the lesser impact of 'Kanga' above)

Literally translated by Google, the artists inscription for this picture is 
"Stop, you are a jerk, shy face
When this shameful line was shot, the face was red. . . Ah ah ah ah ah"

 I don't think that covers the speech bubble words, but you probably get the picture!.

*Note on naming and language - Google translates this artist's Chinese character name (吐蕃叔)
  rather unpromisingly as 'Uncle Tubo' and you will see the name TooBoShoo on some of his drawings (or simply TB sometimes stylised like '7b'). I have also seen the name 'TangBingLa' associated with his pictures (e.g. 'Christmas Eve' above). Google interprets it as a Chinese phrase but translates it bafflingly as 'Sugar Cake'. The artist sometimes provides English titles, sometimes Chinese ones, but the translations are frequently no less ambiguous!

TooBoShoo posts his art on the Japanese site 'pixiv', 
see more at Tangbingla@pixiv (you need to register but it's free)
You can find his weibo address there but you'll need to be a user to access it.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Snakes & Chains - 3

Chains, like snakes, seem to be able to mesmerise men

Chain Play by Dominic Ford

They seem to make them want to undress and feel the metal against their skin .....

Unknown Model by NCB Photography undo their jeans and let them slide downwards ......

Unknown model by MuscleHunks
.....and even to shed those garments that cloak their most secret desires.

No wonder some accept the invitation to be chained and inducted.

The Master's steel collar and cuffs will tame this muscular lad.
The combo allows him some freedom to move his limbs
but it's a restraint that weighs him down, so he cannot escape
and that helps to ensure he gives his total respect.

His compliance is rewarded with encouraging touches
and looks that give him something to look forward to.  

this image by Tom 'Ropes' McGurk
 (who clearly also knows the dominating power of chains)  

Andrei training at Russian Captured Boys
A good Master will instigate a proper training regime to counteracts the effects of prolonged restraint.
The weight of the chains is beneficial in developing a healthy body and an attractive physique.
It also hinders the subject and reminds him of his chosen role.

A cross country run in chains and fetters develops new skills and muscles
and creates a fleeting, illusion that escape is a possibility if he wants to.

I've always admired this image which I originally found on 'MrS', but I've never been able to find the original picture. I have found equivalent poses, but they don't have the same sense of awkwardness, despair and sheer desirability that this picture seems to convey.

Chastened and resentful

Spirited, younger men may find it hard to adjust to the tough regime.
They may cheek their new Master, like they did their parents.
A tape gag demonstrates they must speak only when allowed to.
It's crude simplicity puts them firmly in their place as novices.
They are not yet qualified for metal-based chastisement.

The cheekiest of novices may find his cheeks parted, by a ride on 'The Wedge'.
His lightness of frame would normally spare him much of the usual discomfort*,
but his bulky irons and chains outweigh and annul that advantage.
He can use his hands for support, but they will soon tire and weaken.

The Master supervises him learning his lesson.
It doesn't usually take very long for the penny to drop. 

(*for more 'Riding the Wedge' images click on the label at the foot of this post) 

unknown model and photographer
 For an older man to submit is harder, even when he's here by choice.
It questions his manhood, though he knows that is the very reason he has been chosen.

The heavy wall chains and thick leather jock with padlock (given him by his Master)
Shows him he is prized and valued - but presently being saved for future enjoyment.
An early release suddenly seems unlikely.

There may be times of deprivation, squalor and much frustrastion ahead.
He must learn the ways expected of him and what he will get in return.

The gifts of new outfits are unexpected and make him feel tearful.
But unknown, new experiences will follow and that makes him fearful.

It was the glamour of total, naked enchainment that lured him,
the embrace of the snake.

The constraint of his newly acquired strength
 is not without struggle and anxieties.

But finally the day comes when he reaches the sweaty pinnacle

Bazz - Snake 16
The day when he stands chained, naked and helpless
presented to the mystical snake!

Please Sir, may I go home now?

My thanks to Bazz for his clever snake manips in this article and Part 2
You can see more chain-related imagery at Metalbond

Thursday 17 October 2019

Changes to Yahoo Groups

I have just noticed an announcement posted by Yahoo! at the 'mitchmen' group about major changes.
  • It seems they intend to do away with all the information stored at the Group, messages, pictures and files (in December).
  • In future it will simply operate as a message sharing service.
  • They are also changing the rules for joining the group, new members will have to request an invitation.

