Paul Ryan has a face that launched an Internet meme. Twice.
The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential nominee has a penchant for a pastime that's distinctly Southern -- but legal in Wisconsin -- catfish noodling. The sport, popularized by Hillbilly Handfishin' on Animal Planet, is one way Ryan likes to relax, telling the New York Times, "I know it sounds a little crazy, but it's really exhilarating."
Between handfishing trips and strict adherence to his P90X exercise regime, he comes off as the ultimate man -- after Ryan Gosling, of course.
Emily Zanotti, 30, an account services director for a communications services agency and Mount Prospect blogger of nakeddc.com, and two of her friends, Lyndsey Fifield and Lindsay Dodge, decided Gosling wasn't the only man deserving of Tumblr honor.
"Back in May he referenced catfish noodling," Zanotti said. "We were talking about how funny it was that our heartthrob was in the New York Times standing shirtless in a river catching fish with bare hands."
The trio launched Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan in response. The site posts three to five photographs a day of the congressman and, with a clever turn of phrase, turns his fiscal libertarianism into the words of a heartthrob.
Zanotti's favorite to date -- as submitted by members of the Fox Business Channel -- which has Ryan saying "Stop, girl! Those Laffer curves are driving me wild."
"We meant it as an inside joke, cheesy pickup lines based on fiscal policy," she said.
The site went dark after Zanotti said Ryan wasn't keen on that kind of attention.
"We took it down after he did an interview with Wisconsin radio," Zanotti said. "He seemed embarrased, we said goodbye, and then last week lo and behold he's the vice presidential nominee. So we restarted it and now it has a second life."
"We're following in their footsteps," she said.
And will there be a third act for Ryan's online tribute?
"We're playing it by ear right now, keeping it alive until the election," Zanotti said. "If the popularity goes, we won't let the joke go stale."