|Ben Becker, a former tanning butler, has gone on to a modeling career. The Ritz loses most or their tanning butlers that way.|
Why is the media so obsessed with the Ritz-Carlton on South Beach's tanning butler position
? The Miami Herald showed up to cover
the audtions for the hotel's next sunscreen slayer and were joined by CBS 4, NBC 6, the Associated Press, CNN and WLRN. All in all there were 14 members of the media there, but only three guys actually showed up to apply for the job.
Yes, it's an odd job: a man, usually clad in short shorts, walks around the hotel's pool and offers to apply tanning gels and sunscreen to patrons, but 14 people were needed to cover it? That's more journalists than show up to your average city commission meeting. The pro-longed media attention is ever odder than the job itself, considering the story was first publicized in 2004.
"The National Enquirer
. That was the first ever -- they broke the story," publicist Michelle Payer told the Herald
, referring to the same tabloid that scooped everyone on the John Edward's sex scandal. Just more evidence that they deserve a Pulitzer
What's the deal here? Is the economy that bad that any time any job opens the media sends out a dozen camera crews? Eh, probably not -- considering the media itself has shed so many jobs lately that it probably couldn't afford to.
Is the idea of a man working a job that sort of objectifies him still front page news in 2010? Is it really that odd that a dude can make money by being scantily clad and offering up a semi-suggestive service? Would this story get as much play if it was a female tanning butler? Would it get more?
Who the hells knows. So many questions, so little desire to spend time thinking about answers.
Let's just throw the tanning butler in with the KFC Double Down and Chat Roulette on the pile of things the media is unhealthily obsessed with, but we're sick of reading about.