In Which We Decode

Grandpa still got it goin on.

Is there anything more ephemeral than advertising? You know what they say, mass mind control today, gone tomorrow. And yet some ads live on, almost always because some homo gay has either a) fetishized it like the Brawny papertowel guy or b) decided there is gay relevance in there hidden by code.

Code was the way queers were able to find each other and to express themselves during the years of repression we had to tolerate. Making eye contact with some stranger and then following him into a toilet is all well and good for sex, but for communicating in various media, we needed a way to hide in plain view. And thus, code.

The most perfect example of this, I think, are these weird ads from Schlitz beer from the 1950s. They all appeared as three illustrated panels followed by the internal monologue of one of the heroes.

I love how this one evolves from a three way to a more simple queer-with-daddy-issues thingie.

They all start off with the same pronouncement: “I was curious.” Of course, “curious” nowadays is understood to mean “looking for hot dick, but I want to maintain plausible deniability.” In the Eisenhower America these ads appeared in, the word would not have had those lurid overtones, but the illustrations make it clear that what he’s actually curious about is what’s in the other guy’s pants.

The rest of the text is bland advertising naff, but that’s where the artwork takes over and really spins these beauties into the love that dares not speak its name, but really likes to hint around about it.

“Eyes up here, buddy.”

Every one of the ads has the second panel with the ladies dropping out to leave the boys alone and with one of them (usually the more experienced one, ready to lead the other down the primrose path of butt sex) sporting a knowing look on his face. A look that says “I’ve got the cure for that itchy prostate.”

There is a lot of intergenerational shenanigans going on in these. The wise, old shaman introducing the naive younger one to the insights of same sex bonding. Also, anal.

The final panel is my favorite, with our two lads now closing in for the clinch and both of them bright eyed, leering at each other and probably popping a stiffy. If there had been a fourth panel, can there be any doubt sodomy would have been involved?

I’m also very impressed with this one’s daring butt shot opener and then the romantic closer with Eugene and Dave admitting they each find the other dreamy.

Guys who would have blown those old poofs out of the water.

I just love a mostly hard dick just flopping around.

I bet that guy in the beach-y ad knows his way around some lingerie.

Books and cute guys. What could be better?

This guy is a redhead named Charles Pacquette. He’s my new favorite.

I have always had a weakness for big, dumb lunks. I’ve admitted it before, I am not ashamed.

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

15 responses »

  1. I didn’t know that “Milwaukee” once meant “wild butt sex!” Now that I know that about one part of Wisconsin, I wonder what “Green Bay Packers” means…


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