2006 was a magical year for Scarlett Johansson. She was living large off her money from The Island and still riding high off of her notoriety from 2003’s Lost in Translation. In 2006, she starred in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, alongside Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. And, most importantly, Esquire magazine named her 2006’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.”
Sure, people thought she was attractive before that, but did they think she was the sexiest woman alive? Of course not. As you well know, dear readers, all men look to Esquire to set the standards of beauty. Why, I still remember years of thinking “Kate Beckinsale is okay, I guess” while yawning … until 2011, when she received the Esquire honors and then BAM! suddenly I realized that she was actually quite gorgeous. I was never able to look at the Underworld films the same way again.
Being named their sexiest woman alive means skyrocketing to the top of every married guy’s “celebrity hookup free pass” list. It means no more lonely nights at home sitting by the phone hoping the boys will call. And, I’ve heard it also means that you get 15 percent off of a tall stack of pancakes at Denny’s.
And while Johansson’s career has continued on a upwards trajectory since 2006, she was stripped of her “Sexiest Woman Alive” moniker in 2007, forced to pass the torch to Charlize Theron. Sure, starring in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Marvel’s The Avengers has got to be nice, but it must feel a bit empty knowing that there’s a sexier woman out there getting those knowing glances from men and those reduced-price pancakes from Denny’s. Outsmarting Loki or wrestling Tony Stark to the ground is nothing compared to having a men’s magazine full of countless annoying subscription postcards that mostly exists to sell expensive cars and flashy, pretentious clothes tell you that you are sexy.
I can only imagine that it haunted her looking in the mirror every day, knowing her best years were behind her. With each passing day, she was slightly less sexy than the one before. In 10 years, she’d be wearing sweatpants to the mall. In 20, she would constantly walk around with yogurt-stained sweatshirts and her hair up in curlers.
But Scarlett Johansson is a fighter. She isn’t just one to give up. No friends, she kept fighting the good fight and suddenly, something miraculous happened. This year, she was once again named “Sexiest Woman Alive.” She is the first woman to ever receive the honor twice. She’s a trailblazer. And an inspiration to us all.
How did she do it? No one knows for sure, but there are a few theories.
Some people believe that it’s a type of gypsy curse she cast that allows her to drain the hotness from any women who pass by her house. She feeds off their prettiness, it is said, becoming stronger and hotter as they become weaker and more homely.
Still others believe that in her attic is a portrait of Scarlett that is getting older while she stays young.
Though I choose to believe – and I warn you, this is going to sound crazy – that Scarlett Johansson was always beautiful and that ultimately this is an utterly meaningless title doled out by an utterly irrelevant and slowly dying magazine that, in a desperate attempt to grab a few headlines, decides who the sexiest woman is based on which female celebrities are both popular that year and willing to come in for a photo shoot and an interview and that the idea that “sexiness” is somehow quantifiable and fluctuates from year to year like NFL power rankings, and the idea that all of the sexiest women just so happen to be big name movie stars – not a single sexy doctor or lawyer or teacher in the bunch – is utterly ridiculous and a bit insulting to us all.
Like I said, I sound totally crazy. I’m sure it’s the gypsy curse thing.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with 2010’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” Minka Kelly, who has finally fallen far enough down the charts that she agreed to go out with me. We are meeting for pancakes.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.