International Men’s Day

Yeah, I made that title up. But it ought to be a real day. Just saying.

I know I’m supposed to be writing Bloodsuckers episodes. I only lack one having my third volume. But between religious holidays and NaNo meetings, I haven’t been home much lately. And when I am, I have to do things like feed me, feed the cats, bathe, and a do a minimum of laundry and litterbox duty. Oh, and prepare for a Halloween party.

I do hope to get one more episode done and the third volume released on Smashwords this month. But I am going to take a break in November, while I work on my new novel. It takes some effort for me to switch gears going from story to story, and it’s worse when I’m really focused on  one (as I will be during NaNo).

But, anyways, I felt like having some fun. All this talk of Canadian mounties (and men who treat women like shit in novels) has made me think about men who have attributes, talents, and faces that are actually desired by women. So, using my blog-statistics to show me where my audience is from, I thought I would highlight some men that are real, manly (in various ways), and not too hard on the eyes.

America

I have nearly 7 times more American visitors to this site than any other nationality, so America gets a few extra men.

Chuck Norris is an obvious pick for a manly man who bleeds red, white, and blue. He has great hand-to-hand combat skills and he’s a prominent member of the NRA. He spends most of his time ranching these days.

Denzel Washington is not just a pretty face in a hot body. He spends time visiting wounded veterans, is the spokesperson for the Boys and Girls’ Club of America, and supports numerous other charities and educational institutions. By all accounts, he’s a super-nice guy in real life, humble, and generous.

I grew up watching Peyton Manning play as the University of Tennessee’s quarterback. Even now, he has a special place in the hearts of all Tennesseans, who will root for whatever team he plays on (and if he’s playing against the Titans, we’ll root for our team, but give him a warm welcome at the Colosseum nonetheless).

The boyish-faced Manning is famous for his sweet personality and good manners. In fact, his entire family–including father Archie and brother Eli–are known for it. I once read the comments on an ESPN article (which was about him and his family leaving a waiter a tip for several hundred dollars) and I have never seen so many positive things said on the internet all in one place. There was not one snarky remark or compliant about him. Dozens of people spoke of meeting him or his family–even in random places, like at the airport or in a restaurant–and they were all gracious and friendly to everyone.

His opponents sing his praises in pre-game shows (my husband once complained about how much the Titans players were going on about him before a game). I’d not be surprised if they apologize for sacking him. The man shits rainbows and unicorns and little white kittens.

Canada

When I was a girl, I liked horses and men in uniforms. So, naturally, I wanted a Canadian Mountie. Being from Tennessee, though, it was a bit hard to find one (impossible, really).

I’m willing to live vicariously, though, so if you are a Mountie, or know one, send me a shout-out. I’ve know a nice French-Canadian girl you should meet.

Germany

This is a vampire blog (among other things), so of course I need this pic of German actor Florian David Fitz. (I wonder what show this is, and is it available with subtitles?)

He is known for his charity work related for the Tic and Tourette Syndrome Association.

And I just can’t pass up the opportunity to mention Udo Kier, who’s been in two vampires movies that I know about (maybe more). A quintessential bad guy on screen, he reportedly has a wicked sense of humor off-camera and is great fun to work with.

Von Gault in my book, Acceptance, was specifically based on Udo Kier’s bad guy character acting.

The U.K.

Sean Bean, English.

Now, here’s a man who would willingly die for you. After all, he has a lot of practice doing it.

Sean Connery, Scottish.

Can you get any more manly than Sean Connery? What’s not to like? The accent, the goatee, the way he cocks that one eyebrow, the kilts….

Despite his age, he still exudes manly charisma, and even when he’s dead, he’ll make a sexy corpse.

Ioan Gruffudd, Welsh.

Now, you may think I should feature star of the newest Batman franchise, Welshman Christian Bale, but I am rather fond of Ioan, who is most famous (at least in my house) for his portrayal of Horatio Hornblower. He has a nice smile and that innocent, boy-next-door look. You wouldn’t be ashamed to take him home to your parents.

(Although how do you pronounce his first name? His last name I can manage–I’ve been to Wales and I can handle the dd–but I’m not familiar with the first name. It has an alarming number of vowels in it for Welsh.)

Liam Neeson, Northern Irish

Northern Ireland has produced a number of famous people, including Kenneth Branagh (who was a contender for this slot), but I chose Liam because, unlike many others, he spent his entire childhood–and into his adult years–in Northern Ireland, so I thought he was a fairer representation of his country.

