men_in_full: (opera goers)

Prince of Wales Albert Edward (later King Edward VII of the United Kingdom)
Portrait by George Frederic Watts (link)

From Slate Magazine:
"In his profligate youth, the English Prince of Wales—Britain's future King Edward VII (he ruled between 1901 and 1910)—was a celebrity in Paris, thanks to his gargantuan appetites for both food and sex. Perpetually availed of champagne and cigars, his girth filled out by five high-protein meals a day, he would receive a standing ovation at the theater whenever he appeared with a beautiful new paramour on his arm.

More under here )

I dunno, he doesn't look that fat to me, but perhaps he was by early 1900s standards. Or maybe the Parisian habitues of the brothels were a bit smaller than their Saxe-Coburg counterpart. And that chair looks like a fantastic idea.

men_in_full: (opera goers)

Above is 'The Fat Men’ Scene from the film ‘Wait and See’ made at the Nettlefield Studios, Walton on Thames in 1928, featuring London’s "Thirty Fat Men." My guess is that the "Thirty Fat Men" was a fat man's club, which used to be pretty common in the late 19th and even up into the 20th century.

Clubmen circa 1900 have a "Fat Man's Contest

Not just for the turn of the century: Sailors of the USS Irex started one in 1953

ETA: Read about a Fat Man's Ball from earlier.

men_in_full: (virtruvian man)
[ profile] mudcub alerted me to Sideshow World's page on Fat Folks. Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, people with all sorts of physical challenges and differences earned their livings as sideshow entertainers in the traveling fairs and circuses which criss-crossed Europe and the United States. Their numbers included the "fat folk," men and women far larger than the average of their day.

One profitable income-enhancer for sideshow entertainers was to sell small, post-card sized "cabinet cards" with their own images. Visitors could buy these cards as they exited the tents, sometimes signed by the performers. These marketing tools served as souvenirs and free publicity. Many survive today, and these numerous cards open a small window into the ways in which entertainers chose to present themselves.

One thing which appeals to me about late 19th/early 20th century cabinet cards is how dignified the men look.

Circus fat man Egon Cannon and his brother.

More, including some NSFW )

men_in_full: (discovery channel 101)
Charles Eisenmann and his protege Frank Wendt were "Gilded Age" (1870s through 1890s) photographers who made many images of sideshow and circus entertainers. Many were used as "cabinet photographs," small cards (often signed by the performer) which were sold as mementos and used for publicity.

John Robinson, by Charles Eisenmann

More Eisenmann portraits of fat men, SFW )

men_in_full: (de vos silenus)

Portrait of Emile Selbach (1887-1914)

"Every picture tells a story," and sometimes it's easy to overlook the individual history of each man in each photograph. Also, it's not often that you can match a name to a vintage photograph. Here, though, Wikimedia Commons provided a name to go with the face. I found the image arresting, not only because of Emile Selbach's impressive girth, but because his calm, stury expression reminded me a good deal of Alessandro del Borro of centuries earlier. Both men look out at you from atop their huge bodies without flinching.

Selbach in front of his establishment (link)

Unlike del Borro, "The Fat Selbach," as he was known, wasn't a military adventurer, but a man of capacious business success. He had the distinction of being one of the largest hoteliers in the Netherlands in both senses, as his brewery and hotel in Nijmegen were quite popular, and he weighed in at over 200 kilos (440 lbs.) He married one of his waitresses in 1913, but sadly met his untimely end a little over a year later, at age 27.

men_in_full: (wm howard taft)
Thanks to [ profile] inlaterdays, I've discovered the wonder which is bibliodyssey. Here's a French caricature:

Eh! bien, mon cher Emile, vous en voila donc aussi coiffe!

(Ah, my dear Emile, you wear that hat too!)
Published by Maison Aubert. Undated but it must be at least late 1840s but more likely later [Artist: Charles Vernier]

From Linca, in the comments: "Since you date the pictures as 1840s at least, it probably is linked to Louis Napoléon's election then imperial nomination."

There's an interesting difference here, as opposed to the English caricatures. The fat Frenchman is fat, but not drawn as particularly ugly or grotesque. The artist plays a bit off the "thin/fat" contrast, with the hat of Napoleon as the unifying theme. Also, his fatness is drawn as more natural, less of a caricature.

Here's an English caricature of a French soldier, from the same site:

'The Republican Soldier'
Hand-coloured etched caricature; stout soldier in [French] Revolutionary military uniform, laden with numerous weapons.
Notes: "Inflammetory [sic] harrangues to stir up the people to acts of sedition. Mutiny. Treason. Rebellion" ; "Hedd [sic] quarters. Craven anchor [crossed out]. Crown & anchor. Parole reform. Countersign--anarchy" ; ""Remonstrance from my constituents for non-attendance" ; "Fire is the best weapon you can use" ; "Sinew of rebellion"
Artist and publisher unknown; published in 1798.

