Or to answer the question "Are You Hot?"
Just when you thought reality television couldn't sink any lower, ABC's brought us Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People (not to be outdone, Fox--less than a week after the premiere of Are You Hot?--started advertising for a new series of their own: Married By America. Yes, that's American Idol meets Love Connection [minus good 'ol Chuck Woolery!] meets Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? But that's another post entirely.)
I have a real problem with Are You Hot? No, I'm not bothered by the fact that this show exists or even that people are so insecure that they need that kind of public validation of their sex appeal. I mean, there are always going to be those people who need that. Think I'm wrong? Then you've never been to a couple of the bars here in town (ahem, The Ridout and The Drink, I'm looking in your direction!) If people want to participate or watch a show like Are You Hot?, that's entirely their business.
What bothers me is that this show seems to reinforce a very narrow idea of what is sexy. Men must be muscle-bound with visages like they've just been chisled from granite or--better still!--marble. Women are rail-thin (but miraculously sport a perky [silicone? saline?] pair!), pouty and doe-eyed. There have been a few who defy these standards. But they don't make it into the semi-finals.
Sure, the phrase, "But I like your attitude!" has been uttered by the judges, as they add a few personality points to a contestants score here and there. Puh-leeez! You've seen the contestant strut down the catwalk, posture and smile (and maybe--if everyone's lucky!--engage in some inane banter with your fellow judges) for less than five minutes. Granted, that's often all the time you need to tell if someone has a bad attitude. But to gauge whether someone's mind is attractive? Again, puh-leeez! This contest reinforces the idea that sex appeal is primarily physical and it is therein the inherent evil of Are You Hot? lies.
Nothing is sexier than intellect and a passion for what you are doing in life! Literacy (and taking advantage of it by reading more than just the sports pages!), creativity, sensitivity and musical sensibility (READ: good taste in music) are also huge turn-ons.
But superficially? I don't like really muscle-y guys. I like my guys lean. And tall-ish (I'm 5'6", so anywhere between 5'6" to 6'0" or 6'2" is in the right neighbourhood. But that's not to say I wouldn't date someone taller or shorter than that! There is SO much more to sex appeal than height or any other physical characteristic, which is my point here.) I tend to gravitate towards guys who have darker hair, but that's only a generalization. British or Irish accents help a lot, too!
So which men, for me, exemplify what is sexy, physically and otherwise? Here they are, in no particular order:
1.) Orlando Bloom: This actor oozes charisma. Each time I read a quotation by him or see him interviewed, his enthusiasm for his craft seems so genuine. He really loves what he's doing in life and it is that quality which makes him sexy--both with the elf ears, blond wig and blue contacts, and with his natural dark curls and eyes.
2.) Matthew Good: A tall, lean, cynical Canadian singer-songwriter, who's often called portrayed as an ass hole by the media. Matthew's highly political lyrics and his book of manifestos, At Last There Is Nothing Left to Say, show a man who's not about to sit back and allow things to happen to him in life. He's no one's hand puppet. And that's what makes him sexy.
3.) Chris Martin: The Coldplay frontman cum activist often seems bewildered by the state of the world. Concerned with those less fortunate than himself, he participated in a poverty-awareness trip to Haiti and has been a very vocal supporter of Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. Chris cares. And for that he's sexy.