While the world continues to spiral in a downward fashion, it’s important to have a few laughs along the way, mostly because deflection is mandatory amid chaos.
This would explain why the sight of Tory 2.0 Jacob Rees-Mogg reposing in the UK House of Commons has been all over one’s social media feeds and the newspapers for the last week.
Why the hubbub? Mostly, it’s the sheer arrogance of his pose. The sense of Etonian entitlement. Imagine if you saw Leo Varadkar or Paschal Donohoe reclined in the Dail, at the exact angle one would expect to receive grapes?
One could argue, “It’s a stressful job, they’re in there for hours, he was just catching a bit of shut eye!” But it’s the fact that Rees-Mogg has fashioned himself into something of a modern-day Renaissance nude that’s just a bit… much.
After all, Leo’s usual pose involves clasping his hands together earnestly, fingers intertwined in the well-worn Irish tradition of “ah, sure, isn’t it great to be here?” But languidly lolling backwards, legs aloft, as if he owns the place? A Prime Minister would never do that. Apart from Boris.
■ THE THRUSTING TORIES
The UK Prime Minister hoisting his hoof on Macron’s coffee table at the Elysee Palace last month may have been momentary, but anyone who’s ever spent a minute in the public eye should know that some breaking-the-ice banter about robust coffee tables that “could” double as a footstool isn’t an invitation to actually stick your size 10s up there. It was just for a split second, but the message it sent was enough.
This display of misguided assurance is something of a departure from the staple posturing usually adopted by Tories. Behold the Wonder Woman stance: over the last five years, you may have witnessed the likes of George Osborne, Sajid Javid, Theresa May, Michael Gove and even BoJo himself attempting to straddle the stage or a doorway, in a bid to convey confidence. Instead of owning the space, they created a chasm of confusion between presumably trembling knees. Who thought splaying your legs to the point of collapse was a good look?!
■ OWNING IT
Rees-Mogg’s recent shapes have resulted in a barrage of analysis over the Tory Party’s propensity for the Super Stance and, by extension, Celebrity Power Poses. Unlike most politicians, who don’t quite have the assured physicality, celebrities own their space rather than the other way around.
Look no further than captain of the World Cup-winning American soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, and her majestic goal celebration. It’s an epic thing of beauty because of the strength in her conviction.
The same goes for Angelina Jolie’s one-legged Oscar strut of 2012, and Victoria Beckham’s infamous Instagram shot showcasing her leg’s ability to tell time. These poses, while extreme, would look awkward being toted by anyone else. We’re talking Theresa May’s ode to the Safety Dance by way of Dancing Queen at the 2018 Tory Party Conference levels of awks.
With so many examples of power posturing on display, it seems fitting to have a gander at some of our homegrown posing powerhouses. As you can see, there’s nary an I’m A Little Teapot model move among them…
■ THE MIGHTY MARTY
Ah, finger pistols. Not everyone can carry this look off with Marty Morrissey’s aplomb, but that’s half of the allure of this pose. It conveys the feeling of not taking oneself too seriously, while also packing a serious amount of heat.
Where it can be used: At the Ploughing, or when entering most social gatherings. However, ensure muscle memory doesn’t take over to the point that you’re busting out the Mighty Marty while walking into a business meeting.
■ THE IF IT AIN’T BROGAN
Nothing imparts Bernard Brogan’s patented “let’s make it five-in-a-row” fervour like the inspirational fist-pump. As with most posing pros owning their space, Bernard realises it’s all about balance (literally and figuratively), hence the widely used photos of him showcasing his softer side, cradling his newborn twin sons after winning the Sam Maguire last year.
Where it can be used: Best done on the move, in a sporting situation. If deployed in any other setting, it could be interpreted very differently…
■ THE HANDY HIGGINS
It doesn’t have to always be the buffalo stance: our diminutive president would lose a good half a foot if he busted out that one in a bid to own the space, therefore he opts for his trademark arms-akimbo approach. Not only is it powerful, it’s also the universal sign of welcoming.
Where it can be used: Helpful in an array of scenarios, such as addressing the nation or attending an airport arrivals hall.
■ HANDY HIGGINS: PART II
This one is fierce interesting… the coy coat tug or the lapel slip is usually reserved for those engaged in something of an intimate relationship. Yes, the Love Islanders shared living quarters for a couple of weeks, but let’s not forget Maura Higgins was Greg O’Shea’s second choice of date in the villa.
There was an undeniable spark between the pair almost immediately from the moment Maura roared “ARE YOU IRISH? F*** OFF!” to the scene where both of them actually ATE breakfast together, not to mention the sight of them engaged in the patented “No f***ing problem, mate, yeah?!” McGregor strut — it seems this pair may be made for each other. Maura seems to think so anyway, with this curious display of lapel pulling.
Where it can be used: Seemingly, when you’re on the lash after The Late Late without your fella.
■ the ZEALOUS ZAMPARELLI
While Jennifer Zamparelli could be contractually obliged to make this stance as Dancing With The Stars presenter — Strictly host Tess Daly is also fond of breaking this one out — that doesn’t detract from the vim it displays.
Where it can be used: At the beginning of most motivational talks, irrespective of audience size.
■ THE BYRNE
Nicky Byrne does love a good John Wayne look, straddling the red carpet like it’s a prime stallion. During his tenure with Westlife, he’s been building up the leg muscles from all the mounting and dismounting of various sized stools and he’s been putting his thigh work to good use, particularly when performing onstage. When he’s not onstage, Nicky acquires a modified, low-key version, where he can showcase his lithe lines while coming across affable — in a “sure, ’tis yourself, let’s fist-bump” kind of way.
Where it can be used: You too can feel the Byrne if you’re considering a career as a catalogue model, or need a confidence boost at your local singles’ night.
■ MIRIAM MANOEUVRE
It’s not everyone who can impart approachability, puissance, finesse and professionalism in just one pose, but not everyone is Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan. It’s how she disarms her interviewees. She doesn’t seem to take her mantle of Super Poser too seriously, either.
Where it can be used: As your LinkedIn profile picture.
■ THE WEE DANIEL
We’re not just making reference to his appreciation of a nearby toilet (Room to Improve viewers will know what I’m talking about), more his ability to embody the ‘Irish ideal’ to most of middle America. That’s quite the gift, and the Irish Tourism Board should also be on bended knee in return.
Where it can be used: Unfortunately, this one can’t be used in an everyday situation — unless you find yourself impersonating Daniel O’Donnell for some reason.
■ The KILLER KEANE
More a mood than a pose, Roy Keane doesn’t have to adopt a trademark stance to impart an ability to scare seven shades out of anyone who falls under his laser-like stare.
Where it can be used: Most Irish mammies employ this stare on a daily basis. In fact, it’s mandatory.
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