Archive for the ‘Mansub poster boy of the day’ Category

So you may be wondering what the arse the criteria are that I’m picking my mansub poster boys on. It’s a bit of a misnomer, perhaps. It might be more accurate to call them ‘Men that take my fancy’. Really, I suppose, they’re just guys that for one reason of another have caused the ears to prick up on that bit of me that likes suffering men. But that’s not very catchy, and I can’t be arsed to rename it now, so we’ll stick with ‘mansub poster boy of the day’. /disclaimer.


KrycekToday’s MPB is Alex Krycek. Now, I have little helpful to say about Krycek, because the X-Files was so bloody long ago that I can barely remember any details. All I remember was this utterly desperate man on the run. Desperate enough to do anything to survive. He started off working for the bad guys, so the good guys already hated him, and then he cocked up and pissed off the bad guys too, and pretty soon all of the world’s most powerful organisations were after him. He had to get pretty creative to stay alive. At one point he even had his arm cut off by some escapees from a gulag (it was injecting experimental drugs into their left arms). Really, when you’re at the point where you’re chopping off bits of yourself just to stay alive a tiny bit longer, that’s real desperation. What reason does he have to live at this point? Basically none. We’re talking sheer animal instinct. Which means a kind of dehumanisation. No, not really dehumanisation, more de-civilisation. Or something. The point is, if you could get your hands on this guy you really could get him to do anything you wanted. And you’d still have that sharp little edge of knowing he’d turn right round and kill you in a heartbeat if you messed up and gave him the opportunity.

I love desperation. I love men on the run. I would quite happily get out the dogs and chase Krycek myself. Mm. Yeah, that’d be a lot of fun. Or maybe a helicopter. Yeah, helicopter and insanely high-tech tracking equipment. I’d love to chase a guy in a helicopter. Hm, I’ve just remembered… oh god, was it a Jean Claud van Damme movie? The one with the guy who later played the Mummy. The bad guys were organising literal manhunts for depraved rich men, paying down and out soldiers to be the game.

You know, I always sit down thinking I have nothing to say, and then all kinds of crap just starts pouring out. I should probably make some effort to make it make some kind of sense. Ah, who has time for that?

Anyway. Sadly there seem to be no real clips of Krycek on YouTube, only those bloody fan-vids, but I managed to find a fan-vid that wasn’t set to Celine Dion, so here we go.


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Johnny Castle

Another boy from the wrong side of the tracks relying on his body to make a living. Dancing is Johnny’s only marketable skill, and he’s poorly paid even for that. He depends on the ‘generosity’ of wealthy, powerful older women, who only want him for his body, paying him to dance with them, and sometimes a little bit more. They toy with him and then cast him aside at will. Meanwhile, all the ‘respectable’ employees despise him, seeing him as a piece of trash who’ll never amount to anything. Even Baby’s kindly doctor father assumes he’s a piece of scum who knocked up his partner and sent her to a backstreet abortionist. But however badly they treat him, he still has to swallow his pride and cowtow to them, because he just can’t afford to lose that job. His anger and resentment bubble away just under the surface, but can’t dispel his deep-rooted shame and feelings of worthlessness.

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Major Richard SharpeRichard Sharpe is a big, tough, rough-and-tumble, suffering (half anti-) hero. He’s been constantly crapped on since day one. His mother was a whore, he grew up in an orphanage, and joined the army (his body being his only means of making a living, and we know how I feel about that) hoping to die there. He was made an officer after his reckless, self-destructive courage saved Arthur Wellesley’s life, and then had to convince the (equally rough and sordid) men in his unit he was worth following. (There was contempt. There were fist fights. It was glorious.) His fellow officers, all bluebloods, do their best to humilate him and point out the shame of his background at every turn. He’s been flogged for a crime he didn’t commit (the most brutal and shameful punishment available), seen his first wife murdered, and his second wife, a seemingly sweet thing whom he rescued from an abusive uncle, left him for a ‘proper’ officer, taking all his money with her.

Women all round the world used to tune in every week to see what horrible things were going to be done to him next. We revel in his suffering as much as his toughness.

Plus, you know, Sean Bean (who I could quite happily listen to just reading the phone book). He manages to bring some necessary vulnerability to the role – the character isn’t half so attractive in the books.