Earlier British caricatures with fat men are here and here.

men_in_full: (Nine of Cups)
We're men, we're men in tights..."
Mel Brooks, "Robin Hood"

Recently Kenneth Fish of the San Francisco Menswear Examiner defended the custom of "men in tights" (in this case, leggings) against New York Magazine writer Amy Odell, who called them a "silly man trend."

So of course I had to go out and find some suitably stellar examples of sixteenth-century Netherlands Renaissance "meggings."

In which we find that men's fashion is NOT what it used to be, and more's the pity ... )

men_in_full: (daniel lambert)

A Mughal man of rank comports with a bevy of concubines.

In which I frankly and openly discuss an old Arabic sex manual, and the NSFW joys of sex with fat men. )

All ways of sexual coming-together flow from love of variety, flexibility, stamina, and imagination - but most of all from the concern and respect the people involved show one another. Fat sex isn't a series of obstacles to be overcome, but rather a physical way of being to be enjoyed and enthusiastically embraced, a positive source of delight and pleasure.
men_in_full: (hi honey im home)

[ profile] serenejournal, in first with this quote by English novelist and essayist Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), via Ask the Food Fairy:
“You can look down on a pig from the top of the most unnaturally lofty dogcart. You can examine the pig from the top of an omnibus, from the top of the Monument, from a balloon, or an airship, and as long as he is visible, he will be beautiful… In short he has that fuller, subtler and more universal kind of shapeliness which the unthinking… mistake for a mere absence of shape. For fatness itself is a valuable quality.”

The quote comes from "Rhapsody on a Pig", an exposition on pigs, fatness, and how Chesterton would have rather seen Hampshire hogs crouched around the base of London's Nelson Column, instead of lions.
"The actual lines of a pig (I mean of a really fat pig) are among the loveliest and most luxuriant in nature; the pig has the same great curves, swift and yet heavy, which we see in rushing water or in rolling cloud ... Now, there is no point of view from which a really corpulent pig is not full of sumptuous and satisfying curves."

This compelling, sensuous description applies doubly to the beauty of fat men. And Chesterton was no light-weight himself. From one description:
Chesterton was a giant in every way ... [who] stood at a towering six foot, four inches, and weighed 300 pounds. His weight was the subject of many jokes, most of which he told himself. For instance, he said he was one of the most polite people in England. After all, he could stand up and offer his seat to *three* ladies on a bus. ...

... Dressed in a huge cape and wide-brimmed hat ... the giant made his way down the street, squinting through tiny glasses pinched on his nose, blowing laughter through his moustache and a cloud of smoke from his cigar.

Some G.K. Chesterton images, all SFW )

Hat-tip to [ profile] supergee, too, for added incentive.

men_in_full: (beardsley bacchus)
[ profile] bilt4hugin in the last post's comments remarked on the homoeroticism of Ramin Haerizadeh's photographs. The artist is drawing from a long-standing Persian tradition, one which has been vehemently suppressed by the current Iranian regime. One viewer of the "Men of Allah" exhibit wrote:
In Ramin Haerizadeh's photo montage "Men of Allah," bearded figures pout and lounge languidly among intricate Persian patterns. The series of sensuous, sexually ambiguous semi-nudes, created in secret in Tehran, is a bold critique of gender roles in Iranian society, representing what the artist has called "closet queens." In London, the cavorting, hairy limbs are considered risqué. In a society with few civil liberties, and where homosexuality is vehemently denied, these rich, sumptuous images are rudely subversive.

I imagine Haerizadeh produced his works at great personal risk.

In her recent book, Sexual Politics in Modern Iran, Janet Afary points out that Iranian homophobia was a Western import dating from the early 20th century, a consequence of modernization. Traditionally, though,
Afary's extensive section on pre-modern Iran, documented by a close reading of ancient texts, portrays the dominant form of same-sex relations as a highly-codified "status-defined homosexuality," in which an older man - presumably the active partner in sex - acquired a younger partner, or amrad.

Afary demonstrates how, in this period, "male homoerotic relations in Iran were bound by rules of courtship such as the bestowal of presents, the teaching of literary texts, bodybuilding and military training, mentorship, and the development of social contacts that would help the junior partner's career. Sometimes men exchanged vows, known as brotherhood sigehs [a form of contractual temporary marriage, lasting from a few hours to 99 years, common among heterosexuals] with homosocial or homosexual overtones ...

