What's your type?

At a summer picnic with our friends Beth and J., we spoke of the death, on July 10, of Omar Sharif. The elegant Egyptian actor was, and is, Beth's type. Sharif cast his spell when, in early adolescence, she saw Dr. Zhivago. Her attraction to Arab men, preferably with beards, was set; in due time, she married J., a dashing example.

We reminisced about those early influences, the charismatic men and women (usually seen on stage and screen) who shaped our attraction to real-life persons. The great beauties (Taylor, Gardner, Bergman) were mentioned, as well as idiosyncratic, bold stunners like Juliette Greco.

Though of course we are not attracted by looks alone, we can't deny that "When you see a stranger, across a crowded room", the enchanted evening debuts with a stirring of desire.

I asked, Who is a man or woman presently your age, who holds that allure? J. and Le Duc contributed examples; J. was mildly piqued that I discounted his admiration of Julie Christie because of her cosmetic surgery.

Helen Mirren did not garner a flicker, but the sample was small. The guys nodded enthusiastically at the mention of Sophia Loren, though I suspect they are recalling a film image rather than the red carpet looks she has essayed recently.

Susan Sarandon

Patti Smith was controversial; Beth and I find her compelling, the men did not. Everybody agreed on Susan Sarandon.

As we age, we ought to maintain a frank admiration for the beauty of the species. We never stop admiring a fine dog or cat, so why not humans, whether the man in line at the grocery or Sam Elliott?

And by "the species", I include every age, not just the toned twenties to polished forties. Jack Nicholson (known as an experienced appreciator) once said that he saw a TV interview with an author who was past eighty, and was surprised to find himself deeply attracted to her beauty and eloquence. On the surface, his remark may be taken as sexist, but I also found it affirming.

Do I have a type? My preference is not as precise as Beth's, but I've always liked men who have a good chin and definite shoulders, wear clothes well (but are not dandyish), and project a palpable worldliness. At its supreme expression, that would be Marcello Mastroianni.

Quello che un bell'uomo!

I am not alone; a local grocery store's proprietor has hung his portrait above her pastry display.

My eighty-five-year-old mother-in-law was recently introduced, via computer, to George Clooney. (How she escaped exposure to his charms for the last two decades is a bit of a mystery, but she is not a regular filmgoer.)  "Il est beau!" she exclaimed, with certainty.

And you? What is your type?



une femme said…
I still think Richard Gere is pretty foxy. :-) Daniel Craig too (though not sure if he's hit his 5th decade yet). David Strathairn for sure. And yes, Jeff Bridges, beard and all.
une femme said…
So I guess the answer is no, I don't have a single "type." BTW, this was a fun exercise to start the day!
Oh what a way to start the day...
George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth...I am not sure that I have a "Type" and my impressions of these gentlemen are based on looks alone...intelligence, wit, manners, and charm are all major factors.
I agree with you about Susan Sarandon...I'd add Kate Winslet to the list.
John said…
Oh, I like big brown eyes and interesting-looking: Benicio del Toro, for instance. Sigh. Omar Sharif was incredibly handsome in Lawrence of Arabia. Possibly the best entrance and the best exit in movie history.--Louise
Susan said…
I am known among those who personally know me well to not be attracted to men because of their looks/appearance. However, from time to time, I have found myself attracted to an actor or to someone famous. So--I would have to say that Chris Noth (played Mr. Big in Sex and the City) might be my type. And then, not for his looks, but for his tortured psyche and his great talent, I would have to say that Eric Clapton is my type. I would have never said that a few years ago, but after reviewing his music and reading everything about him that I can get my hands on--I'm very intrigued. (By the way, Eric Clapton has bemoaned the fact that he has a weak chin and blames that for some of his insecurities.)
Liz Rice-Sosne said…
I really appreciate this question. And I love your blog - and pearls. As a second career I had a boutique for women. I made sure that a came away with truly lovely pearls. Anyway men. I guess the two whom I can think of in the media would be Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. The most attractive characteristic in a man for me, is that he be Jewish. My second husband is, I am not. And although he doesn't have a lot of hair today - he is still divinely sexy.
Mardel said…
Interesting question. I don't know that I've paid attention lately, shame on me, but I'd agree about Susan Sarandon.
rosie said…
Liam Neeson gets better & better looking. Hard to believe he is 63. How gorgeous were Omar Sharif & Julie Christie together in Dr. Zhivago. Julie was the It girl of the 60's. Think she looks great for 73.
Kristien62 said…
Pierce Brosnan tops my list. I have always liked his looks from the Remington Steele days(boyishly handsome) to his current ruggedly suave persona.
rb said…
that last photo is everyone's type!
diverchic said…
I like 'em all. I like 'em big. Liam Neeson, Ciaran Hinds, Alan Rickman, Le Duc and the pretty Pierce Brosnan, George Clooney all are delicious.

I can't believe they slighted Helen Mirren.
I just wanted to point out how hot Buffy Sainte-Marie, who won the Polaris prize, looks at 74!
Duchesse said…
une femme: Gere has staying power, for sure! Nice list.

hostess: I knew you were a Firthie! As for women, remember, I asked who 'has it' and is the age you are now; Winslet is a mere child.

Louise: How well put about Sharif- indelible.

Susan: I suspect you know that a number of actors have chin implants to further enhance their profiles. In fact just about any facial contouring is possible but we like to believe it is natural.

Liz: We just might have to ask for a head shot of your husband! Jerry always looked like the kind of guy I'd see at work, but I understand the appeal. If I saw a man who looked like Marcello at work I'd have to find the nap room.

Mardel: Attention may return when you are least looking ;)

rosie: Some persons have such incredible bones; Christie is an exemplar.

Kristien62: Oh yeah! And I loved him playing against type in "The Matador".

rb: Clooney channels the old-time stars like Grant and Cooper, effortless elegance. MIL saw that instantly.

diverchic: Le Duc is blushing! re Mirren, maybe they have not seen her lately?

lagatta: Oh yes; I'll post this link for anyone who wants to see her:

MarilynB said…
My girlfriend and I both tell our husbands we would leave them if George Clooney asked us. They just laugh. But someone not to be ignored is Sting. He has je ne sais quoa!

Duchesse said…
MarilynB: Ah, vous savez exactement quoi! Heh.

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