It's been 75 years since Clark Gable went shirtless in Mutiny on the Bounty. And 18 years since Mark Wahlberg touted his torso in Calvin Klein underwear ads. Lately the glimpse of an actor's chiseled, manscaped and moisturized abs has become the male counterpart of an actress's topless scene. Yes, abs are the new man-boobs.
I thought the trend had crested in 2009. Last year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine was effectively an abs showdown between Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds' abs nearly eclipsed his performance in last year's The Proposal. Then came Taylor Lautner and his 10-pack in Twilight: New Moon. But 2010 looks to be similarly abs-urd. Wahlberg's shirtlessness is a running gag in Date Night. This week Alex O'Loughlin and his abs upstage J-Lo and her assets in The Back-Up Plan. While watching O'Loughlin, I couldn't help but notice that he has hair above his pecs and is shaven below, all the better to see the abdominal definition. Made me nostalgic for the chest hair on Burt Reynolds and Alec Baldwin.
Are you a fan of this abs-session? Your favorite northern exposure? With a blush I admit Wahlberg in Date Night, not because I found it sexy but because he made it look like business casual.