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Ides of March

What it is to be Sexy: The Era of Gosling and Fassbender

If you've changed my diapers or simply do not enjoy reading, watching, or listening to discussions or showcases of sexuality, feel free to stop reading. No offense intended or taken, although I do wish you a full life, open to all pleasures, accepting of all facets making an enjoyable existence. This article is much more than it appears on the surface, but it does involve sexuality and sex appeal. Virgins and tight asses beware :) Intelligence is sexy. Discipline is sexy. Creativity is sexy. Depth is sexy. The characterization of one with sex appeal can be dissected and described a million different ways. It’s a matter of opinion and therefore holds little value in truth, but as the amount of credible opinions increase over time, an opinion then blends with fact. Empirically, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender are sexy. The apparent uproar over this year’s meaningless bestowing of Sexiest Man Alive to Bradley Cooper (according to People Magazine) over Gosling shows just what weight these opinions can carry. Sure, they’re moot and unnecessary in the grand scheme, but given the nature of sexuality and the importance of it in not only society but life itself showcases the truth behind a specific culture. Who we find sexy and who we find attractive are two very different things. Certainly Mr. Sexiest Man Alive 1985 won’t be showing up again anytime soon (Mel Gibson) and only time will tell how Mr. Cooper will fare. For arguments sake, what makes someone sexy in our culture is mystery, talent, strength and goodness. Let’s break these down.

have two examples where an air of mystery is exhibited and fostered in film. Drive and Shame. Both are quieter films, dealing with some seriously violent, negative and unfortunate circumstances involving characters with secrets and depth we cannot imagine. Both are led by Gosling and Fassbender, respectively; and both have limited dialogue but an array of expression in tone, mannerisms, action and speak volumes where there is no sound. In both, despite dealing with extreme character flaws, the leading men take you through their story, convince you to accept and have compassion for them as flawed human beings while making some truly deplorable decisions. Both the characters and the actors do not lay everything out for you. Like the adult you are, you must read between the lines and come to many of your own conclusions. Beyond Fassbenders’ third leg (George Clooney joked he could play golf with his hands tied behind his back. Can’t say I’d look away if that actually happened), he has what any intriguing human being carries, life, soul and depth behind his eyes. You have no idea what or why, but you want to know more. Both men make you blush, sweat, laugh and cry, like a good lover should. Both have great senses of humor offscreen while remaining quite private and low-key, living with a brewing intensity, all adding to the enigma. I want more of both.

I’d be willing to guess 75% (probably more) of talent is wasted in this world. For any number of reasons one might go through life without recognizing their own gift, thus being unable to foster it, and give it away. What makes talent so sexy and appealing is not simply the gift, but the dedication and work behind it. I’m fortunate to be friends with some immensely talented people. Dancers, musicians, painters, graphic artists, athletes, successful business men and women, etc. I don’t watch them perform or gaze at their work and think “wow, they’re so lucky, what a gift,” I think “my god, what finding your purpose and busting your ass can do.” Sure, stage presence, artistry, a body morphed by discipline are all very physically attractive things, but the perseverance and passion behind the eyes, the audacity and courage to hone your talent and pursue it and then to exhibit it so beautifully, is so god damn hot. Watching actors be chameleons, like Gosling and Fassbender clearly are, just adds another tasty ingredient and is another reason they’re successful now and without doubt will be only improving down the road.

Strength. The word probably conjures a slew of images and examples. You might think of a gigantic man pulling an 18 wheeler, or a faceless body with ripped muscles, or an image of a person with cancer, handling their illness with integrity and grace. From what I’ve observed, it takes strength to live a very balanced life, to treat your body and mind like the machines they are while maintaining a semblance of humility and grace in order to carry it off. It’s not necessarily the way they wear their clothes or the way they look in the shower (although the pure animal magnetism when seeing a strong, broad man with a distinct voice and mannerisms, move in the way they do, like a lioness in observation of the males’ power and force, triggers a very primal center in my brain, and every instinct says MATE, make powerful offspring with THAT!), but how they carry that masculine frame, how they value their health, and the inner strength required to build the physicality, to keep bettering and challenging their work, and how they live in harmony between pride and confidence, style and substance, notoriety and privacy. I have nothing against Robert Pattinson or Justin Bieber, but they’ve yet to exhibit both the raw and the fine-tuned fusion of intelligence, talent, humor, beauty, wisdom and mystery, as the American and Brit I’m writing about here. Not even close. Here’s where goodness comes in.

