Once upon a time, a site called The Black Table had a regular feature entitled Waxing Off, in which women gathered in an online roundtable to discuss issues of the day, and also to make fun of Will Leitch's shoes. And so we got to thinking: With so many great female sports bloggers out there, why not import the idea here? It's just crazy enough to work. So behold: The latest edition of Deadspin's Waxing Off. Expanded edition this week, as eight writers pen short pieces on the one and only Erin Andrews. Tall and tanned and young and lovely, the girl from ESPN goes walking, and when she passes each man she passes goes Aaah! But how do our Waxing Off writers feel about America's premiere sideline princess? The answers may surprise you. By the way, if you'd like to be part of the Waxing Off writing staff, email myself at Rick@Deadspin.com, or Mr. Daulerio at AJD@Deadspin.com.J-Money: The position of the sideline reporter is inherently ridiculous, existing only to wear enough outerwear so the viewers at home know what the weather condition on the field is ("You can see from my wet-yet-fashionable hat that it's raining here in Seattle."), to star in a one-person performance of 'Totally Obvious Theatre' ("The jagged splinters of what used to be his femur are causing him some discomfort so we may not see him in the second half.") and to walk backwards while thrusting a microphone into the face of a State Trooper-swarmed coach after the game. That said, I like Erin Andrews. She does the best that she can with the shit that she's given. And she's good it it. She knows the game, whether it's football or baseball or hockey and despite being a Pretty Pretty Princess, she's not some hollow-skulled ring girl who parades around between rounds and worries whether she'll need the card that reads "2" before the one that says "3". It's also totally unsurprising that she's parlayed her lustrous mane and ability to look nice in knitwear into endorsements off the field. Good for her. If I could use my jagged teeth and asymmetrical eyes to charm my way into anything other than an extra packet of Polynesian sauce for my McNuggets I totally would too. It's no secret that we - from the viewing public to the potential customer to most raccoons-are attracted to shiny pretty things, whether it's a doe-eyed sideline scribe, the Diamonique collection, or a crumpled ball of aluminum foil (raccoons only). Erin obviously knows her shit … but so did Suzy Kolber and she's not hawking a collection of college heritage posters. Pam Ward has been an NCAA mainstay and you don't see her selling anything, although she could do a line of sensible shoes and perhaps gender reassignment surgery. Now that Erin is getting more recognition and earning some cred, I'd like to see her, you know, DO something with it. I don't expect her to revolutionize the position (leave that one alone, boys) but I could see her making more of it, using her abilities to make sideline reporting less of a cliché or a novelty and more well-respected. At the very least, I hope she keeps her hat dry. J-Money is a freelance writer and minimumwagelance retail associate. More of her words can be found on her blog, The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, and at Playing the Field. ————- Ciara Todd: I have my own "18 million cracks". I think back to all the women who paved the way for me to even think about doing something like this. Growing up, one of the first sports columns I read religiously was written by Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. It gave me some sense of hope that a woman could be a part of a fictional and slightly elitist sports-writing/reporting/analyzing fraternity. But when I see the "reactions" that most people have to Erin Andrews and other women in sports, I can't help but wonder: Could I be famous and successful as a woman in this male-dominated profession without being the object of some dude's sexcapades? Am I wrong for sometimes thinking that Erin Andrews is on that Sarah Palin vibe? She could be well-qualified for the job once you get past how pretty she is? Don't get me wrong. Andrews isn't a ditz. All of the recognition that she has achieved for her work is well-deserved. However, am I wrong to think that, of the people that adore her, 85 percent of her fans just want to do her? While she has some very stunning genetics, the fact that people want to go "half on a baby" with her versus talk to her bothers the shit out of me. This is the conundrum I face as a woman who loves sports. ESPN didn't hire Erin Andrews to appease me. Hell, they don't think about me in the first place (Cialis, for the win?) They hired her to do a job that just so happens to be this stereotypical high–mark for women in sports. However, she's does her job well. You can't argue that. So I'm stuck, stuck thinking that she should do well to add another crack to the glass ceiling or that she's hurting our chances for some real respect in this industry. Ciara is a college student in Philadelphia who was once bossed around by Daulerio during their Philadelphia magazine days. The former