April 15, 2014

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Within the conventions of English drag comedy, the most familiar character is what the Monty Python troupe dubbed “€œthe pepperpot“€: a frumpy, lumpy menopausal matron, portrayed by a barely disguised male actor.

(Amusingly, this “€œpantomime dame“€ is also what most real-life male-to-female transsexuals actually end up looking like.)

One mid-“€™60s sketch on Not Only, But Also broke with this tradition, however; a parody of the final iconic shot from Queen Christina (1933), the spoof exploited Peter Cook’s famously flat affect by casting him as blank-faced Greta Garbo, complete with silky shoulder length hair and carefully applied makeup. (A preemptive footnote for pedants and geeks: No, this is not the more familiar and fondly remembered “€œBloody Greta Garbo“€ skit from the same BBC series.)

Cook later remarked, “€œAs Garbo I thought I looked incredibly beautiful. I fancied myself rotten!”€

“€œAs usual, all the studies seem to show is that most studies are crap.”€

Alas, Cook is no longer around to provide amusing commentary about last week’s virulent Internet meme, “€œBoyfriendTwin.”€

Nerve.com called it “€œthe strangest phenomenon you”€™ll see today,”€ and this is the same website that offers up a sexually explicit interview with comedian Hannibal Buress, in which he remembers one groupie who “€œwanted me to flick pickle juice into her eyes.”€

BoyfriendTwin is a Tumblr site“€”its motto: “€œWhat’s sexier than dating yourself?”€”€”that collects photographs of male couples that look alike. Really, really alike. More so than some twins you”€™ve seen.

Now, maybe I”€™m dating myself, but I happen to know that so-called “€œclones“€ have played a big part in gay culture since before Stonewall. But these BoyfriendTwin guys have taken it to the next creepy level. 

Just two weeks ago, musing about “€œPet Cocks”€ and penis envy, I wondered whether Freud was really “€œbunk”€ after all. In a fitting fit of déjà vu, I”€™m now tempted to dust off another one of the old guy’s theories, which ascribes homosexuality to narcissism (sort of).

Except the “€œdopplebanger“€ phenomenon isn”€™t confined to gays. We all probably know straight couples that look eerily alike, and”€”you guessed it”€”there’s a study for that.

In a, well, uncanny coincidence, only days after the weird BoyfriendTwins pictures were being rapidly reproduced around the web, one Emma Pierson at FiveThirtyEight declared, “€œIn the End, People May Really Just Want to Date Themselves.”€


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