Now, I know what you're going to say: He's British-- of course he's gay. They're practically synonyms. Well, that may be true, but let's look at someone from the other side of the pond, from that same time period.
Now that is a 'stache that says "knock off that slave and secession bullshit already," am I right? See-- we're getting butch-er, but we're not quite there yet. Can't you just picture the photographer giving out his instructions for this photograph?
"Okay, Lawrence. I see you've blown-dry your moustache. That's okay, I guess. No harm done. Just... listen-- just put your hands in your lap. Stare off vacantly into space and, please, for the love of God, try not to look gay. Just, you know-- don't do anything gay. I mean, this is 1865 already, you know? Just, remember: D.B.G. Don't be gay."
And I think, for the time, he's doing a pretty good job of keepin' it D.B.G. It's not easy. It's just hard for modern Americans to believe that people who looked like this seriously picked up guns and swords and bayonets and fucking killed other people who looked like this. We could maybe picture Joshua Chamberlain inviting a regiment from the 15th Alabama over to his house and poisoning their tea, but shoving his sword through one of their heads? I don't think so.
And then there's this guy-- he just screws up all valiant attempts at butchness.
You just had to put your hand on your hip, didn't you?
World War I was, I feel, the turning point. It was the transitional, liminal period between the genteel warrior/gentleman and the fightin' bastard that we have come to expect. I mean, I wouldn't want to fuck with these guys:
Then again, I'm pretty sure that this gentleman would rather join me for cocktails than shoot me in the face.So three cheers for our military men, whether they fit into our stereotypical bullshit ideals of manhood or not. You're all patriots, valorous, dutiful and brave viscous killers in my book. And God Bless you for it. Better you than me.