Every week there are five new gossip magazines covering the same mostly imaginary stories. We scan them for you and select the choicest bits. Consider this your primer for the water cooler.
Can men handle being visually dissected? Studies show that both genders feel insecure when they sense their appearance is being inspected and judged by an audience, particularly if they are partially clothed for the judgment. Nobody likes to think they are coming up short. What then to make of People's annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue, which mostly reduces men down to their looks, as media so often does to women? Sure, these guys get bios and there are some jolie laide dudes thrown in, but mostly this is about pure eye candy. And the winner this year is … Bradley Cooper! Oh. The Internet deemed this a surprise upset, as Ryan Gosling was clearly the favorite to win, having saturated the market and panties of his female fan base during the 2011 season and forced men to begrudgingly deem him "cool" after seeing him smash heads in Drive. Bradley Cooper was in The Hangover Part II.
Bradley Cooper has "ice-blue eyes, mussed hair and lightning-quick wit." He thought he was "being Punk'd" when he heard he was Sexiest Man. The "Georgetown grad can whip up gourmet meals, quote Sophocles, and chat breezily in French." Plus, he is close to two females, his mom and a dog. He is self-deprecating throughout: "Sometimes I can look great, and other times I look horrifying. I'm a shape shifter. My eyes are crooked, my jaw … My face is like a cubist painting." He is on a crazy diet for some movie but he loves "cinnamon Cheerios. That's my guilty pleasure at night — I'll go home and kill some cereal." He doesn't wash his face, "I just have the people take my makeup off, and that's enough for me." A dermatologist got mad at him for tanning too much. He has no piercings but thought "Bono looked so cool" with two pierced ears. He wears Old Spice. He likes Radiohead, Metallica, and "cannot get enough Philip Glass." That's funny, I can totally get enough Philip Glass. His first crush was "Linda Evans in Dynasty." There is "nothing" in his freezer. "I went through a stage in high school where I thought silk boxers were cool, but they ride up and it's the worst."
He gets angry "when somebody thinks life owes them something." He is "much more able to cry" since his dad passed away. He used to be a doorman and can open two doors at once. He picks his teeth with a steak knife and sleeps naked. He wants a ginger daughter named Nebraska with "red hair and freckles, like a Wyatt painting." Nebraska sounds insufferable. Coop's perfect Sunday is "fall weather, pizza, and football. I love the whole thing. Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long. The Sunday-night game. The Faith Hill song. I'm a complete sucker for it." He wrote his Georgetown senior thesis on the film adaptation of Lolita. He plays the saxophone and likes "to fool around with instruments." There is a recipe for his Caesar salad dressing. He debunks the rumor that he hates anchovies. He thinks women like his chivalrous attitude because it's "a nice relic" and "women are a life force." His dream girl? "Julie Christie is the ultimate. I remember her in Doctor Zhivago. The way she looked at a man — that was it."
Dylan McDermott: "As you get older, you realize that what you look like is not who you are. That's a hard lesson to learn in Hollywood" where "nothing's more embarrassing than having a naked body that doesn't look good on camera."
Idris Elba, who in a better world would be the Sexiest Man Alive, because he is: "Women love when I smile. They're always saying 'You should smile more,' so if I'm trying to get the attention of a certain young lady, I'll turn on the smile."
Patrick Wilson: "My wedding day was the sexiest day of my life. It was awesome."
Jason Derulo: "I like there to be dim lighting and scented candles." At first I thought that said "dim lightning" and was like, wow, Jason Derulo, that's so cool.
Chris Evans: "Going to the gym and picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down — that's miserable and boring."
Damon Wayans Jr.: "I have a really nice butt. It's probably Top 10 in the world. The ladies love it."
Ryan Gosling represented in a full-page spread called "Random Acts Of Sexiness" that includes "strumming a baglamas" and carrying a dog. Are those things sexy?
