Sexy is in the eye of the beholder. The beholder of the whip, that is.
Many Western news sites couldn't contain their titters after they heard that China's official Communist mouthguard -- the People's Daily -- announced that North Korea's cherubic-faced youth, Kim Jong-un, had been voted "The Sexiest Man Alive."
No, he wasn't voted by the People's Daily. This wasn't even People magazine. It was that sensitive publication dedicated to the human image, the Onion.
As the Associated Press pictured it, the People's Daily decided to honor this momentous occasion by offering a 55-page photo spread.
It also offered prose more purple than a drunken uncle's face at Christmas:
With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true.
And then there was:
Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.
Yes, all this prose was from the Onion.
As the day went on, the laughter went unabated. The slight snafu aboutalleging Google had bought yet another company was entirely forgotten.
The Onion offered a charming update to its post:
For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.
And yet I find myself keeping my snorts in check.
Please imagine the great hope the People's Daily gave to all men who are saddled with pitiful -- rather than Pittian -- looks.
Please imagine how many Chinese readers were uplifted from the fuzzy morass of their hangover by being informed that a dumpy little man can make a woman -- in fact, all the world's women -- swoon.
All it takes, perhaps, is a little pout, a little power and a big horse.
None of these things is entirely out of the realm for most men. Except, perhaps, in North Korea.