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A definite possibility. (And I've heard comments of that sort before -- which is why I said my remarks could be all wet if the stereotypes aren't the same there as here.) But as you say, even if Mycroft is just excessively British, that could still be why Sherlock jokes about him being gay.

 

 

 

 

I've heard that said before about watching British TV as an American -- to be warned that every man will seem gay to American eyes.

 

I now have this horrible desire to say, "he's not gay, he's British."  But I can't imagine any situation in which that's not rude....

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A definite possibility. (And I've heard comments of that sort before -- which is why I said my remarks could be all wet if the stereotypes aren't the same there as here.) But as you say, even if Mycroft is just excessively British, that could still be why Sherlock jokes about him being gay.

 

 

 

 

I've heard that said before about watching British TV as an American -- to be warned that every man will seem gay to American eyes.

 

I now have this horrible desire to say, "he's not gay, he's British."  But I can't imagine any situation in which that's not rude....

 

 

I can see how that would come across in at least some situations (I've watched enough Monty Python where anything is possible) even though personally that hasn't crossed my mind that I can recall.

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I've heard that said before about watching British TV as an American -- to be warned that every man will seem gay to American eyes.

 

I now have this horrible desire to say, "he's not gay, he's British."  But I can't imagine any situation in which that's not rude....

Wow, reading that just now I had a kind of a flashback ... you're right, that was a sort of subliminal attitude back when. Back when British shows/actors were something of a novelty, I mean. It's hard for me to imagine anyone thinking that now, unless they've been living in a cave.

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I've heard that said before about watching British TV as an American -- to be warned that every man will seem gay to American eyes.

 

I now have this horrible desire to say, "he's not gay, he's British."  But I can't imagine any situation in which that's not rude....

Wow, reading that just now I had a kind of a flashback ... you're right, that was a sort of subliminal attitude back when. Back when British shows/actors were something of a novelty, I mean. It's hard for me to imagine anyone thinking that now, unless they've been living in a cave.

 

I have a hard time defining what for me creates the impression that someone is gay, short of seeing him kiss another guy (and even then, "gay" is only one of several possibilities). The gay men I have known have no unifying factor, really. I think I do understand what the general stereotypes are, and I think I can recognize them in fiction, but on the other hand, I went to uni for years with a guy and it never occurred to me that he might be gay until I found out he was, and then, all of a sudden, it hit me how he kind of fit every gay stereotype under the sun.

 

Tricky things, stereotypes.

 

As for Mycroft, if the person who writes and plays him says he's gay, then he probably is, but I'd never have reached that conclusion on my own. Of course, I've never really thought about it before. Mycroft and other people - that's kind of an odd combination to begin with.

 

I'd certainly be extremely surprised if it turned out he's been carrying on a relationship unbeknownst to anybody else. I think he'd be a lot less sour if he had a love life. Sherlock has brain and leg work to give him thrills, but his brother doesn't seem to get many of those one way or the other.

 

Poor Mycroft. I should probably feel sorry for him.

 

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Poor Mycroft. I should probably feel sorry for him.

No, that's not necessary. Really. :P

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Mycroft and other people - that's kind of an odd combination to begin with.

 

 

 

I agree.  Whatever Mycroft's inherent orientation may be, I think the idea of sexual relations with other people is largely a theoretical construct for him.  And when he does need a release, I can imagine he's the "think of England" type of participant.

 

In many ways, I think Mycroft is far more of The Virgin than is Sherlock.  Sherlock gets pulled in by sensuality; Mycroft does not.

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And Mycroft thinks he's better because he doesn't care about love and sex and all that stuff.

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I assume that one reason Sherlock thinks his brother is gay (or at least joke that he thinks so) is that Mycroft's rather prissy mannerisms fit the stereotypical gay image.  I further assume that this is quite intentional on Gatiss's part.  As a gay man in real life, he would be well aware of the stereotypes, and also well aware that some gay men will (perhaps sarcastically or defiantly) imitate the stereotypes.

 

All of the above is, of course, resting on the assumption that the "gay" stereotypes are similar in the UK and the US.

