Robin Thicke really is that gross

In a new interview, the "Blurred Lines" singer reveals his act is no act

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Published October 25, 2013 2:40PM (EDT)

Robin Thicke        (AP/Alex Brandon)
Robin Thicke (AP/Alex Brandon)

In the ongoing battle to be the smarmiest man in pop music, Robin Thicke this week has finally fully wrested the crown off John Mayer's head.

Thicke, of course, has been making a truly magnificent effort of it the past several months, thanks to his predatory mega-hit single and video "Blurred Lines." He went the extra mile at the VMAs this summer, lending himself out as the object upon which Miley Cyrus got her twerk on. Now, in a new interview with Mickey Rapkin in Elle, the "neo-urban icon" (Side note: What?) reveals his intimate and personal side. And it's just as creepy as his videos.

The roots of Thicke's attitudes seem to stem from the example of his old man, "Growing Pains" star Alan Thicke. The younger Thicke recalls growing up with his dad: "My dad was single my whole pubescent period. He had Ms. Alabama, Ms. Dominican Republic -- every week. I was like, Dang, Pops. He had an indoor Jacuzzi, and he frequented it. The first time I saw a naked woman was when I went to take a shower one morning before school." Note the language -- his father didn't date women, he didn't even know them. He just had beauty queens, the way that other guys have breakfast. Lesson learned: Being known as the guy who wrote the theme to "Facts of Life" can get a man a lot of primo tail.

Thicke then explains his father's dating advice: "We were on vacation and some pretty girl walked by. I started ogling her like a 12-year-old boy, and he said, 'I know she’s pretty, but you stared at her and followed her across the room. What if there’s a prettier girl sitting two tables away? Now she's not going to feel special. She’ll say, You look at all the girls like that. You've gotta play it cool so you don’t look like you're desperate.'" And when asked about the penis he's so fond of bragging about in his music, he clarifies, "Listen, compared to my son, I’m packing. If I'm next to LeBron James? It’s probably not quite as impressive." Assuming that Robin Thicke's and LeBron James' penises aren't generally next to each other, it's safe to guess that Thicke is instead estimating here that because LeBron James is a tall African American, his manhood is supersized. Guess what? It's still racist and inappropriate when you're being kind of flattering about someone else's genitals!

Later in the interview, after possessively admitting he gets jealous when his actress wife Paula Patton kisses other men because "Those are my lips," he reveals the two of them like to listen to his music while they get it on. "She likes to do it more than ever now. Sometimes she’ll even play groupie for me," he says, adding that in his less successful years she encouraged him by vowing, "You’re a genius, you’re a superstar. The world’s not ready yet. But they will be soon." Yet all is not bliss – when they argue, he says, "Lock up the golf clubs."

Thicke's shtick isn't just shudder-worthy because it's all about ownership of beauty queens or just their lips. It's the way that disingenuously, through it all, Thicke maintains a slimy degree of "Who, moi?" innocence. He's said of his performance with Cyrus that he was "not really paying attention" while she was grinding on him and licking him. "I’m looking up to the sky, I’m singing. That’s on her," he told Oprah Winfrey earlier this month. And he told the Daily Mail this month that the rapey "Blurred Lines" is in fact a monogamous love song. "I wrote it about my wife," he said. "She's my good girl. And I know she wants it because we've been together for 20 years." He's also explained on "Today" that "Blurred Lines" achieves "what great art does -- it's supposed to stir conversation, it's supposed to make us talk about what's important and what the relationships between men and women are. If you listen to the lyrics, it says, 'That man is not your maker.' It's actually a feminist movement within itself." Gosh, on behalf of feminism: Thanks, Robin Thicke.

It's one thing to be the patronizing girl ogler who's trying to figure out where his penis size fits on the toddler-LeBron James continuum. It takes extra effort to wrap up all that immaturity in the cloak of self-professed great feminist art. Maybe his unit isn't as grand as his songs make it out to be, but you've got to admit, with an attitude like that, that guy's got cojones to spare.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Blurred Lines John Mayer Miley Cyrus Robin Thicke Sexism Vmas