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Posted at 07:46 PM ET, 03/16/2012

Rick Santorum, topless, causes stir

If you have been wondering, as I have, whether there is a market for topless photos of Rick Santorum, wonder no longer. Today we learned the answer: Yes, yes, there is.

When I heard about the shirtless photo of Rick Santorum that was making its rounds on the Internet, I hoped it was a photo of Santorum sunbathing in only a sweater vest. Shirtless doesn’t have to mean vestless, after all!

But it isn’t. The vest is gone.

I thought that a desire for topless images of Santorum was, at best, the long-cherished dream of a niche population.

But no. It’s viral.

Whenever he speaks, one question bobs to the tops of our minds. Policy positions? Experience? “What’s under the vest?” we murmur. “We want to see under the vest.”

Maybe there’s a logic to it. “Given his interest in what we should be allowed to do with our bodies,” women mutter, “we are curious to see what he does with his own.”

Maybe it’s just another manifestation of that general truth that Americans would rather do literally anything than start catching up on their piles of unread New Yorkers. Grout tile? Eat kale? Look at shirtless photos of Rick Santorum?

Sure, pass ’em along.

Or maybe it’s just the usual prurient fascination with Irrelevant Aspects of the Lives of Presidential Candidates. Policy positions? They take so long to read. How does he treat his dog? “You can learn more about a man from how he treats his dog than by reading any number of policy papers,” you say, sagely, at cocktail parties. What does he look like topless? How does he eat corn dogs?

What does this say about us, as a nation?

I am, frankly, torn. This is at least 1,000 words of picture.

But the swimsuit-readiness of presidential candidates is like the geographical knowledge of Miss America contestants — I’m surprised if they possess any at all. We all have seen that famous photo of President Obama emerging from the waves, but if there is anyone out there who was waiting for a topless counter-photo of Santorum to emerge before making up her (or his) mind, I’d like to meet him, slap him and take away his voting rights. All I’m going to say is that this is one time when Santorum’s appearance would be improved by the addition of a vest.

Here, Santorum talks about it.

And he has a sense of humor about it. He apologizes. “I’m sure it’s not a pretty sight,” he notes. But we’re all staring.

As a side-note, one blogger reports that this was taken by passengers on an all-gay cruise that happened to dock nearby. I am guessing that this is literally the opposite of where you would want to dock if you were a passenger on an all-gay cruise: near Rick Santorum sunbathing topless.

By  |  07:46 PM ET, 03/16/2012

Tags:  Santorum

 
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