 

Well, I blew that one!  It occurred to me last night that my very first impression of Mycroft (other than assuming he was Moriarty) was actually "John Steed" (of the 60's British program The Avengers) -- so I went Googling for pictures of Steed with his brolly, and came up with exactly what I was looking for in a blog entry on "young fogeyism" (I'm including a Mycroft for comparison):

 

SteedWithLegsCrossedAndBrolly_zps242d803MycroftWithBrollyCropped_zps1e9f8ac1.jpg

 

I also came across a 2012 live chat with Mark Gatiss, which included this bit (in answer to the question, "Whose idea was it to give Mycroft that incredible umbrella?"):

 

Mine. Is it incredible? It’s just a brolly! It originally came from wanting to create a good silhouette in the first scene in ‘Pink’ where Mycroft and John meet. I wasn’t trying to invoke John Steed but there’s something very Establishment about it- and that’s what Mycroft is. The Dark Government and the Old School Tie. I think it’s his comfort blanket. He may even sleep with it. The umbrella comes from a wonderful old shop in New Oxford St. They still advertise ‘dagger canes’ and ‘sword sticks’ but, to their great regret, are no longer allowed to stock them!

So Mycroft is a sort of accidental neo-Steed -- and apparently that look and manner are sufficiently retro-British to trigger an impression of gayness for an American observer.

 

(Then again, if his own brother jokes about Mycroft being a "queen," maybe it's not just us Americans who get that impression?)

 

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I totally forgot about Avengers.  I've watch the movie version with Ralph Fiennes so I've seen that look.  Didn't even make any connection even after reading that chat which I had also found shortly after becoming a fan.

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I never saw the Avengers movie.  Good heavens -- John Steed is actually Voldemort!  :o

 

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Good gracious, I never noticed the similarity! Well, John Steed was certainly very much not gay...  I've got to watch some of those old episodes again soon - more for the sake of Diana Rigg as Emma Peel though.

 

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Come to think of it: Do you suppose Not-Anthea is supposed to be an echo of her?

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Not-Anthea does have that sort of Emma Peel vibe, doesn't she?  Hadn't thought of that (though something was rustling around in the back of my mind).

 

Why specifically do you say that "Steed was certainly very much not gay"?

 

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So Mycroft is a sort of accidental neo-Steed -- and apparently that look and manner are sufficiently retro-British to trigger an impression of gayness for an American observer.

 

(Then again, if his own brother jokes about Mycroft being a "queen," maybe it's not just us Americans who get that impression?)

 

 

Going to take one more stab (bad brolly/sword joke) at the impression of gayness, since it still puzzles me why that was my immediate take on Mycroft.  

 

I think there are are cultures where "masculine" encompasses a lot of traits that perhaps it doesn't in U.S. culture.  I think the traditional British culture is one of these.  For example, James Bond is about as British and as masculine a character as I can think of, but I think the character would not come off nearly as masculine in an American context. (That is, he almost has to be British for us to get it.)

 

Part of it is that I don't think we (American culture) have the automatic assumption that extreme masculinity can also encompass appreciating art and music, looking phenomenal in a tuxedo, and knowing all the social graces.  I think the U.S. culture has more of the "cowboy" as its masculine template.  So, I think maybe some of that translates inadvertently when I'm viewing Mycroft, and what is actually extreme refinement I'm reading as not overtly, stereotypically U.S.-masculine.  If that makes any sense?

 

Like I've mentioned, I'm a ballroom dancer.  (I always imagine that Mycroft is a good ballroom dancer as well, if you want a piece of totally-unsupported head canon.)  Most male amateur ballroom dancers in the U.S. are hetero and I would say quite masculine.  They often joke that there is nothing more masculine than the ability to dress up in a tailsuit, hold a beautiful woman in your arms, and still be able to practice an incredibly athletic sport.  There is a great deal of truth to that.  But yet the U.S. masculine athletic ideal is more along the lines of football. 

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American football (& hockey) do come across as more masculine than dancing or some other sports. There's something about showing off aggression in a semi-controlled way that makes it seem more masculine. However, I'd say it takes a real man to be able to do some of the arts side of life and be confident about it. My hubby is into American Football and a good ballroom dance.

