Girl-hot vs guy-hot

In case you haven’t heard, Nicole Kidman has had fetish sex. I’m not even sure what exactly that is but she’s told UK GQ magazine that she’s had it. Along with a bunch of other different kinds of sex. But that’s not what this post is about.

I am using this cover merely as an entry point into a different conversation.

Is it better for a woman to look good in clothes or look good naked? Most women would pick clothes. Most men would pick naked. And possibly, this crucial distinction could help crack that other, non-Da Vinci code: the mysterious difference between women who are girl-hot and women who are guy-hot.

Since Nicole is on the cover of a men’s mag, dressed in an outfit that – dare I say – is going to speak more, um, loudly to men than women, you would presume that she has been deemed by the editor to be guy-hot.

That puzzles me somewhat because I don’t know too many men who think she’s hot.

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And I think I can safely say she is not high up the list of girl-hot celebrities – regardless of what you think of her as an actor. The whole girl-hot vs guy-hot thing is an interesting one.

Women like to check out, judge and comment on the hotness of other women even more than men do. We prefer women on the covers of our magazines and we like to look at our sisters in video clips, on the catwalk, the red carpet and the beach. We have strong opinions about who we think is hot and mostly, they don’t match with the opinions of men.

If you’ve ever had this conversation with someone of the opposite sex, you’ll know what I’m talking about:

You: “Wow, X is hot.”
Them: “What? X?! Really? I don’t get it. She’s pretty but she’s not sexy.”
You: “What do you mean she’s not sexy? She’s a babe! What part of hot did you not understand?”

And so on.
Then there are the women that men think are hot (eg: anyone who’s ever lived in or visited the Playboy Mansion) that leave other women cold.
‘Yeah, that’s just because you’re all jealous’ I hear some men thinking as they read this. Oh no. Please. Secure women are perfectly happy to hand you a list of women they think are hot and discuss it at length.

On said list of girl-hot women would be some of the following names: Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Ritchie, Milla Jovovic, Rose Byrne, J-Lo, Kylie, Kate Moss, Natalie Portman, Giselle Bundchen, Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts.

Feel free to add your own in comments.


But so many of the women we think are hot leave men cold and vice versa. Why? A friend who used to work on a men’s magazine had this explanation: “Jennifer Hawkins isn’t high octane sexy but men could imagine themselves having a beer with her – and they love that.  When I worked in men’s mags, all the guys lusted after was a chick with huge boobs and a big smile – nothing more.  They didn’t care if the girl was plain looking, as long as she smiled at them.”

My friend Anne has a different theory: “when girls are rating another girl’s sexiness, we add up a whole spectrum of things to equal hot: clothes, style, hair, make-up, career, personality, boyfriend etc. For boys, it’s chiefly aesthetic. It stems back to their biological predisposition to admire all things nubile, fertile, fleshy and come-hithery.” Good point. Women don’t tend to take fertility or come-hitheryness into account when we’re judging hot, subconsciously or otherwise.

Asking around, I unearthed some other bones of hot/not contention:
“Scarlett Johansson – guys love her because she’s like a classy, less freaky, younger Pammy. I don’t get the big deal apart from the big boobs. Or is that the whole point?”
“Eva Longoria – I think she’s a poor-man’s J-Lo but my husband thinks Eva’s the ultimate babe and thinks J-Lo is plain.”
“Halle Berry – she’s one of Mark’s favourite but since I saw Catwoman, she’s slipped dramatically in my books.”
“Paris – I reckon she’s a skank and nothing special in the looks department but my boyfriend and his mates think she’s a babe. Maybe that’s because they’ve all seen her having sex.”
“I love Uma Thurman, she’s so ethereal and elegant but the boys don’t think she’s anything special. Perhaps she intimidates them.”
“Chloe Sevigny and Maggie Gyllenhaal – all my girlfriends think they’re sexy for their quirky style and confidence – but to men, they’re just flat chested dorks.”
“Natalie Portman is my ultimate but men think she looks like an elf and elves aren’t sexy.”
“Giselle Bundchen is sex on a stick but my husband thinks she looks like a man.”
“My boyfriend likes typically va-voom women. Pouts, boobs, lots of hair i.e. Jessica Alba, Catherine Zeta Jones and any model in Zoo, Ralph or FHM.”

Then there was the girlfriend who emailed me this very detailed response: “The celebs I think are sexy wear it well, show some class, stay married for more than ten minutes, release only one wedding shot and one baby shot, stand for something, work for a living and don’t have a bodyguard carrying their Prada bags from the store. My husband admires girls who look good naked or at the very least wear bikinis while squatting on the cover of a men’s mag. Any wonder we don’t agree?”

With all this gender conflict, thank heavens we have a few women like Angelina, Beyonce and Megan Gale (and who else?) to bring us together.

It’s also fairly unanimous that Lindsay Lohan, Terri Hatcher, Lindsay Lohan, Victoria Beckham, Mariah Carey and Nicole Kidman are not hot (hot as in sexy). Despite their utter domination of the gossip mags as well as various Grammies, Emmies and Oscars they all seem to lack the phwoar factor in the eyes of both men and women.

Don’t they?

Who do you think is girl-hot and who is guy-hot? And who, ahem,  straddles both?

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