Dear Vanity Fair,
I see what you're trying for with your May 2012 “Television Issue.” Four sexy TV star ladies covered only by a sheet in the same bed on the cover of your magazine: Julianna Margulies, Claire Danes, Sofia Verrgara, and Michelle Dockery. Sorry, but this isn't Demi Moore naked and pregnant. This isn't even Tom Ford biting Keira Knightley's ear. This isn't provocative, or especially interesting. Four straight ladies of varying ages naked in bed together doesn't make much of an impression anymore, surely doesn't raise much ire at the checkout counter, probably doesn't sell a lot of magazines.
Might I suggest a slight tweak? Upend our expectations, subvert our views on sexuality, sell more magazines, even, with the simplest of changes. Put four men in the same bed on the cover of your magazine. They don't have to be gay, though Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Andy Cohen, and Chris Colfer would certainly move a few units among your gay male readership. Consider a sexy four in a bed like Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Taye Diggs (Private Practice) and Chris Noth (The Good Wife). Or a funny four in a bed like Louis C.K. (Louie), Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation), Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Donald Glover (Community). A dramatic four in a bed like Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), John Slattery (Mad Men), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). Late night with Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. Reality competition bedfellows Seacrest and Adam Levine, Jeff Probst and Simon Cowell. Gender-bend if you like and throw in Ru-Paul or Chaz Bono for a little wink.
And don't explain yourself, Vanity Fair, let controversy fall where it may. I suspect there will be little fallout from your sexy faux-lesbo cover this month, but if you put four men shirtless and sleepy, people would write letters in support and damnation, you might get a few subscriptions canceled in The Real America, but I bet you'd earn a few more everywhere else. Maybe by showing four men in various undress, as you have hundreds of women over the years, you'd be implicitly supporting two men in bed at home. Taking the shock out of the notion (if any remains), by putting it on the cover of the one of most widely-read publications in the world. I don't care if you do it to shock or satisfy us. Sell a bunch of copies for your vanity, support some men in a bed because it's fair.
A loyal reader,