I looked it at like this way. To get folks to like you, as a screen player I mean, I figured you had to sort of be their ideal. I don't mean a handsome knight riding a white horse, but a fella who answered the description of a right guy.—Gary Cooper
One of the sexiest men in the world—in my humble opinion—is Russell Crowe. I hear that gravelly voice and my belly contracts with delicious spasms. No matter what role he plays, he reaches from the screen and grabs me by the hair, drags me with him into this dreamy, sexy world and kisses me senseless, makes love to me until the proverbial cows come home. He’s earthy, virile, sensitive, romantic, dripping with sensuality.
Is he handsome? I think so, many don’t. To tell you the truth, I’ve never paused in my hero worship long enough to really focus on his looks. His aura, his charisma, is so strong it snaps my lovesick brain and libido straight from his face to his soul. And there—in that soul—lives the man. There lives the sex.
As Crowe has aged, though, the press has had a field day with his added weight, his sometimes scraggly appearance. They’ve crucified him for doing what we ALL do, what none of us can avoid…getting older.
It’s this celebrity’s grace and detachment from the tide of ridicule that has also made this woman take a deeper look at him. He just is who he is, he’s happy with that and the rest of the world can kiss his Aussie ass.
That’s a hero to me.
The reason I’ve mentioned Russell Crowe today is because I recently introduced the hero of my WIP into the story. I wrote him as a big man. An entire football team in one body.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing. Many sexy heroes in stories are very big men. How sexy is that? Very sexy. But…but…I knew I could get away with him being big. I knew I could still have him fit the traditional mold of big, bulky hero—as long as I could conventionalize him and make him muscular, make him ripped. Even sexier, eh?
I could construct him carefully as a big guy and still make him marketable.
But, knowing I was eventually going to come face-to-face with this hero in a scene in which he would disrobe, the ripped image wasn’t what my mind truly saw. It never had been.
My heart and soul held a very clear image of a big man who wasn’t perfectly built—a massive fellow who had love handles, thick waist, a belly instead of a six-pack—the whole big guy nine yards.
But the inner light from this man, combined with his confidence and unquestionable power are his sex appeal.
Some might say, Oh, cool, a character SHOULD be flawed.
Joyce Maynard says, The painter who feels obligated to depict his subjects as uniformly beautiful or handsome and without flaws will fall short of making art.
Hold on there, though, chicas and chicos. THERE is the rub. I don’t find my character’s extra weight, his abstinence from the gym, to be flaws.
And I become livid with constant attention to these ‘flaws’ in men (and women) suggesting they cannot have sex appeal, they cannot be fabulous lovers or are less than perfect in some way because they aren’t svelte or ripped.
As I’ve watched some of my favorite stars mature from beautiful youth into even more beautiful middle age and beyond, I’m enraged at tabloids that slap pictures of them with their new ‘love handles’ and softer bellies as though they ought to be put out to pasture now. As though those very cosmetic features were what made them sexy in the first place. Hogwash. No, forgive my language, but I’m mad—bullshit.
Anyone who knows me knows that another of my favorite heartthrobs is the Italian actor, Alessandro Gassman. Sure, when I first laid eyes on him, he was young, he was tall and lean, he was gorgeous. As he’s advanced into mid-life, the newspapers and magazines have been merciless in their critical attention to his physique.
But, to me, he is one hundred times—no, one thousand times—more beautiful BECAUSE he’s maturing. He’s evolving into one of the most unbearably handsome men I’ve ever seen.
For this reason—this fury over the preoccupation with physical perfection—I knew I could not, would not, betray my beautiful, big, beefy character by denying him his very identity. No way will I do it.
I realize my character may not be a money-maker. By stripping him of any physical perfection he may have had, I could very well be also stripping myself of royalties. Hell, a publisher might not even accept him.
And, again, I want to remind you that I’m not considering his less-than-pristine physique as a flaw. It is not a flaw. It is just who he is.
In my mind and heart, I see a very sexy, charismatic man. A man I’d love to melt into, to be snug against every extra inch of his warm body. His soul is excruciatingly beautiful.
The challenge? To, by the power of my writing, make the READER see the same man I see. To endear the reader to the PERSON, not his body, to drag them straight—like Russell Crowe does me—to his soul.
Bottom line. Age, maturity, the beauty of experience that only life can produce and the evolution of bodies are not flaws. Wrinkles around a pair of eyes are character attributes—awards for having lived—not flaws.
And, sugar, if anybody ever told you that sex comes only in one size, that it’s only offered in size thirty-two waist or less? They told you wrong.