Vin Diesel’s Sleeves

I woke up this morning worrying about Vin Diesel’s sleeves

again, and what they mean and where they went

and why he doesn’t just wear vests like his Fast and Furious co-star

The Rock does – if getting his guns out is what this is all about –


instead of those weird, slightly ill-fitting military shirts with the sleeves

deliberately torn off that have become his trademark

in the multi-billion-dollar car-based action franchise,

and which make him look not unlike a 1970s binman


Where do all the sleeves go? You’ve got to assume

that the wardrobe department has to prepare tens, maybe

hundreds of identical shirts, each with the sleeves carefully removed but

made to look as if Vin has just casually ripped them off,

as if – maybe – his arms themselves have simply refused

to be constrained, to be contained by so much khaki fabric.


But are there, then, piles of those discarded sleeves somewhere?

Bagfuls? Vanfuls?

Do they get donated?



Vin Diesel you are fifty this year, with your sleeveless arms like hams,

your arms like trucks or train engines, your massively bankable and

hopefully well-insured arms.


What are your arms trying to tell us? What do they want?

What would make them happy, Vin?


Do your arms contain coded or not-so-coded messages about

masculinity, and gender, and sexuality in the twenty-first century?

Your beautiful yet oddly sexless arms, forever seen at the wheel

(in the films, at least) of the black 1970 Dodge Charger that once

belonged to your father (or variations thereof),


your shaved and hairless arms, which, unlike the arms of The Rock,

are also un-tattooed (and The Rock has a beard, too – unlike you –

possibly to make sure no one confuses the two of you).


What is it that makes your arms so internationally successful, so

appealing to a global audience of billions? What’s the secret?

Why your arms and not, say, the arms of Jason Statham, the ageing

arms of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the arms

of the increasingly disappointing Gerard Butler?


Can your arms Make America Great Again, Vin? Will

your sleeves be remembered for the sacrifice they made,

of them will it be said “they did all that could be asked,

and more, through all of the films in the series except

2 Fast 2 Furious, in which the character of Dominic Toretto

is only mentioned but doesn’t actually appear”?


Whither goest thou, Vin Diesel’s sleeves, in thy shiny car

in the night?