Hot for the "First Dude"

Why are some women proclaiming their love for Todd Palin?

By Judy Berman
Published October 29, 2008 10:12AM (EDT)

If there's one thing pundits from across the political spectrum can agree upon about Sarah Palin, it's that she's attractive. But what about her husband, Todd? We've heard about his hobbies (snow machines!) and missteps, and we've ridiculed his penchant for calling himself the "First Dude." And that's all well and good, but now it's time to start asking the tough questions: Is Todd Palin sexy?

According to this article, the answer is a resounding "yes." (In a quick straw poll, Salon's New York editorial staff was fairly split on the question. Responses ranged from "By some standards, yes" to "He's repulsive," with the men cutting Todd significantly more slack than the women.) The piece's author, Maureen Dempsey, points out that a Google search for the term "First Dude" will yield a variety of products bearing slogans like "Todd's Babe" and "One Smoking Hot First Dude" and goes on to enumerate the reasons why women are attracted to Todd. While the story seems a bit dashed off (and don't get me started on the part about how successful women can't find a "good man"), it does elucidate an interesting contradiction in Todd's public image.

Like his wife, the First Dude is a gender-politics anomaly. He's a big, strong outdoorsman who once worked a blue-collar job in the oil fields. At the same time, he's a stay-at-home dad who supports his high-achieving wife's very public ambitions. While he's not exactly my type, I assume that his appeal comes from the rare (in the public sphere, at least) combination of perceived virility and sensitivity that he embodies.

But enough of my speculation. I'm interested to hear what Broadsheet readers -- women and men -- think. Does the First Dude do it for you?



Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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