People magazine, the magazine of the people, has done what it must do every year: it has weighed and measured our men, poked and prodded and lifted things, done phonological readings of crania, inspected beards and Adam’s apples, and it has determined who among them is the Sexiest. Yes! It’s time forPeople’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” The 2015 honoree was announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, which has become a new tradition. The honoree? None other than soccer star and kept man of wealthy textiles magnate Interesting, huh?It’s an interesting choice all the way out here in 2015, when Beckham’s star has faded considerably from the height of his football-playing years. Beckham is their oldest pick since took the leather, cigar-smelling crown in 2009, though he’s certainly no worse for the wear. Beckham is, near about objectively, a sexy man! But is he the sexist manalive?
This is where People’s methodology comes a bit into question. We’ve no doubt that, likeEsquire does when it names the sexiest woman alive, People is doing its due diligence in scouring the planet looking at all possible candidates. I’m sure that People’s vast team of researchers—led, of course, by famed sexologist Dr. Candice G. Goodbody, of the Man Institute (on the Isle of Man)—were dispatched across the globe, banging on pots and pans to rouse men from their village huts, slowly driving their Jeeps down fraternity rows with a bullhorn, saying, “Produce your men. Are there are any men in this place?” I would never assume that People did anything less than look as thoroughly as they possibly could for the sexiest man currently alive on this twirling blue sex rock.But. To do all that tireless research and in the end come up with . . . David Beckham? Something feels off there, doesn’t it? And then if you look at some of the other sexiest men alive that People has listed this year, things seem even stranger. ? ?? Is People asking us to believe that Justin “Hair by Maruchan” Timberlake is sexier than, I dunno, some dashing young British barrister? Is he sexier than the rugged heir to a French vineyard, or a doe-eyed Tunisian surfer? Is Nick Jonas honestly sexier than a Brazilian helicopter pilot, sexier than some strapping Thai boxer, sexier than a well-dressed Lagos oil baron? I’m just not sure he is!“Sexiest Man/Woman Alive” is a determination that has a heavy burden of proof, and I’m just not sure that People or Esquire meet it every year. I wish they would show their work, maybe by publishing photos of every man and woman alive so we could ourselves make sure that they’ve arrived at the correct conclusions. How hard would that be, People? You’ve already taken the photos for your records, so just provide us, the reader, the people, with photographs of every single man alive on Earth at the time of your study, and we’ll be satisfied. That’s all it will take. Hopefully we’ll agree with the magazine’s findings. But I’ll be honest, I have some suspicions, which may simply come down to a matter of personal taste.David Beckham? Sure, wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers. But give me a Russian ballet dancer named Sascha over David Beckham any day. You know what I’m saying? Tastes vary. And I know People tries to account for that by employing hundreds of researchers to conduct its study each year, but it feels like the results usually end up being about the same. It’s a hunky movie or TV star or, in this case, athlete. It’s never the Greek waiter who looked sad and thoughtful when he served you your tzatziki. It’s never the Colombian grad student who asked you which way 6th Avenue is that one blustery day. It was only once, in 2013, when it should be Steven Yeun every year. And he wasn’t even on the cover! Sigh.But ultimately, as ever, we should thank People for doing all this tireless work. It’s an exhausting feat every year, with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of miles traveled, in airplanes, on fan boats, in mine cars rattling down into the dark. It’s many restless nights in hotel rooms and sleeping bags and lonely tents perched on the edges of the Atlas Mountains. (Why isn’t that Berber taxi driver, you know the one, on the list this year?) It’s a lot of time and effort and exhaustion. So thank you, People, for shining a light on some of the sexiness in this world, in times when maybe only sexiness can sustain us. Keep pushing, keep discovering, keep searching.