There’s been a little controversy on the interwebs over himbo Channing Tatum winning the title of People’s Sexiest Man Alive over Ryan Gosling and I want to come to Tatum’s defense.
Let me make something perfectly clear: Given the choice between Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum, I will take Ryan Gosling. Every single time.
But if I was on the editorial board at People magazine, I’d vote for Tatum as Sexiest Man Alive. (An aside: Can’t they call it “Sexiest Man of the Year?” To use the word “alive” suggests that last year’s winner got really fat and/or died.)
And here’s why:
1. Channing Tatum loves the ladies and the ladies love him back. I’m not saying that just because he used to be a stripper and this year made Magic Mike (whose release date will be a national holiday in my home from this year forward.) He also does drippy, PMS-approved romance films like The Vow and Dear John. The guy may as well own stock in the Lifetime Network at this point. There’s something to be said for a man who is willing to put himself out there as an object for the female gaze.
Okay, it’s true that Ryan Gosling was in The Notebook. But that was when Gosling was still up-and-coming and couldn’t call his own shots. Today, he wouldn’t be caught dead in a film like that. He’s a serious actor, people.
2. Tatum likes to take his shirt off. Yes, Gosling took his shirt off in Crazy, Stupid, Love—but that was just to prove that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. No one would ever accuse Tatum of taking himself too seriously. Gosling only takes his shirt off if the role requires it. Conversely, Tatum’s mere presence in a film virtually guarantees at least one topless scene.
3. People feel compelled to compare Channing Tatum to a side of beef. (Hat tip to Slate’s Dana Stevens, who was the first to note this phenomenon.) Seriously, go back and read reviews of Channing Tatum and there is almost invariably at least one reference to him as “an agreeable meathead” (Slate), a “soulful meathead” (me in Baltimore magazine), “190-odd pounds of muscle meat” (FortHunt Patch), “all beef and muscle” (Sabotage Times) a “beefcake” (too many to count). There has to be something to this.
4. He can act. I know this is not a criteria for being People’s Sexiest Man Alive, but this was the year that I finally came to accept that he was no mere side of rumproast. He’s actually hilarious (on purpose!) in 21 Jump Street and just flat out good in Magic Mike. Give the man his props.
5. Channing Tatum wants to be People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Okay, I don’t know this for a fact, but based on the evidence above, I’m riding a hunch. Likewise, I don’t know for a fact that Ryan Gosling (or Joseph Gordon Levitt or Michael Fassbender, for that matter) doesn’t want to be People’s Sexiest Man Alive, but I suspect it would embarrass him, not be consistent with his vision of himself as an artist (I’m guessing the “hey girl” meme is embarrassing enough). Channing Tatum has no vision of himself as an artist. He’s content to make films that make us belly laugh, ugly cry, or want to stuff dollar bills down his pants. And really, ladies, what could be sexier than that?