You Can Be Just As Sexy As Scarlett Johansson In Middle Age

So Scarlett Johansson is the sexiest woman alive, according to Esquire Magazine!

For the second time.

I can only assume that my nominations got lost in translation.

Scarlett Johansson met with nearly 600 service...
Scarlett Johansson met with nearly 600 service members at Camp Buehring, Kuwait Jan. 20 during her five-day United Service Organizations (USO) tour to the Gulf region. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an interesting choice that says a lot about how we really define ‘sexiness;’ as well as being a pleasing choice from the female perspective.

Because while obviously Johansson is indeed scratch-her-eyes-out beautiful, she doesn’t necessarily fit the image of ‘perfection’ that the media leads us to believe men search for in a woman.

Scarlett doesn’t have a supermodel stick insect frame, she is comparatively short compared to some of her Amazonian contemporaries and although she does have a generous bosom, it is slightly out of proportion with the rest of her body.

But there is no denying that she is ‘sexy,’ (sigh).

Perhaps that’s why we all like Scarlett – because of her imperfections.

As a woman she certainly possesses that combination of physical attributes that when melded together create sex appeal. But Scarlett is not sexually threatening like some actresses, and she has not really allowed herself to be objectified. Like Marilyn Monroe and Ursula Andress, for example, Scarlett does not have the perfectly chiseled features of a Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer, yet she remains defiantly sexy. Therein lies her secret.

If I was going to have my bucket list lesbian moment, it would definitely be with Scarlett Johansson.

Assembled together with her talent and personality, her slightly imperfect physique and her confidence to even be seen without make-up, the Scarlett package is still something human, approachable, un-contrived yet overtly sexual.

Which only goes to proves that passion, intelligence and personality are the true marks of ‘hotness’.

Propaganda about body image from the media and the issues that ensue from it sometimes prevent us women from understanding where real beauty comes from and distorts the truth about what women and men really find attractive in the opposite sex.

The old man informed me that the two criteria he finds most sexy in a woman are face and humour. (He could of enlightened me before, of course – so that instead of busting a gut to try and maintain an acceptable weight for the past twenty-five years, I could in fact have indulged in all those forbidden pies I craved and been happy in my skin like Dawn French or Rebel Wilson).

When I asked NC’s new man how he defined ‘sexiness’ in women, (apart from their knowledge of rocks, obviously), he came up with the ‘girl-next-door’ type.

It might take men a while to get there, ladies, but it’s reassuring to know that eventually they understand that sexiness is more than a fake chest and a g string.

How many times have we heard that we look better when confident? Maybe we should try believing it.

NB (Nerd Boy) suggested Mila Kunis and Emma Stone as his pin-ups – neither are the obvious ‘sirens’ we are told that men fall for.

It turns out that many of the truly beautiful things in life are naturally eclectic and less contrived. Think of landscapes, fashion or interior decoration. The appeal of the ‘vintage’ and retro looks has a lot more to do with having the balls to mix things up than striving for perfect co-ordination.

Beauty comes from freedom, choice, confidence and ultimately happiness.

Our mothers always told us that beauty came from within, so why didn’t we believe them?

Don’t you just hate fucking hindsight, sometimes?

And what makes Scarlett Johansson even sexier is that she hasn’t resorted to playing the Hollywood game to get noticed and find success. Her celebrity has come primarily from innate talent. Of course her natural good looks help, but she doesn’t play the beauty card – she has remained true to herself – an intelligent young actress with a passion for her craft.

We know that beauty helps in life, but ultimately its value fades. For longevity, Scarlet needs much more than big lips and boobs, and she knows it.

Think about your own friends. Who are the really attractive ones? So often it turns out not to be the ‘pretties’ but the women or men who radiate their beauty from within and usurp them.

Sadly, for a lot of us women that knowledge is something we only accept once we reach middle-age and invisibility kicks in – when we are forced to let our inner beauty do the talking.

But we all have the power. We can all be as sexy as Scarlett Johansson.

How Do You Stay Sexy In Middle-Age?

Two things made me think about sexiness this week – or rather ’being sexy’.

English: undercover
English: undercover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first was Mick Jagger’s 70th birthday. WTF that sinewy old rock god’s secret is, I don’t know, but I still would, if you know what I mean?

It made me realise that it’s actually quite hard to quantify sexiness.

