28 June 2002

Sir Yes Sir!

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

It was rumored that when Spartan soldiers first burst into Troy, the women of the city hid themselves in conspicuous places and screamed if they were not observed.

Since that shameful day in human history, the homosexual community has reportedly exhibited the same lack of decorum and manifest delirium when in close proximity to men in uniforms and employed far more outrageous antics to net their military targets.

I should know – I'm what you would term a Military Chaser.

My obsession with the men in the military could be traced back to when I was but a wee queen taking my first dainty steps towards queerdom. One fateful day, I was unwittingly dragged by my biological sister to a screening of An Officer And A Gentleman starring Richard Gere. As the rough-trade loner Zach Mayo who enlisted in the Navy to find some direction in his life, Richard Gere took my breath away whenever he appeared onscreen in his navy whites. And when Debra Winger wept fountains of badly applied eyeliner in the closing scene, I too, shed tears of joy for I had found my true calling: to lust and chase after men in uniform.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you would look at it), my subsequent forays into the local gay scene confirmed that I am not alone in my vocation for there are literally battalions of military chasers out there with their “rifles” fully “cocked” and ready for some combat action.

Even if one is not a hardcore military chaser, the sexual appeal of a man in uniform as a gay fetish object is undeniable. Whether the soldier in question comes from the Army, the Airforce, the Navy or even the elite Special Forces, the appearance of a man in uniform never fails to turn men-hungry gays into a pack of ravaging hyenas.

The most common explanation for this phenomenon involves the military chaser's personal experience in the armed forces – a condition most prevalent in countries such as Singapore where government-sanctioned kidnapping is passed off as every young man's compulsory duty to serve and protect their nation.

Cooped up in barracks full of hormonally active young men with no discernible sexual outlet in sight, the military experience is rife with examples of how fraternal affection and bonding have often led to the odd dip into homoeroticism.

From the first stirrings of desire in the communal showers; to getting an erection while wrestling with one's hunky bunkmates; to nursing a crush on that Physical Training Instructor who has a penchant for jogging topless – military life has long been a hotbed for the playing out of homosexual fantasies.  

Unsurprisingly, many gay men in Singapore reported that it was during their military service that they first became aware of their homosexuality or had their first homosexual encounter. More often than not, these erotic camp experiences translate into a craving for military men or a desire to recreate these events by chasing after military men.

According to Steven Zeeland, author of Military Trade, there is however another possible explanation: military chasers are gay men who are “deprived of masculine camaraderie in their formative years, and eroticize/sentimentalize the buddy love they believe exists among military guys to make up for it.”

For these military chasers, soldiers offer the chance for a “‘pure' homo-social relationship” promising closeness and interdependence while allowing “for sex between men” (Zeeland, Military Trade).

Having said that, what is it about military men that enthralls gay men everywhere?

Firstly, there is the fetish appeal of the military uniform. Camouflage fatigues teamed with big shiny boots and dog tags, neatly pressed and well-starched military attire teamed with gleaming belt buckets and insignias of rank all combine to form a package of sheer masculine power that is hard to resist.

In his book A Class Apart: The Private Pictures of Montague Glover, James Gardiner notes: “Any military uniform gives the wearer an air of potent and virile masculinity, and consequently it has a strong homo-erotic appeal.” Or as my military-obsessed pal Allen would put it: “Military men look so mouth-wateringly hot in their tight uniforms.”

Gay men with a uniform fetish inadvertently find themselves most turned on by uniform sex which usually involves masturbating while wearing or maintaining contact with the fetishised uniform (if one is operating solo) or having the parties involved donning the preferred uniforms and getting it on (if one has a buddy or buddies to play with).
While the effects of a well filled-up uniform on gay men have been well-documented (i.e. foaming at the mouth, wet stains appearing on undies etc.), the majority of military chasers regard the uniform as merely a beacon and are inherently more interested in what lies beneath the uniform: the military man.

The reason is simple enough: it is easy to assume a military persona by getting a buzz-cut and donning a uniform but it is difficult to replicate what makes a soldier a soldier.

As my close friend, CST who happens to be a Guards Officer, so succinctly puts it: “Uniforms are not arousing in themselves – after-all, you can always find gay men in uniforms at military-themed circuit parties or catch some cammies-clad Muscle Marys simulating sex on some porn VCDs. Somehow, even with uniforms on, these pseudo-soldiers just can't compete with the real thing.”

Truer words were never spoken.

The military man has indeed become an archetype that is almost synonymous with certified masculinity. As Ben, another unabashed military chaser, explains: “If you compare a soldier with the nellies and queens in the gay scene, you will understand the “real man” appeal of the former and why the latter never stood a chance.”

Central to the military man's appeal is therefore the inherent belief that the army takes boys and turns them into men. The youthful masculinity of soldiers is further enhanced by the rigorous physical training they receive which leaves them with far superior physiques than your usual scrawny or obese civilians. Of course, it cannot be ignored that the military man's immersion in institutionalized violence adds to the sadomasochistic thrill of having sex with a man who is trained to kill with his bare hands.

By the very nature of his profession, the military man also stands for concepts of “honour”, “service” and “duty to the country” which stand in marked contrast to the usual bitchery and backstabbing associated with gay men. While these concepts may be nothing less than romanticized ideals, they appeal to some military chasers who are seeking for precisely these qualities because they find them lacking in gay life.

For some military chasers, sex with a serviceman is attractive because of the perception that military men, having been subjected to a regimented existence in the barracks, would prove to be veritable sexual dynamos when unleashed in the bedroom. A gay academic said it best when he commented that military men represent a form of masculinity that is associated “with potency, with aggression, with being on top, with large genitalia, with buckets of semen” (Zeeland, Military Trade). (Alas, if this was true, many military chasers such as myself would have drowned at the moment of climax long ago).

For other military chasers with a fetish for dominance and submission, bedroom antics with military men are attractive because they permit the reinforcement or reversal of power relations: you could choose to be shouted at and humiliated by a commanding officer or you could get off by “dishonouring” your ranked superior while he wears his uniform which usually confers upon him his power over other men in the camp.

But for most military chasers, sex with military men appeals simply because they are young, tough, in shape and look absolutely fabulous in their uniforms. Add that to the fact that they are probably sex-starved and game for anything after weeks of in-camp training and there you have the fetish appeal of military men.

Now excuse me while I do a Jennifer Garner ala ALIAS and go undercover for my stakeout at the nearest naval base.

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