Examples of the codes governing same-sex relations were to be found in the "Mirror for Princes" genre of literature (andarz nameh) [which] refers to both homosexual and heterosexual relations. Often written by fathers for sons, or viziers for sultans, these books contained separate chapter headings on the treatment of male companions and of wives ...

Homosexuality and homoerotic expressions were embraced in numerous other public spaces beyond the royal court, from monasteries and seminaries to taverns, military camps, gymnasiums, bathhouses, and coffeehouses... Until the mid-seventeenth century, male houses of prostitution (amrad khaneh) were recognized, tax-paying establishments."

While Afary explores the important role of class in same-sex relations, she also illuminates how "Persian Sufi poetry, which is consciously erotic as well as mystical, also celebrated courtship rituals between [men] of more or less equal status... The bond between lover and beloved was... based on a form of chivalry (javan mardi). Love led one to higher ethical ideals, but love also constituted a contract, wherein the lover and the beloved had specific obligations and responsibilities to one another, and the love that bound them both... Sufi men were encouraged to use homoerotic relations as a pathway to spiritual love."

Two suitors vye for a young man's attention. I like to think he picked the larger man ... :D
Also, somebody forgot to move their cursor when doing the copypasta.
men_in_full: (hi honey im home)
Earlier I posted about fat men in vintage postcards.

I don't know what it is about fat guys and bowling, but the theme comes up often. It's one of the few illustration themes which show fat men in motion, or in different body postures than simply standing or sitting. In other words, fat men bowling are dynamic, not static; active, not passive. In this one below, the man's large rear is prominent and graceful; he balances lightly on slender feet with a motion which almost looks like dance:

More postcards with fat men ...  )

men_in_full: (wm howard taft)
[ profile] formynextnovel sent this delightful image and old-time news article about "The Fat Men's Ball:"

Nunda News, April 5, 1879
"The Fat Men’s Ball," which is to be given at Canaseraga, N.Y., on the 17th, under the auspices of the heavy men of the Erie Rail Road, with conductors Chapman and Hatch of Attica, as general managers, will be an interesting event, and is all the talk among the railroad men ... 200 lbs. is the lowest limit, and it is confidently expected that Uncle Ben Wales, of the C.C.&C.R.R., who weighs 413 lbs., will be present with his "best girl" who tips the scales at 372 lbs ...

men_in_full: (beardsley ali baba)
I'm still amazed at the frank and even sometimes brutal forthrightness of British late 18th to early 19th century caricaturists. Even when they show fat men in a somewhat negative light, the men still have an arresting physicality. The fatness of powerful public figures is used to highlight their obnoxiousness or shortcomings, yet they don't appear weak or ashamed.

Three, all SFW )

men_in_full: (jeun silenus)
The British painter Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) was known for his romantic and surrealistic themes, touched with a hint of lurid sexuality. One of his best-known paintings, the 1781 "Nightmare", also had the distinction of being widely imitated in its day.

The English satirist Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) laid out the British politician Charles James Fox in the same scenario in his 1784 engraving, "The Covent Garden Nightmare."

Probably NSFW, although what isn't, these days? )

men_in_full: (wm howard taft)

"The Twin Stars: Castor and Pollux," satirical illustration by English cartoonist James Gillray (1757-1815.) Political cartoons are like location jokes; you really have to be there - and I have no idea why Gillray lampooned George Barclay (c.1759-1819) and Charles Sturt (1763-1812), both members of Parliament at the time. While Gillray usually wasn't too complimentary towards fat men in his cartoons, these two are kind of endearing.

men_in_full: (father christmas)

It's ironic that a marketing image designed to hawk Coca-Cola has come to epitomize the perfect "fat Santa" icon. An unfortunately out-of-print book, Dream of Santa: Haddon Sundblom's Advertising Paintings for Christmas, 1932-1964, shows a thorough history of Sundblom's Santa paintings.

Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) was a Swede by descent, a native to Michigan by birth, who worked for most of his life in the heyday of Chicago advertising and graphic design. From his studio came images we still recognize today - Aunt Jemima, the Quaker Oats man (also a "man in full" in his own right), and his trademark Santa. The Morton Salt girl may have also come from Sundblom's studio.)

Quite a few recognized commercial artists like Gil Elvgren and Art Frahm (whose "falling panties" paintings so enthralled blogger James Lileks) took their inspiration from Sundblom, who also did some luscious pin-ups (the rest of the Sundbloms here are NSFW.) Supposedly his last commission before his death was the May 1976 cover of Playboy magazine.

What I find most compelling about Sundblom's figures, especially their faces, is how they almost seem to glow from within. Light seems to not only fall on them, but radiate through their roseate skin from outwards.

