Pop Culture

Badass: The Not-So-Secret World of Mancrushes

Jon Hamm, in character as Don Draper from Mad Men, was sitting in the passenger seat of my car as we drove through some sort of mountainous region -- maybe Tennessee? He was puffing away on cigarettes, one after the other. He made weird asides about the car, sometimes rolling his window down to heckle other cars and throw beer bottles at them at random.

Then, as the alarm on my phone replaced any ambient noise in this scene, I stirred. Finally my eyes opened and it was morning, in my house, and the sun was peeking through the shades.

"Holy Christ, did I just have a dream about Jon Hamm?" I thought as I made my way through my waking routines.

I'm not alone. Tons of my straight male friends have mancrushes. A lot of them are pretty normal. I mean, who doesn't think that Ryan Gosling has a dreamy musk about him that you wanna bathe in, or that Justin Timberlake would be fun to gaze at from across the table at a five-star restaurant where you just had a wonderful conversation about politics.

And I found along the way that "badass" is probably code word for "hot as fuck," but that's just my interpretation.

Tom Hardy

We could be workout buddies, ya know? "Hey, Tom Hardy, wanna go work on our lats?" and that sort of thing.

"Inception, Warrior, This Means War, and he's playing Bane in the new Batman movie. A badass who can actually act," says my friend Nava.

Rick Harrison

Yeah, the dude from Pawn Stars. Seems fun to cuddle with and watch war movies. Moving along...

Ryan Gosling

"Check out a Dead Man's Bones live video and then deny it," says Ben, referring to Baby Goose's musical project.

The Geico Gecko

I dunno, he seems really polite and understanding and would be a good listener. He wouldn't be too pushy or grabby at the end of the night.

Clint Eastwood or Sam Elliott

I can see Clint in the early Dirty Harry movies, and maybe even Every Which Way But Loose. As for Sam Elliott, you are on your own.

"Why? Daddy issues," says Alex.

Anderson Cooper

"Underneath that silvery mane, there's a damn good TV newsman, one who's not above on-air giggle fests," swooned Casey. Well, I don't know for sure that he swooned. In my mind he did, and has a collage of Cooper clippings at his house.


"Jay-Z...wealthy, successful, married to Beyoncé, best rapper to ever do it, and has mass appeal across all genres. Plus, he dresses like a boss," says my photog friend Omar.

Lemmy Kilmister

"Lemmy is the epitome of rock and roll cool: unapologetic, driven, talented, authentic. He makes everyone else look like they're just playing rock star," adds Shaun, which I agree with. Another great rocker in that vein is Nikki Sixx.

Bob Ross

"Does Bob Ross count? That fool can paint the hell out of a tree," said Tim, a tattooed punker.

Edward Norton

"I'm going with Edward Norton. He's got great crazy eyes when he gets pissed. Go with Death to Smoochy," Raymond posted. I know women who think that he was never hotter than in American History X, swastika tattoo and all, if you can believe that.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

"Hard," was all that Cory had to add.


Justin Timberlake

"I watched Southland Tales because of that guy," Jason chimed in.

Nick Cave

"Musician, novelist, screenwriter, dated PJ Harvey, just a badass," said Nathan. Dating one of the biggest mouths of the '90s is grounds for awesomeness.

Kyle Chandler

"Mmmmmmm.....Coach Taylor. Sensitive badass. Also, his hair flows in the Texas wind. Flows," said Nick, a colleague in Dallas. I added the "Mmmmmmm" because I could hear it through Twitter.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty