Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Is Sexy? (Hint: Not Me!)

I recently found myself on another confusing date, the kind I've been on semi-regularly over the course of the last three months, during which I've been single and emotionally unattached for the first time in Melbourne. Is it me or have the guys around here gotten hotter than usual in 2013? I've never been much of a dater, and I'm still not, but it's hard not to indulge when you're constantly surrounded by tall, handsome men who are actually hitting on you.

Who, me? I still have to check whenever one of them approaches me because it's not like there aren't plenty of guys much better looking than me to go around. This isn't about fake modesty. I'm seriously perplexed whenever another towering stud enters my orbit. The abundance of men in Melbourne who are taller than 1.9 meters makes little 1.85 me feel like a midget for the first time ever, and it might be a large part of why they all look so damn good. Like beautiful women, tall guys are even more attractive in groups of two or more.

But getting back to the one's who are interested in me, there's so much eye candy elsewhere. Why are they trying to lick mine?

Almost as if on cue, my latest date answered my question before I had a chance to ask. (Not that I would have.) "You're so sexy," he said, looking at me as if he'd struck a solid gold lollipop.

Sexy? Who? Me? I did happen to be wearing my "Mr. Sexy" t-shirt, the one I bought in Bangkok, not dreaming that anyone would ever take it seriously. That I have "Mr. Perfect," "Mr. Handsome" and "Mr. Daydream" tees to go with it is more evidence of my ironic sense of humor than of an inflated ego. I don't actually expect people to call me Mr. anything. He must have been reading my t-shirt, though, not describing me.

It's not that I'd never been called sexy, but it hasn't been such a frequent occurrence that I can't remember the first time. On that occasion, it came out of the mouth of a platonic friend, of all people, and I'm still convinced that he was just trying to make me feel good about myself because I was having a bad flat-top day. (It was the early '90s -- even Will Smith still had one.) Every time I've been called sexy since then, I've had to check to make sure there wasn't someone else in the room, or at the table, or in the bed.

Sexy to me has always been intangible, but I know it when I see it: Michael Hutchence in INXS's "Need You Tonight" video. Nicole Kidman in Batman Forever. Nas's sleepy bedroom eyes when he's spitting out one of his fiery raps, like "Made You Look" or "The Don." Scott Weiland in Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song" video or sitting across from me in a Burbank rehearsal space, shirt unbuttoned, chain smoking and recounting the horror of drug addiction. I can't even begin to compete with any of that.

Here I should make the distinction between being sexy and having a sexy quality or engaging in a sexy activity. Intelligence is sexy, as is surfing, but not every smart person is inherently sexy (see The Big Bang Theory's brainiac quartet, in which only Raj might qualify), nor are all the people riding the waves at Bondi Beach on any given sunny summer Sunday afternoon. I'm a sucker for confidence that's just about to cross over into cocky, but on the wrong guy, it's not sexy. It's just unappealing arrogance.

Also sexy is effortless, which is why my old twentysomething attempts at being sexy -- posing for photos with one leg forward, head tilted down, lips pouting -- were anything but. And sexy is not so much about being aesthetically gorgeous (though that helps), but rather possessing the strain of X factor that makes people want to get undressed.

Do I have that? By the end of my most recent date, I wasn't convinced that I do. He did, however, present a most compelling and enjoyable argument, which was easily the sexiest thing about the entire evening.

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