Fifty-One Thoughts on the Apparent Sexiness of John Edwards

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1. Is John Edwards sexy? He’s certainly handsome for a politician. But he’s not handsome in any kind of exotic, movie star sense. He looks more like a doctor on General Hospital. Not the kind of doctor on General Hospital who might secretly raise your morphine dosage to try and kill you so he can marry your wife. No, John Edwards would be a nice doctor on General Hospital.

2. Does sexiness matter in a politician? Or is it something the media just goes nuts about? I’ve heard a lot of people talk about John Edwards over the last couple of weeks, and not one of them has talked about his sex appeal. Except people on TV. But they know what’s important in life, those TV people.

3. Edwards got a lot of credit for sexing up John Kerry. But that’s not much of an accomplishment. Peter Boyle could sex up John Kerry.

4. If Edwards is sexy, what kind of sexy is he? Is he sexy in the dangerous, you’d-like-to-sleep-with-him sense? Or is he sexy in the innocuous, teenage crush sense? I think it’s more of the latter. Go to a rally and talk to the forty-five-year-old groupies going wild for Edwards. They sound like they’re on TRL.

5. Bill Clinton, of course, was sexy in the former sense. He was sexy in the dangerous, you’d-like-to-sleep-with-him sense. Actually, Bill Clinton was sexy in the dangerous, you’d-like-to-sleep-with-him, and-after-you-slept-with-him, he-slept-with-your-roommate sense.

6. But we miss that playa, don’t we?

7. If John Edwards is sexy, he shouldn’t get too full of himself. The bar is pretty low for politicians. Remember how Donald Rumsfeld used to get called sexy all the time? Of course, that was before he started dropping daisy-cutter bombs on people’s heads.

8. I can’t help but think also that all the talk about how Edwards will attract female voters is pretty, well, sexist — as if a candidate’s cosmetic appeal is the main factor that tilt undecided women voters. That’s ridiculous and piggish. Everyone knows women do whatever Dr. Phil tells them to do.

9. Actually, I read about a poll that said that if anything, Edwards was drawing undecided male votes. Your Queer Eye for the Straight Guy joke here.

10. The Republicans have a nickname for John Edwards: “The Breck Girl.” That’s actually pretty accurate and funny. But the Republicans really shouldn’t be commenting on people’s looks. Did you see the Republican National Convention on TV? Not exactly America’s Next Top Model.

11. I’ve seen Edwards listed as six feet tall. Hee haw.

12. Sometimes Edwards’ sex appeal is a hindrance. During the Oct. 5 vice-presidential debate with Dick Cheney, I found myself wishing Edwards was a little uglier, so he’d be taken a little more seriously. Coincidentally, I used to have the same opinion about Rob Lowe.

13. On a side note, I also wished Edwards had found a less clumsy way to address the issue of the vice president having a lesbian daughter. It was a legitimate political point to make, but Edwards sounded so tentative and uncomfortable making it, he might as well have been asking the vice president if he wore adult diapers.

14. And come to think of it, that’s not such a bad question to ask.

15. I wonder if he does.

16. Does it even matter if Edwards is sexy? It’s not as if we’ve been making a habit of electing sexy vice-presidents anyway. Let’s look at the last forty years: Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, George Bush, Walter Mondale, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford, Spiro Agnew, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon. Yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes, yikes and yikes.

17. You forgot about Nelson Rockefeller, didn’t you? You can probably win a pint with that one.

18. You know, Lyndon Johnson was actually kind of sexy at one point. Early on, he had that tall Texas swagger about him. He liked the ladies. However, he also liked to pick up his bassett hound by the ears and swing him around like a helicopter propeller.

19. No, I’m not making that up.

20. It’s amazing the Republicans briefly thought Dan Quayle was sexy. Of course, this was 1988. People also liked Howard Jones then.

21. Oh, don’t give me the Howard-Jones-is-secretly-great business. Please.

22. Okay, I’ll give you “No One Is to Blame.”

23. Is it uncool to talk about the candidates’ kids being sexy? Is Cate Edwards sexy? Who is Cate Edwards, you ask? I don’t know. But I bet that’s a pretty common name. I think if you live in the United States you probably have a one-in-three chance of being friends with someone named Kate Edwards.

