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Sexualities, desire and ‘lifestyle’: masculinity constructs in three Greek - page 13 / 17





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(19) Κι επειδή η ισορροπία αυτή είναι σαν το πορτοκαλί φανάρι (ποτέ δεν είσαι σίγουρος αν είναι πιο ασφαλές να γκαζώσεις και να περάσεις ή να φρενάρεις και να περιμένεις), δες μερικά παραδείγματα για να καταλάβεις τι εννοούμε.

And because this balance is like the yellow traffic light (you are never sure [masc.] whether it is safer to step on it and go through or to brake and wait), here are some examples to understand what we mean.

Through the novel metaphor of the ‘yellow traffic light’ (conceptualising life as a journey), the narrator here constructs the problem through indicating uncertainty (‘you are never sure’), and danger (presupposed by looking for the ‘safer’ option, but also by the word ‘balance’ – another metaphorical framing - which constantly faces the possibility of being lost). So being a ‘modern’ (as opposed to a traditional) man is metaphorically conceptualised as a being at a point of a journey when you don’t know whether it is safe to go on ‘being modern’ (with the danger of overdoing it and thus appearing gay) or to stop (with the danger of not being ‘modern’ anymore, or not being modern enough). The ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’ (not elaborated on or legitimised) is the readers ‘understanding’ the distinction between ‘gay’ and ‘modern’ so as not to mistake ‘modern’ straight men for gay, or so that readers who want to be modern men do not act ‘gay’. Thus, ‘some examples’ are provided to this effect, some of which are:

(20) ΜΟΝΤΕΡΝΟΣ: Πηγαίνει για λέιζερ αποτρίχωση στην πλάτη.

ΓΚΕΪ: Πηγαίνει για λέιζερ αποτρίχωση στον κορμό, στα πόδια και στα οπίσθια.

MODERN: He gets laser hair removal for his back.

GAY: He gets laser hair removal for his trunk, legs and buttocks

(21) ΜΟΝΤΕΡΝΟΣ: Κοιμάται σε σεντόνια από αιγυπτιακό βαμβάκι.

ΓΚΕΪ: Κοιμάται σε σεντόνια από αιγυπτιακό βαμβάκι και ξέρει την πυκνότητα των ινών τους.

MODERN: He sleeps on Egyptian cotton sheets.

GAY: He sleeps on Egyptian cotton sheets and knows the density of their fibres.

(22) ΜΟΝΤΕΡΝΟΣ: Έχει σκύλο που μυρίζει κίτρο από το ειδικό σαμπουάν.

ΓΚΕΪ : Έχει σκύλο που μυρίζει Dior Homme από το δικό του άρωμα.

MODERN: He has a dog that smells of citron from the special shampoo.

GAY: He has a dog that smells of Dior Homme from its own perfume.

There is a whole list in this format providing points of distinction between ‘modern’ and ‘gay’. Obviously, this list needs to be abstracted from – as the narrator points out, these are illustrative examples aiming to convey a general ‘spirit’ or attitude rather than specifically describe actual practices applicable to all ‘modern’ or ‘gay’ men. Appropriately, these points are phrased in declarative sentences – assertions. These assertions indeed provide ‘new information’, as the ‘modern man’ identity described here is neither ‘commonsensical’ nor necessarily acceptable in modern Greek society – here, as in Status, the masculinity constructed includes elements which could be associated with femininity. This ‘new information’ to readers about how ‘modern men’ are, (or indirect indication of how they should be), is legitimised through the juxtaposition of the construction of gay men.

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