...and "femininity" is still dangerous.
I can't add much to the (deserved) glowing reviews for this collection of essays that is now 18 years old and as radical, relevant and challenging to unreflective fashionable opinions as when it first appeared. Simpson understands men and writes honestly about them in ways that so many writers can't or won't.
As other reviewers have mentioned--and it still bears repeating: Simpson's most important message may be that gay men are men and same-sex orientation is just one way of being a man, of being "masculine," out of many equally "masculine" ways of being.
Simpson's embrace of Freudian theory holds up well and is an excellent support for his arguments. Rather than feeling outdated, the references and ideas come across as refreshing and thought-provoking. For this reader, whose only familiarity with Freud is pop culture's oversimplification bordering on ridicule, Simpson's clear explication of Freud's ideas, and his convincing way of using them to analyze male attitudes and behavior, is an enticing introduction that made me want to read the original.
My favorite chapter was the last, "Popular men: manly and unmanly," which includes an analysis of the brilliant comedy team Laurel and Hardy and their films from the 1920s and 30s. Simpson shows that the homoerotic elements in the comedy are both genuinely "sexual," as some gay activists have claimed, and at the same time "innocent." The sweetness in the humor is perhaps the last remnant of a time when same-sex love could hide in plain sight under the guise of comedy, and when love between men did not necessarily imply "buggery-pokery," as Simpson so delightfully calls it.
Anybody who likes men, is interested in them, or just wants to read a well-written, humorous yet serious book about a major cultural obsession should not miss this book. It's now out in a Kindle edition as well as the paperback, but since the Kindle edition lacks linked footnotes and table of contents, it's a frustrating read for any except the most casual readers.