Turned On at the Barber Shop

posted by Madame Bubby

“There's one lady barber that made good,” croons Mae West, singing Delilah in the opera Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saens in an attempt to be a high-class dame.
 

Mae West as Delilah

Since my regular haircut lady retired and moved to Florida, I've been searching for a haircut place. After a few unsatisfactory visits to a salonesque male haircut place (blasting music, “cool” décor, a differentiation between a stylist and barber), I settled on a place in walking distance of my house that bills itself as a barbershop.

Think old-fashioned barbershop. Plan white walls and white floor tile, the iconic striped barbershop pole, a box for hot towels, straight razor shaves… The place bills itself as offering a “masculine” experience, emphasizing for example playing sporting events on the television (I go in the morning purposely as to not be subject to “the game”).
 

Vintage glass barber shop pole

But lest one think this is some kind of man-cave redneck frat boy paradise, its clientele, because of its location, are mostly gay. And as far as I know, the place employs at least two lady barbers.

I've set myself up with a totally straight, married with kids, overall kind of nondescript by celebrity standards of beauty Russian barber. The heart to heart confidences I enjoyed with my regular haircut lady don't occur, but it's kind of a relief to go on about subjects such as lawn mowing and home repair.

But if the conversation isn't stimulating, I noticed I am feeling that twinge in my shorts when he grooms me. That's what he is doing, and he takes much time in grooming the beard and mustache and the eyebrows after the haircut. The last time, his bare hand touched my face, not purposely, but it was certainly stimulating, however brief.

And add to that sensation the shaving cream, the straight razor, and to provide some form of climax, the the hot towel on the face.

Perhaps the turn on comes from just being in that chair, not free to move, no glasses on my face. I can zone out and just let him in his manner “do me.”

Hmm... one might say, why don't you just go for a massage if you want some hand action, and you could get some young hot stud to touch you…

Yes, I could, but maybe it's the subtlety of the experience, and that it's homoerotic without being overtly sexual, and that it allows more room for fantasy, that creates that increasingly irresistible turn on.

For more homoerotic grooming/shaving imagery, check out of one of our best-selling posters, "Close Shave".
 

Close Shave poster
"Close Shave" poster

Two classic Steve Scott porn films feature related scenes: A Few Good Men (1983) opens with an extended sequence of a young military recruit having his head shaved and his mouth filled with dick (belonging to Al Parker, seen only from the waist down) and I Do! (1984) features a barber shop sequence between customer Andy Fuller and his beefy barber (Joe Marconi), who kneels to give him head at the shampoo sink.
 

A Few Good Men and I Do images
Images from Steve Scott's A Few Good Men & I Do!

And check out two Bijou original series: Love a Man With a Beard (Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4) and Love a Man With a Mustache (Volumes 1, 2, and 3), collections of hot vintage porn scenes for fans of men with facial hair.
 

Beard and mustache compilation images
Images from Bijou's beard and mustache series
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Bawdy Gay Latvia!

posted by Madame Bubby

Surprises abound when sifting through the wealth of LGBTQ archival material at Bijou Video. I picked up an issue of a 1970s vintage gay porn monograph or serial (not sure) called Hard? A Pictorial and Literary Study, which is comprised mostly of explicit gay sex photos, with a running text by one Dr. Jack Muller. In other words, to pass the censors, even at that time when restrictions on such material were easing up, the publication is billed as “Educational Material for Adults Only.”

Muller gives in this issue an ambitious history and analysis of pornography. I found his discussion of censorship and homosexuality and its expression interesting, and it correlates to some extent with my previous blog on this subject.

It's painfully obvious the Church/Empire nexus that began under Constantine drove any type of sex other than heteronormative procreative sex into the shadows, while at the same time creating single-sex environments, such as monastic communities. that contained homoerotic “meta-structures.” In fact, bawdy, ribald literature, though mostly heterosexual, was preserved, but also originated in medieval European monasteries, whose inhabitants were copying manuscripts of sexually explicit materials by Roman poet Ovid and others. (And in many cases not just copying, but “enacting” the actions depicted in the texts with each other.)
 

