A piece published in the Guardian yesterday has forced me to come to terms with something I've been fighting for a long time, which is this: I think male cleavage is kind of hot.
Not on everyone, of course, but there are some particularly jerky-seeming guys like Russell Brand and Jude Law that really rock the douche look (though, to be fair, who doesn't think Jude Law is sexy?). Maybe it's because of my repeated exposure to college-aged hipsters, or maybe it's just because Russell Brand is kind of hot. Either way, I have to disagree with Jess Cartner-Morley, who begs men to just "put it away."
The "it" she refers to is their "male cleavage." Cartner-Morley is very, very bothered by the recent trend toward plunging v-necks. Cleavage, she seems to think, is only for the ladies. She writes:
I have tried, really I have, to look on the bright side and welcome this development as a step toward gender equality. But (a) is it not a little depressing that of everything women have contributed to civilisation, it is displaying your naked chest that men have picked up on, and (b) well, just, eew. I can't take it any more... Gentlemen, please. Put it away.
Perhaps she is trying to be funny, but this is quite possibly the stupidest paragraph I have read this week. I can't imagine Cartner-Morley would take it too kindly if a male writer started telling women to cover up the few inches of chest we're allowed to show in public, or if she were forced, in the heat of August, to hide any part of her body that was arbitrarily deemed too "eew" for display.
However, this isn't about gender equality. V-neck shirts aren't a step toward mutual objectification. They're not even really new; they've gone in and out of vogue for the past forty years or so. Furthermore, I'd like to argue the opposite: on the right guy, this can actually look pretty damn sexy.
There is no denying the douche-connotations that come with showing that much skin. Something about the low cut top on men has always felt a little too showy, but isn't that the point? They think their bodies are worth showing, maybe they even want you to look. And if you don't like it, well, fuck you. These guys simply don't care that you think their shirts are too low—or so I like to imagine. I think the allure of a look like this lies 50% in the mere fact that they're confident enough to "flaunt" their bodies, as Cartner-Morley puts it, and 50% in the defiant attitude that it seems to convey. Justin Bobby doesn't give two shits about what you think of his dumb hat—and that's why it's hot. Jude Law isn't going to go pull on a polo just because you don't like his chest hair, which makes him all the more sexy. And I still don't know what it is about Russell Brand—seriously, why do I find him so attractive, yet so loathsome?—but the man really knows how to work a v-neck. So, dear men of the world: Don't stop flaunting it just because some ladies aren't on board. There are some of us who appreciate your hairy chests and your plunging t-shirts.
The Male Cleavage: Put It Away, Boys! [Guardian]