I clicked over from Mad Men — post-mower, pre-Oprah — half-expecting another somewhat funny, mostly awkward Emmy introduction from Doogie, or at least another one of those inside jokes from a nominated TV director that is precisely the reason no one watches the Emmys on TV. Predictably, I got both on this commercial break, but men around the world were also transfixed by a triple-take: Versace, the presenter on the left, and especially what was in-between.
Blake Lively’s introduction into the adult male consciousness was an unfortunate one, parsed out in glimpses meant for teenyboppers, whether on CW previews caught between Seinfeld reruns or magazine newsstands caught between train rides. But just as Jessica Biel shook off the FCC-mandated chastity belt with that Gear shoot a couple seasons into her post-adolescent starletdom, Lively shimmied her way toward womanhood down the red carpet in this backless (and, more jarringly, nearly frontless) gown last night.
It was the type of perfectly cut, crazy-expensive dress that makes a man realize why women ogle their own kind for glamorous fashion tips during these interminably terrible award shows. But it was that moment I caught, with Lively so thoroughly demanding the on-stage ogle — so much more so than Leighton Meester, an eyebrow-raiser in her own right — that made me reconsider this woman, no longer a Gossip Girl so much as a twenty-two-year-old temptress. She did it with a delivery meant for the bedroom and a haute appeal that’ll keep us chasing long after she leaves behind the teenyboppers.