The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Five Man Crush Worthy Men on Television

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageCC2K looks back at an old classic from a previous Sex Week.

All right guys, it's Sex Week, and that means it's high time we talked about the "man crush."Whether you'd like to own up to it or not, if you pee standing up chances are you've had a man crush at some point in your life, and may be sporting one or two right now.  And that's okay.  There's nothing wrong with having a man crush, nothing to feel weird about, because let's be clear about just what a man crush is and is not.  It does not necessarily involve any sexual attraction; it's not a feeling a homosexual man has for another man.  Rather it should be thought of as a feeling of respect, admiration, and even idolization by a heterosexual man for another man.  Remember that old adage describing a guy as "a man every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with"?  The first half of that is a man crush in a nutshell.

Yet a man crush is by no means a simple thing.  The determining factors of a man crush can by as complex, variable, and personal as the qualities in women that inspire sexual attraction in men.  For example, just as some men prefer blondes and others brunettes or redheads, some might have a man crush on a professional athlete for his strength and peak physical condition.  Others might have a man crush on someone in their same career field who has achieved a great deal of fame and success.  I admit that the color of a woman's hair as a determinant of attractiveness isn't all that complex, but hopefully you get my point.  The object of a man crush really depends on the man, but allow me to offer five men on television that I personally find man-crush worthy.



Alton Brown

AB is proof positive that a man crush doesn't involve sexual attraction, because really, who could be attracted to this geeky, goofy looking guy?  And though he's branched out to host several Food Network shows such as Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt, it's his original cooking show Good Eats where his man crush appeal is on display.  AB discarded the pomp and circumstance of the culinary arts in favor of a pragmatic approach that offers scientific explanations for the various heretofore inscrutable elements of the cooking process.  From his props and pop-culture references to his MacGyver-like kitchen innovations AB has made cooking educational, entertaining, and accessible to all.  But perhaps the main reason AB is man crush worthy is that he's not only embraced his geeky nature but found a way to profit from it, and seems to be having a hell of a fun time while doing so.




Jon Stewart

I've heard it said that women love a man with a sense of humor, and I suppose the same thing goes for man crushes.  I think we men all want to be funny, especially in social situations such as parties and whatnot.  Whether delivering a joke or anecdote or just going off on something, we men take great pride in being able to put an audience in stitches, laughing so hard someone's beverage goes up (and maybe out of) their nose, even if it's just a small group of friends.  I love Jon Stewart not only because he's incredibly funny, but because he pulls off being funny and fresh on a nightly basis.  Granted, he's helped by the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up events that happen almost daily throughout the world, as well as by the team of writers that work to draft the scripts for The Daily Show, but (fair or not) I'm giving Stewart most of the credit because he's the one who's got to sell it. 

But Stewart isn't man crush worthy simply for being funny.  He also comes off as incredibly smart as well as passionate.  While he insists that The Daily Show is about comedy and entertainment, Stewart is willing to occasionally use The Daily Show as a soapbox from which to issue social commentary.  I'll admit my political leanings line up fairly closely with Stewart's, which may explain the following statement, but Stewart never seems to get preachy, and certainly never flies off the handle, even when interviewing a guest whom he vehemently disagrees with.  He's capable of calm, rational, measured debate.  For all of those reasons, he's man crush worthy




Mike Rowe

I love the show Dirty Jobs, and I think that a big reason why I love it is host Mike Rowe.  The premise is simple.  Mike Rowe goes out across the country to spend time with people working really dirty, sometimes unpleasant, and often hard jobs, learning about and attempting them himself.  I have no doubt that a television producer somewhere when pitched this idea would have thought it a brilliant idea to replace the rugged, blue collar-looking Rowe with a frail, 110-pounds-soaking-wet type who looks more at home in a coffee house than a job site.  Or better yet, any one of the 50 or so women currently employed by NBC to do nothing more than stand around looking gorgeous while holding a briefcase with a number on it.  But Dirty Jobs wouldn't work nearly as well with such a gimmick in place of Mike Rowe.  Why?  I don't mean to sound pretentious here, but such a gimmick would cheapen the show.  I know.  That sounds ridiculous, but stay with me for a minute.  On some level, whether we're consciously aware of it or not, Dirty Jobs transcends being merely entertaining and approaches something close to compelling, and the sole reason for that is Mike Rowe.  When you see this guy who looks like he just got pulled off a construction site fail miserably at a "dirty job" or (on a good day) do a barely passable job of it, you have respect for the job and the real-life person who does it on a daily basis.  You respect the job (and the person whose it is) because you know the job is hard, and you know it's hard because Rowe looks like he should be able to do it, so when he struggles or fails that means something, as opposed to some big-breasted bimbo doing the same.  In that way, Rowe is man crush worthy not so much for who he is, but for what he represents.  He's man crush worthy because he radiates a blue-collar aura of manliness that many of us desire to possess, but never really will with our college degrees and white-collar jobs.




Cris Collinsworth

If you love football, like I do, then you probably not only enjoy watching the games themselves, but also the shows featuring experts and commentators talking about football.  Whether it's the pre- or post-game shows or ESPN's NFL Primetime and The Blitz, I can't get enough highlights and insights into the happenings of the NFL (as well as college football, but that's not really germane to the current topic).  Perhaps my favorite football program in recent years has been NBC's Football Night in America, in part because of Cris Collinsworth.  While Bob Costas serves as the master of ceremonies and Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick relive their old Sportcenter days recapping highlights of games played throughout the day, Collinsworth plays the part of the resident expert.  In past years there was "the players' room" where Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, and Tiki Barber would do game analysis, but this season Bettis and Barber have largely been relegated to field reporters with Collinsworth doing the analysis solo.  And in my opinion, rightfully so.  I don't know what kind of wide receiver he was, but he sure knows football.  Collinsworth has the kind of knowledge about football that I can only dream of having.  I feel like an hour or two spent talking football with him, maybe over a couple of beers and some hot wings, would leave me feeling capable of offering insights into the game that would garner approving nods from the likes of Bradshaw, Cowher, and Ditka.  For that, he's man crush worthy.




Hugh Laurie

Why is Hugh Laurie on this list?  How could he not be?  First of all, he speaks with a very cool accent (news flash: he's British).  Secondly, after establishing himself as one of the preeminent comedic talents on British television with shows like Blackadder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster (remember what I said about a sense of humor?), he apparently decided to conquer an entirely different facet of the acting world.  Laurie ventured over here to America and continues to win numerous awards and accolades for his portrayal of Gregory House in the hit television drama House M.D., and perhaps wishing to add insult to injury he accomplishes this while doing an American accent better than many real Americans.  And really, that might be enough.  More than enough.  But wait, there's more.  Laurie is an accomplished musician and is proficient in the guitar, piano, drums, harmonica, and saxophone.  Oh, and he's also a writer, having published The Gun Seller (originally under a pseudonym!) which has become a bestseller, and he has another novel called The Paper Soldier set for publication later this year.  He's been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which means he's two steps away from being a god-damned knight, and on the inevitable day when that honor is bestowed he'll be one of the coolest knights around with a Triumph as his steed (i.e. he's an avid motorcyclist).  If I haven't made my point clear yet, let me try to drive it home by way of analogy.  Hugh Laurie is to Renaissance men as Superman is to superheroes.  And if I'm being honest, remember what I said about a man crush not being about sexual attraction?  Yeah, I lied.  I'd totally go gay for Hugh Laurie.

Author: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

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