Ovid Manuscript
Ovid Manuscript
Source: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/ovid-amores/manuscript-tradition-ovids-amores

Meanwhile, on what was then the edge of European civilization, Constantinople (the Eastern Orthodox Church) and Rome (the Roman Catholic Church) each fought for the conversion of the Slavs to Christianity, but as was the case in Europe, it was often difficult to discern a boundary between “pagan” or “heathen” cultures and the institutional dynamics of the Church. (In fact, the binary of pagan versus Christian is actually a later interpretation, a narrative built on the idea that the Church was one monolithic entity opposing an inaccurate lumping together of the pluralistic, syncretistic religious universe of the ancient world as paganism.)
 

Map of Latvia in the Middle Ages
Map of Latvia in the Middle Ages

The Slavic Lithuanians actually did not officially convert to Roman Catholicism until 1387, as a condition of union with Roman Catholic Poland. The motive was political, a top-down move by the rulers (as was the case previously with European countries).

Latvia, Lithuania's neighbor to the north, was also a late convert to Christianity, the process occurring in the 12th - 13th centuries; in fact, the local populace in the countryside maintained their pagan belief systems for several centuries, with pockets of paganism surviving in Latvia up until the 17th century.
 

Krisjanis Barons
Krisjanis Barons
Source: https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/92085/lnb_zl_17879.html

One form of erotic expression that survived in Latvia was the daina, and thanks to the writer and editor Krisjanis Barons (1835-1923), part of the “folk-nationalist” movement the Young Latvians (at that time Latvia had been absorbed into the Russian Empire), these were written down and systematized in several volumes.

The dainas were short, rhymed verses in sing-song meters easy to remember orally, reflecting on the cycle of life and death; humans live as integral, organic participants in a natural landscape, and this landscape of course includes sexual activity. Love, the selection of a partner, and marriage with that partner are common themes, and mostly heterosexual, but Dr. Muller, using a book by by Bud Berzing, Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts, quotes several which are blatantly describe homosexual acts.
 

Cover of Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts

One wonders, though, if these elements might have been, given the overall patrilineal emphasis in Latvian culture (even before the dominance of the Church), sung to mock and even abuse, especially foreign oppressors like the Teutonic Knight and Order of Livonia Germans who colonized Latvia in the Middle Ages:

It's a German with an aching head,
While my dunghole's hurting bad;
Come on German, place your head
Close to my dunghole.”

And:

“This boy, a pal of mine,
Has a two-headed pecker;
When he works in the drying barn,
He don't need any fork.”

“Come, laddie, rake some hay,
I got a place for stacking it,
I need one handy guy
To drive a stick in it.”
 

Latvian gay poetry in Hard?: A Pictorial and Literary Study
Latvian gay poetry featured in Hard?: A Pictorial and Literary Study

These types of verses (which were sung out loud at weddings and other events that celebrated life cycle moments) shocked a seventeenth-century German bishop named Paul Einhorn. He wrote, in his Historie lettice in 1649, “Afterwards such improper, brazen, and flippant songs were sung without interruption, day and night, that even the devil himself could not have devised and put forth anything more improper and lewd." The early modern European emphasis on enclosure and boundaries in a time when nation-states were trying to figure how religious institutions fit into their political and social goals spelt doom for many ancient customs that found profound value in the physical cycles of nature.

This was the time when the English Puritans banned the “heathenish” Christmas (albeit temporarily), Counter-Reformation popes covered up nudes, authorities everywhere burned witches and heretics and homosexuals at the stake, and Louis XIV proclaimed that he was the state, which meant vicious persecution and exile for the French Protestants (Huguenots). And a German bishop couldn't deal with euphemisms for genitalia!

It's interesting that it took a nationalist movement of resistance to rediscover and disseminate these songs, which have survived to this day even as new theocratic, nationalistic empires like Putin's Russia (and remember, Latvia had been part of the former Soviet Union) try to censor, subvert, control, and for LGBTQ persons, eliminate sexual expression.

SOURCES:

Wikipedia, entries on Krisjanis Barons, religion in Latvia, Christianization of Lithuania

Encyclopedia.com, entry on Dainas.

Muller, Jack, “How to Be Circumspect,” in Hard?: A Pictorial and Literary Study

Berzing, Bud, Songs of the Ancient Letts

Dryer, Richard. “Ovid in the Middle Ages,” at http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~aranar/genealogy/ovid.htm

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