24. I know this: Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry try way too hard to be sexy. They act like they’re sophisticated women of the world, but there’s a little Romy and Michele in those two.

25. I was pro-Jenna and anti-Barbara for the longest time, but lately Barbara has been pulling ahead in my mind. That girl wants to go a little wild. You can tell.

26. I honestly heard the bassett hound thing from someone who used to cover LBJ.

27. I don’t care what Chris Matthews said, Edwards won that debate. C’mon.

28. But that’s the whole thing: no one gives the sexy guy a break. Ask Ricky Martin!

29. Not to harp on it, but is there anyone who really likes watching Chris Matthews? I’m just asking. When I see his little panel after the debates — himself, Andrea Mitchell, Ron Reagan, that verbose Newsweek guy, and Joe Scarborough — I am invariably seized by an overwhelming desire to have a giant killer lizard stomp onto the set and swallow them all in one gulp.

30. Do you remember that press conference Bush gave after Kerry picked Edwards, the one where the reporter praised Edwards as “charming, engaging, a nimble campaigner, a populist and even sexy” and then asked the President, “How does he stack up against Dick Cheney?” Bush replied, “Dick Cheney can be President.” That sound bite sounded about as choreographed as a dance number in Cats. I’ll go to my grave thinking it was a setup.

31. I think it’s pretty certain Edwards uses conditioner.

32. A friend of mine thinks Edwards could have been the Tegrin guy. You know the Tegrin guy? Had one side of his hair in Tegrin shampoo, one side in the leading name brand shampoo? “I can feel it working!”

33. It wouldn’t have to be a giant killer lizard. It could be a shark, or a very fast snake.

34. I ignored those John Kerry Botox rumors for a long time because I thought they were a Republican smear tactic. But lately I haven’t been so sure.

35. Are you happy I avoided the obligatory Botox joke? There have been about 234,453 in history, and not a single one of them has been funny.

36. I’m also reasonably convinced he uses a little rouge on the cheeks. Nothing too much. Just a little dab. But some days he looks a little like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

37. It’s weird how no one finds John Kerry sexy any more. He’s smart, in shape, lives an interesting life. Back in his day that guy put up some numbers. He had a fling with Morgan Fairchild, you know.

38. Actually, is having a fling with Morgan Fairchild something to brag about? You can kind of see both sides to that one.

39. “I can’t talk right now, dude. Morgan Fairchild is sleeping next to me!” That must have been a weird thing to say.

40. Though I’m not so sure about daddy, I’m pro-Schwarzenegger’s kids, especially that little one with the mullet. You think he takes any shit in third grade? I don’t think so.

41. You know how Edwards is always talking about his humble beginnings, and his blue collar parents? Do you think his blue collar parents ever said to him, “John, you’re hot. Life is going to come easy to you.”

42. Edwards recently posed for the cover of Runner’s World, wearing a T-shirt tucked into his shorts. Not sexy at all.

43. I’m not backing down on Howard Jones. Stop.

44. One thing that’s not so sexy about Edwards is his position on gay marriage. I understand he’s playing to the middle, but how many times did he need to say “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman” during the debate? I kept waiting for him to say, “Me about penis-vagina! Me about penis-vagina!”

45. I can’t believe there are straight people who will not vote for a President because he’s pro-gay marriage. That’s like not buying a pizza from the pizza man because he’s bad at tennis. How does it possibly impact your life?

46. Edwards probably shouldn’t have said that thing about how if he and Kerry were elected, people like Christopher Reeve would be walking again. If you’re going to pick a fantasy, pick something crazier than that. Like $2 movie tickets.

47. Of all the candidates, who do you think is the horniest: Edwards, Bush, Cheney, or Kerry? I’m going with Bush.

48. But I also don’t think you can put off Teresa Heinz by telling her you have a headache.

49. I don’t know if it’s sex appeal or not, but watching that debate, you could see how Edwards was such an effective trial lawyer. He makes eye contact, speaks articulately and with passion, and uses his hands to maximum impact. By the end of the debate I was ready to make GM pay $100 million to someone.

50. I’d pay good money to know what Mary Cheney really thinks.

51. No, “Things Can Only Get Better” is not a great song. 


Adam Boyle is a writer in New York.

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