Back when this blog had a backbone – which is to say, when it was updated more regularly than once every two weeks – the Sexiest Males Alive list was it. Readers who have not yet stopped coming here (thanks!), despite the steadily longer wait between updates, may also have noticed that the SMA has been on hiatus since last fall. I feel bad about that. I love doing the list, it’s just that it takes so much work. Not that I mind the, ahem, research involved, but doing a proper write-up requires some effort. However, I really hope to at least able to offer a new SMA installment next month, in time for its second anniversary. I’ve got a feeling a thing or two might have changed since last October.
I have been toying with ideas for revamping the SMA, like making some topical lists instead a straightforward SMA (say, 20 sexiest soccer players, or my top 10 sexiest 7th Heaven actors, to mention just two topical lists that overlap with my personal tastes and interests), or maybe another edition of the Twenty over 30 experiment, but I haven’t quite decided yet. Still, reading old SMAs for inspiration a couple days ago, I was struck by a something that seemed to have occured with relative consistency over the years I’ve been doing the list: The SMA contenders that have been thrown off the list because I couldn’t decide whether their good looks were truly sexy, or if they were instead perfect to the point of being slightly boring. Throughout the history of the SMA, me posing this question hasn’t always meant that they’ve been relegated permanently, but experience does suggest that it’s a tough spot to find yourself in. Although it’s exclusively subjective, and also not entirely black-and-white, this explains why the list is called the Sexiest Males Alive list, and not the Most Beautiful Males Alive. In writing the list, I constantly end up quarreling with myself over what constitutes sexiness. Take Jesse Eisenberg or Zac Hanson as examples. Neither are movie star gorgeous in a classic sense, but in addition to being physically attractive for my taste, I’m deeply attracted to their public personas and attitude.
So, let’s take at the opposite cases; people who are almost objectively beautiful, but who nevertheless seem to have trouble convincing me of their inherent sexiness:
The Gossip Girl star is a prime example of this. I am not going to deny that he is very, very attractive. Everytime I watch even a second of his show, I am reminded of that, and his stock on the SMA rises immediately. When he has proven himself unable to become a stable SMA presence, I blame three factors: 1.) I don’t watch his show/I don’t like his character on the show. This follows in the wake of my broader definition of sexiness. Chace Crawford cannot be reduced to an admittedly handsome face, he has to be something more, and preferably something interesting and/or charming. In that regard, it definitely doesn’t help that everything I’ve seen of Gossip Girl has made me annoyed beyond reason by the petty and self-absorbed problems of the teen characters. As a result, Crawford suffers. 2.) I’m not sure I like his brand of handsome. In principle, he’s perfect. If you asked me to design a star/lust object, he’d probably look pretty much like Crawford. But that’s also part of the problem. Where’s the fun in perfection? In that sense, he just can’t win. When he’s in model gorgeous mode, I tend to find him a little too cute and airbrushed and perfect, and when he’s try to rough it up a little, by adding a stubble, that’s kind of off-putting too. In conclusion his SMA prospects don’t look that good, but like anybody who become subjects of blog posts, he could hope to benefit from the exposure he got from my research for this post.
The British actor, known for his role in the first two Chronicles of Narnia films, has been a relatively permanent fixture on the SMA, but for some reason he has never quite reached the status of a Top 20 staple. He’s undeniably beautiful in a classic way – in fact, he has a certain model aura to him – but I’m still not sure if I think he’s much more than a beautiful face. An English accent usually helps, of course, but his main challenge SMA-wise may be to stay on my radar. He’s really nice to look at, but the celebrity world has plenty of blond boys to make me drool, and lately, Moseley has been surpassed by Sterling Knight, of Disney Channel’s Sonny With A Chance, as my blond wonder of choice. As I write this, however, I can see how half-hearted my questioning is, so maybe Moseley is about to resolve the question of beautiful vs. boring to his advantage.
Pettyfer, another Brit, is of the Chace Crawford school. I can’t find anything wrong with him, and at times I fall for him madly, but on average he doesn’t excite me all that much, beyond his obvious good looks. This might seem odd, seeing as he a regular in the SMA Top Ten for the lists initial months (he peaked at #9), but the glow has faded. Sure, he seems poised to make a comeback on the next SMA, courtesy of his leading role in the entertainingly stupid I Am Number Four, but that’s not the end of the discussion. His body is great, but his particular brand of square-jawed perfection does less to me now than I would think possible a couple years ago. That said, you don’t have to be in my Hall of Fame of untouchables to get me to buy a ticket to your movie, as I did with I Am Number Four. There still is enough of a gray in the debate about Pettyfer’s place on the beautiful vs. boring axis, for me to continue to keep an eye on him. I’d just hope he’d choose better films.
From the world of soccer comes Cristiano Ronaldo, who back in the day exceeded Pettyfer in climbing toward the SMA throne. Ronaldo, now of Real Madrid, stopped at #5, but has not been on the list for a long time. When I bid him adieu, I speculated that his departure for Spain from Manchester United had robbed of the exposure needed for him to make it on the SMA, but even before then, the question of his sexiness had been raised. As with the others mentioned here, there shouldn’t be much doubt that he is attractive. Ronaldo is well-built, has a beautiful face and a nice smile, and he carries himself with a confidence that borders on arrogance. This latter quality should be something that elevates him from beautiful to sexy, but with Ronaldo, I think it’s his persona – on the pitch and off – that has soured me on him. Granted, my downrighht hatred for his former club, Manchester United, might have something to do with it, but even at Real, the self-aborbed and emotionally volatile Ronaldo, has continued displaying an attitude that is a definitive turn-off. He’ll never be boring, but for the purposes of the SMA, his beauty is overshadowed by other parts of his persona.
These are just my examples, and there are more of them. I know some readers of this blog who are not sold on Zac Efron, for instance. As is clear from his SMA history, I come down squarely in the beautiful camp, but I all the time I hear people complaining out how Madame Tussaud-like the picture perfect Efron is. I imagine some would say the same about Taylor Lautner, or at least claim that he’s just a body and not a particularly good interesting actor. I don’t disagree, necessarily, but he fills my needs. Perhaps even more clear-cut examples, though, are people that I realize that some people adore, but that doesn’t do anything for me. My exhibit A is Lautner’s Twilight co-star, Robert Pattinson. Whether I find him even remotely attractive depends on my mood and the specific set of photos, but the consistently annoying characters he plays are themselves a turn-off for me. Same goes for Orlando Bloom, who spent the mid-aughts accepting Sexiest Man awards. Personally, I never anything more than a blank if somewhat good-looking canvas. He’s the opposite of sexy.
I could go on, but now I’m more interested in whether any of my potential remaining readers are interesting in offering up their suggestions. Feel free to chime in via the comments section.