The Sears Catalog

Sears department store exterior

Sears has been dying for some time, and after its recent filing for bankruptcy, it’s self-evident: the former retail giant will be as dead as a doornail.

Many folks of my generation remember the Sears catalog, especially the Christmas Wishbook edition. In fact, Sears began as a mail order outfit only, appealing to a mostly rural America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Those isolated on homesteads could order items from a catalog; imagine the thrill of a package arriving in those days!
 

Sears Christmas Wishbook, 1964

As Americans became more citified and then suburban, Sears built department stores, and then became the main anchor in shopping malls. Now Americans with their ubiquitous automobiles could now travel to a consumer’s mecca and buy appliances for their newer homes designed to accommodate washing machines, refrigerators, and television sets.
 

Sears department store opening advertisement

Yet the catalog remained, and one of my memories as a young gayling was that catalog, and it wasn’t because of the underwear models (that dynamic arrived later). No, it was because of the home décor. I was fascinated with the living room sets Sears sold in the catalog, especially the French provincial and Early American lines. (No, I exhibited no intention at that age, even subconsciously, of becoming the clichéd gay decorator.)
 

Sears furniture in catalog, 1970s

Confined to mostly interior activities because of lack of athletic skills, I would cut up older catalogs and create my own rooms. I remember a sofa with a brown slipcover that featured prominently in my fantasy rooms, next to a ginger jar lamp. I guess I may have been going for a more lower middle class look than I had intended (think Roseanne, definitely taking place in a Sears household), but home for me equals comfort, sinking into a cushy sofa in a room softly illuminated by lamplight.
 

Ginger jar lamps

When puberty hit, I was drawn to the catalogs for another reason: the macho mustached guys wearing plaid shirts, Levis, and boots. That was the style of the time, and Sears sold “gay macho” wear because its customers were actual construction workers or even cowboys. I really like the pictures of guys posing in tight jeans and boots with clunky heels. And they were usually posing together, as clothing was sold in the catalogs based on gender. Yet the groups of good-looking, well-built guys hanging out together could produce a definite homoerotic vibe. For example, I remember one ad featuring guys leaning against a fence, that pose drawing the eye to the bulge in the jeans. I cut it out and pasted into a secret notebook.
 

Sears catalog cowboys

There’s more going on than just nostalgia for an American icon. I do find it brutally ironic that the supposed “making American great again” does not include the return of Sears, in so many ways a symbol of a time when a strong, blue-collar (and mostly white) middle class made good. But their descendants now shop at Walmart and/or Amazon, or, in some of the areas that suffered the most economically, dollar stores.

And the new generation of gaylings don’t have to stealthily cut up Sears catalogs to express forbidden fantasies. They can use phone apps, but most significantly, they don’t have to hide their artistic and sexual interests in a world where girls were girls and men were men. Yet I still feel like the effort involved in cutting up those catalogs stimulated creativity. I had to work for my fun. And part of the fun was the work involved in attaining it.
 

Sears catalog '70s fashion
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Coming Out to Boots, Cummin' into Boots


Happy National Coming Out Day

Thursday, October 11 was National Coming Out Day. For most LGBTQ persons, coming out on a most literal level means embracing one’s sexual orientation, but the sex is still sex, that is, genital contact with a person. Fucking. Well, not always, but that’s the usual direction. Some members of the community call that “vanilla,” which implies sweet, even bland. I think that’s a rather faulty assumption, but the term is used in juxtaposition with another variant, and some might say, deviant, form of sexuality. Leather. Fetish. BDSM. Think: Dark vs. light. Day vs. night. Mild vs. wild.

Yet that binary doesn’t really fit uniformly. I was going to say bare foot versus boot, as that binary particularly applies in my case, but foot fetishes are quite populary in “non-vanilla” circles, along the entire sexual spectrum. Still, most sex involved getting naked, and the footwear goes off. Not with me. When I came out, I was already cummin’ into boots.

