For the record, I’m always worried that when I insert the word ‘ironic’ in front of anything. I fear I will accidentally – and therefore more poetically – use it in the Alanis Morrissette sense (i.e. you write a song about irony, call it ‘Ironic’ and yet the one thing all the situations in the song aren’t, is ironic. Ironically.).
But in this case, I think I’ve got it right. When you hear the word ‘people’ it suggests two things: the everyman, and that there is more than one of him present. We, the people… It’s a word of, for and about the masses. If you’re talking about the other guys, you call them something else. ‘The aristocracy’. ‘The Royal Family’. ‘The Kardashians’. etc. etc.
So when you have a magazine called People, it sort of feels like false advertising. Especially at the moment, as I highly doubt, for example, that the everyman is built like this months cover boy, Ryan Reynolds, who has just been awarded the prestigious title that is People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2010. In all honesty, I am a sucker for this issue every year. Who doesn’t want a good looking man staring back at you from a beautifully taken black and white photo, attached to which is an interview with said good looking man that once again reiterates their perfection? Ahem. Yes please.
But it does beg the question: what exactly makes a man ‘sexy’?
It can’t just be about looks – that’s like loving a present just because it’s got pretty wrapping paper. It can’t just be about brains – after all, there are any given number of intelligent people in the world, but this means nothing if you don’t have the smarts to do the smart thing with all that knowledge. And if the indiscrimate effect of the GFC has taught us anything, it’s that few things can be more fleeting than wealth and prosperity, so logic says it can’t be all about money either.
So. Is it a combination of these things? Or is it something else entirely?
You of course will have your own ideas here: after all, taste is as taste does. What’s one person’s ‘meh’ is another person’s ‘masterpiece’, so to speak.
For the record, this is theirs:
- Ryan Reynolds (All American Boy, in just about evvything, could take him home to your mum no probs. He would probably help wash up.)
- Jon Hamm (Old school handsome; one look at him, you feel like you should light a cigarette, close your eyes and sigh in exhaustion afterwards)
- Kellan Lutz (Once you take your eyes off his abs, his face is nice too. Also this year’s token Twilight dude.)
- Some guy named Drake who I’ve never heard of (Sorry, but he’s here and Ian Somerhalder isn’t? PUH-lease.)
- Matthew Morrison (Hot teacher type. WAS my favourite grown up at the Glee club practices. Until Gwyneth Paltrow turned up and SCHOOLED you in awesome.)
- Jon Bon Jovi (As long as he is alive, old school mullet rock and jeans will never stop being Hot. As.)
- Joe Manganiello ( I APPROVE THIS SELECTION. On Every Single Level.)
- Robert Downey Jr. (Tortured, sassy, and utterly, overwhelmingly cool. This man deserves an Oscar purely for being alive.)
- Jesse Williams (Recent addition to the Grey’s cast. Haven’t watched so he’s an unknown quantity for me. Looks like he’d be great cast in the next GOAL movie, though. Or Glee. Puck’s older brother.)
- Justin Timberlake (All you people who thought JC was the hot guy in NSYNC, how fooled are YOU feelin’ now. Most recently a revelation in ‘The Social Network’.)
- Vin Diesel (Points for toughness and badassery, but why are you here and Alexander Skaarsgard is not? Please explain, People Magazine.)
- Jake Gyllenhaal (I’ll be honest. If my life were a Taylor Swift song, he would be asking my dad for my hand in marriage right about…now.)
But all things above considered, it has definitely got me thinking. So with that in mind, here is my answering list – not so much different from that list, but rather adding to it – of men who I think are also worth a mention is this category.
- Ian Somerhalder
Okay okay. I know. Aesthetically, the piercing blue eyes, black hair and pale skin would have most women at hello. This being my personal favourite combination, I was not immune to this charm either. You’re probably questioning how much my bias is affecting this choice too ;)
But onscreen, the man smoulders like a dying winter bonfire; he has that kind of magnetism that makes you think sometimes in order to fully appreciate it, you actually might need a sixth or seventh sense to absorb it in full. Looks aside, though, he’s extremely talented, he could charm the fuzz off a peach, and it’s a joy to watch him work.
But then if this were all there was to him and this was all it took to get added to such a list, than any number of men could occupy this spot. The reason he gets it? Simple.
He is a doer.
There is nothing worse than seeing someone with all the influence in the world, waste it. Ian, however, does not. There are I think, few things sexier in a celebrity than one who knows their fame for what it is, but never loses sight of the place and people from whence they came. More than that, they live out the adage that the best way to be thankful for what you’ve been given, is to give back to the community/place/people that played a part in giving it to you.
