A Century of Hot Men: My How We’ve Changed
Call this blog post “the post that almost wasn’t.” I started to write about alpha males through the ages. I sought to answer one question: Have our ideas about what makes a man an “alpha” changed over time? Know what I discovered? It didn’t. An alpha is an alpha is an alpha. Any man with a confident and commanding personality who enjoys control and generally stomps through life leading others can be considered an alpha. And, alphas never go out of style. I mean look . . .
You know what did change over the decades? Our idea of male beauty. Let’s explore attractive males through the ages, shall we? Warning: The rabbit hole on this topic is deep, my friends. Hang on. And, fill that comment box below with all your thoughts on the trip down. We welcome pictures of who you consider a good-looking guy today or in the past.
Let’s start with 1910 and go from there. Here are four leading men, and the epitome of all things manly, from 1910 to at least the mid 1940s.
Notice anything? Besides the swashbuckling, coming-to-the rescue, genteel type of savior they portrayed? How about how pretty they look. All that slicked back hair, clean shaven chins and dapper duds. In researching these decades and all its manly gorgeousness, a shocking lack of diversity emerged. Not that men of different races and cultures weren’t to die for. But I just couldn’t find that many images of displayed male hotness that weren’t white men. Well, Harry Belafonte showed up. Wow, was he beautiful or what? But even this image was taken just into the 1950s.
Researching the 1950s revealed our image of “best looking” guys made a sudden turn. Yes, we had our collegiate frat boy and our slick office guys idolized in the popular TV show, Mad Men.
But a tougher “look” became idolized. Still baby-faced in some ways, but more of a fighter’s energy seemed to be behind those lashes.
Look at these teenagers trying to mimic James and Marlon. You can always tell what’s “in” regarding looks by checking out your local high school. Seriously. Try it sometime.
The 1960s brought us a whole new level of grit. Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and James Bond ushered us into one of the greatest decades for cinema — the 1970s — and changed what (who?) we grew hot over.
Of course the 60s and 70s also brought us hair. Lots and lots of hair. Good-bye brylcreme.
By the time 1975 rolled around, a certain slickness returned, and ushered in a whole new glamour for men that the previous two decades had ditched.
The concept of “sexy ugly” emerged sometime between the 1970s and 1980s. (I think.)
Maybe it’s the hair or the large mouth? I dunno. Or perhaps the confidence and talent that makes these guys so attractive?
The 1980’s “look” took us up a notch on the “slick side.” Everything suddenly got tailored from the hair to the clothes.
Well, except for when it didn’t. The hair bands of the 80s were well labeled. They wore more make-up than I did back then.
Hang on you’re only half way down the rabbit hole. The 1990s brought us grunge, boy band cuteness and, well, just general experimentation in hair styles and gender-bending.
By the time the 2000s rolled around all bets were off on an “in” look: long hair, beards, tattoos, three piece suits, jeans and t-shirts, military uniforms, exotic and cultured, all-American, tough guy etc. all made the list as attractive. We finally began to see more diversity. (i.e. someone other than white was considered hot. I mean, personally, my clothes would fall off if Denzel Washington walked into the room.) Also, right around David Beckham’s introduction to the world, muscles became a “must” to be considered good looking. Not a bad way to raise the bar . . .
But, oh wow, did we reach a new level of maleness recently. Beards and ink became the “in” thing a few years ago.
Speaking of manly goodness, we couldn’t possibly leave out Michael Stokes’ brilliant portrayals of our wounded warriors. Well, just about anyone he photographs is swoon-worthy. See what I mean about muscles? (Did you know next week is military theme week here at LadySmut? Check in daily! You never know what we will have up our sleeves . . . or down in other places.)
I could continue with the pictures but at this point I’m sure you’re hanging on to the sides of the rabbit hole walls by your fingernails.
I can’t help but wonder, however. What will 2020 bring us in the way of male hotness? Anyone want to hazard a guess? In the meantime, cheers to all the men down the ages. You’re gorgeous, dahling. Let’s just not return to the make-up, K?
Until then, check back next week for military wonderfulness. To whet your appetite, our very own Alexa Day (along with 21 other New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling authors) offers us a story in a brand spanking new erotic romance and BDSM box set Hero to Obey: Twenty-two Naughty Military Romance Stories. It’s now available via pre-order.
About Alexa’s story, Passing Through: The summer’s brought two surprises to bar owner Gigi Deane: the former Army Ranger she hired is the perfect barback, and he takes orders in bed as well as he does on the job. Noah Malone’s told her that he’s just passing through, but as the seasons change, can she convince him to make their summer thing a little more permanent?
Yeah, baby. Follow LadySmut here and on Facebook for all the smutty goodness you can handle.
Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it — “it” being the smex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington.