An Officer and a Gentleman—and Shaun White!

Dansen, Strahan and White.

Between Kellan Lutz offering to get naked on stage and Ted Danson thanking Esquire for a wonderful evening, the 2012 GQ Gentlemen’s Ball was a boozy affair. 

Host Michael Strahan held the night together, laughing perhaps a little too loud but delivering just the right amount of charm one might expect from a 6-foot-5 former defensive lineman morning talk show co-host. He was all gap-toothed smiles when talking about his new gig on Live!,with Kelly Ripa.

“Kelly is so fun, so energetic,” Mr Strahan said of his miniature opposite.

Who’s been your favorite guest so far?

“Definitely Shaq … seeing a seven-foot guy looking like Prince.” (Mr. O’Neil sang When Doves Cry on the show last week.)

The evening was in honor of a handful of gentlemen who have paid service to their country in some way. Willie Geist, a member of GQ’s advisory panel, nominated Corporal Aaron Mankin, victim of a roadside bomb attack while fighting in Iraq. Celebrity Ambassadors consisted of Adam Levine, Kellan Lutz, Shaun White and Ted Danson.

We stayed decidedly off-topic and asked each of them what his childhood ambition was.

“I wanted to play outfield for the Yanks,” said Mr. Geist, who’s now straddling two jobs, the Today show and the “more opinionated” Morning Joe.

“This way, I can stay with my old family and get a new family too,” he told The Observer. How quaint.   

Mr. Danson expressed sporting tendencies, telling us he had wanted to be a basketball player before “stumbling” into acting.  

At least Mr. White—who recently had a very public wipe-out, arrested on charges of public intoxication and vandalism at musician Patrick Carney’s wedding in Tennessee last month—fulfilled his dreams of becoming a sportsman with a rather successful snowboarding career, but we suppose if you’re signed at the age of 6, you stand a good chance. Describing himself when he was younger as a “crazy kid out of control,” we’re not sure he’s changed all that much.

Mr. Lutz, ambassador for Saving Innocence, a charity raising awareness of the sex trafficking of children, said that while his ambition was to be a chemical engineer, he fell into acting through lack of attention at home. Being one of six siblings, “I always felt like I didn’t have much attention and created attention in a fantasy world.”

With the paparazzi hot on his heels outside, there’s no need to fantasize now.

Anne Heche and James Tupper joined guests at the IAC building as Ms. Heche told The Observer her childhood ambition was to be a waitress, while Mr. Tupper wanted to be ”truck-driving poet.” An interesting pair.

Mr. Levine, Maroon 5 front man and ambassador for the Teen Impact Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, was also present, with girlfriend Behati Prinsloo, declaring how he was ”most nervous about cursing tonight, ’cos that’s not something gentlemen do.” We’re sure he made Ms. Prinsloo proud.

Currently starring in American Horror Story, he later explained how “the genre scared the shit out of me … to be totally honest, I wasn’t able to get through an episode … all of the horror movies I’ve ever seen have been a huge fucking mistake.”

After raising over $200,000 for charity, Esquire, er, GQ had much to feel good about.

An Officer and a Gentleman—and Shaun White!