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... James Bond is about as British and as masculine a character as I can think of, but I think the character would not come off nearly as masculine in an American context. (That is, he almost has to be British for us to get it.)

Bond has always struck me as very superficially masculine. He's a tough guy all right, but that's about it. (Though I suppose he may be a paragon of the other male virtues on his day off.)

 

... I don't think we (American culture) have the automatic assumption that extreme masculinity can also encompass appreciating art and music, looking phenomenal in a tuxedo, and knowing all the social graces.  I think the U.S. culture has more of the "cowboy" as its masculine template.

I see what you mean, but that sounds to me more like the American male concept of "masculine." Or maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "cowboy." I do consider quiet strength to be very masculine, especially when that strength is used in defense of weaker persons rather than to bully them.

 

But hmmm, it occurs to me that we're kind of equating "masculine" with "not gay" -- which is neither fair nor accurate, though it is a common viewpoint. Mycroft is a wimp, no doubt about it.  He's also fussy and prissy and all that.  He's immaculately groomed.  So yeah, he fits a lot of the gay stereotypes, at least the American ones (which may be the British stereotypes as well, judging by Sherlock's "queen" comment).  Some of the gay men I know will sometimes put on a stereotypical "limp-wristed" act, though that doesn't seem to be who they really are.  I've also known some straight men who come across as really "gay."

 

So what is my point?  I'm not entirely certain.

 

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Why specifically do you say that "Steed was certainly very much not gay"?

 

Because I remember a lot of scenes where he seemed very interested in pretty ladies, including but not limited to, Mrs Peel. (I've got to dig around youtube and see whether they have that glorious scene where they fence and flirt simultaneously. A curtain was involved, if my memory is correct.)

 

 

But hmmm, it occurs to me that we're kind of equating "masculine" with "not gay" -- which is neither fair nor accurate, though it is a common viewpoint. Mycroft is a wimp, no doubt about it.  He's also fussy and prissy and all that.  He's immaculately groomed.  So yeah, he fits a lot of the gay stereotypes, at least the American ones (which may be the British stereotypes as well, judging by Sherlock's "queen" comment).  Some of the gay men I know will sometimes put on a stereotypical "limp-wristed" act, though that doesn't seem to be who they really are.  I've also known some straight men who come across as really "gay."

 

So what is my point?  I'm not entirely certain.

 

That effeminate does not equal gay man, even though that is a very common assumption, just as the opposite is for women. Speaking of whom, I was agreeably surprised that they made Irene very alluringly feminine, because so often, homosexual women are thought of as being always very tomboyish. (Yeah, we could debate whether Irene is truly gay, but she says herself she is, so for me, that settles it; she identifies as gay even though she has male clients too and a crush on Sherlock Holmes).

 

You think Mycroft is a wimp? I'm not so sure about that. Okay, he's not fond of leg work, and he's not up to defending himself against Sherlock's death grip under the influence of drugs. But Mycroft managed (though reluctantly) to smuggle his way into a Serbian terror cell (or whatever they were), so he can't be that much of a sissy.

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... I don't think we (American culture) have the automatic assumption that extreme masculinity can also encompass appreciating art and music, looking phenomenal in a tuxedo, and knowing all the social graces.  I think the U.S. culture has more of the "cowboy" as its masculine template.

I see what you mean, but that sounds to me more like the American male concept of "masculine." Or maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "cowboy." I do consider quiet strength to be very masculine, especially when that strength is used in defense of weaker persons rather than to bully them.

 

But hmmm, it occurs to me that we're kind of equating "masculine" with "not gay" -- which is neither fair nor accurate, though it is a common viewpoint. Mycroft is a wimp, no doubt about it.  He's also fussy and prissy and all that.  He's immaculately groomed.  So yeah, he fits a lot of the gay stereotypes, at least the American ones (which may be the British stereotypes as well, judging by Sherlock's "queen" comment).  Some of the gay men I know will sometimes put on a stereotypical "limp-wristed" act, though that doesn't seem to be who they really are.  I've also known some straight men who come across as really "gay."

 

So what is my point?  I'm not entirely certain.

