The Foreigns Live Forever In The Shadow Of Dennis Thatcher
Americans! You're no doubt mourning the end of Fred Thompson's "lazy like a lazy, lazy fox" strategy, which was supposed to provide our hottest First Lady since Frances Cleveland! We're going to have to console ourselves with the sexy (male) spouses of those weird, unpronounceable people the Foreigns chose to lead their Foreign nations.
Last week we took a look at the hottest First Ladies; This week we take on the gents, which we admit is a much shallower pool. Do you like washed-up ex-politicians, distinguished-looking older gentlemen, and alcoholics? Check out the dudes who'll be playing poker with Bill Clinton at trade summits for the next eight years:
First of all, before you all start to bitch about our candidates for Hottest First Gentleman, and perhaps even dispute my qualifications to judge this batch, I want to you get a sense of just what I had to work with. A terrible lack of shallowness on the part of powerful females gets you results like these:
That's Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of the President of the Philippines, sweating nervously on the right; on the left, that's Néstor Kirchner, who somehow managed to woo Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the world's hottest president, with his walleyed charm. So don't hate on the First Gentleman of New Zealand's gentle bearded amiability, OK?
GERMANY: Joachim Sauer
Perhaps the most genuinely handsome fellow in the bunch, Joachim Sauer is the 59-year-old husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He's doesn't just offer rugged Teutonic good looks, but brains as well: He has a PhD in chemistry and is a full professor in the subject at Humboldt University of Berlin. From the picture, you can tell that he cleans up nice, for an academic. (We're going to interpret whatever's going on with his tuxedo as just the photo capturing it in a weird position and not a buttoning attempt gone horribly awry.)
Unfortunately, he misses the trifecta of appearance, smarts, and personality, since he's also a bit of a grouch! "Sauer" is German for "sour", which also has the meaning of "grumpy" that it has in English, and Prof. Sauer's been working hard to live up to that reputation since his wife barely won the 2005 election.
Preferring to fiddle with his test tubes (or whatever a "quantum chemist" uses in his devilish experiments) than take part in affairs of state, he shuns publicity, going so far as to stay at home for his wife's inauguration and watch it on TV. When she was running for office, the only public event he appeared at with her was an opera festival -- like all Germans, he can't get enough of Wagner's special brand of nationalistic death worship -- leading wags to dub him the "Phantom of the Opera." But I think you'll agree that he doesn't need any fetishistic masks covering up half of his face!
CANADA: Jean-Daniel Lafond
"Whoa there!" you're saying. "Did Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper take advantage of Canada's same-sex marriage law to finally get hitched with his longtime male companion?" Sadly, no. Harper is as straight as the day is long (or so libel law requires us to make clear); but Canada also has a Queen, who, since she's busy very being the Queen of the UK and a bunch of other countries, appoints a "Governor-General" to perform her useless and entirely ceremonial Canadian duties. Right now the Canadian Governor-General is a nice lady named Michaëlle Jean, who is married to Jean-Daniel Lafond, a saucy Frenchman 13 years her senior. This gives Lafond the rather grandiose title of "Viceregal Consort of Canada" and basically shit-all to do, officially, so he continues on with his job as a documentary filmmaker.
Despite being older and balder (that hat's actually a good idea, trust us), we think he has a certain roguish, Gallic, Depardieu-esque charm, for those who are into that sort of thing. He's also stirred some controversy, with rumors that he once had a stash for weapons for Quebec separatists in his library, and some of his films seeming to promote Quebecois independence from Canada. But isn't that sort of mercurial bad-boy behavior why you marry a fellow like this? "Sorry I broke the country of which you're the figurehead apart, my darling! But look, I picked up some excellent wine on the way home."
IRELAND: Martin McAleese
Ireland also has the whole "Prime Minister who actually leads the country, plus ceremonial head of state" thing going, with a lady taking the latter job (interesting that this is where the political female types get shunted off to, isn't it?). Ireland's presidency is a bit more high-profile, though, which means that President Mary McAleese's husband Martin has a bit more to do. Despite his white-collar double whammy of pre-First Gentlemen jobs -- he's an accountant and a dentist! -- his face conveys to us a certain working class, tough-guy charm.
This is for the best, since he's spent much of his wife's presidency building bridges with pro-British paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. He looks like the sort of guy that you might meet and have a nice conversation about football with in a local pub someplace -- unless you tried to argue that Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was a better president than his wife, in which case he'd punch you in the face.
NEW ZEALAND: Peter Davis
In looking for a picture of Peter Davis, the husband of New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, I plugged his name into Google Images and got this:
"Hello!" I thought. "We have a winner!" But then it turns out that this guy is an actor in New York or someplace, and doesn't even seem to be named Peter Davis. Stupid Google!
That's Peter Davis over there at the right. He seems like a nice man! He's a university professor and medical sociologist, and, like many an academic, he has a beard, and that's OK! We think he's got a nice, gentle face -- he's not some kind of movie star, but surely this is the supportive, helpful visage you want to come home to after pushing your legislation through a fractious, divided parliament, right?
Still, I couldn't help wondering if Google was trying to tell me something by returning the picture of that handsome mug, with the hair tussled just so. Specifically, could it be implying that Peter Davis was gay? (Not that I'm saying that the dude in the first picture is! Ha ha! Please don't sue us!) If that's what's exercising Google's cybernetic consciousness, it's not alone! Apparently, during the victory celebration for his wife's Labour Party on election night, he was smooched by openly gay party member Ian Scott; the kiss, caught on camera, was, in Davis's own words, shown on a local TV station "in a semi-pornographic way -- slowing it down, repeating it." Sounds hott! But they both swear it was just electoral high spirits and Davis is totally straight and stuff. So, wrong again, Google! Sheesh, it's a wonder you stock price is still so high.
CHILE: Now accepting applications!
Fellas! After reading this article, have you decided that the exciting life of a world leader's consort is for you? Well, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is single, at least according to her Wikipedia entry (which is the world leader equivalent of a Facebook page, honestly). Michelle's a socialist, but politics are no object -- she dated the spokesman for a Communist insurgent group in the '80s and had a kid with a right-wing Pinochet supporter in the '90s. She's also a doctor, so she has a lucrative career to fall back on in case the whole "president" thing doesn't work out. So get yourself down to Santiago and make your move! Chances of your both being killed in a U.S.-backed coup are lower than they've been in decades!