Brian Edwards Media

Musings on the Sexiest Man and Woman on the Planet

While waiting in the doctor’s surgery I was browsing through some old women’s magazines (old magazines, not old women) when I came across an article which stated that Robert Pattison had been voted ‘Sexiest Man on the Planet’. There was a photograph of Mr Pattison who was handsome enough but looked rather ashen and hollow-eyed. This may have something to do with the fact that he is apparently the male lead in the Twilight vampire movies. Someone called Megan Fox was apparently the ‘Sexiest Woman on the Planet’. I have no idea who she is, but she looked rather sulky and pouty in her photograph, which is perhaps a sign of sexiness.

I have never really understood the concept of ‘sexiest man’ or ‘sexiest woman’, least of all ‘on the planet’. Strictly speaking, one can only be judged in such superlative terms by comparison to every other man or woman on the planet. There may well be, and almost certainly is a chartered accountant in downtown Milwaukee who is far sexier than Robert Pattison, or a goat-herder in Uzbekistan who leaves Megan Fox for dead in the sexiness stakes. We will never know.

But perhaps this is mere quibbling. To be considered at all for the title ‘Sexiest Man’ or ‘Sexiest Woman’ on the planet,  you have to be internationally famous.

But this tells us very little about what actually makes someone ‘sexy’ or ‘sexier’ or ‘sexiest’. It isn’t even clear whether such terms refer to the person or to the effect that the person has on others. Some well-known female ‘sex-symbols’, such as Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak, Ann Margret, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Samantha Fox, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Pamela Anderson and Angelina Jolie convey an image of themselves as highly sexual beings. Their male equivalents would include Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Steve McQueen, David Bowie, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Kevin Kostner, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, David Duchovny,  George Clooney and Hugh Jackman. But whether the image has anything to do with the real person’s psychosexual make-up, whether, to put it simply, these people have an intense need for and enjoyment of sex, we can never (without benefit of sex tape) really know. And even then….

It may not matter. Both halves of Brangelina may be as cold as ice in the sack for all we know, Sharon Stone may be the most modest creature on earth, Samantha Fox’s thrusting Page Three breasts and come-on looks may disguise a nun’s soul,  David Duchovny may be hetero- or even gen-phobic, but it is a media truism that image and perception are more powerful than reality and truth. Because we think these people are themselves ‘sexy’, we are more likely to find them ‘sexy’. 

But my suspicion is that the ‘Sexiest Man/Woman on the Planet’ have earned their titles not because they are sexual beings, but because their looks, personality or reputations excite the romantic or sexual imaginations and fantasies of large numbers of people.

It is, it would seem, the romantic rather than the sexual imaginations of young men and women that are primarily being stimulated by the stars of films like Twilight and television series like True Blood. No doubt their young fans do find them ‘sexy’, but the main appeal of the handsome/beautiful vampire is his or her essential unavailability as a sexual partner. The vampire may be ‘to die for’, but other than unfulfilled longing, that is the only option. These doomed relationships are perhaps the latter-day equivalents of medieval courtly love or the hopeless yearning for the loved one expressed in so much romantic poetry.

In general being handsome or beautiful seems to be a prerequisite to being considered ‘the sexiest’ this or that. But it is not essential. Power, whether political, financial of expressed as fame, is universally recognised as having an aphrodisiac effect. I recall on several occasions watching beautiful young women drape themselves around the late lamented Rob Muldoon at parties in Wellington when he was Prime Minister. It would be presumptuous to assume that they were not genuinely attracted to or turned on by him or his office.  Were Sarah Palin to become the next US President, she would undoubtedly qualify as the planet’s sexiest woman, combining as she would, ultimate power with ‘sexy’ good looks.

From memory – and I would remember – I have never featured in any ‘sexiest’ lists in New Zealand. I recall writing a column for the Dominion Sunday Times, in 1986 entitled I Want To Be a Sex Object, in which I complained bitterly of being loved for my mind rather than my body. It was a humorous piece, but incited the wrath of some feminists.

I was apparently at my sexiest on radio. Women loved the voice. But this proved a mixed blessing. It is not good to have fans express disappointment on seeing you in the flesh.

Still, at 73, it’s probably enough to have people in the street tell you how good you’re looking.  I think they mean ‘healthy’ rather than ‘attractive’. And the tone of surprise is somewhat disconcerting.

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19 Comments:

  1. Something you and I share, Brian. A face just made for radio. I haven’t done radio in over 12 years. But it was my voice people commented on when they met me.

  2. I think there is a strong possibilty Samantha Fox may not have a Nuns Soul if she choses to be a page 3 centerspread.

  3. Oooh, you are awful, but I like you!

  4. Not sexy? Don’t you believe it Brian. I knew plenty of girls who thought you dead sexy in the ’60s. All that hair and gauntness, plus probing questions. Irresistible to some.

    As for me, I’d quite like the phone number of that Uzbekistan goat-herder. Anyone who can best Megan Fox has my vote.

  5. Look, I’d hazard a guess and say that most of the contributors here are on the wrong side of forty. It’s bit unseemly to get into a debate as to who makes the cut, being one of the world’s sexiest females or males. Sadly, at this stage of life you don’t so much gaze upon the body beautiful, as leer.

    I’d also go as far as to say that the majority
    can’t bear to look into the mirror as they step out of the shower. Your once taut, lean and nubile body has, over time, “uglified” into paunch, droop and wrinkles.

