Their employer’s one rule for them while up on Bareback Mountain is that one of them has to stay with the sheep out in the fields overnight, and the other can stay at camp. After spending several weeks together enduring the Job’s hardships, and with only each other for company, they slowly begin to build a relationship. While at first their relationship is platonic, it eventually evolves into a romantic one; Bareback Mountain depicts in depth the struggles and complications – both internal ND external – Jack and Nines must deal with throughout the entirety of their relationship.
Attraction Because Nines lives the stereotypical cowboy lifestyle, he frequently tends to keep to himself; he has experienced many hardships throughout his lifetime, and is not prone to be particularly conversational. Jack, on the other hand, is easy-going and carefree; his ambitions in life to become a rodeo cowboy have helped him to develop into a loquacious individual – these personality characteristics are illustrated through Jack and Ennui’s first interactions with each other while up on Bareback Mountain.
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While at first Jack and Nines seem like polar opposites, by spending so much time together while herding sheep, it allows them to open up to and identify with each other, and to see that they both feel isolated from society – Just to different extents. According to the mere-exposure effect (Gaggers et al. , 1973; cited in Hyde & Tolerated, 2008), Jack and Ennui’s repeated exposure to one another “[lead] to greater liking for [each other]” (Bernstein, 1989; cited in Hyde & Tolerated, 2008, p. 283).
This consistently repeated exposure led to Jack and Nines being able to build apart amongst themselves, and help them realize that they are alike in many respects. Homophony, the inclination to be surrounded by and to have contact with people who are similar to ourselves in social status (Hyde & Tolerated, 2008), also lends itself well to Jack and Ennui’s relationship, in that, we tend to like people who are similar to ourselves, because they help to positively reaffirm our self-image (Hudson and Levering, 1978; cited in Hyde & Tolerated, 2008).
Although Jack and Nines would consistently butt heads about how to do things, they eventually grew to eke each other – albeit, politically at first – because they felt as if they grew to know and understand one another. Gender Roles and Colonization Colonization, a method in which a society expresses accepted norms and expectations of an individual (Hyde & Tolerated, 2008), is very important in that, it provides an avenue for individuals come to know about gender roles and stereotypes. Via colonization, both Jack and Nines learned of their expected gender roles, or “a set of… Laterally defined expectations, that define how people of one ender ought to behave” (Hyde & Tolerated, 2008, pig. 314). For example, Nines has been socialized to believe that men are supposed to be masculine, stoic, and composed; however, developing homoerotic feelings for, and engaging in homosexual relations with Jack, are contrary to Ennui’s culturally-defined gender role of a man. After their sheep-herding Job is done, and the protagonists part ways, Nines, unable to adequately comprehend and deal with everything that has happened to him while caused him to question his masculinity, a key part of his identity.
Nines, attempting to reassert his masculinity, tries to preserve it by waiting until he has privacy (running into a deserted alley way) to act out – because colonization has taught him that men do not act on or display their emotions; upon discovering that he is being observed by another, he defensively (and instinctual) lashes out in rage, like any heterosexual man would be expected to do. Sexual Orientation Throughout the film, various situations arise in which both Jack and Nines attempt to define their sexual orientation.
Initially, we are lead to assume that both Jack and Nines identify as heterosexual – Nines is engaged and is due to be married once he finishes the herding Job on Bareback Mountain, and we also assume that Jack is heterosexual, the reason for this being that straight is the sexuality that is most commonly associated with his chosen profession (although there are some moments in which we may question this assumption about Jack; for example, when he and Nines first meet, Jack continuously checks Nines out, attempting to do so discreetly while shaving).
While up on Bareback Mountain, however, we get more in-depth insight about both Jack and Ennui’s sexuality. After becoming extremely intoxicated one evening, Nines decides to sleep at camp (instead of with the sheep); Jack convinces Nines to sleep in the tent with him to avoid the cold, and Jack reaches over and uses Ennui’s hand to stimulate himself. Nines, still intoxicated and sleep- drunk, is confused about what is happening – once Jack clearly asserts what he’s trying to do, Nines initially resists him, but eventually succumbs, and Nines engages in his first homosexual experience.
Nines realizes something about his relations with Jack are “right”, and continue – although hesitantly at first – to engage in them. Jack, who initiated the homosexual relations, could be placed in one of two categories regarding his sexuality: as bisexual, in that his gender orientation is geared towards both genders, or conversely as a situational homosexual.
Situational homosexuality also helps to explain the late-emergence and occurrence of homosexuality in Nines; in situational homosexuality – or deprivation homosexuality – a person who identifies as heterosexual may engage in homosexuality activity, due to fact that they are in tuitions in which they are deprived of their regular heterosexual activity (Hyde & Tolerated, 2008, p. 361) ; while being away from other individuals for months at a time while on herding Jobs, Jack may have turned to heterosexual activity, in order to satiate his need for sexual activity.
Conclusion Throughout this paper, I have provided examples in which three specific concepts of human sexuality – attraction, gender roles and colonization, and sexual orientation – are portrayed in the film Bareback Mountain. Although media tends to dramatist individuals’ experiences regarding human sexuality, through this film, we get glimpses into the interpersonal Journeys of Jack Twist and Nines Del Mar, two men who struggle not only with coming to terms with their own sexual identity, but who also struggle with the development and maintenance of their relationship and love for one another, spanning throughout their adulthood years.
Although Jack and Ennui’s relationship is not “stereotypical” (for both men and women, heterosexual and homosexual alike), from it, we can take away from their relationship that, regardless f one’s sexual orientation and/or preference, we all experience the same struggles  It is later revealed throughout the film, that Jack is, indeed, most likely bisexual.
For example, some time after Jack and Nines have parted ways after the herding Job on Bareback Mountain, he meets Lauren Newswomen. Both highly attracted to each other, they engage in sexual intercourse, which consequently results in Lurker’s pregnancy, and Lauren and Jacks marriage. However, throughout the year, Jack still maintains his relationship with Nines, and admits that he has been to Mexico, to engage in homosexual relations.