Monday, 18 January 2010

Strike a pose, there's nothing to it...

Portuguese poseur and occasional football player Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be making a career out of rifling through David Beckham's wardrobe.

When he was signed by Manchester United back in 2002, he found himself thrust into David's famous number 7 shirt, despite asking for a more anonymous number 28. And now, it looks like he's trying Beckham's underwear on for size, in a revealing new ad campaign for Armani.

The photos themselves are just as posey, airbrushed and homoerotic as you'd expect, with Cristiano having spent most of the photoshoot looking like he was having trouble keeping the pants on. In one rather telling shot, he looks braced for impact as he's doused with liquid - an apt metaphor for how many of these images are likely to be treated by his burgeoning fanbase.

Arriving late to the party, as usual, the Daily Mail has published a lengthy article, painstakingly reprinting the ads in all their glory and critiquing Ronaldo's 'hilariously over the top' technique. Despite the fact that pictures feature more bulges than a shoplifter's cardigan, writer Lydia Slater seems more concerned with Cristiano's 'strangely prominent Adam's apple'.

Buoyed on by the fact that Attitude editor Matthew Todd would have preferred a more 'butch' look for the wicked winger, Slater decides it's OK to take a pop at metrosexual men by claiming that "he appears to be paying homage to Village People, with an open waistcoat over his naked chest, pulling down tight jeans to reveal the top of his underpants and staring moodily at the camera." If that's how contemporary the pop culture references are in the Mail, Ronaldo should just be thankful he wasn't compared to Charles Hawtrey.

Slater's problem with all this, is that she believes women are turned off by men who look too perfect and take care of their appearance. As she states quite categorically, "women... as we all know, still do most of the underpant-buying for the men in their life". That may be the case, but in the world of the Mail, they buy five pairs for a tenner in Matalan, plus the slacks to go with them.

Underwear ads have always been aimed at men who like to look at pictures of other men in their smalls - or in the case of AussieBum, out of them. But somehow Lydia Slater seems to think that this is revelatory journalism.

When he was fifteen, Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart. He may have been cured, but I figure these ads will trigger plenty more incidences of the affliction.

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