A Three-Page Spread on "Brooding Guys" and What Makes Them Brood:
- "I like when the fog rolls in" — Patrick Dempsey
- "My wife says I'm in a bad mood when I'm hungry" — Josh Duhamel
- "I don't like small talk." — Simon Cowell
- "Traffic, cold eggs, that one guy at the party who has the 'new app' and has to show it to everybody, traffic, restaurants that don't do free refills, and traffic." — Justin Timberlake's dislikes
- "Banality, mediocrity, and the lack of intelligence and sense of humor." — Antonio Banderas' dislikes
- "I've always thought that I had the perfect hair to play Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island. But now that I'm too old to play him, I feel that my hair has been wasted! Keeps me awake at night, man!" — James McAvoy
"I'm not so moody" — George Clooney
Brad Pitt hates "corporate lobbyists, codependent love songs, dentists with halitosis, teachers with no pay, mortgage scams with no prosecutions, guys trying to shake my hand in the men's room, suicide bombers, slow Internet service, insomnia, anyone praying for my salvation, empty milk cartons left in fridge, the erroneous drug war, the total cost of life and limb in the name of 9/11, the loss of no. 58, Marco Simoncelli." C'mon, Brad, this is Playboy. I mean People.
Zac Efron was "a people person — always wanting to play peek-a-boo or hang on someone's arm."
Ewan McGregor "wanted to be an actor from the age of 9. So nothing has ever changed since then."
John Cho "wanted to be an astronaut."
James Marsden wooed women by playing "Sweet Child O'Mine" on his guitar as a teen.
Armie Hammer "loved playing" and "loved iguanas."
Liam Hemsworth would "throw tantrums" and "go out in the forest with an air rifle and get into trouble."
Kevin Hart: "It's ridiculous the attention I get for my calves."
Bill Hader: "I have a weird body."
Brian Van Holt: "You can't get sexier than Elvis."
Adam Scott: "I've always felt more akin to the late 60s."
Chris Pratt: "I think croon music sucks."
Nick Offerman: "Landing on the moon, that is sexy to me"
Ryan Kwanten: "A flavor of naughtiness is good, but ultimately nice girls win out."
Gavin Rossdale: "Sexy is in the attitude, energy and kindness. It's the unknown magic energy."
Other stories include: "Married to a Sexy Man," "Had It, Lost It, Got It Back," "No Shirt, No Problem," and "O'HOTTIES," a special on Irish men with O' surnames, featuring Chris O'Dowd and Conan O'Brien, who says, "All I know is that we're prone to depression and are said to like starch."
Kardashians: "Kris continually refers to Kim's sister Kourtney as a 'weirdo.'" "In retrospect, Kim realized she could have been more honest with Kris." "It's very easy to get a divorce in California." Khloe hates her tramp stamp that says "Daddy." Kim and Jennifer Lopez are textbook Don Drapers, according to Star: "They are seeking the attention and the stimulation that you get really early on in a relationship. They want all the fun but can't deal with the intimacy and commitment, so they move on."
Sandra Bullock's Revenge: "A New Face!" "She's a beautiful woman, but she stands on the edge of going too far." OK! takes the triple crown in ageism, lookism, and sexism with this Sandra Bullock-shaming story that claims the star has been overdoing it with injectables after being rejected by Ryan Reynolds. "Sandra'd never admit it, but losing Ryan to Blake Lively has been a big blow to her ego and she is definitely panicking. Things didn't really work out the way she planned." The signs of Botox use are that "her brows are a little stoic." Also, "her fresher face" is a way of "taking revenge on everything that threatens to curtail her happiness — especially aging." A sidebar shows the new New York apartment Ryan and Blake supposedly recently purchased together. "Sandra has kind of thrown the whole 'growing old gracefully' thing out the window."
Brad and Angelina: OK! claims a secret "surprise mock wedding" went down, organized by the Jolie-Pitt children. "The family ceremony took place at Whornes Place." LOL Whornes. "Shiloh came up with the idea." She is 3. "She and Zahara organized the whole thing. They even made bridesmaid dresses by attaching real flowers to their white nightgowns." Okay, OK!, this sounds like something somebody made up after reading Vogue on too much Ambien. "They had the whole wedding planned out, and sent a nanny inside to instruct their parents to dress in white." Make that Vogue and The Boxcar Children. "Angelina cried when she saw the aisle of leaves they'd made." She cried because her kids are so heteronormative despite her best efforts to raise them otherwise? "Standing at the makeshift altar (actually a school desk), Maddox played priest and — having googled 'wedding vows' — performed a ceremony, delivering part of his spiel in French." Parfait.