A really good example of this is someone, say, like Angelina Jolie. Crazy stuff aside, you never get the sense that she wastes a given opportunity to make the world a better place by paying forward her good fortune. And she does so to such an extent, that you can be left in no doubt of the source of her intentions: she has a heart for what she does. Since the BP oil spill in his native Louisiana, Somerhalder has poured time and effort into giving the people affected a voice – both publically and financially – and there has never once been a moment where I’ve seen him speak, or read something he’s written, and thought ‘Yeah it’s good what you’re doing, but you’ve still made this about you somehow.’
A man with a heart who remembers his roots in practical and generous ways. You want sexy? THAT is sexy.
- Timothy Olyphant
Villain, victim or good guy, there is quite literally, just something about Timothy Olyphant. Anyone who remembers his utterly magnificent turn on Deadwood can be left in no doubt that he has the acting chops to match it with any pro you care you cast him opposite. He has that…I don’t know…that sharp, mixed spice kind of talent that makes you just want him to keep going on screen forever, even if he is the seriously bad guy who is trying to take over the world one hostile act at a time. Or, if you saw him in Catch and Release (not exactly the most memorable of films, but still a really charming one none the less) you’ll know that even if he is cast as a good guy but a complete jerk with a history of treating a girl like rubbish, it’s absolutely clear that the girl is not meant to end up with anyone else but him. He can be charming and deadly, or flawed and beautiful. You could spend a month trying to guess the cause of his facial expressions, and I guarantee you won’t see boredom. And outside of acting, he just seems to maintain the grounded life that seems so often to be absent in Hollywood. He is, quite literally, the most wonderful mix.
- Paul Wesley & Co.: The Men of TVD Season 2
Pop culture bias aside, the men of this show are magnificent. The Wes, of course – the first in my fangirl heart, as you know ;) – is my own personal brand of <insert addictive substance HERE, for example CHOCOLATE, specifically Tim Tams *Author makes a Homer Simpson worthy drool face at the mere thought*> and one that I am absolutely enamoured with.
The man could be cast as a tree stump and I would be there with bells to watch him do it. He’s smart, stylish, understated, funny, absolutely loves his girl and has this real…I don’t know, air of dignity, maybe? around him. I like that. I like that integrity and the intelligence he brings to his work, especially to playing Stefan. Also, having hugged him once, I can confirm that he has enough abs to give six packs to every man, woman and child in the world, and STILL have enough left over that he could wear them and keep a million for a rainy day, just in case. Beautiful, beautiful man.
Steven McQueen – I fancy you almost as much as I fancied your namesake the first time I saw him take that motorbike flying in The Great Escape. And then I watched TVD, and I DID fancy you more. I was so glad when I discovered you were 21. It was hard feeling like a cougar all that time.
Matt Davis – Lawd help me honey, when you tweet I’m buggered if I understand a single word you’re saying. But DANG. The platter of awesomeness upon which you deliver Alaric Saltzman every week is so delicious, a dessert should be named after it.
Michael Trevino – I was not ready for you, Michael Trevino. I was not ready for your talent or for Tyler’s vulnerability, and the beautifully bewildered defiance you bring to him. So help me, how do I describe this…it’s like anything less than calling you the human embodiment of a perfectly stoked fire is an understatement. Cause wow, boy. You. Got. Game.
Zach Roerig – You’re just…you’re…perfect. That is all. Except there is an army not seen since the Battle for Middle Earth that lives in perpetual stand by mode just in case the writers ever try to kill your character off. Now, please feel free to continue being the most loveable blue-eyed, handsome blonde in the history of EVER.
- Benedict Cumberbatch
He’ll be a newbie if you’re not a BBC watcher from recent years, but I guarantee, everything about this man earns him a spot on this list. In the last few years, probably his most broadcast role as was that of William Pitt in Amazing Grace alongside Ioan Gruffudd, where he played Britain’s youngest ever – and arguably its most beloved – Prime Minister. More recently however, he was BRILLIANTLY cast alongside Martin Freeman (soon to be seen as The Hobbit) in the modern day BBC adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character, Sherlock. The thing about Cumberbatch is, he’s not classically handsome. He has simultaneous airs of both the naivety of youth and the wisdom of age in his every expression. He is tall, but not that tall; as Sherlock Holmes, intense but not always imposing, with short dark, moppish curls that tumble and swing into sharp blue eyes. He brings the age old classic Holmes arrogance to the role, but at the same time gives this character a real vulnerability that perfectly tempers his violently sharp intellect. Innocence and heady, bareknuckle wit. No kidding – nobody will draw you in via a character better than this guy will. Geekishly, freakishly delicious.
- Bear Grylls
I have this list. A list entitled ‘Even if you turned a dead sheep inside out and had to wear it as a sleeping bag, I would still find you attractive in every way’. There is only one man on this list.