For me, Mick Jagger just oozes sexiness no matter how many lines he has on his face or how skinny he is. It’s the same raw sexual appeal that Michael Hutchence had. There are a lot of men out there, (and I imagine the same is true of women) who are good-looking and nice eye candy, but there are few that are truly sexy, who you would just fuck go to bed with, given the chance.

I find George Clooney attractive, for example – but does he really turn me on? If I’m honest, not as much as Jagger.

Actually, I can’t think of another 70 year old who turns me on in quite the same way. But when I jokingly commented about him on Twitter recently, (I believe it was something typically mature comment like ‘wanting his babies’), my sister (who is seven years younger than me) was appalled; which only goes to prove that sexiness is subjective. Which is lucky really, otherwise we’d all be going for the same blokes.

So what exactly does makes Jagger still ‘sexy’ to millions of women, even beyond middle-age?

Is it a purely physical thing like his voice or his ‘moves’, or is it his reputation as a ladies man and the well-documented history of his prolific love life? It might be the ongoing urban myth about Mars Bars, or is it simply that ‘being hot’ is indefinable?

Different things turn different people on, fortunately.

For example, I find humor and intelligence sexy in someone who is potential marriage material, but in terms of raw sex appeal and lust, it has to be that element of naughtiness, that ‘bad boy’ appeal that does it for me.

Unfortunately we all know that lust and ‘sexiness’ don’t generally stand the test of time.

We age, our sexual desire becomes compromised; where once a simple touch could ignite the body and senses, as we get older it takes a few drinks too. And at times during long term relationships we have to fall back on on other character traits to hold things together.

The ability to laugh at each other and at our kids has kept the old man and I going for a while now.

It’s not even that the early sexual attraction diminishes necessarily, but it can get doused by responsibility at different stages in a long relationship – by the everyday shit like kids, work and bills.

But even harder to define, is what makes a woman sexy?

Because not all men are turned on by the Barbie stereotype of big boobs, tiny waist and no brains, no matter what they would lead us to believe.

The second time the issue of ‘innate sexiness’ came up this week was during a conversation with Nerd Child, who was talking about trying (and failing) to get the attention of some guy she ‘likes’. When I daringly suggested that a little flirtation might go a long way, (rather than just discussing the rock formation of the San Andreas fault), she looked at me horrified and said, ‘but I just don’t do ‘sexy’.

That’s true for a lot of us.

We’re not all Marilyn Monroe or Dita Von Tesse and it’s hard to just summon up sexiness if it’s not part of your natural persona.

Personally I have always felt absolutely ridiculous in sexy lingerie; rather like some bad hooker.

Some of us are more Bridget Jones in bed, and luckily there are guys out there who find awkwardness and being laughed at endearing – like the Colin Firth stereotype who falls for her in his multiple portrayals of the Darcy-esque character. Like Bridget, the sexual predator-types like Jagger and Hutchence would be way too much for us to handle, even though we might have their posters on our walls. Those men remain ‘fantasies’ that we would probably run a million miles away from if we ever actually had the opportunity to ‘go there’ – (well, maybe).

Bridget Jones, 25 year later
Bridget Jones, 25 year later (Photo credit: tripubad)

But being sexy doesn’t have to be about sultry moves, flirtation, suggestion, lingerie and Mars Bars. Sexiness can be about kindness, laughing at the same jokes and sharing stuff in common.

And in my experience, it’s often the ones you least expect who turn out to be the most sexy.

Midlife Mayhem – The Sexiness Of ‘Salmon Fishing’

In conjunction with my recent  post about following your dreams, I stumbled upon this quasi-perfect little gem of a Brit flick the other day, and so decided to brazenly write a film review about it.

I am completely aware of my  zero credibility as a film critic but allow me to indulge myself and promote a movie that managed, not only to make me belly laugh, but also to touch my heart, (apparently it was there all along, and Search and Rescue managed to locate it behind dense, protective force fields of cholesterol build-up). Read on for my ‘midlife’ interpretation of ‘Salmon Fishing In the Yemen’.

Firstly, a brief synopsis……

Think ‘Four Weddings’, with an injection of intellectual sensibility, astute casting, hilarious British pomposity and an engaging, if slightly absurd plot (with the underlying message of ‘following your dreams’).

