There is something annoying about people who default to contrarianism. It tends to smack of cultural elitism, and it runs the risk of coming off as self-congratulatory. But whether you like the tone of leftist publications like Salon (or longtime rival Slate, for that matter) or not – and I do -, you could actually have a good time plowing through their annual write-up of the world’s Sexiest Men. Yes, I still find it a little tiresome how they constantly have to point out that their choices are conciously outside of the mainstream, but that doesn’t mean they cannot have decent taste in men. They do.
Leave aside that Robert Downey Jr. is hardly the sex bomb they make him out to be (if I had to choose one from the only Downey picture I’ve seen in recent years, the magnificent Zodiac, I go with the in every way underrated Mark Ruffalo, by far). When they named Barack Obama, my first reaction was to blame myself for not beating them to it. The President-Elect is not a contender for my own Sexiest Males Alive list (published monthly), but the fact that I haven’t written a post about his obvious charms (or even a political endorsement), could be attributed only to laziness. Did you see his post-election press conference with John McCain last week? When he’s as relaxed as he seemed then, he’s downright sexy. And this is no small admission for me, who generally go for men between 18 and 30. Obama of course is 47. No, I cannot believe it either.
Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Salon’s appraisal could pave the way for Michael Cera’s re-entry onto the list. I’ve written previously about the same geeky cuteness that Salon now highlights; it’s only a question of reminding me of it. Cera’s appeal comes from his appearance, not necessarily from looks alone. Which reminds me I’ll have to see Juno again before year’s end, in order to decide just how high it will come in on my Movie Of The Year list (it qualifies for 2008 because it didn’t open in Norwegian theaters until February). Had it not been for the fact that he’s possibly the fittest person on the planet, the choice of Australian diver and Olympic gold medalist, the openly gay Matthew Mitcham, could fall into the same category. His accent is absolutely adorable, and he seems like an all-around nice guy.
There are some fairly odd choices too, of course: No matter what you otherwise might think of True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgård (I feel absolutely nothing), this is definitely not the year. I mean, look at that hair! If I ever develop a crush on a guy whose hair resembles a crossing between Brad Pitt circa Legends Of The Fall and Robert Carlyle’s Eragon villain, please, please ask me to get my act together. Kal Penn? Too stoner comedy. Javier Bardem? Too much of a wacko. Gabriel Byrne? Wait, you’re not kidding me? Well, you should be. And, Tom Colicchio? No. Way. What. So. Ever.
Finally then, if I were to slacken the age limit, and try to think outside the box without completely compromising my standards, I thank Salon for provoking my thoughts, and present these five suggestions: