Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The eye of the beholder
Just prior to the release of People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive choice, my girlfriends and I were talking about the dearth of sexy men. I haven't seen that issue to critique the full scope of their choices, so I only know of Numero Uno. But as my friends and I talked, I realized attractive men hadn't necessarily gone underground, it was just my standards that had changed.
In earlier decades, I always had on hand, if not written down at least in my head, the five men I felt were at the top of the sexy list. These days I'm hard pressed to come up with three.
I haven't been able to identify a steady pattern in my choices, cause honestly I'm all over the board. Maybe the only consistent trait was dark hair - no blonde surfer types for me. But I've gone from sulking brainy types, to the boy next door quicker than a Texas tornado.
There are also two non-physical characteristics that have always remained: smart and funny. So someone with an intelligent sense of humor scored high in a formula similar to a "squared" factor.
I've been trying to remember some of my past choices. In the pre-puberty years, I was very fixated on Paul Peterson from the Donna Reed Show. That showed my early penchant for a mischievous personality. As I entered my teens, I shared with millions of young women a wholesome affection for The Monkees, rotating at random through the four depending on where my hormones took me.
I took a bit of a hiatus as my love life blossomed making less time for fantasy heart throbs, but picked up the habit again probably in my thirties. Those choices are harder to remember, maybe because I was less impressionable. Some of the diverse names I can recall are Sam Shepherd (my literary phase), Frank Langella (the dark brooding choice), and Judd Hirsch (the Taxi years).
Though they may not have been on my list, as I look back now I can name a few iconic choices for the Hall of Fame: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Sean Connery. Their appeal went beyond good looks into a smoldering, keen sexuality that I'm just not seeing these days. Though George Clooney could be a contender. The devilish rascal factor balanced with his humanitarian work might gel into legend material.
My inner child almost always has a soft spot for the vulnerable type that I call my "Love Puppy". For years that title was held by John Cusack. If you didn't fall in love with him as Lloyd Dobler in "Say Anything" during that romantic scene where he stands outside his girlfriend's house holding up the boom box, than you have no heart. Even now I can hear Peter Gabriel singing "In Your Eyes".
These days I have a current "LP" that I normally keep under wraps because it's such an odd choice for me, but I do get a girlish flush when I see Jason Bateman. Yes, he starred in Teen Wolf Too, was put out to pasture for a decade or so, and then was resurrected in Arrested Development. I dunno, maybe it's the dimples, or the full lips, or that flippant sense of humor, the soft brown eyes, the resilience.
But I suppose that's the point. We often don't know why we're attracted to someone. We can't put into words a visceral, emotional, or sexual response we have to another person. That's the beauty of way the whole primal attraction process works. If everyone got hot and bothered by the same thing, we'd all mutate into looking like Pamela Anderson and Brad Pitt.
We're drawn to one another for a variety of reasons, many unexpected and unplanned, some unthinkable and unexplainable. Other times we're lured by very pragmatic, highly conceived notions - he'd be a great father, he makes a nice living. And never - heads up guys - never underestimate the appeal of good hygiene.
Here I am back to the originating thought: who is worthy of my sexy list? After careful consideration - remember I said funny and smart remained consistent - I must admit I swoon when Stephen Colbert looks straight into the camera and dares you not to believe that he believes what he's saying. It's convoluted, but the heat is there.
So my loyal reader(s), who do you find sexy?