We have a chat with Ethan Morse, one of the models from our newest Luxe campaign, about why Valentine’s Day shouldn’t have to feel like an arrow in the butt.
Whereas most people view love as a core tenet of the human experience, Ethan describes it as ‘decadent’. He wonders if this perspective comes from the cheesy movies with snowflakes and horse-drawn carriages, or that he cannot comfortably walk in public while holding the hands of another man without fear of prejudice.
Ethan, aged 24, is in love with many people; it’s non-romantic love that sustains him most. “I say that I’m in love with all of my friends. What if Valentine’s Day was about more than the single romantic love, by the deep well of love that each of us is surrounded by: our friends, our families, even our work colleagues? I think we get tunnel vision on what love can look like. It’s not the Hallmark version, the perfect romance. I wish there was a Valentine’s Day for everyone.”
Ethan wears the Jules Naturals briefs in Raspberry
He speaks with retrospect, reflecting on the angsty teen who viewed Valentine’s Day as a consumerist scam. He’s spent several public holidays working for extra cash, each giving him plenty of time to think about the meaning behind all of the pomp and circumstance. “On paper, spending Christmases alone seems a bit sad, but you genuinely learn to appreciate what’s at the core of each holiday. We’re pack animals, we’re obsessed which each other. We create these things as an excuse to be around each other.” Given this, Valentine’s Day needs a reboot to focus on relationships of all kinds. Ethan believes that we spend so much time lying in bed at night imagining the perfect date, that reality will never meet the mark. If we could stay present for 90% of the time, he says, we will find beautiful parts of it no matter what.
Despite a career in acting, romantic love doesn’t feel like reading from a script. “Being attracted to men, there are layers to romance and how you show it. Being safe as well. Even the most simple act of romance, like holding hands in public - in Wellington of all places - feels wrong sometimes. I’ve had people yell at me from cars… I still get nervous holding hands with a guy walking down the street.” While he feels grateful to live in a country without legal discrimination, he agrees with the concerns across queer community nationally that Aotearoa is becoming a less safe space for LGBTQIA+ persons.
It’s understandable, given these pressures, Ethan’s desire for Valentine’s Day to be more inclusive of different kinds of love. This Valentine’s Day, he will be journeying on an 11-hour bus ride to Tauranga to see his mum. The most sentimental piece of luggage that will travel with him is his shoebox full of memories from his time in Wellington. It contains gifted trinkets from his little brothers and sisters, polaroids with friends, and the script of every play he’s performed while living in Pōneke. It’s a true manifestation of love for himself, the beginning of a bright career, and appreciation for all of those who have supported him along the way.
Ethan wears the Jules Naturals boxer brief in Raspberry. You can shop our new Nisa Luxe colourways, Raspberry and Blush, here.