This fetish seized me before puberty, but I didn’t really seize it openly until I came out when I was a young adult. I was lucky, or perhaps even unlucky, because obsessions can distract, that when I was younger, guys were wearing boots. One of the most popular boots when I was in high school was the Frye campus boot, and pretty soon afterwards the “urban cowboy” craze erupted. Cowboy boots ruled the halls when I was in college and my first graduate school.
 

Frye boots ad

A book that first articulated for me this dynamic was The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe, (long out of print and now going for outrageous prices on Amazon). I found it in the local public library, and I was drawn to the discussion of the effect of the black male motorcycle/harness boot on the fetishist, and that such effects based on the overall nature of the boot itself even non-fetishists are aware of. The author emphasizes its blackness, the heavy heels, the loud clicking sound. Through this imagery and the pictures he choose, the author associates this boot with the taboo-breaking motorcycle gangs of the 1950s; sex and power coalesce.
 

The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe cover

But not the effect is not just power and authority, which need not be necessarily of a sexual nature, and the cowboy boots was designed for a horse-riding person.

The boots themselves embody, invite their wearer to break boundaries. A person submissive in daily life may wear boots sexually, and vice versa. Of course.

And the foot itself is a boundary, and it is the only part of the body that touches the ground. The boot protects the foot from touching the ground, but in doing so, makes the wearer more aware of that boundary.

And, the boundary reversal here is stunning. The bottom of the body becomes more powerful than the top, the head. The ground becomes the sky. And even if the head is the source of that sexual power, it physically climaxes not once in the genitalia, but with each stomp far below.
 

Buy on ground licking boots

I’ve noticed lately the stomping originates from women more than men. I rarely see younger guys, or guys for that matter, at least in my geographical area, wearing the type of more overtly fetishistic boots like harness, engineer, or cowboy boots. If they do wear boots, they wear rather quiet lace-ups, fashionable variants of work boots or brogue dress shoes. And one almost never sees a guy with pants tucked into boots; this look is generally viewed as eccentric, even effeminate in circles outside the fetish community.
 

Vintage ad for 1950s black engineer boots

I wonder why. Something more is going on than the vicissitudes of fashion. I could explore that trend in another blog, but in the meantime, I’ll be the guy who wears cowboy boots with dress pants, drowns out the high heels of the ladies in the subway tunnels, and, unfortunately, only at leather events or in my private sex life, tuck my leather pants into my thigh-high Champion Attitude boots.
 

Thigh high Champion Attitude boots
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Dormitory Daze

 

1980s dorm room

 

I lived in the dormitories during my undergraduate days for one year; I then lived in rental housing close to the campus (a small Catholic liberal arts college), but I spent more time on campus than in my humble room with a hot plate.

I was pretty naïve, having grown up in the Catholic ghetto where sex and especially homosex was a no-no until the marriage bed, even though I knew in high school that some of my bigger and stronger and definitely more jockish compatriots were screwing girls.

However, my first year in the dormitory was something of a daze (that freshman year is more of a social rather than academic transition), but I did notice one particular social norm in the dorms: heterosexual couples would move in together; the double bed in the guy's room signified that he had a steady girlfriend.

Now, some of the female students had outside campus boyfriends; in fact, one student, a bit older than the 18-19 year old age range, had three children already by a rather large in size black guy named Wade. I was floored (my naivete) at this situation, not so much the interracial part, but that she had sex. And had children. And she wasn't my parents or a friend of my parents.

Gay sex? In the early 1980s (and AIDS had not really manifested itself in suburban Chicago at that time) not so much, though one guy who was had transferred to another school named Howard was supposedly gay. The evidence? He did not wear underwear beneath his jeans. Huh?

The underwearless guy dated a heavyset girl, who was also dating another guy who ended up being gay. (The cliché in this case is true.) I went with them to see Victor, Victoria. I still didn't get what was going on.

I did get that Janice was a butch lesbian, but one of her girlfriends, Yvette, was "experimenting" and went back to boys. A friend of mine and I met up with them after a Stevie Wonder concert (in his hotel room, because a sister of a student at the college was one of his backup singers).

