Every day, somebody somewhere sputters, “They ain’t makin’ ‘em like they usedta.”
And this is true. So, there I was, watching The Maltese Falcon, thinking about what it is about Bogey that gets me hot and bothered every single goddamned time. See, a guy recently emailed me to lightly chastise me for erroneously attributing the “When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it,” line of Bogey’s to him making Peter Lorre his bitch. (It has been at the bottom of this blog’s sidebar since day one, the bottom of my original blog’s sidebar, too.) I told him I thought I was right, and just moved on (and, yes, I am right). Today, I dug out the disc and began watching it, savouring the flick along with my toasted and buttered peasant bread, and dank, dank New Zealand cheddar, and dark coffee.
And just like the butter, I slowly melted as I watched Bogey; lying there on the floor, longing for a man who has that same mix of brashness and humour and sensitivity and lust and brood to step out of the shadows to a saxophone soundtrack playing behind the scenes in my life.
Goddamned right they ain’t making them like they used to. They’ve never made ‘em like Bogey. It’s a fucking crime his career wasn’t longer.
What makes him sexy? Scratch that. What is sexy? What is it that turns us on and keeps us revving? How do we define an idea, an intangible? For some women, it’s a guy wearing only a jock under seersucker pants. For others, it’s cracked and aged black leather paired with jeans and a wife-beater and topped with stubble (sigh). For still more, it’s that metrosexual gleam that comes from the coif and the couture.
But Bogey, he had none of that. A face like a weathered horse, the man was no Errol Flynn. His voice had that gravelly vocal twang and he always had that inimitable sparkle in his eye when he grinned or leered. He oozed sexuality in a time of repression, and because he didn’t have the lustful good looks of the A-List stars, he got away with it. He was an average guy that could eyeball a woman in a way that conveyed exactly the kind of confident and daring lover you knew he’d be. You just knew he’d pin you against the wall and devour you. You knew he’d be as comfortable submitting to you as dominating you. It just showed.
There’s something about the way a man can unapologetically own a woman through his looks (or vice versa), yet offer no intimidation by ever even suggesting it’s about ownership. There’s something about expressing lust through your eyes – real, true, now-here, for-as-long-as-we-can lust. And Bogey broke the ground and set the pace for an entire legion of men who’d grow up wanting to have what he exemplified. Bogey set a new standard for sexy, something we’re still trying to figure out in this day and age of plastic surgery and air-brushing, and something we keep missing the mark of.
It’s not about the dimples, the white teeth, the hard body, the fine coif. It’s about you knowing what you want and knowing how to show it. It’s about learning how to communicate with your eyes, with your lips, with your words, with your body language. How to think something like, “I’d love to throw you down and keep you there until we’re both utterly spent and gasping in musky pools of our own sweat” and let it be read only through your eyes and the purse of your lips.
And Bogey, he had that. Throw into it the ability to adopt dozens of different smiles, the coy mannerisms of his foot shuffle, his playful body language and suggestive head tilts, the way he searched a room or his scene’s companion for changes in mood and worked with it, and that incredible focus he had in his gaze, and the guy could be 5’1 and a buck-10, and he’d still have the sex appeal of an animal. Some guys just have it, and Bogey, he did.
I’ve known a couple guys who had it, and to this day I see their faces in my mind some nights when I’m alone, or even with a man. They’re always unforgettable, those guys, but it’s that gleam in the eye you remember. Yep. There’s something about a gleam… and it’s one of the reasons leaving the lights on during sex is so fucking hot. Too many of us can’t muster that gleam outside the act itself, so leaving the lights enables you to see your lover drinking you in like that… well, mm, there’s not many images that you just want to freeze-frame forever, but that’s sure as hell one of them.
Me, I’m very conscious of how and what I emote with my eyes. There are guys who set my eyes a blazin’ and I make a point of letting that show. Those nights, I don’t even have to mention that sex is on the mind, it’s just that damned obvious. It’s not needy or desperate, it’s confident and suggestive. You don’t even have to say the words. It’s like seeing a movie with a great director pulling the strings, some things are left unsaid but are unmistakably clear in intent. It’s fucking hot, whoever’s doing it, and it’s part of what defines sexy. Knowing what you want, and being ballsy enough to show it. Or just damned well taking it (when consent is obvious).
When it comes to men, it’s a pity there aren’t more Bogeys. Or Js. Or Clints. Or Newmans. Or Depps. Sure, the latter are pretty boys, but it’s more than that. They discovered sexy, what it really means, what it really is. That it’s a quality, not a look, not an image, not a brand name. It’s just a thing inside you that you learn to put on display, and it’s uniquely you, whatever it is. You find your way to that place, that confident spot, and it compensates immeasurably. It just shows.
