What’s with the mug shot madness?

Written By By JOHN W. FOUNTAIN Posted: 06/29/2014, 02:31am

Beauty is only skin deep, they say.

But that didn’t stop a blue-eyed bad boy from becoming an overnight Internet sensation. With chiseled cheeks and tattoos, his mug shot had some ladies fawning and gushing, despite his felony criminal background. The ensuing buzz across social media left me scratching my head.

His name is Jeremy Meeks, 30. Arrested by police in Stockton, California, his steely-eyed photo was posted on the police department’s Facebook page. A mug shot. No big deal.

Not according to some women who see Meeks as a stud muffin, as sumptuous eye-candy — a male specimen worthy of a New York fashion magazine photo spread. And also, apparently for some, worthy of their intimate company and fantasies.

“This is a hot mug shot,” reads one post. “People stop hating, dude cant help he’s good looking.”

“I bet he is very cut guy,” gushed another.

“Marry me.”

“OMG, I love himmmm.”


According to police, Meeks is a known gang member and has a felony conviction for grand theft. Since June 18, his mug shot has received nearly 100,000 likes and more than 26,000 comments.

Never mind the teardrop tattoo that has been known to signify the wearer has murdered someone. Never mind that Meeks is reportedly married with children. Or that he is locked up, facing felony gun charges.

I admit to thinking: “Man, there sure are a lot of thirsty women out there.” (Disclaimer: Clearly, not every woman or even most. For in my wife’s eyes, I am stud muffin supreme, lol.) But seriously, I wasn’t sure exactly what to think about all of this.

Frankly, I was left with more questions than answers: Have we become so focused and satisfied with the superficial that we totally ignore substance?

What about all the “good” guys out there who happen to be a little facially challenged? What’s with this female fascination with “bad boys” anyway? Is the dude really all that good looking?

My internal tussle stirred memories of a conversation in graduate school years ago with a group of educated sisters who said they weren’t about to settle for a man not on “their level.” Curious, I asked, “So, you wouldn’t marry a guy without a degree who drove a truck or a bus, but who loved you deeply — a man who treated you well and took good care of his family?”

Nope, they answered pointedly. A man needed a college education. Needed to be “fi-i-i-nnne.” With no kids. With a degree. A great job. All which sounded more about the skin of a man. Less about his heart.

In hindsight, that kind of thinking doesn’t seem so different from those women currently going gaga over Mr. Meeks. It reminds me that sometimes who we know that we are, and who people think we are, may be worlds apart.

“I knew you when you weren’t (expletive),” someone once told me.

I responded: “Then you never knew me.”

Not that any man is perfect. But life has taught me that we don’t have to become the sum of our mistakes. That a checkered past doesn’t necessarily seal one’s future. That people can change. And that maybe we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But we do.

I thought about this in relation to all the black men — without GQ good looks and baby blue eyes — incarcerated across America, who someday will re-enter society, many seeking a second chance, a fresh start. And I wondered how many of us would be willing to see them beyond just skin deep.

Email: author@johnwfountain.com

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