Most people want to be taken seriously at work. So wouldn't you love Erin Andrews to interview Danica Patrick at the Indianapolis 500?
Oh, to see the thought bubbles above their heads.
Andrews: "Why am I talking to a bikini model?"
Patrick: "Does this bimbo know a fan belt from a garter belt?"
The average American male wouldn't care what the women said as long as they flashed a little cleavage and a lot of leg. That's a problem, though it's one Patrick and Andrews have willingly brought on themselves.
They've broken Rule No. 1 for being taken seriously: Don't writhe on a bed or a car hood as millions of people ogle along. It's OK if you're auditioning for a Snoop Dogg video, but you won't see Helio Castroneves or Robin Roberts doing it.
The realization hit me like a ton of sequins as two great sporting events converged. Andrews finished third in "Dancing with the Stars," while Patrick bellyached about her car heading into Sunday's Indy 500.
The crowd booed when they heard the Brickyard's resident hottie pop off. It seems Patrick's striptease act is finally wearing a little thin. There's been way too much tease.
You can't blame Patrick for capitalizing on her looks. If companies wanted to pay me $7 million a year to titillate consumers, I'd be happily writhe on a car that's been sitting all day in the Florida sun.
But somewhere along the way you have to add some substance to the style. After five years on the Indy circuit, Patrick has one more win than Stevie Wonder. She's 1 for 137, a batting average of .0073.
When you consider she has more appearances in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, two words come to mind. Fraud and floozie.
Patrick is not a complete fraud. But if starting positions were based solely on driving ability, she'd be making left turns at the Petaluma Motocross instead of racing's most hallowed track.
As for floozie, there's no evidence she's anything but happily married. It's just that when your standard magazine pose consists of tugging seductively at your bikini bottom, a certain image follows.
Sexy. Shallow. Sleazy.
That's not fair since there is no direct evidence pinup girls are any dumber or trashier than the rest of us. Then again, get back to me when Pamela Anderson is nominated for the Supreme Court. Which brings us to Andrews.
Being a sideline reporter at college football games is not exactly Walter Cronkite territory. But its practitioners take pride in breaking news and asking probing questions. It's called journalism, and most journalists want to be known for their knowledge and insight, not their nice butts.
A close-up of Andrews' derriere in a pantsuit was an Internet favorite. That was harmless compared to the peeping Tom video that made Andrews an unwitting tabloid star last summer.
Andrews does her job as well as most of her peers, and it's not her fault she's attractive. But good looks bring society's Bimbo Prejudice into play, and Andrews is playing it all wrong.
She can shimmy like a showgirl. But if you want to be taken seriously as a reporter, you emphasize your mind over your body. If you saw Andrews on "Dancing with the Stars," the last thing you noticed was her brain.
I don't know which was my favorite costume -- the dominatrix boots or the skirt made out of purple feathers or the gold lamé corset? Whatever the getup, you wouldn't catch Rachel Maddow dead in one, thank goodness.
"I'm confused," Andrews told Sports Illustrated. "I guess it's OK for an NFL player and a gold medalist to do the show and be taken seriously, but nobody else is allowed."
It is OK for NFL players and ice skaters and Hollywood has-beens to do "Dancing with the Stars." Castroneves wowed 'em during the 2007 competition. But with two Indy 500 wins, he'd long since proven he wasn't just a bikini model wrapped in a fire-retardant suit.
What Andrews doesn't seem to understand is that Chad Ochocinco and Wayne Newton and Marie Osmond are entertainers. Kim Kardashian could wrap her legs around her dance partner because that's what Kim Kardashian does.
It's not what serious journalists do. That's why Kenny Mayne gets a pass for his dancing. As ESPN's version of Jon Stewart, we're not supposed to take him seriously.
Or are we wrong in assuming Andrews wanted that in the first place? With her looks and sass and celebrity, her future is bigger than asking Frank Beamer how the Hokies' defense will adjust at halftime.
Andrews probably figures she can parlay her Samba into a gig with "Entertainment Tonight" or "Inside Edition." Just as Patrick has parlayed her airbrushed abs and tush into a spot on the Andretti team.
That's fine. It's a free, red-blooded country. And they have every right to dance, writhe and market themselves as they see fit. But that gives us every right to get bimbo visions of Pamela Anderson and Kim Kardashian.
And if Andrews ever interviews Patrick, they'll probably see the same thing.