“I think my ovaries have been reactivated!”
“I’m too old. I’m too old. I’m too old. Dear Jesus you’re pretty…I’M TOO OLD”
“Why do I feel like a felon right now?”
“Grandmas deserve treats too.”
These are just a few of the thousands of comments generated in the past few weeks by a 21-year-old landscaper from Canada who has taken the Internet by storm. William White, who goes by Whiteyy18 on TikTok, is a certifiably gorgeous male specimen with floppy, wavy hair in a retro mullet, a slightly cleft chin, blindingly white teeth, and sultry gray-green eyes that excel at come hither looks.
But he’s not famous just for his looks. What has catapulted him to stardom are the short takes of him lip synching songs that were popular mostly in the 80s, including “Leather and Lace,” “Sweet Dreams,” “If You Leave Me Now,” “Every Breath You Take,” and, probably his most sigh-inducing work, “Mandy,” which has two million views. He is good at matching the lyrics with appropriate winks, smiles, sighs, and eye rolls that are not sarcastic but purely ecstatic.
The most appropriate song he does is “Stacey’s Mom,” which elicited all kinds of comments from women about how they’re going to change their daughter’s name or to adopt someone named Stacey. “Watch out Ladies,” one commenter wrote, “It’s the Cougar Anthem!”
The Secret to His Success—YOU
White had been posting videos for about a year on TikTok without making any waves. It was his move to songs from the 70s and 80s that made him go viral. And that’s because women our age, for whom these songs evoke deep nostalgia, found him. TikTok algorithims began suggesting White’s videos to women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, and they shared them with friends and—BOOM!—a star was made.
He’s often been compared to Robb Lowe in his Brat Pack glory days. Or other Tiger Beat cover boys. (Our co-founder, Jeannie Ralston, thinks he looks like her all-time biggest crush Viggo Mortesen, but of course she would say that.)
“I think he reminds us—middle-aged women—of boys we loved in our prime,” says Becca, a 48-year-old mother of three from South Carolina. “His hairstyle and everything. And he seems so cute and naive. I think I have a little crush on him, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking, I should really just love him like a son.”
Many women have been posting their own TikTok videos that show their reactions to White or include explanations of his appeal. Some can get pretty deep. In her video, one woman shows a photo of herself in a red gown standing in the classic prom pose with a boy in a tux. “I came across this picture,” she says. “And I cried and I cried and I cried. Because I miss the person I used to be before I lost myself in my husband and my children and the stresses of life.”
A Beautiful Ending
White’s fans, who use the hashtag #cougartalk, have been generous with more than praise and drools. They’ve donated to his PayPal account, which is prominently displayed on his TikTok page.
What’s more, his TikTok fame has led to a breakthrough in his dream of being a fashion model. Last week, he quit his landscaping job and has been signed on with an agency; his first job will be modeling for Hugo Boss. Look for him on billboards, magazine pages, and TV screens starting soon and try to keep your thoughts pure. Or not!