Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Marcos London

Eye of the Beholder

In early May Genèvre and I went with a couple of friends to an advance screening of Thor, the latest in the seemingly never-ending run of superhero movies clogging multiplexes in anticipation of next year’s The Avengers…not typically Genèvre kind of movie, but when I told her about my friend’s wife’s infatuation with actor Chris Hemsworth in the title role, she decided to attend, “if only to see her drool.”  She never got the chance to see it, because she, like our friend’s wife, gasped during the scene when Hemsworth removed his shirt.  And she wasn’t the only one; the collective gasp from each woman in attendance deafened each male during that scene.

Genèvre’s response amused me and surprised her.  It shouldn’t have; after all, she often finds major home improvement projects every couple of seasons, usually Spring and Fall (the minor windows in our fair state in which the temperature neither roasts nor freezes lawns), and when she does, she watches such HGTV home improvement hosts as Carter Oosterhouse and Eric Stromer…“for inspiration,” she said once.  “For research,” she said another time.  Not that she didn’t find inspiration for the design of our guest bathroom and master bedroom, but looking at their publicity photos, I tend to think Mr. Oosterhouse and Mr. Stromer inspired other things than architecture.  When I mentioned this, she shot back a response devoid of shock or surprise.  “Ya think?!”

I could tease her about it, of course, because we have that kind of relationship, but also because physically I’m not exactly in the same league as either Oosterhouse or Stromer.  I’m in my forties, and have many of the physical flaws that go along with it:  slight spread (though dieting keeps it in check), thinning hair, slight astigmatism.  And yet she finds me sexy as hell, telling me once that, if a movie were to be made of my life, she could easily see me played by Paul Giamatti, also whom she tells me is sexy as hell (though a few weeks ago, when I brought this up again after another screening, she told me she was speaking of the Paul Giamatti of Sideways, not the Paul Giamatti of The Hangover Part 2).  I’m good with that; a woman has never dropped her jaw or lost motor functions upon seeing me, so I have to make do with things like personality and humor.

This came up again recently on a writer’s forum I visit regularly.  A woman whom I consider a mentor in all things erotic romance occasionally shares objects of her inspiration on the forum:  photos of men, sculpted from the same chisels and picks used by Michaelangelo when creating David, almost always either shirtless or nude with strategically positioned clothing.  Each model possesses the physical beauty one would expect of such erotic photography, and comments by other writers follow each post, most of them the equivalent of women dropping their jaws.  Does it bother me?  Of course not; women deserve as much eye candy as men.  But Genèvre, who drooled over Hemsworth in Thor and found inspiration watching the hunks of HGTV, a woman with exquisite taste in men, ultimately didn’t see much.  “If you wanted to talk about their bodies alone, sure, they’re attractive, but most of them don’t look like they have a lot going on upstairs,” she said once.  Another writer, a gay woman, wondered if the commenters looked for more than beefcake.  “Do any of you find guys like Jack Nicholson or James Gandolfini sexy?” 

And the overwhelming response? 


The majority of the writers in this particular group are women.  The majority, of course, have their own ideas of physical perfection.  So do men.  But ask them to mention just three things they look for in a man, do you know what always shows up?  I mean, sure, they mention physical characteristics, from eyes to butts, but do you know the one thing that showed up on everybody’s list?  No, not that.

It’s a sense of humor.

A man can be as strapping and as gorgeous as any fashion Adonis found in GQ or Details, but, without fail, every woman who responded said that they would choose men who could make them laugh.

I bring up Genèvre’s respons to Hemsworth every now and then, in light of the photos on the forum, and she laughs.  “Hemsworth looks like he has as much going on upstairs as he does physically.  And you know what?  He’s even pretty funny.”  Well, that he is, and I’m grateful that he movie wasn’t very good, because if as physically perfect a specimen as the God of Thunder can make her laugh, then mere mortal men are doomed.


  1. Marcos, I fully understand. I never got into Gandolfini or Nicholson but I have had major crushes on Gene Hackman and Brian Dennehy for years! My favorite actor whom I find to be incredibly attractive is Peter Cushing. Yeah, I hear you on the pretty boys not having much going on upstairs. Elevator doesn't go to the top floor. Show me an intelligent man and I'm hooked. Smart is sexy!

    P. S. I think bald men are very sexy. I even like Mr. Clean. :)

  2. Marcos that was a brilliant, well thought out and written insight into eye candy for women.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

    Oh by the way, Jack Nicholson is sexy as is Sean Connery and Ron Pearlman. All those voices, enough to make me ahmmm... *wink*

  3. Great insight my dear! However I will admit to going weak in the knees at the sight of a well formed male torso--my personal weakness is professional soccer players: fit, sexy, athletic and many times dumb as a bag of hammers. But you know, I don't always require them to chat with me....and for smart/sexy I tend to go for goofy brits like Clive Owen or That Guy from the the Office (cause I also love a good smart ass). love getting to know you better!

