Writing: Clothes Make the Man!

Posted: May 13, 2009 in Marquesate, Military Gay Erotic Fiction, Writing
Tags: , ,

Well, do they? I wager they very much do indeed, especially in fiction. Of course, I would say that, since I exclusively write fiction about soldiers, and those uniforms very much do make the men, but the question is, why?

Inspired by a fascinating (or several) discussion(s) in my camo men forum, I’ve been thinking about what turns me on and what turns me off as a writer, and why do I write what I write.


Clothes are symbols, even the most innocuous t-shirt and jeans are a symbol, a sign, they tell something about the wearer, and the viewer or recipient or reader of that symbol/sign interprets it within their own context, and a generally agreed one, as part of everyone’s personal context. Just like the process during reading we reflect on and interpret clothing, styles, etc. And what they stand for. As an example, the reading process:

  1. readers are following the unfolding story characters, plot, etc.
  2. readers are reflecting continuously on relationships between all the elements in the story and their own experience
  3. parallel processes generate emotional charge and overall response

Of course, the moment we are getting into the territory of uniforms (and much has been written about such uniforms as youth “uniforms”, etc), we are firmly in the land of symbolism in its strongest form.

And what does a uniform symbolise? I’d like to open the floor, here, instead of listing what they stand for for me. I will post that later.

What do uniforms symbolise for you? Why do you read what I write (if you read me, that is).

What turns me on as a writer? What men do I find fascinating enough to write about? No need to guess much: men in uniform, but it has to be military. Police and firemen don’t cut it. In a civilian setting: men with tough bodies in simple clothing: jeans (but NOT blue jeans, yuck, gives me the completely wrong signs), t-shirt or polo shirt, or shirt, or sweater, and so on. Those clothes hide nothing, they accentuate the hard angled body. They don’t try to shout “look at me! I have status! Money!” from the rooftops, because they don’t need to. When it comes to characters, the way I imagine them, they don’t have to be sculpted, but have to be fit. Tough. Enduring. A challenge taken and a challenge given.

In fact, pieces of uniform worn by people who want to look cool but don’t actually do the job, doesn’t do it for me either. It either has to be the real job, or nothing. Otherwise it feels like a fake.

Now, what turns me off as a writer? Suits. There is nothing more unsexy than a man in a suit in my opinion, and I don’t care how great their bodies are beneath it. Pin stripes are the devil’s wallpaper and ties are the devil’s loo roll. Their context to me is boring, physically weak, doing boring jobs in offices, and there is nothing more off-putting than an office environment. Men in suits, for me as a writer who is fascinated by power play between males and always pitting Alphas against Alphas (some young, some old, but all in the Alpha-making), lose any chance at Alpha-ness, and lose their strength. What is a man worth who pushes numbers around instead of doing pushups? A perfectly sculpted body from careful gym work is far less sexy than a tough body created from genuine hard work.

Granted, those are two extremes, but I am a writer of extremes, so there’s no surprise there. Sports guys, well, those might be a possibility, but they don’t really cut it either. No, Marquesate is firmly steeped in the military and nothing else. However, I am really interested in hearing what others get turned on in reading, what symbols, what worlds, what lives and what clothes that make the men?

Let’s open the floor up again.

What turns you on, what do you like to read about, which clothes make the man for you? And why?


Images: tongue in cheek 😉 Copyright with their respective copyright owners.

  1. mllesatine says:

    I love suits. “Pin stripes are the devil’s wallpaper and ties are the devil’s loo roll.” This though? Comedy gold.

    One of my favourite shows last year was Mad Men. Set in an ad company in the 60s where every man is (or tries to be) alpha. No emotions, no doubt, always stay in control. The code of acceptable behaviour is so rigid that the suits work to accentuate the uniformity of the people.

    Have you never written in another field? Was it always military gay erotic?

  2. Marquesate says:

    And did you know that raisins/sultanas are the devil’s droppings? 😀

    Never heard of that show, Mad men.

    And yes, Marquesate only writes military fiction. However, I am not just Marquesate. Marquesate is the military fiction part of my, though, and whatever else is there … that shall remain nameless and write what I write unrelated. 🙂

  3. […] a warm welcome to new members) has written a blog post in response to last Wednesday’s entry: Writing Wednesday: Clothes Make the Man! I kept Sequel’s picture choices, […]

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