Channing Tatum, Wearing a Henley, Dances to Completion

Magic Mike XXL opened early Tuesday night—but if you and your best pals have to wait until, say, tonight to see it, here is the thirst trap you’ve been waiting for: a video of Channing Tatum dancing that’s just long enough to fire up your Fourth of July grill. The soundtrack, as it ever is: Ginuwine’s “Pony.”

While there is nothing inherently sexual about these moves—indeed, the majority of them recall an uncle getting loose at a wedding reception—this video does bring to light a very important revelation. That revelation is: the henley t-shirt, a fairly common and often somewhat ill-advised choice, does in fact pulsate with sexual tension, an everyday garment—and sometimes, perhaps tellingly, undergarment—whose simplicity is just enough to connote the body within it. The unbuttoned neckline—not quite a V, too modest for that—allows the viewer a peek at the sternum’s north wall, just enough to awaken the blossom but not enough to appease it; that honor goes to the imagination, the way the abdominals curve beneath the henley as the jersey cotton ripples atop their solid, able mass. The henley is an equalizing garment and therefore invokes the physically laborious, the strong and many whose bodies carry their loads, as with Channing Tatum, whose body carries his load. Tatum’s body vibrates with the work he enacts to completion. He does not cease his robot, nor his running man, nor his funky chicken midway through; he unfurls the moves to finish, with a careful deliberation that his henley t-shirt exemplifies. In this video, with his eager physical responsiveness, he aims to please. He plays to the camera, allows it to eat him up; he feeds it with his eyes and the cock of his sinewy muscles. He allows it to envelop him, a knowing but serious smile on his visage, until he is it, and it is him. He is the human embodiment of the sexuality of the henley, the henley and the camera and Channing Tatum as one, working together towards a common goal, unceasing, emblematic, in unison.

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