“There’s something about a man in a suit.” I hear/read that all the time. I consider myself lucky, now, to wear suits infrequently – only to weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs.

I used to wear a suit every day. Every fucking day. Perhaps it’s because I associate suit-wearing with a particularly painful period in my life, but I definitely did not feel sexy in a suit, and my associations with suits are not sexy.

I like erotic photos featuring men in suits, so I still can perceive at least some of the ways in which they’re hot, but I recently found myself wondering just why men in suits are (considered) hot. Obviously, “hotness” is entirely socially constructed. There’s nothing intrinsically hot about a man in a suit. It must be, somehow, that our associations with men in suits make them hot.

What do suits stand for? In our erotic fantasies, I suspect, suits stand for some combination of authority, power, accomplishment, wealth, responsibility, maturity, and seriousness. Maybe dominance, too. But when I wore a suit, it never felt like any of these things. (Maybe this is why I no longer wear them.) When I wore suits, I felt like I was in drag, like I was pretending to be other than who I am. Don’t get me wrong: I had authority, power, accomplishment, some measure of wealth, and plenty of responsibility and seriousness. It’s only “maturity” and “dominance” from my list that, in retrospect, I lacked. But I didn’t feel sexy. I didn’t feel like I inhabited any of those characteristics at all. I felt like a fraud. And frauds aren’t sexy.

Today, I feel fairly mature, fairly dominant (and reasonably authoritative, accomplished, financially comfortable, and responsible). Now, it’s just “power” and “seriousness” that I lack. But the good news is, I lack them happily.


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