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The ‘International Male’ Catalog Will Find You Again


If you are, let’s say, a younger queer Baby Boomer or any age in the Gen X spectrum, it is almost a certainty that you once (or many, many, many times) laid eyes on the International Male catalog. Before you ever had the nerve to come out, somehow that catalog found its way to your home. It knew your name. It knew what you wanted. Even if you never dared buy a mesh thong or fluffy pirate blouse or screaming orange jump suit, it knew that the image of very attractive male models wearing those clothes (especially the underwear, where no bulge was left on the editing room floor) was going to appeal to you in some spiritual way. Over three decades the IM catalog was, as much as any Calvin Klein underwear billboard, a window into queer male aesthetics. And now it’s a film. All Man: The International Male Movie, currently in production, from directors Bryan Darling and Jesse Finley Reed, will explore just what it meant to be an iconic part of the male-on-male gaze’s impact on mainstream culture. Interview subjects so far: Carson Kressley, Jake Shears, and former IM models Brian Buzzini and Steve Lyon. We’re sure more will follow. And we’ll be following this project’s progress until it’s ready for its place in the horny nostalgic sun.

In 2017 when we last spoke of Bad Hair, a horror comedy from Dear White People creator Justin Simien, there was only a goofy intention to create a film about a haunted hair weave that troubles the existence of an aspiring pop music singer in 1989 (peak New Jack Swing, and we have deep hopes for a Karyn White-meets-Keith Sweat soundtrack). Now there’s a finished feature and it’s hitting 2020’s Sundance Film Festival. It cannot hurt this movie’s prospects that since 2017, the British film In Fabric, a horror comedy about a murderous red dress, has drawn praise from critics and paved the way for more entries in the cinematic subgenre of The Haunted Item. Loving the cast, too: Elle Lorraine (Insecure), Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Blair Underwood and Laverne Cox. We’re extremely ready for this one to flip our wig.

Romeo San Vicente wore the International Male mesh bikini brief because he wanted to and because he looked amazing in it.

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