Case in point: A few months ago I started watching MOJO TV's Three Sheets (available on both Hulu and iTunes) only because I thought Zane Lamprey was kinda cute. Well, he sort of is, in a Steve Guttenberg-ish kind of way, but after sitting through his frat-boy schtick I concluded that I'd probably find him more attractive if I was, say, ten years younger, and preferably with the same level of alcohol tolerance that I had in my early twenties.
At around the same time, I also started watching Lidia's Italy on PBS - understandable, because I love Italy and Italian food, and seeing both in the same cooking show is the TV equivalent of Zoloft for me. Lidia Bastianich, of course, is the marquee star of the show, and the food is mighty tasty... but it's the guest appearances from her son Joseph that really makes the shows for me.
Joe Bastianich, of course, is also a big deal in the F&B world - considering that he counts both Lidia and Mario Batali as his business partners, on top of his expertise in Italian wines. (Note to self: Must. Borrow. Heat. NOW.) All that I already knew before I started watching his Mom's show... and yet, watching him walk and talk (and drink) his way through la bella Italia as he recommends the best tipples for his Mom's cooking just made me all happy inside. Nothing at all like the snotty, effete sommeliers you'd see in other restaurants - and yet, there's not even a hint of eau de Frat Boy on him. Sure, he's got a physique like an oak cask - and God help us if he even duplicates Zane Lamprey's attempts to run around in a banana hammock - but Joseph's screen presence is so easygoing that you almost want to come along with him and have a few drinks with Mama's home cooking.
And yet, for some reason, the whole Bastianich package - the gravelly voice, the bald head, the expertise with the cocktail shaker - strikes me as more attractive than average. Maybe it's because I'm developing a thing for knowledgeable older men who age wisely, or maybe I'm just an aging crone who's losing my taste for the bar scene of my misbegotten youth... but, still.
Tutto a tavola a mangiare, indeed.