Actor/TV host/author Mario Lopez has a new underwear line out, named “Rated M“. It is designed, according to their official site, as “for manful men and their very special guests“. The description continues: “Three very different categories take you from the boardroom to the bedroom and everywhere in between. No matter how you man up, Rated M has got your back”. Now, that’s aiming to please! Rated M? The “M” presumably stands for “Mario”, although some visitors to the underwear’s ambitious website may opine it stands for “masturbation material”. Oh, did I just say that? On, browsers have the option of seeing the “Atelier” collection (“The very baddest of romances. Just enough flair to get you noticed”), the “Play” line (“The perfect mash-up of performance and style. Whether you’re working out or just working it.”) or the “Elementary” collection (“Nothing fancy here. Just a solid foundation, packed with as much potential as you can muster“), which features a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci (“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”). Now, that’s an endorsement from a fellow celebrity that you don’t get too often! Needless to say, all three lines feature pictures of Mr. Lopez showing his basket.

The 38-year old, honey skinned hotster really seems to be into his new role as underwear model. He single-handedly seems to be on a mission to say that’s it’s OK for mainstream male celebs to show some skin… and, more importantly, to enjoy doing so! Lopez, who is of Mexican descent, has been acting since 1984 but cemented his status in pop culture as A.C. Slater, the popular jock on “Saved By the Bell” and later “Saved By the Bell: The College Years”. Since then, it would be an undie-statement to say that his career has been eclectic. The buff star has appeared on TV as both an actor and as a host in shows like “Dancing With the Stars“, “Extra“, and “The Bold and the Beautiful“. He has also appeared on Broadway in the role of Zach in “A Chorus Line” in a 2008 revival. Lopez has written three books about nutrition and fitness, a subject he clearly knows well. The first one, “Mario Lopez Knockout Fitness“, was published in 2008. There were also two cookbooks– “Extra Lean” in 2010 and “Extra Lean Family“ in 2011. Whereas his “Saved By the Bell” days made him a sex symbol among the training bra and braces crowd, Lopez is now a symbol for equal opportunity sexiness. Looking at his photos, there seems to be a look of “I’m loving this!”, not “This is a contractual obligation!”. Lopez has clearly never been shy about showing off his body. He has said, in several interviews, that he is always walking around in his underwear (We can all be grateful for that!). In fact, it is his seriously fit bod that made him a perfect actor to irk Julian McMahon’s character in a 2006 episode of “Nip and Tuck”. Lopez plays a fellow plastic surgeon who provokes McMahon’s jealousy when his peer sees his perfect nekked body in the shower. The scene was noted for its homoerotic undertones as much as for Lopez’ bare butt. In 2008, the star appeared in “People” Magazine’s Bachelor Issue, recreating shoots made famous by previous male sex symbols, such as Burt Reynolds’ naked “Cosmopolitan” spread in 1972 and Marky Mark’s Calvin Klein underwear ad in 1992.

Lopez has gone full force in promoting his new underwear line, including doing an interview with the popular gay mag “Advocate”, and stripping down to his undies on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. The catalog “Undergear” (formerly “International Male“), which always manages to find its way into gay men’s mailboxes (Trust me, they WILL find you, no matter how straight-acting you try to be…) has also been instrumental in giving Lopez maximum exposure. In case you‘re interested in actually BUYING the underwear rather than just looking at the photos: The line includes briefs, boxers, singlets, boxer briefs, cycling shorts, trunks, long johns, and “knickers” (Ahem…). As for tops, you can get V-necks, muscle tees, crew necks, or standard T’s. Not just basic black or white, the line also features the exclusive colors “cloudburst” (gray), “surf the web” (teal) and “gloxinia” (Your word for the day…You‘re welcome! It‘s a pure purple). All are a blend of 95% polyester, 5% spandex. Prices range from $16 for “Elementary” briefs up to $45 for “knickers” (Ahem again…) or long johns.

So far, the underwear has gotten positive reviews for comfort and style. But more importantly, in this writer’s opinion, it shows that pop culture views of male sexiness have really come a long way since that Burt Reynolds “Cosmopolitan” shoot I mentioned earlier. We may FINALLY be starting to allow male sex symbols to be sexy just for the sake of being sexy. In other words, it‘s OK to say, “I’m sexy and I know it. (I work out!)”. In addition, Mr. Lopez deserves kudos for serving as a role model for health and fitness. Male vanity is no longer saved for the gay boys. I always believed vanity was like hair gel. All you need is a little. Just don’t overdo it…

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