Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Male Mystique

The Male Mystique, by Jacques Boyreau
April, 2004 Chronicle Books

Here's a great but forgotten book which is out of print but luckily can be found for super-cheap online. I'd recommend you snatch it up fast if you're into anything from the sexadelic late '60s/early '70s era.

Composed of magazine ads from various men's magazines from the late '60s on through the late '70s, this book is a true feast for the eyes. Printed on rough paper that makes the lurid colors pop, it's a window into a forgotten time.

Boyreau enlivens the images every few pages with some psuedo-scholarly prose, but for the most part he hits the nail on the head: things were just so much more alive then, so much more real. The ads here -- despite their purely commercial origins -- are alive with an animal pulse that's been neutered in today's bullshit world of mediocrity.

Covering everything from slacks to "male comfort spray," the ads bring to life a world that most likely never really existed: a sex-filled world of glamorous gals and studly guys. It's like a trash fiction picture book. Sure, a prude could whine that some of these ads are a bit too risque, even a tad misogynistic, but hell. At least they aspire to be something, unlike the soulless ads of today.

Here are a few random ads from the book, stolen from about the web -- I don't want to butcher them with my patented crappy digital camera.

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