How Robert De Niro can still win Ultimate Babe 2K23 Smackdown (a thread):
We are a nation divided, fractured, horny. On the night of May 15, writer Ashley Reese posed a thot experiment to the people of Twitter: “At a wedding and having a big debate rn. Please vote. Who was hotter?” with the options Young Al Pacino or Young Robert De Niro. Of course, this is was a deeply Heat-ed ask, pitting two Italianx kings against each other. After the standard 24-hour Twitter polling period and literally hundreds of thousands of votes, the results came in midway through Succession’s stressful election-night episode, and the results …
… were a tie. Young Pacino and Young De Niro are mathematically exactly the same level of hot. A hung jury! The conditions were perfect for this to go as viral as it did. The internet has always loved the concept of historical hotties: old Hollywood celebrities in their youth, daguerrotype guys with boy-band features under all that mutton-chop, anonymous Wild West mugshots, one’s parents in their 20s and 30s, dressed in goofy yet flattering period fashions. They make us feel connected to the past in a way that words just can’t. And with the debate raging and people’s opinions as cleft as Pacino’s chin, this was 2023 Twitter’s version of the Dress, if everyone wanted to fuck the Dress.
Pacino and De Niro are an interesting case, because they are both still very much present celebrities in our lives, and they weren’t really young that long ago. Plenty of people on Twitter grew up watching them in the ’70s and ’80s. But plenty more have only known their personas as older dudes. People who saw Jack and Jill with their families as 10-year-olds in 2011, whose first exposure to Pacino was as the rapping Dunkaccino guy, are graduating from college in a couple of weeks. People who weren’t born yet when De Niro voiced the main shark in Shark Tale will vote in next year’s election. They are the exact right age for this to go viral in every quadrant. And De Niro was already trending in the news last week for announcing that he had a baby in April at the age of 79. His virility is very much on the public’s mind.
Reese herself was not an impartial pollster, stumping early and hard for Young Pacino. Photos of him with those big doe eyes gazing off into the distance, looking oddly contemporary or maybe just timeless in an art shag and hoodie, or sweaty and soulful in Dog Day Afternoon, made for compelling evidence. But this blog is a Team De Niro space. The evidence is irrefutable. All of those iconic features that have aged over the years into cliche impression fodder add up in old photos to make for an impossibly hot man. The jawline, the glint in his eyes, the mop of curly hair, the Raging Bull physique? Fuhgeddaboutit!
But what this all comes down to is pretty versus sexy. Young Pacino is a pretty boy: soft features, DSLs, that Beatles/Oasis haircut that I personally find unflattering. He is acoustic guitars and poetry. Young De Niro, on the other hand, is a sexy grown man: ruggedly handsome, big nose (objectively hot), an extra button unbuttoned. Both look sensitive and deep — this is an important factor — but De Niro also looks like trouble. It’s a bouba/kiki situation, and both are equally valid, and there’s something beautiful about the fact that so many people can vote on this and we can be so evenly divided on it. It’s a win-win. Tomato tomahto. Potato potahto. Pacino De Niro.