Liam knows the meaning of hard work, having driven a truck, been an amateur boxer, and operated a forklift at a Guinness plant. He attended college with the intention of being a teacher, but found theater instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

And, just to prove that I have awesome geographical knowledge of the United Kingdom for an American (I’m still haunted by the fact that I was 18 before I learned that Wales was not a separate island–in fact, I was rather disappointed that “the British Isles” had a lot fewer islands than I had imagined):

Mark Cavendish, Isle of Man

Known as the Manx Missile, Mark is a competitive cyclist. Unlike most other famous Manx people (including the Brothers Gibb–aka the Bee Gees), Mark has spent most of his life on the island and still calls it home.

Phil Vickery, Cornish

Okay, American ladies. Do I have to say anything other than “rugby player” and “nickname: The Raging Bull”? He also has a tattoo that says, “I’ll fight you to the death.”

Maybe you Midwest girls are on the fence, so let me add: Phil grew up on a dairy farm and is still a qualified cattle inseminator.

I bet he eats his steaks rare. Hell, he probably slaughters his own beef and punches the carcass to tenderize it.

(You know, this explains a lot about me. The Peardon family was Cornish originally.)

Australia

Sorry, but if you’re Down Under, I don’t think you can get more raw manliness than the late Steve Irwin. While he and wife Terri were on their honeymoon (in the Bush, of course), he gallantly came to her rescue when a poisonous snake came too near her while she was rather indisposed. He also saved her from a snake in their boat (although, granted, he’s the reason why it got dropped into the boat in the first place).

I mean, I consider one of my husband’s finer moments to be the time he told me to stay back, then he went to deal with the snake between us and the front door. Once he decided it wasn’t poisonous, he picked it up and threw it back out in the yard.

Women eat that shit up.

Brazil

I was tempted not to put a picture here, because Brazilian men (like Brazilian women) seem to be almost universally hot to the point of making your head explode. But I found an image that I think might be safe, because it doesn’t show too much face.

Actor/model Carmo Dalla Vecchia knows that women find men with pets (especially cats) very attractive. True manliness must come with a soft side–be that for mother, daughter, or Mr. Frisky.

Philippines

Actor John Lloyd Cruz was discovered in a mall by a talent scout when he was 14. His father’s business was not doing well, so he decided to pursue show business in order to help support his family.

Greece

Sakis Rouvas is, perhaps, the most famous entertainer in Greece. He was athletic at a young age, belonging to Greece’s national gymnastics team. He turned to music, though, to help support his family. He became a pop star in Greece and famous throughout Europe as he competed in multiple Eurovision contests (one of which he won by the highest margin ever).

Having grown up poor, he supports charities for children. He also supports environmental programs and LGBT rights in Greece.

Turkey

Uğur Pektaş started out on Turkey’s version of Survivor (he won, so count on him to take care of you in the jungle), and is now a popular actor.

India

While there are many hot Bollywood men to choose from, I selected Hrithik Roshan. Roshan is a second generation Indian actor and began his film career as a back-up dancer while still a child.

He developed a stutter at age 6 and continues to battle the speech impediment. He also has two thumbs on his right hand.

Despite what could be considered fatal flaws in the movie business, he is a popular actor and has been in several high-grossing films.

Denmark

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is creating a buzz right now, as he’s slated to play Hannibal Lector in a TV version of Silence of the Lambs (network television, no less. Wonder how they’ll get through all the gruesome stuff?). Hopefully we’ll be hearing more about him in the upcoming year.

Mexico

I have to go with the late Ricardo Montalban (full name: Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino) as the Mexican epitome of a great man.

It was he (and his co-star: his chest) who made the greatest Star Trek movie of all time, The Wrath of Khan. And, unlike Janet Jackson, he was able to spend over an hour and a half on screen without showing either of his nipples.

He was respected in Hollywood for his strong work ethic. Many people who knew him referred to him as “the epitome of a gentleman” and “classy.”

Dismayed by the negative Mexican stereotype played in Hollywood (think bad Westerns), he helped found the Nosotros Foundation to advocate for Latino actors and Latino portrayals in Hollywood.