They haven't announced a reason for these changes. Obviously they will save money on storing data but I suspect it's intended to get out of any responsibility for who joins and what happens in the groups. 

It's a disappointment for me, the combination of features in 'Groups' - messaging, photo galleries and file sharing - suited me very well. Yahoo seem to have a bizarre policy of buying successful businesses and then deliberately destroying them, ah well!

Needless to say, they haven't notified group owners directly about these changes and the notice is hidden away at the top of the page and is only fleetingly visible as the page loads.
How will this affect mitchmen?
  • It looks as if I will be able to continue to use the Group for posting messages and episodes of my stories to members. Providing new members are still able to join easily, I plan to carry on using this feature for the time being. It will be a concern to me if I no longer have the Yahoo age-screening function, but this detail is not clear yet. Obviously moving 4,000 members to a different service and bedding it in is a distraction I'd rather not have. However I suspect the writing is on the wall here and will start looking at alternatives, possibly set up a mirror arrangement. At the moment the only comparable service I am aware of is Google groups. I'd welcome any information about other alternatives, I could use the blog format potentially but don't understand other modern social media well enough to know if/how I can use those channels for messaging and sharing (adult) pictures and files. Suggestions welcome!
  • Obviously my picture galleries and story PDF's will have to find a new home. I can't say I'm heartbroken about this, it hasn't worked properly since the 'Neo' fiasco, but it will be a pain to move everything. I will probably have to 'attach' them to the mitchmen blog in some way. I can see how I could use Google Photos and Google Drive (for files), but it's that eggs in one basket thing so I'll probably look for a non-Google solution that I can link to the blog. One obvious possibilty for pictures is to expand my Deviant Art presence, since this does have an 'adult' screen.
I'd welcome any suggestions, comments or advice from members

17 Oct 2019

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Snakes & Chains - 2

Gary Taylor - Chain Play (Michael Stokes)
 For those of you wondering why I paired snakes with chains for this group of articles, 
this terrific image of Gary Taylor by Michael Stokes should clarify.
This chunky chain winds sinuously round his body just like a huge snake
It projects a similar power to restrain, passive and latent, but no less potent. 

Unknown Model - Chain Play (Michael Stokes)

This man seems more nervous with the heavy links than Mr Taylor.
It's almost as though he senses some malign influence in them.
Listen up young man! I want to tell you something.
(This is the same chain, but a different model, I've no ID on him, sorry. 
 See more Michael Stokes' Bondage )

Phil Lambert Chained (WPG)
Men have frolicked with chains since iron was first hammered into useful shapes.
This image of a marvellously submissive Phil Lambert from the 1950's
embodies a secret desire of many men - to be stripped, restrained and dominated.
To be put on show as a prized possession even.
 But the links are only wound loosely round the wrists, this is just chain play.

In the modern age restraining chains have been commoditised
An accessory for sporting muscle offering up their bodies for a month of admiration.
This is just chain play for money.

But after the shoot, safe in his bed that night, did he wonder?
Wonder what it might really be like to be forced to wear a ball and chain?
By a stronger man.

Temptation - Enrico Belaggio and Jack Dragon (by ScaryFuckers)
 For every cute young man who wonders what it would be like 
to be desired by another man so much that he must chain him up,
there are plenty of hunky studs out there, only too willing to oblige.
and the temptations of the snake can be irresistible ........

Braden at Roped Studs
 But once in the Snake's lair, the reality may be bare and stark.
Lonely, uncomfortable and threatening.

Man-Superman by Steel Guy Pictures
Even the biggest, strongest, most handsomest of men 
who drip in the gym with hormones and stuff,
imagining that they have exceptional powers,
basking in their own beauty.....

.....they too can be tempted by the challenge of firm restraint
the thought of chains snaking tightly round their body.
Snake20 by Bazz
 The muscle head can exercise dominion,
even over the sneaky snake, in his fantasies.......

....but in the real world he finds that his raw strength is no use.
His power is nullified - once he's in the grip of inflexible metal.