A former soldier with the British SAS – until a freak accident where he broke his back, and from which he was never meant to fully recover – Bear Grylls has a made an international name for himself as an adventurer who purposely seeks out the most dangerous terrains on the planet for the sole purpose of conquering them. He’s been dumped in African deserts; the wilderness of Northern Russia and the Arctic circle in Winter; Amazonian jungleland and deserted islands off the coast of Indonesia. He’s caught dysentry, run through bushfires, eaten spiders off walls, tackled and killed a wild boar with pretty much just his bare hands and waded through seriously-below-sub-zero rivers, surviving all of it just to prove it can be done with little more than a good hunting knife, shoelaces and common sense. But while all of this stuff is really cool, the best thing about Bear? Even when he is surrounded by the most hostile territory you can imagine, and sick as a dog, he radiates strength and positivity. He talks about his boys and his wife, and about how life in the army’s brutal tough lane taught him that staying alive is not just determined by your circumstances, but by your attitude to the value you put on your life. There’s a real honesty and good naturedness about Bear Grylls, two things that for me are highly underrated in a world that more often defines sexy as being how good you appear to be, rather than for what you really are.
- Paul Bettany
It’s probably rather telling that there are so many Brits on this list, but there is an unnamed, almost undefinable X factor that British men seem to have that I just find utterly irresistable. Paul Bettany is a classic example of this. Like Cumberbatch, Bettany is no Hollywood poster boy – there is a sharp, seasoned intensity to his acting, and a grounded warmth to his character external to his profession. There is something so understated and yet brewing about him, almost like a river that whilst it appears calm on top you have every suspicion that is utterly tumultous underneath. Aside from the fact that he takes on quite varied and quirky roles most of the time, I think the thing that just gives him that smouldering appeal is ultimately the juxtaposed vibe he gives off: whether villain or hero, he is simultaneously very honest, but very reserved. He always leaves something to your imagination, always leaves you wanting to know more, but never leaves you with the impression that he is waiting for a better audience to come along. And I LOVE that.
- Richard Armitage
True to form, the first time I saw Richard Armitage, I was taken. Sharp, perfect features that harked back to the lean handsomeness of old-school actors of actings golden age back in the thirties and forties; brilliant blue eyes that make for piercing effect on anyone who sees them. Richard Armitage is in many respects the next big international acting discovery in British film and television. Everything about him has a kind of intense perfection. And yet for all of that, Armitage the man comes across as remarkably grounded, humble and even shy to some degree. Despite an excellent and villainous turn as the dastardly Guy of Gisborne in the BBC adaptaion of Robin Hood, if you want to see his best work, I recommend the following: North and South, based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s turn of the century novel of the same time, in which he plays one of the greatest fictional leading men you will ever find anywhere (Darcy, please retreat to second place – equal first alongside Persuasion‘s Frederick Wentworth is now taken); as the lovelorn Vicar Geraldine’s handsome suitor in the Vicar of Dibley finale episodes; and as super spy Lucas North in seasons 7, 8 and 9 of the brilliant British series, Spooks. You can also see him in Strike Back. Either way, treat yourself to this amazing man’s work. So worth it. Also, there are few things easier on the eye than this man with his shirt off. Not that it’s all about that, of course…hmmm.
- Matthew Goode
It took AAAAAAGES to forgive him for his bastardous turn in Watchmen (actually for being in Watchmen full stop, because plot wise, it was complete rubbish – that is three hours of my life I cannot get back, you know), and to be honest, he’s a bit of an unexpected addition this list. But PLEASE. Take my word for it – go get yourself a copy of Leap Year, a rom com / drama he made with Amy Adams earlier this year where he plays a grumpy Irish pub owner. If you end this movie and don’t absolutely adore him…well. I just don’t think there’s anything to be done for you. I’m sorry.
- Chris Martin
Not that long after Chris (the lead singer of Coldplay) married Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwyneth’s dad – with whom she was very, very close – passed away. He wrote this song for her – Fix You. Forget being sexy, being desirable, despite his being both those things in spades. This right here, is all about true love. Humble, simple, powerful, gold and fiercely hopeful: if anything gets you on a most beautiful list of any kind, something as utterly magnificent as this should see it – and its creator – straight to the top.
- Gary Oldman
If you read my blog enough, you’ll know that my resident and eternal older man of choice is, now and always will be The Boss. But in the spirit of things, I thought I should at least list another member of my A Bit Older Men Who Just Have It club (which also includes Liam Neeson, The Edge and Michael Sheen), and no-one owns it’s vice presidency more than this guy. Gary Oldman has acted in about every kind of movie you can imagine, but regardless of genre, he slides with a kind of dark, effortless grace into every role he takes on. Aside from his BRILLIANT turns in classics like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, JFK, The Fifth Element and of course Dracula, he hit my Sexiest Man Alive list with a right boom when he took on the role of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. You forget the moral greyness that surrounds so many of his characters out of habit, but it’s the sheer bleak charisma of him in this role that has you wrapped around his little finger long before he’s even said BOO.
There it is, after all that ado. My giant list which has gone on for far too long, I’m guessing.
As for me, I would LOVE to know who you would have on your list of Sexiest Men Alive (at least for this year ;) ).