Sexiest Man Alive

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 (Richard Swerdlow)

The results are in and Richard Swerdlow didn’t make the cut. But he’s ok with it. Really.

Well, it’s happened again.

This month, People magazine came out with their 34th annual "sexiest man alive" issue. This makes this the 34th time I was not selected by People magazine as the sexiest man alive.

I suppose I shouldn't be upset: After all, not being chosen as People magazine’s sexiest man alive is a distinction I share with 3,776,294,273 other men on the planet.

But not getting selected again this year hit me particularly hard. Flipping through the magazine, I came across one of the features found in every SMA -- that’s sexiest man alive -- yearly issue. The annual "sexy at every age" pictorial featuring gorgeous guys from 21 to 59. Last year, I turned 60 and it looks like I’ve termed out of the competition.


But, now that I’m out of the running, this whole sexiest man alive thing has me considering the concept. What does it say about our culture that People -- which boasts the largest audience of any American magazine -- doesn’t feature an annual kindest man alive, or smartest man alive, or even happiest man alive. Nope, it’s sexiest. I hate to be a buzz kill, but the world has changed since 1985. So, People magazine, maybe it’s time to retire your annual SMA issue. Objectifying anyone -- celebrity or not -- is degrading. Wouldn't People magazine's most substantial man alive look great in the supermarket checkout line display?

So, though I’m never going to make it as the cover guy for People's sexiest man alive, I’m feeling okay about it. I didn't expect People magazine's annual beefcake eye candy issue would actually lead me to realize the obvious, but it did. Sexy is nice, but it’s sure not the only thing.

But still...if People magazine gives me a call next November, I guess I’ll just have to say yes.

With a Perspective, I’m Richard Swerdlow.

Richard Swerdlow teaches in the San Francisco Unified School District.