The picture says it all. Welcome to Istanbul.
In Turkey, it is not uncommon to see men linking arms and walking down the street as such. In fact, men here have a peculiar way of simultaneously trying to walk with a muscular swagger WHILE linking arms. Somehow they think it makes their pudgy little pectorals bulge---well kind of. I'm a little too distracted by the amount of hair grease.
But that aside, I wanted to discuss the fashion: i.e. the tight (and fake) Diesel pants, the tight (and fake) Abercrombie and Fitch polos, the tighter button ups of various bright colors (think pastel orange in bright pink), the suits with glittery stripes, and lets not forget the graphic tees that say things like, "Love me" with a heart on them--things probably even some of the most flaming of men out there would not buy.
Yet all of these guys take extra time to check me out.
Today at work I was reading an article on masculinity in migrant and minority populations. To give you the short summary of a long article, young men who are marginalized (for ethnic/racial/socioeconomic reasons) will often tag this to their bodies and physical appearance--maybe why the workmen here wear collared shirts and leather shoes. Men in these populations will adhere to masculinity codes of their country or culture of origin as a way of asserting their equality as men. However, these codes are not necessarily what modern society wants--c'mon I don't need to see 10 guidos in tight pants to think they are men. In fact, women modern society in modern cities sometimes reward the more effeminate man. Plus, in their self-gender fashioning, men will tend to isolate themselves with only men--thus they don't really know how to approach a women (weird looks on the street). In the end, they marginalize themselves.
So take this to fashion, at the "Boyz II Men" boutique near my house in the picture above. Maybe Istanbulers are isolating themselves from modernity because they don't quite know how to take high fashion magazines and water them down to livable fashion. The article also states all men (gay and straight) are trying to rediscover masculinity because of a lack of "rite of passage" rituals--but Istanbul has those. So essentially this self-fashioning is giving me a bunch of "men" when I just want a man with a boyish humility--who won't try to look at my ass SO OBVIOUSLY on the subway.
Vanity of the Day
The Marc Jacobs Fall RTW 2009 collection. Looks like the effeminate male graduate student at the Yale Art and Architecture library: a mix between prepster (because they found out they were going to YALE c'mon, so they had to go to J Crew) and some remnants of their past lives as hipster/punksters. See the shoes and glasses. They could be eating an asparagus a day... Something about them is hot though. They give into the beauty without trying to be masculine--in doing so, they defy masculinity and become all the more tempting.
Maybe I'm bullshitting to prove a point. Fail.
Regardless, the one on the far left has a nice face.