I was called up on to choose this year's Hunky Santa - a coveted spot for a male specimen to become the holiday spokesman for Los Angeles shopping spot The Beverly Center.
I could ask, what kind of man would even audition for something like this? But I can't, because, well, what kind of woman would judge such a contest. Nope. No hypocrisy here.
This competition is much like a beauty pageant. In addition to being physically attractive (the Hunky Santa's costume consists of a skin tight tank top, Italian leather boots and a long red velvet coat), he must also like and appreciate the community and children.
In addition to performing 60 lives shows at the mall between November 27th and Christmas Eve, the Hunky Santa also makes appearances at charity events and children's hospitals to spread holiday cheer.
Based on most of my past relationships, I am not the best judge of 'hunky' - I tend to go for brainy, non-athletic types who think the gym is a science experiment or simply a waste of time. I could only hope that the other judges had more expertise than I in this area.
When the top 20 finalists showed themselves to us, I literally almost crawled under the judges' table. How is it that men and women can so easily judge female beauty, but women judging men is a different animal? Not even Chippendales, the premiere male for female strip club, could stay in business in Los Angeles. And I'm sure those men, just like their female counterparts, were also stripping their way through law school. Right? Maybe women simply don't find men gyrating their packages or butts in their faces attractive?
My fellow judges were Kiss FM's Ellen K, eyebrow king to the stars Damone Roberts, Ashley Zarlin of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," and The Beverly Center's Susan Vance.
The 20 hopefuls were subjected to our questions, such as: Why do you want to be Hunky Santa? How do you feel about men and women sitting on your lap? Each contestant also danced for us and, as a finale, took off their shirts so we could assess their physique.
The shirt removal part got me every time. There is something obscene about having attractive men strip to the waist in the mall.
True to stereotype half of the contestants were not so bright. Then again, I was prejudging based on looks. I was very much proven wrong and was duly impressed by some including a Princeton grad, a financial analyst, and a track star.
In the end, I was mostly outvoted, and the panel decided on super hunky fitness expert James Ellis (he did breakdance for us, which I think clinched the deal). It is LA after all. Let the holidays begin!