Janice and Yvette were African-American, and I don't want to perpetrate any stereotypes, but those girls were wild. And fun. And accepting of everyone (so unlike some of the pre-"bro" jock types around there who muttered fag under their breath when I walked by).

I even went to a couple of what were called "sets," (dances, to hypnotic music which I guess was a predecessor of what today is called "house music") and I even was invited to a meeting of the African-American club.
 

1980s African-American set

(I also went to a disco with a nun until 4 a.m. I vaguely remember dancing with an African-American guy and his girlfriend. The guy told me I was moving around too much. This incident occurred my senior year.)
 

1980s Chicago ad for a disco

But I didn't accept a possible interracial (I being the only white guy) fourway with Brenda (who flunked out after the freshman year), Sandra, and a real hot guy from off-campus after I hung out with them one night. I was invited to come to the bed, but I chickened out.

The closest I came to any type of sexual experience was jacking off with a pair of T.J.'s cowboy boots. T.J., an off-campus friend of another African-American friend of mine, Denise (you could get drugs from him), crashed in my room one night while I slept platonically with Denise in her room. We were all drunk. He left his big sweaty Dingo boots there and I had some fun.
 

Cowboy boots

Even though I didn't have sex in college of any kind with anyone, I must admit the experience exposed me to, at that time, the rather frightening, often confusing, but in the long term ultimately liberating world of guys and girls interacting on various levels of the sexual spectrum.

By the time I came out as an adult, AIDS was in full swing. I sometimes wonder if I had dared to be intimate with anyone if I would have contracted it and possibly not have survived.

Yet coming out was my realization that sex does not equal death. Sex is life at its most elemental level, but for me, it is an integral part of a lively intimacy with another person.

Without an openness to that intimacy, I would have dried up inside. All those people I knew in college showed me that a lively juice in me was there, ready to bubble forth. Ripeness is all.
 

1985 Chicago pride parade
1985 Chicago pride parade
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Ear

 

Shirtless guy with sexy ears


I enjoyed sex with this guy off and on for some time in the nineties (both “vanilla” and BDSM), and one time when we were making out in his van he began to blow in my ear. The action itself doesn't really get me a woody, but as part of the whole erotic foreplay it definitely added something to the experience as a whole. 

Now, the ear itself doesn't strike me as being particularly erotic, but what it is supposed to do, transmit sounds, can add so much excitement, especially in BDSM sensory play. I used to like (and still do, but I am the “binder,” not the “bindee”) being bound and hooded and hearing the dominant sound of boots walking around the dungeon, For me, the sound of power is the sound of hard-heeled boots, and I've noticed lately that men's boots and shoes usually possess rubber heels to mute the sound. Why? I wonder, when the same does not apply to women's footwear (that's another blog). 

And of course there's dirty talk, which can occur even in more conventional sex scenes. Or doing it with music in the background. It takes great mental concentration and keen listening to try and time your orgasm to the climax of Wagner's Liebestod (I know from experience.) 

Overall, some people experience reality through hearing, some are more visual, some are more tactile. Still, what about more directly physical interactions with the ear itself? 

Blowing in the ear combines both a tactile and a hearing sensation, but then there's also guys who like to nibble on the ear (something my cat does, in her case a sign of affection as well as impatience, play with me, feed me). 
 

Ear nibbling

Maybe it's getting down to something really primal, the nibbling, but the ear of course features significantly in so many other cultural contexts. 

As a child, I was fascinated by the pointed ears of Spock, and all those elves and fairies sported them as well. Perhaps just changing slightly a feature of the ear was enough to evoke images of otherworldly power and knowledge. (And to set the record straight, Tolkien's elves, regardless of the movie's visualization of them, did not have pointed ears. See Appendix F of The Return of the King.) 
 

Spock's ears

 

Legolas' ears


And let's not forget the legendary Carol Burnett who would tug on her ear at the end of each show (one time I remember she pulled an earring off while doing so!). It originated as a signal to her grandmother because Carol in her early days at the Gary Moore Show couldn't shout out, “Hey, Nanny, are you watching?” She always knew her beloved “Nanny” was watching her famous granddaughter, and even after Nanny passed, she kept that signal as a way of connecting with that memory. 
 

