Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sexiest Man Alive? Please.

Having been invited to guest-blog on Katzenjammer, I find myself faced with the formidable task of choosing a topic on which to write. Now that the bloom is off Obama and Britney hasn’t shaved anything in months, the obvious choices are gone. And so, esteemed readers of Scott’s blog, I have opted to write about what I feel is the most pressing issue of the day (if only to my own estrogen-coloured perspective): the naming of Hugh Jackman as People magazine’s sexiest man alive.

While I certainly wouldn’t boot the Aussie actor out of bed for eating crackers (or, more likely, vegemite), there’s a part of me that isn’t quite sold on him landing in People’s top spot. Realistically, I know he was chosen because he has a movie to promote (Baz Luhrmann’s Australia) and was probably the least likely of Hollywood’s hotties to turn down what industry insiders recognize as the “black cat” of tabloid titles (see footnote below); free press as the world’s sexiest man, after all, also means free press for an artsy, over-budgeted movie that appears to have all the audience appeal of a National Geographic special on sea cows. But even ignoring that glaring fact, Jackman just doesn’t feel like the right man for the job in this day and age. He’s just, well, too pretty.

I feel like we are finally at a place where we should feel comfortable recognizing the less obvious sex symbols of our time without apology or explanation. Forget the life-sized blow-up dolls with more wattage in their smiles than their brains. I want to see the guys who read Wired, can restore my harddrive in a pinch, cook a mean lasagna, and probably had Puppy Chow thrown at them as children. Give me your nerds, geeks and thoughtful fanboys with comic-book collections and secret lives as virtual circus performers on Second Life. Capped teeth and cologne-ad bods are for the unimaginative!

So how about it, People? Would a little realism be so much to ask? Let me be the first to throw out the names of Michael Cera, Hugh Laurie and Kevin Smith for next year’s title. They may not start a flashbulb frenzy on the red carpet, but they can be every bit as sexy – if not more so – than the guys whose appeal lives and dies on their catalogue looks and ability to tear phonebooks in half. Like my good friend Judge Judy once said: Beauty fades, dumb is forever.

* FOOTNOTE: A pop cultural institution since 1985, People's "sexiest" title has gained a dubious reputation for bringing personal and professional plagues upon its winners. Since the award's inception, more than half its honourees have experienced post-win relationship meltdowns, career flame-outs, public backlash and ugly run-ins with the law. One of the genetically gifted men, 1988 cover boy John F. Kennedy Jr., died in a plane crash.

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