Sundblom's nickname in his studio was "Sunny," for his pleasant disposition. After his first model passed on, he used himself as a model for his later Santas.

More Sundblom Santas... )

Whatever your celebration this season, may it be one blessed with generosity and abundance.
men_in_full: (bacchanal)
Wilson Barber's Fat Postcards site overflows with vintage postcards of fat women. There are far fewer images of fat men, but he has collected a few on his "Guys" page.

In these old cards, fat men are affluent (symbolized by their cigars or three-piece suits) and older. While lecherous, they're often the victims of gold-diggers. Also, while some of the fat women in Barber's postcard collection are pretty (when they're not old, at least), the men aren't shown as attractive at all.

I'm not sure why older, fatter men were so favored in bowling postcards, but they seemed to be, from this page of vintage bowling cards. Some I particularly liked:

more fat men in postcards... )
men_in_full: (Default)
Most of what I know about the Leicester fat man Daniel Lambert comes from Dr. Jan Bondeson's The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels. This article synopsizes his life.

He was born in Leicester in 1770, and while large, didn't grow exceptionally fat until he reached adulthood. He was known overall as having a generally kind and generous nature. As a youth, he taught other boys to swim in the local river, being especially buoyant. He apprenticed to an engraver and then took over his father's position as keeper of the Leicester "bridewell," or private prison. While a large young man, it wasn't until he adopted the sedentary life of a warder that he began to grow exceptionally large.

The two events might have been coincidental, though, because Lambert continued to ride, hunt, and swim until five or so years before his death. Contrary to the common wisdom, he neither drank ale nor was thought to "over-eat."

As prison-keeper, he was renowned for his kindness. Prisoners were given cots instead of being made to sleep in straw and filth; the prison was whitewashed regularly, and the prisoners respected him. When the local prison was merged with the county one in 1804, Lambert was pensioned off, and a year later he began to exhibit himself in London. He weighed about 330 kg, or about 725 lbs.

Lambert didn't like putting himself up for exhibition. He charged a fair amount to keep away the idle curiosity seekers, and received people in his own London home. He managed his own money and didn't use a handler or manager.

While it's true that in the late 18th/early 19th century, a "stout" man was considered handsome and healthy, Lambert's unusual size did engender some impertinence and rude remarks. A Swedish officer referred to him as "this hideous mass of flesh." One woman asked him rudely how much his capacious coat had cost, and he answered, "If you think if proper to make me a present of a new coat, you will then know exactly what it costs."

Lambert never married, but according to Bondeson, when he was on exhibit he had many women visitors, who spoke approvingly of him.

Without any previous illness, he died suddenly at the relatively young age (even for that day) of 39. Apparently he got up to shave, complained to a servant of shortness of breath, and collapsed.

Bondeson spends too much time wondering what made Daniel Lambert such a man of size, and assuring us that he could have been "helped" by gastic bypass surgery. No doubt Lambert's life as an extremely fat man was far different in an era where his size was not yet "medicalized." He was treated as a wonder, a marvel of nature, and sometimes an object of ridicule or smart remarks, but not in general an object of pity or revulsion.
men_in_full: (de vos bacchus)
Thanks to [ profile] inlaterdays, who pointed out this 1999 article from Salon Magazine by writer Steven A. Shaw, a "fat guy living in New York."

A few comments: To me, this article is another example of how much we've "medicalized" the nonstandard body over the past 7-8 years. I can't imagine most articles today saying anything positive about fat people, men *or* women - instead of mostly serving as free advertisement for gastric bypass surgery.

Shaw's right about fat guys having the potential to be very strong, and mentions sumo wrestlers. While powerlifters in the 125 kg+ weight class would probably rip your head off if you called them "fat," they generally do have muscular but rounder body types that aren't "defined" or "cut." Take for instance Gene Rychlak, the first man to bench press over 1000 lbs.

I'm not sure that Jesus was skinny, though. Yes, he's portrayed that way in Western art, but that's after centuries of making ascetic starvation the sine qua non of spirituality. In reality, the "historical Jesus" was most likely a pretty strong guy, if he did the "typical" carpentry work of the day, which included hoisting ceiling beams and framing houses as well as wood carving or furniture construction. But you don't often see artistic images of a Middle-Eastern looking, well-tanned Jesus with burly shoulders.

I laughed with delighted recognition at the "fat guys are better in bed" section. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say "better for everyone," because each has her own preference. However, for those who like it, even a little extra flesh can be a feast for the senses.

The part at the end about the conspiracy of fat guys for world peace amused me, but in a way chilled me too, because unlike in 1999, we *are* in the middle of a war. It's an interesting question - how related are tendencies towards being warlike and towards self-punishing asceticism?


men_in_full: (Default)

September 2013



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