Carol Burnett tugging her ear

Cutting off the ear was a punishment in the medieval and early modern periods, especially for offenses regarding religion. For example, in the seventeenth century the Puritan William Prynne was condemned to this punishment for heresy by the Anglican ArchbishopWilliam Laud, interesting, for one might think the other side would want him to hear their version of truth. But perhaps Laud thought it was appropriate because he led the faithful astray because they heard the Puritan's sermons. 
 

William Prynne

Are you still listening? One can hear, but not listen, so often in this frenetic culture where words disappear in cyberspace in a nanosecond. 

Take the time to really listen, and maybe try and remember and share your own unique, erotic ear experiences (but save the earwax stories, ew! I recently experienced an issue with that substance). 

And Bijou Video offers unique “dirty talk” audio CDs from those Old Reliablerough trade guys in the Sexcessories section of our website.

 

Check them out, along with other auditory delights at BijouWorld.com and BijouGayPorn.com
 

Old Reliable CDs

 

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Our Favorite Bijou Gay Porn Scenes: What's Yours?

 


I thought this week it might be fun to do a more interactive blog (jacking off is fun, but your best friend isn't always yourself).

 

We're going to put out (maybe in more ways than one) some of our favorite Bijou gay porn scenes.

Then, you can share yours, and we'll even link to some of those clips on our websites on our Twitter page.

Madam Bubby's Picks

I'm into dominance and submission big time (the big is more mental that physical, but I do appreciate size, especially muscles!).

Turned On!


There's a scene from Al Parker's movie Turned On! that always gets me going. Now Al, for me, and I might claim many others, is a total top man (and I just don't mean fucking): he exudes a dominant, but not so much in your face (but then, who wouldn't want his glorious cock in your face) masculinity, but one that doesn't need much overcooked “on your knees, boy” proclamations.

But what makes this scene so fascinating for me is Al submitting, and submitting, endlessly... a hunger that is never satisfied, but is satisfied in its own hunger. Kind of the effect Al creates when he wields his mighty cock...

What is Al doing? In a locker room with male body parts behind every locker door, Parker and Sky Dawson (the man of Al's dreams in this movie) service rows (a sort of chorus line) of humpy, athletic men in jockstraps. It's a fantasy, but what it makes it even more enticing for me is the jockstraps. They conceal but also show.

Pictures From the Black Dance

Now, another movie, from Roger Earl's Dungeons of Europe trilogy, Pictures from the Black Dance, contains a scene which really gets me going. What's interesting is not so much the leathersex itself, but the overall dominance/submission dynamic I find erotic:

In the last scene, Dick Johnson is leading a hooded guy in a bondage/body suit. This is Tony Starr, who had previously been a dominant in the movie! The last dance, the climactic one. The slapping sound is its rhythmic accompaniment. They are still in the dungeon, but the wall looks like fall foliage. After what looks like a whiff of poppers, Johnson powerfully creates total submission; by pulling bottom up by hook on bondage suit. He barks one command that seems to pull most of the action together: SIT!

Johnson then attaches Starr to the board, and one hears a stomping and slamming sound with his powerful boots. He then, with amazing confidence, picks up the guy and then places him on the floor.

This lying down position, especially when contrasted with a standing position, is one of stripping away of conventional social norms, which often occurs in BDSM role playing. Johnson now has his bottom in this position of total submission in order for him to wield his power, by pulling the cock and balls on triangle attached to his cock and balls; this tension shows that Johnson himself actually reciprocating once he has shown his power.

Miriam Webster's Picks

I'm particularly interested in porn directors who use sexual explicitness as a vehicle for artistic expression. I also find emotionally raw states (such as love, sadness, or fear) to be intriguing mental spaces in which to tap into eroticism, the heightened emotional state acting as a potential sexual enhancer. The two scenes I'm featuring play with these approaches.

the Idol


The entirety of Tom DeSimone's The Idol is a well-crafted build from sexual isolation and frustration to sexual freedom and open expression, each successive sex scene progressing the main character, Gary, along in his sexual journey.