  4. Great blog, Marco! When you mentioned the women in the Thor audience and their collective gasp, I was reminded of a story I read back when I was a teenager drooling over Clark Gable. (NO, I'm not that old--it was the mid 1970s and he was dead and gone. I just always had a thing for older men. lol)

    Anyway, in 1934, when "It Happened One Night" came out, there is the famous "walls of Jericho" scene (dividing the bed with a blanket hanging on a clothesline) in the motel room the unmarried couple has to share. Well, when Gable took off his shirt to reveal his bare chest, there not only was a collective gasp--t-shirt sales tanked for years! But you can see a photo of Gable in the movie (sadly, WITH his shirt on), so I'll send you to Snopes challenges that assertion, but it's still a great story that's been told over and over http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/gable1.asp for their take on it.)

    Anyway, I don't think this is a new phenomenon for women. We're just most blatant about it these days.

  5. Oh, Elizabeth, they never did anything for me either. Let's see. Intelligent eye candy. Here's my short list:

    Cary Grant (gave up a movie career to raise his daughter--just one example of his smarts in my opinion)

    Johnny Depp (and he's from Kentucky--hot damn!)

    Morgan Freeman (too many instances to name--except he cheated on his wife, which brought him down a bunch of notches from god status)

    Jimmy Thomas (okay, he's a romance novel cover model--but one damned smart hunk, positive-thinker, and and all-around nice guy to boot)

    No more commentary, or this will be a book:
    Hugh Jackman
    Colin Firth
    Pierce Brosnan
    Harrison Ford
    Tom Hanks

    Oh, I could go on and on--but I have edits waiting for me.

  6. OMG--how could I forget Sean! Thanks, V-Dezire! Even have this picture of him on my FB wall (looking like 102 someone said--but everyone else agreed, still sexy as ever, especially in that kilt). http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=110135792410731&set=a.104772729613704.10601.100002429310722&type=1&theater Check out those sexy knees! (Sorry, we'll just have to assume he's regimental.

  7. I was asked in an interview if I had my choice of famous men who I'd take behind a lovely tree and have my way with and what would I do and I said easily Tom Selleck - followed by Harrison Ford and then Sean Connery. I think they're about as sexy as men can get. Oh and my answer at what I'd do - ride him hard! Loved it guy and so true for real women

  8. It's nice to drool over pictures and in my case, as a former gymnast, I was surrounded by hard bodies for quite a few of my teen years. Some were great guys, some were jerks despite their physical perfection. I appreciate a physically fit man because I know how hard it is to maintain that level of physical fitness. HOWEVER, it's much more important to me the kind of man he is; how does he treat people, particularly his dates, is he funny, can he carry his end of a conversation, etc, etc... He might look pretty but if he doesn't have it going on upstairs then - NEXT PLEASE! And a lot of times a man may not have stepped out of the pages of GQ, but gets even more attractive the more you get to know him because you see what kind of heart he has :)

  9. Like Kellie said, I've known folks that I wasn't attracted to until I got to know them and their personality turned them into that Adonis. lol I like looking at the hard bodies, but in general I've never been particularly attracted to that in men. I've always found myself attracted to the "less than perfect" men.

    As for celebrities that I find sexy as hell, Sean Connery (he could just talk to me and I'd melt lol), Keanu Reeves and Jon Bon Jovi. Not a buff one in that group. I wasn't into the 007 Sean Connery, but think more Medicine Man Connery. =D

    Great blog, very engaging!!

  10. Very interesting topic! Kind of supports what I said recently, about a man holding a baby being totally sexy. The hot body parts might get our attention quickly, but soon we pay more attention to the personality, the sense of humor, the empathy for smaller weaker beings like babies and kids, and especially, the brain (which is the sexiest part of a man, since that's where all of his wicked ideas of the fun we can have come from!)

  11. Fiona, as Woody Allen (another actor whose sex appeal in the 1970s had little to do with his physicality) said in the movie "Sleeper," "My brain is my second favorite organ." Thank you to all who commented, and especially to Liz for the opportunity.

  12. That a good idea of the eye candy me i like alot
    of guy who look great and some of the older one

  13. Hubby and I took our daughter to see Thor. Both of us girls agreed that he does have a great body, especially in the one when he removes his shirt.

    My hubby did in the day and he's funny too. ;)