While filming in 1951, he fell from a horse and was trampled, resulting in a serious back injury. He walked with a limp until a surgery in 1993 left him completely unable to walk. He, however, continued to work, doing voice work for several cartoons and making an appearance in Spy Kids.

He was a man of deep religious faith and in defiance of all known rules of Hollywood, he was married to his first and only wife for 63 years, until her death.

He was the original “Most Interesting Man in the World” and the fantasy of many women.

Argentina

Argentinian actor Rodrigo Guirao Diaz was an electrician (among other things) before he broke into showbiz. …Will not make innuendo about plugs and sockets. …Will not make innuendo about plugs and sockets.

Spain

Forbes ranked Spaniard Jon Kortajarena Redruello as #8 on its list of the top 10 male models in the world.

He is from the Basque region of Spain and speaks both Spanish and Euskara (the Basque language). (Since he lives and works in New York City, I assume he also speaks some English.) Euskara appears to be an ancient language, predating the Roman Empire and possibly quite older than that.

Indonesia

Indonesian model and actor, Kevin Richard, is from a family of famous actors and actresses. As a child and teen, however, he scorned such extroverted activities, preferring instead to absorb himself in skateboarding (he won numerous championships).

He went on to get a degree in IT. It was only when a friend invited him to act in a movie with him that his career was reluctantly launched (with much success).

Sweden

Oh, yeah, you knew I was going to go with Alexander Skarsgård.

Born in Sweden to a father who was a famous actor and a mother who was a doctor, Alexander was actually raised (along with his siblings) in a middle class neighborhood because his parents wanted them to have a normal childhood.

Alexander tried acting as a child, but decided it wasn’t for him. (His father told him not to force it, or he would end up hating it.) It was only later, when he was an adult, that he got back into theater and film.

“I learned from my father to keep your integrity and protect your family…there are certain things that you can talk about and certain things you shouldn’t talk about.”

Hungary

It was hard to pick a Hungarian man. Hollywood is littered with people of Hungarian descent. Many are descended from Hungarian Jews who immigrated to America in the early 1900’s. Bela Lugosi and Harry Houdini are probably the two most famous Hungarians that American audiences recognize.

Zoltán Nyári is a Hungarian tenor and opera star.

This is a fun little performance, although given in adverse conditions (the wind is quite strong).

South Africa

When it comes to a strong male personality, I don’t think you can pick anyone else but Nelson Mandela.

Convicted of sabotaging government property, Mandela was sentenced to 27 years in prison. He spent 18 years doing hard time–and obtained a law degree from the University of London by correspondence–before he was finally granted a pardon and released.

It’s mind-boggling to think that as recently as 1994, blacks in South Africa were not allowed to vote or run for office.

Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and won the presidency in the first integrated election a year later, when he was 75 years old. He served one term (he elected not to run again because of his age). Since that time, he has occupied himself with combating poverty and AIDS and furthering integration and equality in his country.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

(You may be surprised to learn that Dave Matthews is also a South African.)

Saudi Arabia

Every girls wants a prince. Especially when he looks like Prince Mutaib.

And just to add icing to the cake, he’s an Olympic equestrian competitor, appearing in both the 2008 and the 2012 Olympics. He and his team won a bronze medal in London.

Ireland

Despite U2’s long and successful career, lead singer and songwriter, Bono, has a longer list of philanthropic work than musical work. He was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen of England in 2006 for his charitable work (most noticeably AIDS relief in Africa) and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, 2005, and 2006. (But apparently he doesn’t work as hard for world peace as President Obama or the European Union, whose recent outstanding contributions to the furtherance of world peace include… um… I’ll get back to you on that one.)

Bono said in an interview that he wears his signature sunglasses because he has trouble with his left eye and is very sensitive to light. (Although he readily admits they’re part vanity, too!)

Israel

Oh, yeah, you had to know I was going with my favorite Israeli, Oded Fehr (the man I’ve already hired–in my mind–to play Joshua on the big screen).

He did his obligatory service in the Israeli Navy, then worked as a security officer for El Al Airlines in Germany before becoming an actor.

The Netherlands

I end with a tribute to Rutger Hauer’s face. Alas, the recent promo pics of him (he’s about to join the cast of True Blood) show that he has not aged well (yeah, he’s 68, but look at Sean Connery at that age). Let’s just hope he keeps the sexy accent instead of sounding like he fell off the turnip truck in Louisiana. Dear God, let him keep his accent.