Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...
Jennifer Gandin Le
Men, Eyeliner, and Sex Appeal
7 Comments | posted April 14th, 2007 at 11:28 am by Jennifer Gandin Le

To me, there is nothing sexier than a man who can work both eyeliner and a sharp suit in turn.

I am not a big hunky-testosterone-muscle-man fan.

I love men who are almost changelings, who can walk that delicious line between masculine and feminine with style. Any man who can do this instantly wins my heart and my loins.

Take, for instance, Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard, from his website Eddie Izzard, in The Riches

(See also: Robert Smith of The Cure, Alan Cumming, the cast of “Velvet Goldmine,” James Marsters of Buffy and Angel fame.)

Mr. Izzard, who currently co-stars with Minnie Driver in the FX show “The Riches,” is a self-described “straight transvestite.” This means that he sleeps with women and enjoys wearing dresses and lipstick. *swoon*

This fluid sexual identity seems so playful and succulent to me, a huge contrast to the either/or sexuality that we’re usually fed in the U.S.

Another part of the appeal is the boldness required to mess with gender identity. You have to be pretty damn secure in your masculinity to wear make-up, and what’s more attractive than deep confidence? Plus, if a man ascribes to looser gender roles around appearance, perhaps he’ll also be more likely to clean up after himself, process and care for his own feelings rather than making the women in his life the arbiters of all things emotional, and generally be open to equal partnership.

I know that this affinity for androgynes is not universal. My good friend, Cheryl, shudders when I admire a guy like this. (Were we both single, we would never walk into a bar and target the same man.) She doesn’t think he’s weird; her tastes just swing far into the super-masculine side of the spectrum.

So I’m interested what my readers think. Femininity in men — aphrodisiac, or appalling?

Eddie Izzard, from his website

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2007 at 11:28 am and is filed under Pop Culture, Relationships, Gender. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 7 responses

  1. Small amounts of crossover are good, like this darling young man I knew who could get away with wearing a pink T-Shirt in public, or men who can cook more than two interesting dishes, or who are willing to express their liking for cute baby chicks (that is to say, the animals, not women!). I agree: it shows confidence and a willingness to break gender stereotypes. The courage is sexy; the challenge to sexism would lead to a much nicer relationship. Full transvestitism might take a bit of getting used to, though.

    April 15th, 2007 | 9:58 am
  2. Theo Gangi

    Can’t comment on what makes men attractive to women– seems pretty subjective. As far as the whole ‘it takes a man who’s secure in his masculinity to wear eyeliner’ thing, I don’t quite buy it, or see the connection to confidence. Would we applaud a woman wearing a jockstrap for her femininity? Androgyny is cool. But so are men and women who comfortable and happy with what they are.

    April 15th, 2007 | 3:26 pm
  3. Kate Torgovnick

    So here you on Robert Smith. (Remind me to tell you the story of when I got to interview him in his hotel room and he made me a gin and tonic and we colored together. Yes, kids, being a reporter is awesome.) Double-dog hear you on Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who may just be the hottest man on the planet. But, um, Eddie Izzard? I don’t know about that.

    April 16th, 2007 | 8:59 am
  4. Hey Lynet! Thanks for your input. I suspected I wasn’t the only woman to adore a man in an apron. :) It’s true, too, that I must be honest with myself — if my husband came out and told me that he enjoys wearing women’s clothing, it would take some adjusting.

    Theo — you bring up a good point, which is that confidence and self-esteem are always sexy, whether they lead you to wearing eyeliner or not. As my mom used to say, “it takes all kinds to make a world.” Usually, she meant it in a negative way, when someone cut her off on the freeway, but I now understand why that’s a very good thing. A whole world of only muscle men or only transvestites would be quite boring.

    Kate — I knew you’d dig the Robert Smith nod! I HAVE TO HEAR this story of the G&T. I remember that you’ve met him but had no idea that you shared alcohol and crayons with him! Be still, my heart!

    April 16th, 2007 | 9:45 am
  5. i wore eyeliner in my last movie. i was the flashy guy. it was allright.. i could see the sex appeal..

    now in real life, i wouldnt ever wear pink. dont care that women like it. dont care that its become mainstream or classy. its pink. i.e. girly.

    actually, i have a set of rules for my wardrobe. they apply to me alone, but im sure many could learn a thing or two.

    April 16th, 2007 | 1:50 pm
  6. Theo Gangi

    I disagree that pink is only for girls. hot pink maybe.

    April 16th, 2007 | 9:12 pm
  7. Cesar, what kind of Erasure fan are you? Eschewing pink and girly clothing choices? ;) Also, I’m intrigued by your wardrobe rules… maybe that’s a whole other post for your blog. I’ll be tuning in…

    April 17th, 2007 | 3:33 pm

Leave a reply