Fabio, Fabio, Fabio. Italian love god. Your books, calendars and videos stir the passion of millions, but not all of that passion is the bodice-ripping, sultry-eyed, hot-flames-of-desire variety.
We asked male readers to tell us what they thought of Fabio. Did they think he was intimidating, nauseating or boring?
None of the responses was apathetic. Of the 53 calls we received, 21 were either from women (sorry, ladies, we said this poll was for men only) or were anonymous. Of the remaining 32 responses, 15 were negative, 16 were positive and one was mixed.
"I think Fabio probably represents everything that's wrong in women's and men's expectations of each other in relationships," says Stan Majesky, 46. "The real mark of a man, I think -- a real man -- is a guy like [pro football player] David Williams . . . who would give up over $100,000 and risk his job to be with his son on the day after the son's birth."
But some men think they have Fabio's number.
"I think Fabio is a joke, but I think if someone can get rich going around with no shirt on and calling himself Fabio, all the power to him," says Brother Carakis, 19. "But women are crazy to think that this guy is any more romantic or would pay any more attention to them than the average guy. He has created this image for one reason: money. If they believe anything else, they're nuts."
Some readers were more appreciative.
"He seems like a pretty good old boy really," says William Banks, 31. "I'm sure he's got a large ego, but that, I would think, would go with the terrain. He's a good-looking, big strong guy . . . but at any rate, he seems like he has good advice as far as treating women like people and all that sort of thing."
A few think Fabio is more of a role model than a Romeo. "I think most men would like to look like that, but I'm more impressed that he is spokesman of the American Cancer Society," says Steve Wetzelberger, 30. "He must have a motivation in that department, and I hope that he does well."
Marty Pinsky, who's seen this all before, urges Fabio to take advantage of his 15 minutes of fame. "As a senior citizen, I believe that if you have it, you should flaunt it," says Mr. Pinsky, 67. "After all,life is too short and careers of his nature are also too short, so let him make it while he can and more power to him."
Another reader sees the Fabio phenomenon as just another example of what makes America great.
"If somebody likes him, knock yourself out," says Emery Herczeg, 41. "If you don't, just ignore him. That's what makes American great. . ."
But confusion reigns in some quarters. "Fabio?" says Don Oakes, 35. "I thought Fabio was an Italian washing machine detergent."