When People revealed its Sexiest Man Alive for 2011, there was a public outcry when they chose Bradley Cooper over the beloved and memeworthy Ryan Gosling. (BuzzFeed even protested outside People‘s offices.) But with half a year til the next male celebrity is crowned, there could be an even greater upset: Tom Hiddleston‘s fans have fervently nominated the man we’ve come to know and love both in his role as Loki in The Avengers and just for being himself.
What all of the Sexiest Men share is that they’re the archetypal Hollywood hunk: Chiseled features, sexy pout, and very, very mainstream. The only one with somewhat geeky cred is Johnny Depp, and his projects can be described as more “weird” and “artsy” than actually geeky. So, Tom is definitely not what People‘s typical choice would be… and yet, he’s perfect for it.
I’m jumping on the bandwagon that “Hiddlestoners” Michelle Panfile and Michelle Higgens started, so let’s talk about their petition first. Since they published the petition in mid-June, they’ve collected nearly 3,500 signatures from like-minded folks who want to celebrate this slender Brit with the toothy grin for his understated sexiness. The preamble is so heartfelt and convincing that I have to copy and paste it:
Sexy by definition is handsome, physically appealing and exciting. But sexy is so much more than that. It’s the way a person moves, the way they speak, what they stand for, what they do and how they live. It’s a fierce intelligence that amazes you with its insight. It’s a sense of humor that creates laughter as easily as it relishes it. It’s a joyful laugh and a perfect smile. It’s a friendly, pleasant demeanour and a welcoming personality. It is a man who speaks several languages, works tirelessly for his craft and likes to dance.
Wow, they’re right. More pragmatically, the Michelles also point out that it would behoove People to jump on this guy considering his dedicated Twitter and Tumblr followings. After all, he is one of the ten most popular tags on Tumblr! It’d be pretty stupid to ignore that kind of fanbase. Overall, however, Hiddleston deserves it because of that understated sexiness I mentioned above: Here you have a guy who’s toiled away in obscure stuff for years before getting famous from Midnight in Paris and Thor. He graciously interacts with fans, is a real smart cookie (he graduated from Cambridge), does incredible impressions, and is adorable when he laughs.
Sure, he’s way different from the George Clooneys and Matt Damons, but with the shift to “geek chic” and films like The Avengers and The Hunger Games getting their due, 2012 needs a different kind of Sexiest Man Alive. They can switch back to mainstream for 2013. God knows they’ll have enough cookie-cutter candidates for that.