The Awful Truth

The First Annual Golden Panty Awards

Published July 8, 1996 7:48PM (EDT)

sure, People magazine has the Sexiest Man Alive contest, but that only exists to satisfy and publicly vindicate the masturbation fantasies of older, unhappily married women in the Midwest. Besides, the editors' taste generally runs to smug white idiot actors with bleached hair and teeth and paint-on tans, like Costner or Pitt. Someday, I hope, the co-opting of all forms of sub-pornographic imagery and teenage rebellion by MTV may prompt America to find less adolescent criteria for "Cool" and "Sexy."

In order to hasten that day, and provide a different lens with which to view the parade of waterbed breasts and stripped hair and crotch pumps so amply provided for us by the popular media, I have thoughtfully assembled my own list. Fortunately, Legends of REAL Cool still exist. Not cool because of poolside hard-on Hollywood sexiness, either, but Scary Legit and Street-Credible Cool. TRUE SEXY, in other words.

First, we must state that freaked-out black jazz musicians like Miles Davis or Jellyroll Morton or Charles Mingus, those of Parliament Funkadelic ilk (Mssrs. Bootsy Collins, G. Clinton, etc.) and Bruce Lee have already won the contest, forever, a long time ago, and now we can only aspire to their God-like stature, as the pious mortal aspires to the acts of martyred Saints. Statues of these timeless icons in their most festive pimp attire can be found gracing the halls of the Academy, surrounded by offerings of Cuban cigars, bottles of Courvoisier, and loose French women.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Ruben Blades, the Yale-grad Afro-Cuban singer who ran for the presidency of Panama, who I think is THE coolest guy in both the English and Spanish-speaking worlds and who I would like to romantically enslave. All this guy has to do is open his mouth and cool pours out like oil down a sinewy nude. Forget greased dong props like Pitt with his shaved chest and long proctologist fingers and mumble-mouthed opinionless dribbling. Blades is a real M-A-N, momma. Sexy brainy Renaissance power man with spicy Latin lover sauce and a lotta drums. You could put him in any era throughout time, and he'd always be a rock star. Highest Honors. Gold Panties.

2. Iggy Pop, because he truly is a street-walking cheetah with a hat full of napalm, and who cares if he sold out to Nike like a puss, he was probably broke because he spent all his money on careless living. He gets the Silver Panty Lifetime Achievement Award.

3. Dubuffet. What a retard. What a genius. Posthumous Bronze Panties.

First Runner-Up with the Burnished Iron Panties is Me'Shell N'degéocello because I love all bald black women who play killer bass, and whenever she talks she sounds like she's really angry at everybody and for some reason you want her to playfully slap you and drag you around by the hair because it would be delicious.

Honorable Mentions (Redwood Burl and Lucite Panties) to the saxophone-playing King of Thailand, Jackie Joyner-Kersee for having the best set of gams, and Richard Pryor, who deserves the award because he used to be cool until Life kicked his ass around the block and he started getting that fearfully apologetic look in his eye.

I feel obligated at this point to present the second tier of awards, which is the Dixie Cup of Water That Used to Be An Ice Panty award to those who Once Were Cool but blew it really badly and disgraced themselves.

1. Hunter S. Thompson. He pawned his brain like a crack whore. My advice to him: give up life immediately and check into a cryogenics lab so we can at least preserve the miserable dregs of what used to be your genius before you fritter it all away on senility and geriatric amphetamine psychosis.

2. Dennis Rodman. Stop with the worthless paranoid yammering. Put your dress on, shut up and rebound. Only talk if it's about your graphic sexual exploits with popular female celebrities.

3. David Bowie. Sobriety homogenized his personality and he started THANKING his audience for being there. Like he suddenly realized they were PAYING or something. He was best when he was disgusted with the audience and was just using us as an excuse to frot the mike stand and scowl.

Special Golden Panty Tribute video-montage-with-hip-Brazilian-score (subtext: you SHOULD think this is Cool and Sexy because WE do) : Frida Kahlo in her hospital bed, brutally wrestling her hairstyle into place to receive visitors/(bleed into) Ruth Gordon as "Maude."

Thunderous applause. Large nets suspended on the ceiling open, releasing thousands of multicolored cotton/lycra thongs onto the ebullient heads of the eclectic audience. The evening's winners join the adoring crowd and then they all get on their thousands of old bicycles and ride collectively to the ocean, where the awards are promptly thrown in, to peals and shrieks of childish joy from onlookers and seagulls. Subsequent barefoot samba dancing around bonfire and champagne make-out party.

By Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson is a culture critic and author whose books include "A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease" and "Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny." Her new book, "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America's Fashion Destiny," will be published by WW Norton.

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