Creativity’s an organic process; I know what I want to write for y’all, but I can’t help it if something flicks the switch and something else comes out. This morning, I was sweeping the kitchen, dancing around, listening to cheesy ’80s music, when this posting occurred to me. Remembering some of this fodder made me laugh out loud, and I’ve still got a grin on my face. So, hopefully you find the diversion fun. I’ll deliver on the Vixen thing.
When I was in Grade 4/5, Wham! took the world by storm. As always, I was a latebloomer, and I fell for them in Grade 7. George Michael made me swoon. Those lips, those eyes, and oh, my god, that ass.
I would dance around my pink bedroom with Freedom playing on full blast. I dreamed of nothing more than somehow encountering my idol and having an affair. Surely he liked 13-year-old girls, I thought. I mean, eight more months and I, too, would be 13. We would kiss. Madly. Sex wasn’t something I’d be considering much for at least another four or five years, but kissing…
A year or two after that, I saw him walking down the street in Vancouver with this Asian woman on his arms. A few months down the road, she’d come to fame as his lover from the video I Want Your Sex, the famed torso upon which the pop star would write, in lipstick, “Explore monogamy.” I clued in pretty fast, guys like exotic chicks, not 13 year olds, and they liked sex, not kissing, and they liked flat little torsos, it seemed.
But that didn’t faze me. I still loved my George. When I discovered masturbation, George was there with me, that sexy bare chest in those little shorts he used to wear. I didn’t even have to imagine George doing anything to me. The fantasy was an album signing. He looked up. Our eyes locked. I creamed my pants. One glance from George, it seemed, was enough to do me in. Oh, George! (gush) Naturally, masturbation then consisted of dry-humping an interesting pile of teddy bears and pillows contoured in, frankly, very strange places, while holding a little teen magazine with the latest male hottie with a perfect smile on the cover. (Oh, GEORGE!)
Honestly, when I was young, I missed the bus to Hipville. It took me a while to grow out of dorkness. My mom was a bit of a hippy, and my clothes were often homemade and things like that, or just badly chosen. It wasn’t until I left private school (Catholic… think kilts and knee-highs, boys… ooh, tartan) and did public school that I finally found a clue.
George kept me company in those dark years. Corey Hart kinda helped, too, and Michael J. Fox. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been a Johnny Depp girl since 1991.
The best thing I ever did for my sex life in my teens, though, was to buy a pair of Doc Martens. My first weekend in them, Josh. Oh, Joshie, Joshie, Joshie. German and Japanese. What a fucking studmuffin. (I always remember my friend having to explain what a studmuffin was to her confused father. “Why, Daddy, it’s a stud you can really sink your teeth into.”) Josh was built for lovin’ – he was 6’4, broad shoulders, and lips that made for smothering, baby.
Yep. One kiss from Josh and I figured, huh, these boots are something. See, he spots me at a party with all our mutual friends, me and my 13-hole docs, and beelines over, commenting that cherry was always the sexiest colour for him. “Oxblood,” I corrected him. Our lips locked shortly after that for the ultimate in gropefests on the back steps. It was the first time a boy ever grabbed my boobs and squeezed and groped, the first time I knew what it felt like for a boy to fumble as to tried to get under the bra and over the breast, and the first time I ever had the distinct feeling of being moist in public.
Naturally, Josh told the world that it had been us who was making the camper a-rockin’, and a classic teen “But I’m not a slut, that was SUZY!” drama unfolded. But I learned something important then. Image was everything, and George wasn’t doing me no favours. I started experimenting with music and quickly found U2 and Front 242, and learned that bad was good, and haven’t looked back since. These days, I’m a punk rock poser-girl some of the time, but usually just a nitty-gritty indie rock kinda gal. No, no Docs these days, but my Skechers are kinda cute.
Funny thing, though. A while back, I had this guy I was sorta wooin’ after dinner. We were interacting, on the cusp of sex, but the nerves were in the way, so instead we were standing too far apart, with that invisible awkwardness barrier repelling us. My iPOD developed a mind of its own and suddenly Wham! spun on.
Don’t leave me hangin’ on like a yo-yo”
Next thing you know, the boy and I were bouncing around the kitchen, laughing and singing, washing dishes, cleaning up, and naturally, a spot of water on the floor yielded a well-placed slip, and we collided into each other, against the counter, collectively gasped, locked lips, fumbled about, and the rest unfolded exactly as it should, upon my bed.
I guess our liabilities aren’t always what they seem, and the past is never as far away as we’d like to think. But is that so bad? That night, it wasn’t.
PS: Incidentally, of all my teen idols, GM’s the only one I still find sexy. Not my type per se anymore, but still has “it”.