    Best, leave the musings to those whose opinions matter. The ‘beautiful people’, so to speak; not ‘old farts’.

  6. I was out shopping and as I rounded the corner of an isle, I saw this un-sexy old chap shambling towards me and instinctively stepped sideways to avoid knocking him over. He stepped aside as well and then I realised that this old man was no longer in the running for the Brian Edwards Sexiest Man Award.
    They are a bit cruel in placing mirrors where they do.

  7. “Samantha Fox’s thrusting Page Three breasts and come-on looks may disguise a nun’s soul” wrote Brian.

    They disguised a lesbian. Sam came out years ago and has since married her (female) manager in a civil union.

    The page 3 sexpot nonsense was all playacting for the sake of her bank balance, and good for her.

    Do keep up.

  8. Ah but Dazza. Couldn’t Sam be both lesbian AND a sexpot?

  9. Ostrich Pride, you may like going around with your head up your fundamental, where the view for you is no doubt better than that in the mirror, but there are many over 40s, including me, who are not so insecure that we cannot stand looking at our bodies in the mirror. To use a phrase previously coined by Mr Edwatrds you are talking ageist crap.

    There are men and women over 40 whose sexuality is increased with age. Sexuality is also enhanced by growth of intellect something sadly lacking, and never likely to occur, in the bimbos (and whatever the male equivament is)featured in women’s magazines.

  10. I’ve just been looking back at some old photos from the 80s and early 90s and my god I was gorgeous !!! I’d almost forgotten just how deeply, deeply sexy I was.

    Stick a shot of me circa 1989 next to the one of Robert Pattison and I think you’ll find most women’ll point at Pattison and say: “Who the hell’s that ugly bastard ? !, get him the hell out of my sight !!!.”

    Your mention of Sharon Stone and sexiness reminded me of a scene from The Simpsons where – in a Basic Instinct-style Police interrogation – Scots groundsman Willie (wearing not a thread under his kilt) does a ‘Sharon Stone’, crossing and uncrossing his legs somewhat flamboyantly (until Police Chief Wiggum finally puts an end to it with: “Awww Nah, nah, can you just not keep doing that ? !”).

    In terms of the sexiest woman, I’ve never quite understood this obssession with Angelina Jolie. I may be showing my age here but surely – Madeleine Stowe, Jessica Lange and Leslie Ann Warren ? Surely ?

  11. “I may be showing my age here but surely – Madeleine Stowe, Jessica Lange and Leslie Ann Warren ? Surely ?”

    I may be showing my age (or rather, the vintage of movies they used to show on telly back home during the 70s) but surely we’re talking about Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter and – the most sexy woman of my lifetime – Gina Lollobrigida; a mind like Aristotle and a body like mortal sin…

  12. I’ve just been looking back at some old photos from the 80s and early 90s and my god I was gorgeous !!! I’d almost forgotten just how deeply, deeply sexy I was.

    Funny, I’ve had a similar experience with a photo taken of me with my newly-born first son in my arms.

    It had been a long-labour, during which I was on deck with my wife for 40 hours, emotionally draining. Finally ending after midnight on the second day – I remember being a bit numb, and terrified that I was someone’s dad.

    Scroll forward some more years, past the arrival of another son, a mortgage, and more professional training, and I now look at the photo and think “Wow! I look great – so well rested!”

  13. I would have thought that the first requirement for a man to be sexy would be that he at least look like a MAN, not a washed-out wet-behind-the-ears trainee vampire.

    Who made these choices? Perez Hilton? Paris Hilton?

    • I would have thought that the first requirement for a man to be sexy would be that he at least look like a MAN, not a washed-out wet-behind-the-ears trainee vampire. Who made these choices? Perez Hilton? Paris Hilton?

      I suspect that teenage girls made these choices. It’s all about hopeless love.

  14. “It’s all about hopeless love.”

    There’s another kind? :)

  15. “I may be showing my age here but surely – Madeleine Stowe, Jessica Lange and Leslie Ann Warren ? Surely ?” I may be showing my age (or rather, the vintage of movies they used to show on telly back home during the 70s) but surely we’re talking about Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter and – the most sexy woman of my lifetime – Gina Lollobrigida; a mind like Aristotle and a body like mortal sin…

  16. I’ve read articles saying that teenage girls tend to be attracted to teenage boys who are rather feminine looking, with delicate features – it’s less threatening for them in their early experiences of love and relationships than an overtly masculine, testosterone fuelled blokey-bloke who wants to spread his seed as quickly as possible. If you think about pinup boys of the 80s, you’ll see they follow a similar trend. Johnny Depp was exceptionally pretty, and the members of Backstreet Boys were very wholesome. I think Justin Bieber also demosntrates this tendancy very clearly today.

    However, as a girl turns into a woman with a clearer sense of her own sexuality, she starts to turn her attentions to more macho types, such as sports stars, rock stars, and action film heroes. Brad Pitt is interesting in that he seems to appeal to many, many women of all ages, altho I don’t really see the appeal myself.

    I’d be interested to know whether men’s taste in women changes as they mature from adolescent boys to grown men as well….any thoughts?

    • I’d be interested to know whether men’s taste in women changes as they mature from adolescent boys to grown men as well….any thoughts?

      That’s a really big question. I’d say that when you’re 14 or 15 everything turns you on. I was fortunate that the ‘sweater girl’ was in vogue when I was that age. Personality considerations came much later.