 

 

 

Yeah, I'm getting out of the "why Mycroft reads as gay to me" discussion, because I'm not doing a very good job thinking through and expressing how cultural expectations for men (including definitions of masculinity and expectations of sexual orientation) can combine to create an impression of a character from a different culture that may or may not be warranted.  Suffice it to say, if Gatiss says that's what he suspects about Mycroft, it doesn't seem inauthentic to me.

 

As far as the American cowboy = masculine thing, I think that's my general go-to concept of masculine, and I'm female.  When I think of extremely masculine traits, I think of someone who is very athletic, very physically strong, willing to get physically dirty, willing to flirt with moral gray areas as long as the end result fits his internal code, and a general stoicism (no crying, no overt displays of affection).  Your basic "dirt under his fingernails, straight shooting (literally), 'just a flesh wound, ma'am'" kind of guy.  

 

And maybe that's why I find some British characters incredibly masculine -- the stiff upper lip thing is very attractive to me.  In another thread, we were speculating about whether we'd get along with Sherlock or John or whatever, and I said I think I'd get along with Sherlock (although it would be of the "house afire" type of getting along), but I could spend days with Mycroft.  Preferably in the Diogenes club, where I could be around him and a lot of other people who didn't find it necessary to emote.  If I had to go on vacation with one of the Sherlock characters (there's a hiatus-appropriate thread topic for you!), it would definitely be Mycroft:  we'd read the papers, check our email, settle down in a chaise lounge on the beach to read some good books, have a fine dinner, and generally relax.   :lol:

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If I had to go on vacation with one of the Sherlock characters (there's a hiatus-appropriate thread topic for you!), it would definitely be Mycroft:  we'd read the papers, check our email, settle down in a chaise lounge on the beach to read some good books, have a fine dinner, and generally relax.   :lol:

 

A holiday with Mycroft? Are you kidding me? I wouldn't be able to spend a single hour in his presence without feeling the irrepressible urge to break a heavy object over his head.

 

Hmmmm, whom would I like to go on holiday with? Not Sherlock. Sherlock probably hates holidays and frets and complains the entire time until a nice murder turns up, at which point the holiday is over.

 

Not John, either. John, by the way, is one of my ideas of what a very "masculine" guy is like, and they tend to not be on the same page as me at all.

 

Molly, perhaps. Although what I would really like to do with Molly is work. I'd love to be her assistant at the morgue or something like that. I bet she's a great colleague.

 

 

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Why specifically do you say that "Steed was certainly very much not gay"?

 

Because I remember a lot of scenes where he seemed very interested in pretty ladies, including but not limited to, Mrs Peel. (I've got to dig around youtube and see whether they have that glorious scene where they fence and flirt simultaneously. A curtain was involved, if my memory is correct.)

I've been flirted with (outrageously, in some cases) by men who are not only gay, but who are well aware that I'm aware that they are gay. So while Steed flirting with women could be considered evidence that he's not gay, I'd hardly consider it actual proof.

 

You think Mycroft is a wimp? I'm not so sure about that. Okay, he's not fond of leg work, and he's not up to defending himself against Sherlock's death grip under the influence of drugs. But Mycroft managed (though reluctantly) to smuggle his way into a Serbian terror cell (or whatever they were), so he can't be that much of a sissy.

My (possibly mistaken) impression is that Mycroft can be lured into action by an intellectual challenge -- such as passing for Serbian -- but he's easily put off by anything even vaguely physical -- such as "noise" and "people." 

 

Yeah, I'm getting out of the "why Mycroft reads as gay to me" discussion....  Suffice it to say, if Gatiss says that's what he suspects about Mycroft, it doesn't seem inauthentic to me.

That seems like as good an analysis as any!

 

As far as the American cowboy = masculine thing, I think that's my general go-to concept of masculine, and I'm female.  When I think of extremely masculine traits, I think of someone who is very athletic, very physically strong, willing to get physically dirty, willing to flirt with moral gray areas as long as the end result fits his internal code, and a general stoicism (no crying, no overt displays of affection).  Your basic "dirt under his fingernails, straight shooting (literally), 'just a flesh wound, ma'am'" kind of guy.  

