You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry, You Better Not Pout, I’m Telling You Why

Four years ago, Green M&M and I went to Los Angeles to spend New Years.  The trip was a lot of fun…  Well up until the end when we were in a serious car accident on the way home from the airport after the trip, but that’s another story.

As I said, most of the trip was actually pretty good.  We took in a lot of sites and had a lot of good meals.  On one of those occasions we went to The Beverly Center to have a meal and do a little shopping, or so we thought.  There is a restaurant of sorts in the center court of the shopping center where Green M&M and I went for lunch.  It was the only time in my life that I felt, without any one saying or doing anything to me, like I was not supposed to be there.  Every one, and I do mean EVERYONE in Beverly Hills is rich, beautiful, and thin.  Green and I both felt fatter than usual (we’re both over-weight) and tragically unhip.  I was surprised and disappointed that The Beverly Center and all the people in it truly lived up to the hype of Beverly Hills.

So you can imagine how not surprised I was to see this yesterday:

Hunky Santa at the mall is sooooo L.A.

Instead of a bowl full of jelly, shoppers drink in St. Nick’s six-pack abs
By Laura T. Coffey

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus has abs of steel.

Or at least this one does.


Image: Hunky Santa Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — is wowing crowds at a Los Angeles mall this year.

Leave it to Los Angeles to concoct a wild plot twist involving the role of the traditional mall Santa. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the holiday season, Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls dance and delight throngs of shoppers at the Beverly Center mall. (The standard jolly and rotund Kris Kringle appears at the mall during the week and midday on weekends.)

A big bonus for the big kids who flock to see Hunky Santa: Hopping onto Hunky’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas.

The advice doesn’t stop there, though. Hunky Santa — played by Eli Wilhide, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound 31-year-old who has appeared on “CSI: Miami” — takes the time to dispense tips on nutrition and exercise, share gift ideas for guys who don’t know what to get their girlfriends or wives, and give all-around guidance about how to stay upbeat and healthy over the hectic holiday season.

“If I can make somebody feel better about what they put in their body and help them live longer and have more energy, that’s great,” Hunky told the Los Angeles Times.

Those biceps are no accident
Hunky also told the Times that he religiously exercises every morning — “I like a fresh, healthy glow before work” — and he shed some light on the kind of diet it takes to maintain a physique like that:

“Right after I work out, I try to have something right away, usually a protein shake with whey protein, and a piece of fruit. I try to eat every two to three hours, and my staple meal is chicken and broccoli. When I know I have to go somewhere, I’ll put some oatmeal with protein powder and berries in a container with an ice pack and snack on that. Basically, I try to eat a lean meat source and vegetables and brown rice — six small meals a day.”

So where did the mall find this guy? The process wasn’t easy. The Beverly Center has been featuring a Hunky Santa for several years now, but this year mall officials conducted what they described as “an exhaustive two-month search” for the perfect specimen. After analyzing the credentials and muscle mass of more than 350 applicants, they knew they had found their man in Wilhide.

‘Illegally gorgeous’
A kinesiology and nutrition major at the University of Maryland, Wilhide worked as a motivational speaker alongside inspirational life coach Tony Robbins for more than three years. These days he’s pursuing a career in acting. In addition to “CSI: Miami,” Wilhide has appeared on Disney’s “The Suite Life on Deck.” He told the Times that he recently read a script for “Days of Our Lives.”

While he waits to hit it big in the acting world, Wilhide is getting lots of love from lots of fans in his role as Hunky Santa. He wears red velvet pants, black shiny boots, a red velvet hat and a fur-trimmed coat that’s open and sleeveless. What better way to flaunt those muscles?

He’s “gorgeous,” said one woman who recently posed for a photo on his lap. “Illegally gorgeous.”

So on this fateful trip to Los Angeles, we stayed at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown LA.  This hotel has appeared in numerous movies, most notable in my mind being Nick of Time.  Now you’d think that a hotel that is so commonly shown in movies would be a pretty great place to stay.  Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.  First of all the hotel charges guests for parking, and they charge a lot, which since it’s located in downtown LA is a racket.  You have to rent a car if you intend to get around at all.  Secondly the hotel doesn’t look like it’s been renovated in twenty years.  All the fixtures and appointments in the main lobby look like they were original to the construction of the building.

One of the trade marks of a Bonaventure hotel is the glass elevators that run on the outside of the building.  I’m sure this makes a lot of people happy and they enjoy the views of the surrounding area (though in downtown Los Angeles there’s not much to look at besides the buildings next to it) I on the other hand do not love the glass elevators.  Nor do I like the looks I get from the people when the elevator stops on a floor and they’re trying to get through the amply sized doors, while I’m standing next to the doors.  I don’t know what I thought it was going to benefit me to be right next to the doors if the elevator plummeted off the side of the building, but I felt safer there and in my mind anyway, the floor felt a little thicker and more stable under my feet there by the door, as opposed to be the windows.  I didn’t really care about the looks I was getting, I was NOT going to move!

We checked into the hotel on December 29th and got a room only a few floors down from the top.  As we went to our elevator bank we noticed that one of the elevators was out of service.  There are three per tower.  We got up to our floor and found our room.  Boy was that a surprise.  The rooms you see in the movies are, of course, usually suites, but you think you get an idea of the hotels based on what you see.  In this case I was grossly mistaken.  The room was smaller than small.  The beds were tiny, they were “full” beds but they were shorter than usual to fit in the room.  I’m 6’1″ and when I laid out flat on the bed my legs were halfway to my knees sticking off the foot of the bed.

On New Year’s Eve when we were heading out to dinner, we had to wait for what seemed an eternity in the elevator lobby waiting for the elevator to come and get us.  When it finally did, it was crammed full.  I did NOT want to get in this fully loaded glass elevator but we’d been waiting for a very long time so I figured I’d take my chances.  If it was my time to die, it was my time to die.  As the elevator was going down, more and more people got on board.  Finally, it stopped on the 10th floor and as the doors were closing after more people packed on, the elevator dropped a few feet without warning.  Fortunately, that was the last time it stopped until we reached the ground floor and I could not get off that elevator fast enough, let alone find a bar fast enough.  After I got up from the floor where I was kissing the ground, I noticed that the other two elevators had out of order signs on them.  And, you know, what better time to have two elevators out of service than on New Year’s Eve?

This year we’re going to Las Vegas and we plan to have a excellent time!

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