And for every curious slave there has to be a slave master to serve.
His rippling, gleaming muscles may make him look amazingly masculine,
but you don't really know what's in his head until you are helpless in his fetters.

Remorseful Captive in Chains
The naked reality of bare, cold steel may be rather different to the fantasy!
But by then it's too late for regrets!

Sunday 13 October 2019

Snakes & Chains - 1

Frank Fazetta - Snake Attack
 I have long admired this image by Frank Fazetta depicting a fantasy hero being attacked by a giant snake. The glimpse of warrior's torso caught between the snake's crushing coils is quite stunning - and unusually homoerotic for a genre that is usually relentlessly 'proper' and heterosexual in style (although Frazetta's heroes do often sport skimpy, bulging loincloths).

This picture is technically imperfect in places but there's a great sense of strength pitted against strength and of desperate struggle. The human body seems to merge with that of the reptile in places which adds an intriguing extra dimension to the heroes' identity. The shallow water in which the combatants are fighting seems to represent a sort of symbolic 'no-man's land' between their 'home' territories.

Dave Stewart - Snake Grip
This detail from a comic cover is a more modern take on the same theme by Dave Stewart. This is a tentacled creature rather than a snake, but the device of suggesting overwhelming power with a thick body is equally compelling. Again there is a sense of vital struggle with the warrior (Conan?) desperately chopping at his attacker.

The highly detailed muscularity of the warrior's torso makes him less sensual than Frazetta's, but the point of attack is even more erotic in it's way, focused on the warrior's very manhood instead of his upper body. The glimpse of loincloth actually draws attention to this and there's a sense of him being slowly devoured despite being free to wield his sword. The severed tentacle is a classic Freudian symbol of emasculation, illustrating perhaps that the heroes chopping puts himself at risk too! A white substance oozing from it seems to have attached itself to the swordsman's torso, no comment!

Devil Snake
In this marvellous magazine cover from the 50's, the snake is subtly transformed from assassin to abductor. The bulky, multiple coils seem to signify inescapable bondage rather than fatal squeeze, although this poor victim is still intended to end up as dinner ultimately. Unlike the warriors, he seems exhausted by the struggle. The role of resistance is transferred to his companion, who energetically fulfils it. Notice how the vigour of his paddle sweep seems to be reflected in the line of the victim's body and outstretched arm. A second snake lurks nearby, but sadly we can only speculate what it might want to do with the man in a Tee shirt.

 The loop of snake around the victim's neck is a particularly effective 'threat' device. It can be read as a noose or a collar, which in hindsight seems an unfortunate adjunct to the undercurrent of racial stereotyping in this image which probably passed unnoticed at the time. Common sense tells you that if this were to be a real event, it would probably be the local man who do the rescuing and he might even be clothed! (In making this statement, I am of course assuming that this setting is in the tropics, not the Home Counties).

With their half naked bodies and torn clothing, these butch magazine covers are naturally, but not necessarily intentionally, homoerotic. There's an interesting juxtaposition of crotch and knee in the middle of the canoe but I hesitate to imply that it was intended to be suggestive!

Laocoön and His Sons
Laocoön is the classic snake attack image of course and I have referenced it here before in relation to the adaptation by Priapus, which sensibly focuses on the non-controversial central figure. Legends attribute snakes with surprising and varied powers to destroy humans and this is one of the most astonishing. They also manifest this destiny in other stories - in Genesis and the story of Cleopatra, for example.
Felix Falkon - Laoccon
Laocoön is not without awkward carnal elements but this irreverent re-imagining of by Falkon attribute such motives to the predatory snakes more directly. Falkon often flirted with disturbing life and death subjects with an almost childlike innocence and naivety.

Asphalt Jungle - Adam Carville Adventures (detail)
This is another Laocoön-like study but the snakes here are smaller and depicted more as a distraction and nuisance than a genuine threat. The man's pose is relaxed, static and passive, at the opposite end of the scale from Fazetta's image. This is a detail of a larger picture and I've included it mainly for the fascinating clothing detail, which could be made highly erotic with a more energetic treatment. The big boots, white, torn vest and soldierly belts and buckles all have the power to thrill when set against muscular flesh. Most of all the sexy shorts which have somehow been opened by the snakes here, primarily it seems to obtain a purchase for a strike further up. Of course a bulkier snake would have to forgo the pleasure of cock entwinement altogether.

