Just when hetero males are supposedly morphing into an alleged metrosexuality, gay men have upped the stakes (or lowered the bar, depending on your perspective).

The Stonewall Hotel has played host to Search For The 2003 Underwear Model (pictured above) every Thursday night for the last month, with up to 10 guys every week dropping their daks for a chance at $1,000 cash and a trip to Italy. Last Sunday at the Midnightshift Club, Blue magazine presented the first round of their Search For A Coverboy competition, a chance to grace a future issue of Blue and win a trip to Cairns. On 18 October heats begin in Melbourne for Mr Gay Oz, a nationwide search with a round in Sydney on 13 December. The winner receives a modelling contract, with agent Peter Chadwick one of the illustrious judges.

It’s all in good fun, says Deborah, promotions manager of the Stonewall Hotel and organiser of the underwear competition.

We’ve had a huge response, she said. The grand final was supposed to be this week but due to the high amount of entries we’ve actually had to extend it.

So who are these people? All the guys that have been in it are really, really nice guys. Really down to earth, Deborah said. They’re in it to have fun. Lots of them are doing it for various reasons. Some are doing it for their self-confidence, some are doing it for a dare.

Hmmm. Over at the Midnightshift Club, Studio Magazines’ art director Jeffrey Ho was guest judge for the first heat of the cover boy competition. Is all this pageant stuff healthy, or am I just being Jennifer Jealous?

I would like to think it is relatively harmless, Ho said. Especially considering, at the end of the day, if anything, people are getting off on the camp aspect of it. It’s being held in a nightclub and it’s being hosted by drag queens.

It ain’t Miss World and thank God for that. There aren’t people specifically going out and getting surgery -“ hopefully -“ to enter the gay-equivalent competitions -¦ he said.

The other thing that was quite nice about the entrants that we did have on stage was the fact that there was everyone from the supposed idealised muscle queen through to people who might not have the most perfect gym body but seriously had more personality than other contestants, Ho said.

The gay Miss World is about to hit the scene (again) next month with the launch of Mr Gay Oz, the perfect arena for dudes whose underpantage and Vogueful countenances proved unsuccessful in the other comps. We’ve had Mr Gay Sydneys and the like before, benefiting such organisations as the AIDS Trust, but this time around it’s a very commercial affair. Guest judge Jamie (ex-Big Brother 3) can’t wait.

It’s a dream come true for any gay boy, I think, Jamie said. I thought at first that it was going to be looking for guys that would further the community spirit or something like that, but then I saw the brief and it was like, -˜We’re looking for the hottest, spunkiest gay man in Australia!’ -¦ I’d chew my leg off to do it and I’m being paid for it.

Organiser Richard Squire suggested there was a little more to it than that, even if the winner has to be at least a little Zoolander, really-really-good-looking enough to earn the prize of a modelling contract.

We’re looking for the best person for the job. They get the modelling contract with Chadwick’s and we’ll do a calendar and they become a spokesperson, Squire said. We want people that can string a sentence together, so that he can actually talk about issues -¦

If someone stands up there and says, -˜Hi, I’m Mr Gay Oz,’ and relates to the community and their stories, it also gives other people that haven’t come out, for whatever reason, someone to look up to and go, -˜There’s nothing wrong with it’, Squire said.

So there you have it, punters: men who are down to earth, have fine oratorical skills, community spirit and personality. They’ve also got massive dicks, great abs, razor-wire obliques and Adonis profiles. The award goes to …

For more information on Search For An Underwear Model visit www.stonewallhotel.com. Visit www.themidnightshift.com or studiomagazines.com for entry forms and information on Search For A Coverboy. See www.mrgayoz.com for info on Mr Gay Oz 2003.

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