The Vanity Fair article has a fascinating Annie Liebowitz cover photograph of Tiger Woods's without a shirt — fascinating because the great athlete looks so different from those Men's Health-type torso models who work their muscles solely for the purpose of getting their muscles to look the way people these days want to see muscles looking and who squeeze out the excess fat so we can get the best look at those muscles. By contrast, Tiger looks slightly porky and squishy. That's not a criticism. That's a suggestion that, knowing the functionality of the torso we're gazing at — and I'm including the sexual functionality — we ought to adjust our taste in male beauty.I think she has a good point. Our tastes in male torsos have changed considerably over the last few decades. Consider these heart-throbs of yesteryear: here's a shot of Gregory Peck in 1947 in the film Yellow Sky:
and of course the great Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes (1968):
Men like these used to set pulses racing, but how many of them would be considered out of shape and overweight today? I blame Calvin Klein: once we were exposed to thirty-storey billboards of Marky Mark in his underwear looming over Times Square, it was game over for the beefy studs of yesteryear.
Out with the battle-scarred sod-busting heroes and in with the vulgar vapid hairless rapping skateboarders. This is progress?