A silly story in the Wall Street Journal announces that baring one’s chest hair with a plunging neckline, a phenomenon mostly associated with the gold-chain laden disco era, is apparently back. The paper calls the fad “heavage.” SRSLY.
Vik Mohindra, a 27-year-old graduate student from Toronto, confesses that his guy friends sometimes tease him about his heavage. “I would not recommend it to someone who isn’t confident with their body and overall sense of style,” says Mr. Mohindra, who says he works out three to four days a week and has a “defined” chest. Male cleavage, particularly on the silver screen, has long played a prominent role in popular culture. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. had his chest on display throughout the 1920s in films like 1924’s “The Thief of Bagdad” and “The Iron Mask” in 1929. A dashing Errol Flynn showed man cleavage in the 1930s, most memorably in 1938’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” These actors made skin-flashing practically de rigueur for certain swashbuckling roles. The aesthetic continued well into the 1950s and the 1960s, says menswear historian Robert Bryan, author of the new book “American Fashion Menswear.” Among those celebrated for their heavage were Marlon Brando (in the 1951 film version of “A Streetcar Named Desire”) and Sean Connery as James Bond in the 1960s. The last time man cleavage was so prevalent in the U.S. was in the 1970s — “the golden age of male chest hair,” says Mr. Bryan. Epitomized by John Travolta in 1977’s “Saturday Night Fever,” the convention back then was to skip enough shirt buttons to show off a thick forest of hair, perhaps topped with a gold medallion as a sign of virility.
When gay men want to show off their chest, they just take their shirt off. Unless I’m missing out on some big gay heavage scene.