Unless you gave up TV and internet last New Year’s Day, I know what you’re probably thinking: Duh, this is a no-brainer. But let me explain why it’s a question worth considering.
Robin Thicke might appear to be the obvious winner. (Sorry, Louie, but all of us have to face the fact that there are other people who are better looking than we are. Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce΄ are just two of the women who are more beautiful than I. So let’s not get all butt-hurt about it, OK?)
Anyways, Robin, son of Canadian comedian/actor Alan Thicke, is a handsome white (Canadians are usually, though not always, white – though let’s not talk about the natives, which is another subject) R&B singer who, after years of producing croon-y ballads, recently made it big on his hit song “Blurred Lines.” With a fun party groove sampled from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” two known black rappers who got his back-up (T.I. and Pharrell), and some provocative lyrics, the song already had a lot going for it. Throw in a video in which the guys hit on three gorgeous, barely-dressed and flirtatious babes, not to mention an unrated version in which the babes strut their babe-like breasts, and it’s a winner. But what for sure pushed it over the top, popularity-wise, was guess what – the backlash’n’buzz. At first Youtube refused to air the unrated film. And there’s plenty of grist for the angry feminist mill – from the bare boobs of the girls to the sexual bravado of the guys to the fetish sneakers to the dog (the dog???) to lyrics like “I know you want it” (thought by rapists everywhere) and “I’mma take a good girl” (drawled by drunken frat boys, well, at frats.)
I am a feminist from wayyy back, and I like the song. I recently took a road trip with my sister during which we listened to it like 346 times, and it never failed to get us dancing even in the car. As for the videos, I think they’re both campy, sexy and fun. I actually prefer the unrated version since I like nudity in general, and boobs in particular. The sex is tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended), and as far as I’m concerned, the girls give as good as they get (check out that foot-face-slap!) And I can’t lie: that Robin Thicke is hothothot! A black-haired, blue-eyed soul singer with a sexy smile – say WHAT??? And by the way, his wedding ring doesn’t hurt either. (No, guys, not because it makes him ‘unattainable,’ or a ‘challenge.’ It’s because it might mean he’s not afraid of commitment…just sayin’.)
Yet in spite of all that, here’s the reason why Louis CK might be sexier…
Louie is a stocky, red-haired Mexican-American (yes, a Mexican REDHEAD, who’da thought?) comedy writer who has written for the likes of David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock; had a sitcom “Louie;” and wrote and directed a cult classic film “Pootie Tang” (love that title!) But lately he’s become a more public figure thanks to his stand-up comedy routines. The one through which I learned about him was a Facebook share of his bit on the courage it takes to date. Sure, he says, a guy has to work up the guts to ask, and we all know that can be tough; but the real courage is on the part of the woman who might say yes:
“If she says yes, that’s HER courage. And the courage it takes for a woman to say yes is beyond anything I can imagine. A woman saying yes to a date with a man is literally insane, and ill-advised. And the whole species’ existence counts on them doing it! … How do women still go out with guys? When you consider the fact that there’s no greater threat to women than men! … Globally and historically, we’re the #1 cause of injury and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them… But women still (say), ‘Yeah I’ll go out with you – alone, at night. I’ll get in your car with you, with my little shoulders high, where are we going?’ To your death, statistically! … If you’re a guy, try to imagine if you could only date a half bear/half lion: ‘Oh, I hope this one’s nice. I hope he doesn’t do what he’s GOING to do.’” (And yes, we all know what the bear/lion would be thinking.)
So there’s Louie acknowledging that men can be a threat to women and that women should be wary of them. As a divorced man, he’s doing so at the risk of chasing his own future dates away. And when he does this, it’s just Louie on the stage: There are no bare breasts, pouty lips, posse or double entendres. As a feminist, and a woman, I find it very sexy to have the reality of my existence understood and illuminated by a man. Remember how black people fought for civil rights, but it took young white kids laying their lives on the line to show the white majority the wrongness of racism? Women have been fighting sexual violence, overtly since the 1970’s, covertly since forever, but it will take men standing up with us to really make other men aware of how large the problem looms in women’s lives.
I gotta say both men are sexy, in their own ways and for their own reasons. But this begs a bigger question. Robin wants us to give in to our “animal” nature and go home with him, and oh, do we want to! Yet Louie says we just might be risking our lives if we do. Whom should we listen to? And how do we know? How can a woman resolve this confounding dilemma?
I’ll answer these questions in Part 2 of this blog, and in my book in progress about food, sex and relationship, Licking the Spoon.