It's summer, and that means two things: a) the living is easy, and b)a lot of people are running around topless on the beach, most of them men. With that in mind, PEOPLE has assembled an eclectic Panel of Chest Experts to answer the eternal question, "So, er, what really constitutes a good-looking chest, anyway?" Our fearless critics include actress and former Playmate Barbi Benton, who knows what it's like to have one's chest commented upon; bodybuilding ace Lori Bowen-Rice, who hoists Rodney Dangerfieid in that Miller Lite commercial; actress Arlene Dahl, who was married to one great chest (Fernando Lamas) and is the mother of another (Lorenzo Lamas), and playwright-actor Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book for the current Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles, which features a chorus line of men dressed up as women. Each panelist was given pictures of 10 notable chests—with the heads obscured—and asked to name their preferences and provide a comment or two. Without further ado, the results were:
1 Steve Lundquist
The winner of two Olympic gold medals in swimming was No. 1 in the overall results with PEOPLE'S panel. "He has a good sense of humor—you can see it in his body language," cheered Dahl. "That's the kind of chest to wrap new Ralph Lauren sheets around," said Fierstein. Summed up Benton, "He's not bad."
2 John Kennedy Jr.
"Just enough hair, just enough development," figured Dahl, who, with Fierstein, was very pro-Kennedy. But lower ratings by the other, pickier pair of panelists kept him from finishing first. "He has very little in the arm department, but he's passable," said Benton, who gave him third place. Bowen-Rice placed him sixth and noted, "It's all downhill after him."
3 Herschel Walker, Richard Gere, Sylvester Stallone
When the smoke—or was it the talcum powder?—cleared, three pairs of pecs had tied for third. In this corner: Sylvester Stallone. Barbi Benton made him her first choice, she said, "because I'm afraid not to. He must work out five hours a day." Bowen-Rice seconded that emotion "for obvious reasons." Dahl, however, saw "too much of a good thing. This one is too interested in fighting his opponent. A woman shouldn't be in that position."
Walker, the New Jersey Generals' running back, and Gere, in his American Gigolo gravity boots, were steady performers with everyone except Bowen-Rice. "A little soft," she said of Gere; of Walker, "His chest is flat. If I were judging him in a contest, I might think he looked good until he made a move and his chest disappeared."
4 Simon Le Bon
Duran Duran's front man drew mostly so-so responses. "Too skinny," chorused Fierstein and Bowen-Rice. Dahl observed, "He'd be a lot of fun, but not necessarily to lie your head on. I think he enjoys making people laugh." (Cruel, cruel—and perhaps no longer appropriate. Le Bon has beefed up significantly since this picture was taken in 1984.)
5 Tom Selleck, Bushman
A rather surprising tie emerged between easygoing Tom Selleck and Bushman, a lowland gorilla. We tossed in the gorilla for fun, but Bowen-Rice's third place vote ("real cute") significantly helped his ranking. Bushman aside, the panel revealed a distaste for chest hair, which hurt Selleck. So did his volleyball trunks, which Dahl mistakenly dismissed as unbecoming "boxer shorts."
6 Chuck Norris
"Jungle madness. This is a he-man. If you got lost on a desert island, you'd want him there too," said Dahl, who was last seen chartering a leaky rowboat. But Bowen-Rice, along with Benton and Fierstein, was unmoved: "He's narrow in the shoulders and that kind of turns me off."
7 Alexander Godunov
The striking ballet dancer turned actor may be Godunov for Jackie Bisset, but not for our panelists. "His arms are thin, his chest is thin," shrugged Benton. Her cohorts noted that they were less intrigued by his chest than by his leather pants.
On Newsstands Now
- Amy Robach: 'I'm Lucky to Be Alive'
- Paul Walker: Inside His Tragic Death
- Julia Roberts: Choosing Family Over Hollywood
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine