There are cars, bars and fashion and a good deal of near pornography - titillation without the dirty pictures. A celebration, as the English might say, of being a bloke. 'Would you fall for a Thai bar girl?' was the lead story in one of Britain's new wave of men's magazines last month, ironically written by a former senior figure on the South China Morning Post and chronicling a sordid tale of deceit and revenge in Bangkok. These are not the old-style soft porn of Playboy, Penthouse and Rustler, but allegedly upmarket magazines which have in the past year or so disproved the old adage that men's interests were entirely catered for by newspapers, specialist sports and hobby magazines - or by pornography. It is all part of the new wave of popular culture, which is not so much machismo as a celebration of masculinity. London stores are offering beer and curry evenings - with the new men's magazines available to read in their restaurants. And which television series was recently voted the funniest in the BBC's history? Why Men Behaving Badly, which is, as its title suggests, a chronicle of men in their 20s or 30s doing just that. Allied to this is the publishing phenomenon of the men's magazines. This is nothing to do with gayness, these magazines are strictly 'hetero'. Titles such as Loaded, Stuff, FHM, Arena and Esquire represent a fight back against feminism and are mostly politically incorrect. Innuendo and puns make up a large part of their content. Take the men's fitness magazine XL which currently has Miss Fit slipping out of her jogging pants and asking readers: 'Could you keep up?' Last month's Esquire had Gillian Anderson from the X-Files - 'The secret of X appeal' - covering her naked torso with black-gloved hands. If a schoolboy was to turn to these magazines for sex he would be sadly disappointed - the nipple count, if we can call it that, is actually very low. But it is said you can take these magazines home, while carrying Playboy across the threshold may send a different message. They are in that sense illusory. Take the on-line versions of the magazines available on the Internet. There is lots of lingerie, but nothing harder. But it's not all sex, there is sport and music as well, fashion and street 'cred'. British magazine editors and writers had pondered for decades why it was that nobody seemed to want to market a men's magazine that wasn't just full of bare breasts and buttocks. Then 10 years ago Nick Logan launched Arena. At first it was a market niche magazine with cultural aspirations. Arena editor Tony Parsons said: 'Before Arena launched 10 years ago, there were magazines aimed at a male readership, but they were either full of naked women or they were for men who had an unhealthy interest in one particular subject - such as cars, golf, stamps or trains. 'For the first time, here was a magazine acknowledging that a man could be interested in cars without wanting to look under the bonnet; that he could be interested in good-looking women without wanting to be a gynaecologist, and that he could love clothes without being Liberace.' Industry insiders say that until recently all men's magazines were aimed at 25-to 45-year-olds. While still catering to this age range, they are now split into up and downmarket titles. The more downmarket numbers also happen to reach the younger market. But with the number of copies sold doubling in just a couple of years they are all on to a winner.