I used to be very attracted to Tiger Woods, not that I don’t find him physically attractive anymore, and not that I was shocked when his scandal broke a couple years ago, but to me the discipline and strength he personified beautifully on the golf course was seemingly nonexistent in his personal life, and that shows inherent weakness. It takes genuine fortitude and a secure human being to live with integrity, to garner their own success while carrying an open heart, following their bliss, treating others well and living as little from your ego as possible. I have no judgments toward anyone’s behavior in the bedroom, truly, have fun, have one, have all, but don’t be a douche and lie to your wife while you’re banging hoards of mediocre people. Those who live life with a facade are not strong at all. They may have walls built from years of self-preservation and I certainly hope those people move past that and have the courage to live openly in all facets of their lives; but until then, you are not sexy. You can dress the part, act the part, showcase your hot body, spectacular talent and external success til the cows come home, but it’s still phony, it’s still a lie, and liars aren’t sexy, except to equally unconscious people. Goodness is what rounds out a total package. Goodness is there on the darkest days when you’re injured, or uninspired, at home with your dogs. I never assumed Tiger Woods was good, I just knew he was great. He’d perfected many things, while neglecting others. Through various stories you can read in Vanity Fair, GQ or any magazine with real journalism and in-depth interviews (not tabloids, not E! online), you’ll get a sense for Gosling and Fassbender’s humility and groundedness, their cheeky sense of humor, the love of their craft and appreciation for where they came from. Gosling takes his mom to award shows. Aw. None of us knows for sure whether their goodness is sincere, but what I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t seem fake or forced, it just is. And that’s sexy.

It seems the best films I’ve seen this year have included these two men. I recently saw A Dangerous Method, a David Cronenberg film starring Fassbender as Dr. Carl Jung, following Freud and the advent of psychoanalysis. It was driven by century old theories of sexual neurosis, rich with dialogue and propelled strongly by it’s lead. One of the most courageous films of the year involves Fassbender’s role in Shame, a successful late 30’s man living in Manhattan and suffering deeply with sex addiction, genuinely, not in the Jesse James/Tiger Woods I can’t stop cheating on my wife disease, but a raw portrayal of a lonely man without the facility and openness to love, so he screws everything and everyone, even men during times of desperation. Fassbender played the role on a razor’s edge, with equal parts control and defensiveness, charm and desperation, potential and hopelessness. Gosling carried a similar disposition in Drive, holding in secrets and engaging in very questionable behavior. That same line was drawn beautifully in George Clooney’s (another timeless and pervasively sexy man) film Ides of March. Gosling was stellar in that role as well. I’d watch Crazy, Stupid, Love on mute, for many reasons, one in particular. I’m not a comic book person, a trilogy or sequel follower (haven’t seen all Star Wars, Lord of Rings, Spiderman, Superman, etc. not really interested), but X-Men: First Class knocked my socks off. Just like in Inglorious Basterds, Fassbender is a scene stealer here. They’ve both proved their dedication and craftsmanship in films like Hunger and Lars and the Real Girl, and we’ll look forward to continued brilliance in Prometheus and Only God Forgives, but for now, we’ll just will ourselves to dream about them in the whee hours of the night.

Note: Carrie Mulligan is in both of these fantastic films. She is a very talented beauty, very sexy in her own right.

You may be in a relationship, as am I, but you’re not dead, and neither am I. The very descriptions I used to prove Gosling and Fassbender’s sexual magnetism is living and breathing in many people I know, men and women, and the one I’m lucky to sleep next to every night. There are many talented, strong, intelligent and beautiful women, famous or not, who are living truthfully, devoted and passionate, genuinely sexy human beings. I’m encouraged and inspired, just without the urge to surge, but understand why men do. I’ve been drawn to men since I was young, never being attracted to men my age and hardly wasting time on the Justin Bieber types. Give me an interesting, clever, open, thoughtful and strong man and I’m a happy woman. I enjoy having the open dialogue with the very sexy man in my life, neither of us being threatened by a harmless crush but totally agreeing in what makes someone sexy. Sex is fun, seeing others embrace this makes life an enjoyable ride, so to speak. Enjoy your crushes in a respectful way and challenge your standards at what constitutes sexy. And if you’re unsure, check out Ryan Gosling or Michael Fassbender in anything. Hopefully they’ll make some ironic sexy man film together someday, or maybe that will just exist in my dreams.

No need to be uptight. We were born naked. Learning to embrace primal urges while finding balance is a key to a good life. Life full of delicious foods, mental dexterity, physical challenges, high brow humor and down n’ dirty romps in the sack, with a sexy partner, or by yourself. Happy humping everyone.