In the art of Tom of Finland, one thing that you’ll rarely (if ever) see is any sign of insecurity. Rather, the men portrayed by him exude total confidence in their bodies and sexuality. Considering that he created these works during a time when homosexuality was still marginalized by most of the mainstream, the confidence his men exhibited was a radical and defiant act of pride.
In the latest products from the Tom of Finland by Finlayson line, this assuredness and pride is on full display. The Ready Man pattern features a uniformed man sitting with legs spread open invitingly and with shirt proudly unbuttoned to reveal that muscular chest distinctive to Tom’s men.
This particular drawing was created in 1988 during the height of the AIDS crisis. This would be the second time in Tom’s life when he had to witness the loss of many men in the prime of their lives. During World War II, Tom served as a soldier and saw the lives lost of far too many men. With the AIDS crisis, for the second time in his life, Tom unfortunately was forced to again confront the loss of massive numbers of young men.
It was in reaction to this that condoms began to make appearances in his work. His art encouraged and eroticized safe sex in a time full of panic, fear, and shame. In Ready Man, we see a supremely confident man, holding a condom in his hand, sexy and very aware of that fact, a man who refuses to be ashamed or to be scared.
In Tom’s original sketch and now in these Tom of Finland by Finlayson products, this iconic male encourages each of us to unapologetically embrace our true selves as he does. On his lips, there is a knowing smile, one as full of meaning as the Mona Lisa’s. His smile is an invitation to hop into bed with him and join him in this world of freedom. Given the softness of Finlayson’s fabrics, it’s an invitation that’s very easy to accept.