The furore over indecent ads on Orchard Road is due to their supersized egos.

There’s been much debate of late about the Abercrombie & Fitch billboard that is splayed right across their soon-to-be-opened shopfront in the middle of Orchard Road.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) called for it to be pulled down on August 31, with claims that the image of the topless male model is not within the decency standards of advertising in Singapore.

“The general consensus was that the portrayal of the human anatomy had crossed the path of decency because the navel line was very much exposed,” said ASAS chairman Tan Sze Wee to The Straits Times.

I’m not here to debate about whether it is indeed indecent (personally, it isn’t), but instead, what puzzles me is how this furore over the ad comes almost 5 months after it was first erected.

There must be a reason why, and to me, honestly, the whole fracas really boils down to one thing. Men and their oversized egos.

Men. Ah, we love them so, but at so many other times, we can’t really stand their machismo.

The team, over lunch one day, came to a conclusion that men can’t take it when another guy tramples their ego.

Ergo, if another man steals his girlfriend, that indignity of it all to the Man, makes it so that he can’t get over it for weeks, or even months, on end. The Man also can’t take it when a new guy enters the room and all the girls suddenly go weak in the knees.

Think of how all the men (the very same ones who begged you to watch Lord of The Rings with them) hated Legolas (ah, that shiny elf with the gorgeous blue eyes and golden hair) the very minute he appeared on screen and turned girls into mush simply by shooting glittering arrows at ugly monsters.

None of the men I know was willing to admit he was even remotely good-looking. Every single reaction I got was, “Ugh. No.”

So obviously, when this perfect specimen of a male figure appeared on the front of the Abercrombie & Fitch store, it was as if they (their egos) had been pricked with a fine needle.

They weren’t outrightly offended, of course, as first of all, no one wanted to admit (out loud) they weren’t as well-built as him. Secondly, it didn’t pose a direct threat to them (he wasn’t a real person).

But what they didn’t know was that it was a bigger threat than they believed. Everytime they walked past it, their egos got a little bit more deflated. And so it went on for a while, until one day, someone’s balloon must have popped.

The next we know, we hear the ASAS is on Abercrombie & Fitch’s case for public indecency, wanting to take it down.

It had finally, officially, become an eyesore.

Perhaps what made this glaringly clear that the Men were the ones with the biggest beef with the ad was that this was a poster of a half-naked man. I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve seen more half-naked women on posters all over Singapore with nary a squeak of the indecency cry.

Double standards much?

Men are okay when women are portrayed in lingerie, but they aren’t so forgiving when it is a man. Does that mean we need to be less forgiving when women are objectified as sex symbols? Maybe so.