The final erotic encounter in The Idol is a romantic and bittersweet one. We know from the beginning that college track star Gary will die at a young age. The film is structured around his funeral, and this final flashback to a moment in his life shows him in bed with his lover (who has been longing for him from afar in the flashbacks until this point). The lighting is soft and blue, with the soundtrack pared down to simply the thunderstorm outdoors accompanied by their murmurings and moans, and the camera pans lingeringly over their entwined bodies. They take their time kissing and fucking to the sounds of rumbling thunder, rain, and wind. DeSimone's strong sense of erotic pacing is highlighted here, creating a potent crescendo of sexual tension. The scene ends as the two collapse into each other in exhaustion after climax and the soundtrack kicks in with a song echoing the claim, "I could never leave you." We know that this statement is untrue. The story has finally brought these men together and has brought Gary to terms with his own sexuality, but these journeys are about to end.

This scene is visually gorgeous, atmospheric, and emotionally effective. Even the sentimentality of some of the devices (the slow-mo at the end, the romantic dialogue) doesn't interfere, but, rather, feels perfectly earned and adds to the ambiance. This is a brilliant example of scene that is, at once, melancholic, romantic, and erotic.
The Destroying Angel


Peter de Rome's The Destroying Angel is easily one of the most unusual films in the Bijou catalog. It tells a Poe-inspired story of a priest on sabbatical who engages in mushroom trips and sex, which hauntingly meld together.

The film uses sexual explicitness to evoke as much horror as eroticism, playing with themes of repression/compulsion and revulsion/attracton. The scene where Caswell (the priest) fucks a young man he meets at a party is deeply unsettling and captivating. The two men eat mushrooms and Caswell observes his doppelganger entering into the action. "How many of us do you see?" he asks his partner. "Just you and me," is the calm reply. But we see the friend jerking off two Caswells at once, as the camera pans over to his double in an eerie moment of trick photography. Caswell seemingly watches himself from both positions. Both Caswells are alternately terrified, confused, maniacal, and sexually ravenous. Horrible yowls and laughs echo on the soundtrack and Caswell comes on his double's face, but won't stop trying to have sex even after his partner is clearly spent. His appetite is insatiable. It takes a sudden cut to achieve an end to the scene, which could have continued interminably in a wild hallucinatory state of unending erotic hunger.

This scene is a nightmarish distortion of sex, frenzied and made of pure compulsion, with Caswell watching himself in horror as if in shock at what he is doing. He can't reconcile himself with his sexuality and it bursts forth from him as if another him has been created, one made of his own repressed sexual side, his shadow self a creature of erotic monstrosity that can only be fed by being given more, more, until eventual destruction must occur.

Steven Toushin's Picks

Bijou owner Steven Toushin's selections are from two additional Steve Scott films (Turned On! also being by Scott): Wanted and Inches.

Wanted

In Wanted, the scene shows brutal, sadistic warden Jack Wrangler as he makes an inmate suck his cock, rifle in hand, then fucks him, while he's supposed to be guarding a chain gang. This scene is especially notable in its depiction of an erotic prison fantasy between warden and prisoner that is not as typically found between men in films.

Inches

In Inches, its the cruisey barroom scene near the end of the film. This scene is relatable to those who were present in the era or who have experienced bar backroom action, capturing a sense of realism in the small details of the scene which make it feel like an actual '70s-era bar backroom, with anonymous sex going on everywhere.

 

Check out these movies and more on DVD at Bijouworld.com and on demand at Bijougayporn.com and don't forget to email or tweet us your favorite Bijou scenes.  You can also comment on this blog.  We look foward to hearing from you!

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Andy
I have several favorite scenes, so I'll try to keep it brief and in no particular order. -- any scene where Jack Wrangler bottoms... Read More
Friday, 12 January 2018 01:13
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