Jotto - Jungle Boy and Tne Snake Gods
Jotto elevates his snake to god-like status, enjoying the luxury of his followers providing him with a steady supply of humans to consume. The Jungle Boy is securely bound and unable to defend himself, while the ball and chain attached to his nether regions prevents flight. He stands his ground as the snake snuggles up close, it's flickering tongue appearing to be quite amorous, but the evil eyes and sharp fangs suggest different intentions.

Jotto captures the snake's strength and menace nicely, with a clever hint of erotic contact between the legs. Jungle boy's rigid stance seems to suggest he's been taken by surprise or else the snake has mesmerised him (another sneaky characteristic often attributed to these maligned creatures).

Kalabro - Cody and the Serpent
I prefer Kalbro's take on this scene. It's essentially the same scenario, but Cody here strives manfully against his restraints as the snake wraps menacingly around his throat, seeming to gloat as it does so. You get a better sense here that the captive might have tried hard to escape this fate by pulling against his chain and ball(s). This snake seems to be the embodiment of evil, but, nevertheless the artist suggests with it's poised head the slight possibility that it's intentions may be carnal rather than murderous. Kalabro's stylised rendering of Cody's well muscled, shaved body is unexpectedly erotic.

Kalabro and Jotto often work together and that collaboration is obvious in these two pictures,
Kalabro usually provides the figures and Jotto the colour and background. 

Patrick Fillion - Camili Cat and the Snake
 Another sacrificial image. This is a variant of a rather better picture, also by Fillion, called 'fairy boy' (yes fairy!) which I included in my earlier A-Z article on him. His snake is rather dragon-like and, like Falkon and Jotto, he attributes human characteristics of malevolence and lust to it. The sense of it having great physical power is undiminished but it appears to be eyeing up Camili's stressed underwear rather than contemplating a sensual, fatal embrace.

Heerdink - Laocoon
Heerdink's 'Laocoon' seems to focus firmly on the snake's strength and sensuality.
The captive seems to resist rather than struggle, it's hard to say whether it's in fear or ecstasy.
The dream-like, 'floating' pose is improbable, but skillfully accentuates all of these elements. 

This inward looking flavour is accomplished by simply not showing the snake's head,
which means that there's no suggestion of it's motivation or intent, it just is.

You also get the sense that this scene is not a myth or legend but real, here and now.
The human's nudity (and implied vulnerability) seems more striking, more significant
than in the other pieces we have seen, lending the image a subtle eroticism.  
(Heerdink keeps within decent bounds by avoiding any funny business between the legs).  

Player - Serpent
Finally, two images from the hugely talented Steven Player, who tackles the issue of snake sensuality from the other end, as it were. This man is the most attractive portrayal we have seen in this group of pictures. His night visitor seems to be completely benign, there's no crushing or squeezing, just the loosest of entwinements and a probing tail. This invasion is perhaps the least credible, snakely capability covered in this article, but the recipient clearly isn't complaining so why should I? The title here is mine, I'm guessing Player has the seductive serpent in mind here rather than the aggressive snake.

Player - Snake
 This chunky chap is a typical Player, 'skinhead' tough-guy. It's fitting then to pitch him against a snake of daunting bodily proportions. It's already got a grip on his torso and one leg, but you feel that he's tough enough for this challenge, indeed he seems more puzzled than threatened by it.

Perhaps he's seen the message on the snake's body and is figuring out how to deal with it. He will have noticed that the snake's tail is already making inroads into him, but how does one reciprocate? The answer that appears to be staring him in the face would challenge the hardest of 'skins'.

The snake's anatomy is a puzzle in itself - a big, muscular body, topped off by a tiny head.
Is it's tail actually entering the skin's backside or is the phallic presence coming out of it?
Some might say that's a wry comment on masculinity itself. 
In this picture Player illustrates the inherent contradiction of the snake in erotic imagery.
It's a phallic symbol with great powers of seduction, domination and sensuality
but in the final analysis it's incapable of performing as a phallus.
If you like mild, snake fantasies, there's an intriguing new picture story 
by Priapus of Milet at Telemachus entitled 'Band of Brothers'