 

And maybe that's why I find some British characters incredibly masculine -- the stiff upper lip thing is very attractive to me.

Other than the dirty fingernails, that's fairly close to my impression of John Watson. Strong and brave but makes no fuss about it. Honorable and trustworthy. That scene in "Pink" where Sherlock is deducing what sort of person shot the cabbie, and then he sees John just quietly standing there -- well, if I were the swooning type....

 

A holiday with Mycroft? Are you kidding me? I wouldn't be able to spend a single hour in his presence without feeling the irrepressible urge to break a heavy object over his head.

Me too, I'm afraid. And I'd probably have roughly the same reaction to Sherlock.

 

Not John, either. John, by the way, is one of my ideas of what a very "masculine" guy is like, and they tend to not be on the same page as me at all.

Here's where I'll disagree, at least in part. In my opinion, John is masculine to precisely the perfect extent. In addition, he's attractive, he's got a terrific sense of humor, he's generally easy-going -- I think I'd enjoy his company a great deal.

 

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... I don't think we (American culture) have the automatic assumption that extreme masculinity can also encompass appreciating art and music, looking phenomenal in a tuxedo, and knowing all the social graces.  I think the U.S. culture has more of the "cowboy" as its masculine template.

As far as the American cowboy = masculine thing, I think that's my general go-to concept of masculine, and I'm female.  When I think of extremely masculine traits, I think of someone who is very athletic, very physically strong, willing to get physically dirty, willing to flirt with moral gray areas as long as the end result fits his internal code, and a general stoicism (no crying, no overt displays of affection).  Your basic "dirt under his fingernails, straight shooting (literally), 'just a flesh wound, ma'am'" kind of guy.

 

I think you've just explained why I've never found the "typical American male" particularly attractive. :lol:
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As far as the American cowboy = masculine thing, I think that's my general go-to concept of masculine, and I'm female.  When I think of extremely masculine traits, I think of someone who is very athletic, very physically strong, willing to get physically dirty, willing to flirt with moral gray areas as long as the end result fits his internal code, and a general stoicism (no crying, no overt displays of affection).  Your basic "dirt under his fingernails, straight shooting (literally), 'just a flesh wound, ma'am'" kind of guy.  

 

And maybe that's why I find some British characters incredibly masculine -- the stiff upper lip thing is very attractive to me.

Other than the dirty fingernails, that's fairly close to my impression of John Watson. Strong and brave but makes no fuss about it. Honorable and trustworthy. That scene in "Pink" where Sherlock is deducing what sort of person shot the cabbie, and then he sees John just quietly standing there -- well, if I were the swooning type...

 

 

 

Well, it is a tiny bit sexy....

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As far as the American cowboy = masculine thing, I think that's my general go-to concept of masculine, and I'm female.  When I think of extremely masculine traits, I think of someone who is very athletic, very physically strong, willing to get physically dirty, willing to flirt with moral gray areas as long as the end result fits his internal code, and a general stoicism (no crying, no overt displays of affection).  Your basic "dirt under his fingernails, straight shooting (literally), 'just a flesh wound, ma'am'" kind of guy.  

 

And maybe that's why I find some British characters incredibly masculine -- the stiff upper lip thing is very attractive to me.

Other than the dirty fingernails, that's fairly close to my impression of John Watson. Strong and brave but makes no fuss about it. Honorable and trustworthy. That scene in "Pink" where Sherlock is deducing what sort of person shot the cabbie, and then he sees John just quietly standing there -- well, if I were the swooning type....

 

 

tumblr_inline_mk5zpqlufj1qz4rgp.gif

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Just had a thought after looking at the above gif. Thinking about Sherlock, suppressed emotions & how much he actually shows emotion (not including anger because even Mycroft shows that one). He one upped Mycroft in the deduction game in TEH, and Mycroft could be kind of getting back at him in TSOT by bringing up Redbeard. One of those since you pushed my button, I'm pushing back sibling rivalry moments.

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But that was a cheap shot, that whole Redbeard remark. Then again, Mycroft isn't exactly known to play fair.

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