Chris Evans once walked past me at a TIFF gala.
Even under his neat beard, his skin glowed like plutonium. Her eyes were the hue of a reflective pond during a blue moon. He climbed a ladder two steps at a time with such grace that it was as if an invisible force was wrapped around his slender waist, carrying him where he needed to go.
I am a straight man. But I won’t lie to you. My knees turned to jelly.
And now People’s beauty referees finally agree.
Drum roll please this year The sexiest man alive is…Chris Evans!
As the magazine accidentally revealed in an exhibition copy, this one was easy. Anointing Top Sexy honors to Captain America is like declaring Vladimir Putin the most horrible human being of 2022 – no sensible person will argue.
The sexy news was broken Monday night by Stephen Colbert. By Tuesday morning, he was in a heavy media rotation. People published more content about Evans than the New York Times did about the midterms.
American democracy may be on the verge of imploding, but hey, here’s a “Hot Shots” gallery of Chris beaming and pulling on his bomber collar or lounging in a lawn chair with a skin-tight army green shirt unbuttoned.
The first Sexiest Man Alive was Mel Gibson in 1985. Since then, winners have included the predictable Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, The Rock, Michael B. Jordan, David Beckham. There have also been selections over the years that suggest People’s mental confidence was high on LSD.
Blake Shelton? John Legend?
Let’s go. Shelton looks like he’s taking sponge baths in Mountain Dew. Legend has the face of an out-of-duty teenage mutant ninja turtle. These guys are not the sexiest men alive in their zip codes.
Don’t get me started on the 1992 winner, Nick Nolte, in which he grins on the wire-spec cover, looking like a calculus professor with human body parts on his fridge.
But from Gibson to Evans, “The Sexiest Man Alive” continues to thrive at a time when so-called legacy media is in dire straits. When a homeless person asks for change, I tell him I work for a newspaper and then he gives me a few dollars. And now that my overlords at Star are reviewing this column for potentially offensive lines, I have a business idea to propose.
Why do we let People corner the market on Sexy? Its next edition, on sale on Friday at newsstands, will be a bestseller, as it does every year. People have adopted an editorial characteristic that is immune to “changes in reader habits” or “media fragmentation.” Sexy sells. Sexy gets clicks. Sexy is journalistic gold.
We should slide this idea and, in the parlance of the industry, “localize” it.
The Toronto Star Presents… “Canada’s Sexiest Man Alive.”
I guess we could also do a female version. But objectifying men seems less “problematic” these days. Let’s face it, Canada remains a pinprick in America’s giant cultural shadow. Yes, this city is world class for theater, but that’s only thanks to Mirvish. Yes, we can hold our own in literature, and sincere congratulations to Suzette Mayr for winning this year’s Giller Prize.
But for the lower pop culture, we just don’t invest in our national ecosystem.
We do not shoot or dazzle our luminaries.
We could change that, albeit gradually, with Canada’s Sexiest Man Alive. And unlike People, which is grounded in show business, we could select between none industry. Well, within reason. I’m not suggesting that Star put out an A1 cover this week that says, “Canada’s Sexiest Man Alive Is…Doug Ford!”
The Sexy Premier stepped back to avoid a hit on his velvet tracksuit.
Did you know? I am convinced that it is an excellent idea. And if my Star overlords are too skittish to run with it, I’ll do it myself. I’ll be the judge, but I need you to be the jury. Who is Canada’s Sexiest Man Alive? Email your selections to firstname.lastname@example.org. He could be a public figure or someone in your life, though in that case I’ll need a portrait and biography: “This is my husband Leo raking leaves.”
For nearly 40 years, People has ignored every hottie from north of the border who isn’t named Ryan Reynolds or Keanu Reeves. Enough. Yes, Chris Evans is ridiculously handsome. But he’s also cloying, a guy who tells People things like, “I think declarations of love are great. I love love I’m kind of dumb like that. I like to be sentimental, I cry quite easily. With a good song, a beautiful sunset, yes, my emotions are about to explode.”
Do you cry in the evenings? Now my stomach is bubbling.
Canada, we can beat People at their own Sexy game. I’m tired of our most talented actors and screenwriters flying south like migratory birds every year. We need to build our own star system and Sexy is a great starting point.
So who gets your vote? Is it Drake, another bearded superstar chirping like someone who taught an old Ottoman how to sing? Is he a co-worker? My vote might go to Star’s Robert Benzie, who always looks as if Armani personally dressed him and is blessed with a high-voltage smile that rivals Chris Evans.
Watch out, People magazine. Canada’s Sexiest Man Alive is in the making.
Not even Harry Hamlin can save you now.
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