I am truly embarrassed to admit this, but I used to keep this (especially exhaustive) list of men I found attractive in a little notebook I kept hidden in my room. After I came out, the point of this lst was much more clear; but at first, you know, it was just an interesting diversion.
Apparently... I'm not alone in this: Via World of Wonder, James St. James directs us to Matthew Rettemund's exhaustive list of the 50 hottest men on television. This makes perfect sense since James, Matthew, me, and the rest of my gay generation kind of all kept this list, with many of the same men on it. I'm not sure it's the same for the kids these days, but that moment of recognition, that "you thought he was sexy too?" conversation was like a feminist click of "I'm not crazy" and "I finally fit in with the others." It was not just, simply, the leering and lust... but goodness, aren't they talented?
Rettemund (who has the "nice work if you can get it" of being Professionally Gay) covers pretty much all the bases, and does a nice job of filtering in some of the more recent examples to a list that he's clearly been caring about for years. I don't make a physical list anymore (or even an Excel soreadsheet)... but one does, you know, keep track. And these days, when every TV show has that "hot guy who drips sexy" role, that isn't always easy. Thank Goddess for IMDB.
A lot of this fascination can be traced back to the late seventies, when increasing gay visibility made frank depiction and interest in male beauty less of a social taboo (and the seventies were pretty sex-mad, anyway). Rettemund covers most of the bases - though he misses, most egregiously, Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy of The Hardy Boys - with a little heavy emphasis on youth, even for my tastes. I'm not sure Blair Underwood is am especially brave choice, either. But Rettemund does capture, in pictures, that glorious moment when Tony Danza and John Schneider were as hot as street trade (and don't think they didn't know it).
One can nitpick this sort of thing to death (shortlist: Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Cam Gigandet, No Dawson's Creek?, Patrick Dempsey, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki... I mean, jeez), and that's without diving deeply into daytime soaps (he does namecheck Brian Bloom!), but this list will serve as a fine, fresh start. And Rettemund rescues the show that nearly every gay man can remember even if the show was barely watched: the CW's Summerland, where the male beauty was simply freaking ridonkulous. If nothing else... thank you for Ryan Kwanten!
Oh, and yes, this is just TV. Film is a different story altogether. And yes, this is really gay, too. But Betty, how could I resist? And hey.... Merry Christmas!