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As Ranat mentioned a particularly nice Wolverine moment, I thought I’d go and dig it out. And then I noticed the bit afterwards, where he brings Rogue back by letting her suck the life out of him. All really good evidence of BJ’s assertion that heroism and masochism are close colleagues. So many heroes seem to go out of their way to get into situations where they can suffer and save at the same time. There’s some serious masochism in Wolverine.

I also spotted the nice bit in X2 where he finds the place he was ‘made’ – you know, the bit with naked, bloody Wolverine.

But when I went to upload the videos, YouTube marked them straight away as copyright violations. Dagnamit. Is this the end of my video content?

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I’m really not a big fan of Ben McKenzie. He’s the least convincing boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks ever. But I am a big fan of emotionally tortured men going cage fighting in a vain attempt to get a moment’s respite from their pain.

Here’s why I got sucked into the OC. I turned on the tv one day and found this playing:

A bruised and bloodied young man, living in squalor, avoiding the people who care about him, and sneaking off to a cheap motel to meet a wealthy older woman? Yep, sounds like my kind of thing. So I kept watching, and the episode progressed like this:

Cage-fighting, emotional dysfunction, and revenge.

And that’s how I ended up watching the OC. Of course, it turned out to be largely bollocks, but it does have good archetypes, and I love me an archetype.

Can I have my credibility back? Extenuating circumstances? Oh, screw it, sexuality makes us all do odd things. I embrace my inner cheap-tv-fan.

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One of my favourite men-in-pain is Wolverine. ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘Every time.’ Plus, you know, he was a test subject for a mad scientist, locked up, tied down, all manner of horrible things done to his body. He’s practically a mansub poster boy. Then there’s the whole unrequited love thing.

So, I went to edit together that clip, and then realised there’s a whole other thing in there that I love. Cage fighting.

There’s something really great about a man fighting for money. It’s degrading, but it’s a particularly masculine form of degradation. I guess it’s the macho equivalent of prostitution – when all else fails, when you’re desperate enough, when you’ve got nothing else to sell, you sell your body for other people’s pleasure and profit. I don’t know why so much of stereotypical femdom/mansubbery involves trying to degrade a man with forced fem or housework. Apart from the fact that, like Beej, I find it utterly insulting, and profoundly unsexy, there’s also just no need. There’s a perfectly good form of masculine degradation, degradation which is macho and tough and therefore actually hot for women, right here. Cage fighting, pit fighting, even forced thuggery – they all reek of shame and desperation and powerlessness, and other people’s use of your body. He’s down about as far as he can go. And he’s still fighting. Yum.

(Course, male prostitution appeals, too, in the right light. There’s a great piece of OC slash where Ryan’s a ‘hustler’. And yes, I know, it’s profoundly embarrassing that I’ve watched the OC, but I’ll explain why as soon as I can find the time to upload the relevant clip. Anyway, slash, Ryan, hooker, part 1 here and part 2 here.)

Then, maybe they can find a way to claw they way out of that world and struggle to make a better life for themselves, but there are some people who just won’t let them forget it, and keep trying to drag them back down… Mm. I love flawed heroes, repentant sinners, men struggling to escape the shame of their past. Jase Dyer in Eastenders, trying to put his violent past behind him, but hounded by the firm he ran with as a desperate teen. Ryan in the OC, trying to better himself, but constantly being dragged down by those around him. Michael Garibaldi in B5, a decent and competent man, but a recovering alcoholic, and people just won’t let him forget it. Russell Crowe’s ex-gunslinger priest in the Quick and the Dead, forced to face his past by his angry former compadres. Guilt, shame, remorse, and a dark side barely held in check; a heady cocktail.

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I was talking a couple of posts back about men who fight for their sovereignty. Big tough men who fight the bad guys, protect the weak, save the day – how much more wonderful when they fall.

I love the Lost episode A Tale of Two Cities, the opening episode of season 3. I love it for many reasons, but especially for the interplay between Jack, newly captured by the others, and Juliet, assigned to break him.

I love the way Juliet goes about this. She doesn’t shout, or posture, or throw her weight around. Noone calls anyone bitch. There isn’t even any violence. Just one-sided power, vain resistance, and eventual surrender.

And, of course, a hot guy crying.


Here are the key scenes. Apologies for the four videos – WordPress won’t let me embed a playlist. On the plus side, that means that if you just want to watch Matthew Fox cry, you can skip to the end.

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