author of a blog called Athletes and Procreation, she is now working on a blog about sports and racism. ————- Kristine Blinn: This whole "pretty woman at sporting event = eye candy" mentality is going to take a while to clean up, I'm aware of this. But I'm sick of hearing respectable female reporters — the ones fighting oh-so-hard because they don't want to be seen as "just another pretty face," use Erin Andrews as a scapegoat. Because, you know what? Being a woman, I know how other women think, and these broads are just pissed because Andrews is getting the attention they want. EA's on the big network, they're not. She's become a spokeswoman, they haven't. She chose to take a chance and wear a stylish dress. They didn't. Well you know what, sweet cheeks? Too bad. You had your chance, and you chose to dress more like a man to get respect. It says something if the main criticism we hear of EA is that she wore a short dress one time and that she's pretty. Rarely do you hear anyone question her competency — a luxury Joe Buck has never known. The fact is, Andrews is a damn good sideline reporter. And putting pretty people on TV ain't exactly a new concept. So, ladies, if you're upset because guys talk about Erin's looks, you need to remember that it's not her fault she has a nicer face than you. In fact, you should be applauding Erin Andrews in her efforts to turn the tide away from women in pant suits. Because not dressing like a man while succeeding at your chosen profession: that, my friends, is how you prove you're more than just a pretty face. Kristine Blinn once wore a "You're With Me, Leather" T-shirt while running the New York City Marathon.
The Head Chick In Charge: Erin Andrews is not meant for me. I don't ogle her. I don't crave her. I don't aspire to fuck her. She is designed, created and programmed strictly for the boys. And I accept that. As such, she is of limited interest to me. Still, I can appreciate her substantive abilities. And she certainly has them. Generally, sideline reporters don't bother me. As with all things, some are better than others. I genuinely enjoy some. Just for example, Pam Oliver, Cheryl Miller, Craig Sager, and Tony Siragusa. It's hard to consistenly add substance as a sideline reporter in competition with the other talking heads and fancy digital graphics. (I mean, who can really compete with Cleatus the Fox Robot?) So I appreciate the ones who consistently add personality and lightness to the broadcast. Erin may be in that category, but I always feel a disconnect from her. I can barely focus on the words coming out of her mouth for thinking, "Why is her hair so long?" Her hair is impossible. Too long, too layered and she has an aversion to hairspray despite the fact that her job requires that she work outdoors in the elements. But, I already know, that's what THEY like. The boys love that long, ridiculous hair. Erin is not meant for me. And I accept that. I'm not sure how seriously Erin Andrews wants to be taken. She could do more if she wants — that is be famous for more than her clothing, her hair choices and her rack. In the imaginary world of "Mad Men," Joan scolded Don Draper's new secretary for her "excessive" presentation, "There's still plenty more to see. And you know that." Erin should ponder that advice as well. She is obviously competent and appealing. One day Erin will figure out the right hem length and hairstyle to make the boys that merely ogle her really appreciate what she has to offer. The HCIC is currently collaborating with Stephen A. Smith on a follow up to his investigative opus – "Segregation in Fantasy Football: Why
Deadspin Readers White People Refuse to Invite Black People Into Their Leagues Even When Asked Nicely." My spirit was almost broken when a plea for a FF slot in the first edition of Waxing Off went ignored. I'm recovering, thanks for asking. ————- Metschick: It's no secret that I like Erin Andrews. She's the whole package: smart, good looking, and good at her job. So her looks give her a (huge) advantage in her career. So what? How is that different from any other entertainment field? And at the end of the day, that's all that sports is — entertainment. We can fool ourselves into saying it's more than that, but it's not. My biggest complaint about Erin is her clothes. And no, it's not the tired "she doesn't dress professionally!" complaint. She's not a lawyer or an i-banker or any other job that requires her to suit up. She's a sideline reporter, not the press secretary. (SNY's Kevin Burkhardt wears a polo shirt during his sideline duties. I don't hear anyone whining about his "unprofessional" getup.) My complaint is that, once in a while, she wears unflattering clothes (although, I must say — cute shoes!). She's got the strength of TWWL behind her, and they can't hire one of the Fug Girls to dress her? It's not that her clothes are too tight or too short, it's that she can definitely wear clothes that will make her fabulous figure even more fabulous. Yes, I know you guys don't give two shits about what she wears, but I'm a girl! I notice these things. I just think