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Stud or Schlub: Lust on the Red Carpet

There are certain things a woman is supposed to have accumulated by this point in her life. A signature perfume. A conversation-stopping potluck recipe. And a Hollywood hunk of choice.

I have none of these things, and I spend little time fretting over it. But I must admit that each year at Academy Awards time, I grapple with some shame that I have no favorite man candy to ogle on the red carpet.

I tend to watch the awards shows surrounded by opinionated gal pals and, for the most part, I can holler tasteless comments with the best of them. We gasp and grouse over actresses’ necklines, waistlines, and panty lines. My specialty is the bitchy accessory crack: e.g., “What is that in her hair, a Krispy Kreme?” or “Earrings or necklace, honey, not both.”

It’s when my friends start hooting and gyrating over the bow-tied, limo-emerging actors — bedroom-eyed Clooney, swollen-lipped Pitt, square-jawed Brosnan — that I find myself bored and heading to the kitchen for more artichoke dip.

I can’t help it. I’m just not attracted to most leading men. With the exception of Harrison Ford (who crushed my crush when he left the wife for the waif), broad-shouldered, steely-gazed, Armani-clad blockbuster stars have never done it for me. Not pretty-boy Leonardos or cool-as-ice Denzels. Not cocksure bad boy Colin Farrell or edgy artiste Johnny Depp. And I’ve never been Baldwin-prone.

My own mother was recently shocked to discover that I don’t get weak-kneed for Daniel Craig or dizzy for Russell Crowe. I wasn’t sure if she was affronted, like I was insulting her boyfriends, or if she was genuinely worried, like I might be missing some vital chromosome.

“Okay,” she prodded, “then who is your favorite movie guy? Who do you like to watch?”

“Well,” I stalled, “I like that guy … the one in that movie … I mean, there are tons!”

But the truth is, there aren’t. There are only a handful of actors who tickle my hormones, and none of them (sadly, for me) has ever played a sweaty gladiator, tormented vigilante, or alien-battling soldier. It’s hard to even picture any of them punching a photographer or dating a stripper in their real lives.

Because none of them are studs. In fact, they’re more schlubs. But they’re smart, funny, and understated, and that’s my weird little recipe for Hollywood hot. You won’t hear me shout, “Hey, baby, who are you wearing? Can it be me?” when these fellas shuffle down the red carpet. Because if they’re even invited to the Oscars, they get camera-blocked by the Tom Cruises and Will Smiths — the usual statuette-hogging beefcakes.

So I’ve come up with a special set of awards for the guys whose faces rarely make magazine covers, but whose anti-star quality gets my popcorn popping:

Best Schlub Who Looks Hunky by Comparison to Everyone Else in the Judd Apatow Movies: Paul Rudd
Best Schlub I’ve Had a Crush on Since Puberty: Jason Bateman
Best Schlub Who’s Even Sexy When He Frenches Heath Ledger: Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Schlub Who I Have a Hard Time Admitting I’m Attracted To: Steve Carell
Best Schlub with a Severely Crooked Nose, and the Lone Blond Schlub of the Bunch: Owen Wilson
Schlub by Which All Other Schlubs Will Forever Be Judged, and Lose: John Cusack

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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