With a smorgasbord of tantalizing backdrops, from the lushness of the Scottish landscape and the manicured perfection of British suburbia, to the heady diversity of London (complete with grey skies), this movie managed to invoke in me, long-buried cravings for everything English.

(For the record, it obviously would have been a treason-worthy offence for me not to view this  film – what with Diamond Jubilee year and all that, but that is as far as my patriotic bias stretches in this review. It should however be noted that Vegemite has, once again, been usurped by Marmite in the ‘spread’ war in our house).

But it was the synergy of self-deprecating humour, sensitive character portrayal and a surfeit of gorgeous eye-candy that really sold this movie to me.

And talking of eye-candy, Ewan McGregor plays the main protagonist of the story, Dr Alfred Jones, a British fisheries expert, who is asked to research the possibility of introducing the sport of salmon fishing to the Yemen.

Bogged down by the tedious conventionality of his office job and a tired marriage, he is initially contemptuous of the project and tries everything in his power to avoid involvement. But the British government has other plans.

I should point out here that Ewan McGregor and I have had a few personal issues that needed ironing out, prior to me seeing this movie.

You see, having fallen deeply in lust with him, when he thrust his phallic light saber as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, (dire futuristic subject matter aside), and then deeply in love with him in his ‘I’m just a normal guy’ guise on his bike for The Long Way Round, he disappeared from my ‘hot leading men’ radar for one very good reason – sorry Ewan, but singing in films????

Allow me to qualify why this is an issue……….

In my opinion, there are two raison-d’etres for going to the movies – 1) justification for the consumption of a whole box of Maltesers and 2) justification for gawping at gorgeous leading men. (I’m a mature woman and I can own up to the fact that the main prerequisite of my film choices is eye-candy; I can also admit that I am a sad old woman).

So in watching this film, I was, in fact, giving Ewan the chance to put right the wrong of ‘Moulin Rouge’, the chance to resurrect his leading man ‘sexiness’ status. And although the confines of this role certainly limits conventional sexiness, he works it.

However, whereas my passion for Ewan’s craft has peaked and troughed over time, I’ve never liked Emily Blunt since she slept with Michael Buble.

But in this movie, (and no matter how irritating I find her unthreatening girl-next-door allure on a personal level), she does manage to carry off the ‘thinking man’s’ female protagonist role, as Harriet, convincingly.

In her role as the Sheikh’s consultant, she plays the sensible foil to Ewan’s (hinted-at) Asperger’s awkwardness, working as intermediary between the two men. And she generously allows Ewan to wring out every last subtle comedic moment of his parody of the fishing nerd, and to demonstrate his growth into a thoughtful and emotional man.

But back to the eye-candy. This beautiful film actually provides more stunningly handsome men than the Hemsworth family and certainly more than your average middle-aged woman can handle. Not only does Ewan’s latent sexuality simmer throughout the film, but there is also the visual delight of Amr Waked who plays Sheikh Muhammed, the catalyst of the salmon-fishing project and the modern day equivalent of Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia. Not forgetting Tom Mison, who plays the heroic man-in-uniform role, stoically, in spite of being a little under-developed as a character (but did I mention he was wearing a uniform?)

Testosterone aside, it is Kristen Scott Thomas, as Patricia Maxwell the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, who steals the show for me. Her timing and execution is faultless and she does the affected-wannabe-aristocrat act so persuasively. Her comedic scenes in London are in sharp contrast to the serene, more serious tones of the developments in Scotland and the Yemen, where the underlying theme of following your dreams is fully played out.

The finale was a little ‘Americanized schmaltz’ for my liking, (in the real world, they would have all gone back to their boring day jobs), although my companion wept through the ‘will they/won’t they’ scene. But in spite of some poorly contrived situations – Yemeni assassins floating around the Highlands springs to mind –  the storyline was strong enough for me.

Mega-rich Sheikhs spending more money on luxury sports than it would cost to rebuild the Greek economy, is probably not the most appropriate storyline in the current climate, and this film has attracted mixed reviews, but the cinema is about displacing reality and in my humble opinion, the theme of taking a chance and ‘swimming against the current’ is a positive theme in a western world still drowning in recession.

Apparently there are about 606 calories in a box of Maltesers.

Salmon Jump courtesy of www.flickr.com (Steve Courson)

Follow Your Dreams courtesy of www.flickr.com (Hitesh Sheladiya)