with a more polished wardrobe, she'd take over the world! Imagine Erin in Charlotte's (from Sex and the City) wardrobe. I know this is purely for my benefit. Erin already does her job fantastically well. She is easy to talk to, the athletes seems to like her, and that's most of what her job consists of. At the end of the day, her job is to make the athletes accessible as human beings. I can't think of anyone else who does that better, while looking as good in those heels. Metschick can be found at Ladies... every Thursday, hoping to author a happy ending for the 2008 Mets. ————- Bay Area Claire: Long legs and a thin frame on sports television? There's nothing wrong with that! No, I'm not talking about Randy Johnson. It's all about Ms. Erin Andrews today. While I've heard the arguments that female sideline reporters are useless, I disagree. Although I value Peter Gammons and his plethora of baseball knowledge, there's something about this current batch of women that I enjoy. When I see them getting the in-the-moment interviews, nothing but respect (and a little bit of envy) run through my veins. Sports is life for some of us. To others, it's entertainment. While Ms. Andrews, Hazel Mae, Lisa Dergan, etc. are comely, they do provide fans will access to the athletes' memorable ("Anything is possible!") and/or predictable thoughts as they stand on the main stage. On the other hand, many see female reporters as nothing but eye-candy for couch inhabitants-a big plus for the big dogs behind the network and their fat pockets. But hey, everything serves more than one purpose. C'mon, we all know being attractive gets people far. A "10" that reads/speaks like a "0," would not have that coveted sideline job. Being a sexy blond with perfectly fashioned hair is wonderful, but the do won't help if she's completely incompetent. We've all sat through a slaughtering of a paragraph by a classmate when the teacher told him to read out loud in class. Hell, you may have even been the kid so irritated that every time he would stumble over a word you would yell the correct pronunciation and mumble insults under your breath. When a person is unintelligent and inarticulate, many would enjoy providing a quick chop to the person's larynx to terminate the worthlessness spewing out from her wasted chasm. If Erin Andrews wasn't good at what she does, she would not be showered with all the opportunities that have been floating her way. If being cute helps the opportunity shower turn into a storm, well kudos for her. Plus, can one really hate a Deadspin fan? Let the woman get her hustle on. Until Bay Area Claire finds a MLB market that will hire a short Filipino girl as their resident sideline reporter, you can find her sitting in AT&T Park plotting her next move. Can't make it to the Bay Area? Peruse her baseball diatribes at BleacherReport.com. ————- Samantha Benton: Although I WANT to be an Erin Andrews detractor, there is just something that keeps me from joining the bitter female backlash against the "sideline princess." She reminds me of the popular girl in high school that you just couldn't bring yourself to hate. Maybe there was something different about her personality (possibly kinder or smarter than the average early bloomer, maybe she used to have scoliosis or cystic acne) or perhaps it was simply your own latent lesbianism, but no matter what she did, you were still on her side. She was cute, sassy, and once lent you a tampon in gym class. And she would never steal your boyfriend, because frankly, your boyfriend could never come close to her league. She was the wholesome Homecoming Queen, not the slutty Prom Queen, and you voted for her. You wanted to hate her, you had every innate womanly reason to, but you just couldn't. Is Erin Andrews profiting from her looks and fame? Of course. Good for her! She does a demanding, male-dominated job well, she's entertaining, and seriously, there aren't many people who look good in high def. Let's not lose sight of the fact that to a higher degree than other forms of journalism, sports coverage is entertainment. She is not the worst offender in sports coverage to use her looks to get ahead, but she got raked over the coals for wearing a dress that was no worse than what many women wear to work or church! She's just the most identifiable personality, and thus has become an easy target. Picking on Andrews for bad reporting is not out of line, but I think all this fuss about her appearance reeks of media laziness. So I don't care that Erin Andrews seems to be "taking over the world," I like her. If she is just a pretty face, she'll be gone soon enough, but I hope she isn't. If she has the wherewithal, likeability and smarts to become a lifelong sports personality, it can only benefit other aspiring female sportscasters. Sammy lives in Portland, OR where she spends her time judging the city's sports bars and contributing to thingsaboutportlandthatsuck.com. NOTE: Lisa Horne's entry has been removed at her request. She says she misunderstood the assignment, and actually admires Ms. Andrews. She apologizes for the confusion.