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To a perceptive viewer some of the characters in Gage's films can be clearly understood as "gay identified", while others are just as clearly intended to represent bisexual men who normally inhabit the heterosexual world and may even be happily married. Many other characters—perhaps most of them—defy easy categorization, however. "I never went out of my way to emphasize the butch or straight attributes of my guys--I always sought to portray them as representatives of the average, ordinary, for the most part, working-class citizen."
For all of these reasons, Kincaid’s aesthetic sensibilities had a significant impact not only on his contemporaries in the adult film world but on gay-male culture as it was developing in the 1970s and 1980s. "He's . . . the first artist who dared to suggest that sex between men was more about camaraderie than romance, more about hot action than a lifestyle. While his characters were always working-class Joes, his '70s epics became blueprints of sexual tension-building and were also stylistically innovative." Numerous filmmakers of today cite the Gage films as being highly instrumental in their own development, and at least one gay singer-songwriter has used the phrase "a Joe Gage face" in his lyrics, knowing that for some listeners it would immediately evoke a certain kind of male handsomeness, in much the same way that "Gibson girl" or "Patrick Nagel" bring to mind a specific type of feminine beauty. "The "Gage Men", as they were known during the heyday of the '70s, appeared more sexy Average Joe than Abercrombie & Fitch. They tended toward the hairy and the hunky ..."