According to a report in last Sunday’s Sun-Herald, former NRL footy player Luke Ricketson is set to appear in the new season of Dancing With The Stars, which starts next month.

Apparently, Ricko has been training every day to hone his body for the demands of dancing. He is looking super fit and has shed weight since he retired last year.

Sounds good to me -“ I’ve long been a fan -“ but surely nobody actually believes that horseshit about Ricko raising a sweat for the rigours of dancing. Come off it! He’s out there pumping iron and slimming down because the Dancing With The Stars audience is hungry for its annual pound of man-flesh and, this time around, he’s it.

This humble, somewhat schmaltzy program about ballroom dancing has become a monster TV hit, partly because of its sensational depictions of hot male bodies.

When Tom Williams took off his shirt in the final of the second series -“ offering up an achingly beautiful, sculpted physique -“ he sent off shockwaves around the nation, sending straight women and gay men everywhere into a state of hormonal apoplexy.

In the show’s third season, Collingwood football player Brodie Holland tried to outdo Williams by showing off his achingly beautiful, sculpted physique -“ but it was really up to Williams to outdo himself, and so he did, by stripping off his shirt and pants in that season’s final episode. (Underneath, Williams was wearing a pair of very tight rock-star jodhpurs -“ the kind of thing Mick Jagger wore when his stage act was less craggy old rock-dog and more stroppy bitch on heat. But I digress.)

The thing that struck me about Williams’s and Holland’s bodies -“ besides their indisputable hotness -“ was the obvious investment that had been made in them, by both men. These were no ordinary hot male bodies: they were flawlessly hot male bodies, superior in every fibre of muscle; designed not just to arouse, but to do nothing less than stun.

They had the kind of torsos that suggest masochistic sessions in the gym; the kind of six-packs that speak of a devotional approach to physical perfection. They reminded me of a line from Neal Drinnan’s novel Glove Puppet, in which the hypermasculine men who inhabit gay bars are described as pornography going somewhere to happen.

And so we come to the fourth season of Dancing With The Stars, and its promised servings of G-rated, family-friendly male flesh. Will Ricko outdo Tom Williams in the body stakes? Will he show more, and will he have more to show? I’m hoping for a yes on both counts.

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