Hello, lover. I’m ecstatic because the new Rolling Stone features two-time Winter Olympics gold medalist and Wheaties Box model Shaun White. Aside from my patriotism, which I choose to express via sports enthusiasm and voting, I’ve got an almost unhealthy preoccupation with Shaun White.
Growing up a token meant hanging out with a lot of kids who didn’t look like me. Consequently, I formed attractions more often to guys who looked like Shaun White than Sean Combs. No, I don’t have a David Duke box, but I don’t have a Marcus Garvey heart either.
My past would suggest otherwise, seeing as a white guy took me to prom (in a party of mostly white couples, see right) and many of my white female friends have dated more black guys than I have.
I’m not here to launch into a narrative about interracial dating. That’s a topic for another time, but I’m laying the groundwork to discuss why I can’t keep my eyes and mind off of Shaun White.
When White graced the cover of the Rolling Stone four years ago, I had no idea who he was. I also didn’t care. His pictured evoked another redhead I’d devoted many years to adoring. By the time the Vancouver games rolled around, I only had eyes for the Flying Tomato (yes, I know he doesn’t like or go by that nickname anymore but I can’t bear to call him Animal). White is a guy many girls would — and do — want to date, and he has the qualities a lot of people find classically attractive: He’s obviously driven, is at the top of his field and seems to be a nice guy (though he probably won’t win a Nobel Prize any time soon). Scroll back to the top of this post for a few more reasons — like six — why girls like White.
While you’re up there, look at how shamelessly Rolling Stone is exploiting White. The magazine’s photographers and design staff aren’t even trying to be cagey or subtle, or even particularly artistic. The only gray area in the photo’s presentation is whether White is miming ejaculation or urination (my money’s on the former, but does it even matter?).
I’m not offended by Rolling Stone’s latest cover, and that feeling has less to do with my desire for White and more to do with my egalitarian spirit. I think Rolling Stone is being progressive by showcasing White’s package. The magazine’s February 4 cover featured another shirtless male — one whom I also find attractive — and it’s about time.
Rolling Stone has a history of putting its female cover models in compromising positions. Of course, this is also the same magazine that’s most popular cover featured a fully-clothed Yoko Ono and her naked husband, John Lennon. I’m not saying the magazine is full of misogynists or misandrists, I’m just saying I’m happy to see the tide turn in favor of fairness.
Plus, women shouldn’t be the only ones to benefit from sexy magazine spreads. Didn’t Scott Brown‘s recent Senate victory show us that? Maybe it’s only a matter of time before we’re casting ballots for Sen. Shaun White (D-CA) ? OK, maybe not, but two shirtless Rolling Stone covers certainly aren’t going to make anyone take him less seriously, and he won’t suffer from the attention. The cover is a little tasteless, but we’re not talking about The New Yorker or Vanity Fair.
So I say “thank you” to Jann Wenner for making my fiery fantasy come true, if only in two dimensions. I have no guilt about that; in fact, I think it’s progress.