Twilight: "We worked with a mechanical baby and there'd be a man sitting at my feet controlling it." — Nikki Reed. Star has a crazily homophobic two-page "Twilight Gay Bombshell" spread, suggesting Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Kellan Lutz, or Jackson Rathbone will come out in the near future. Lautner says "Internet gossip is definitely inevitable to avoid." Poster Mermaid thinks Lautner "totally seems gay" but can't come out if he wants to be an action stay (kill u, Mermaid). Pattinson gets the "HE'S TOTALLY STRAIGHT, OBV" treatment, but poster Katarina says, "Why not Robert coming out as bi? Or is admitting you are bi not 'coming out' technically"? And "muscular Kellan" Lutz adores his "energetic and loving" gay supporters. Poster NM9005 claims Kellan is "as gay as a clutch purse on Tony night!" (what is this, the old VICE?), but poster GyThanksGd thinks Lutz would be "a great gay role model." Jackson Rathbone, whose band is called 100 Monkeys, said his ideal woman "is beautiful. She is quiet. She is also a guitar." Your guitar is quiet? What the fuck are you using it for? Maybe don't tell me, actually. Poster devoncarruthers says "I've got a bit of a quiver for Jackson."
Demi and Ashton: "Everyone in Hollywood knows about their arrangement." Star is extra mean this week. Demi is "frail, ashen and somber" because her "secret life with Ashton has always been much more twisted than anyone imagined." Demi is bisexual, "attracted to women just as much as men" (how long until they pair her up with Amber Heard?). She's been "spotted at strip clubs and in the arms of other women several times over the past few years," was "cool with Ashton having flirtatious relationships too," and "Somehow made it work all these years." Maybe Kabbalah prescribes The Ethical Slut or something. "Both of them were respectful of each other. It was a lot of fun for them." But then it all went wrong when he started "hooking up with lots of young women behind her back" and now she feels "humiliated." They are still living together, but "Demi is miserable" and her friends are pressing her to file for divorce. "Once one of Hollywood's hottest and highest-paid actresses, Demi's looks have faded with age and her career has cooled." Meanwhile Ashton, riding high on Geisha House money, "doesn't have the same kind of respect for her that he once had," plus Demi has "grown really insecure." Plus, four pictures of Demi standing close to women and/or kissing them in a friendly manner to suggest her bisexuality.
Best Pictures: Brad Pitt looking especially male modelish; James Marsden as an awkward tween; Barack and Michelle Obama looking really into each other at a basketball game; Drake at Other Music.
Actual Story: "Old Before Their Time" (celebs in bad old-age makeup)
Inane Sentence Fragments: "Kentucky Derby bourbon pie," "minimal as a shadow."
Miscellaneous: "I like when people wrap themselves in Christmas lights and I can see them jumping around." A timetable of Meg Ryan's various short haircuts for her 50th birthday. "I crave cantaloupe but I put salt all over it" — Jessica Simpson. "I beg you not to see Jack and Jill." Kirsten Dunst hates "the criticism! You get judged on clothes, makeup, hair, and there is a blog for everything." Woody Allen's parents wanted him to be a pharmacist, Drake "used to sing on girls' voicemail greetings in high school" and gets the first and probably last-ever mention of OG Ron C's "Fuck Action" into People.
Best Pictures: Kate Gosselin blogging for a coupon website; Michael Jordan looking high as hell; Prince's guitar face.
Actual Story: "Is It Wrong to Sell Michael Jackson's Deathbed?"
Inane Sentence Fragments: "it gets tedious being a 5-year-old constantly besieged by paparazzi." "He'll do a moonwalk in their lives." "Fergie will make an amazing mom." "Happy Birthday, Mr. War Criminal!"
Miscellaneous: "Haha! No I'm not pregnant in all those fat pics … Just probably need to lose a few pounds-lol" — Holly Madison. "I can't even look in a mirror without crying" — Robert Pattinson. "Madonna is the only woman in Forbes' "10 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces" to have to pay her ex-husband." "I literally can't tell the [Real Housewives of Orange County] women apart. They look like a fire at a wax museum." — Tina Fey. "Okay now picture your parents as Katy Perry and Russell Brand. Impossible, right? They're just way too cool." Mariah Carey: "In New York, Sicilian pizza. In Italy, pizza."
Best Pictures: Paris Hilton at the Uluwatu Temple; Oprah Winfrey's "overabundant" breasts; Taylor Swift performing on a couch; Adrien Brody eating soup
Actual Story: "7 Stars With Mama Drama Baggage"
Inane Sentence Fragments: "even straddling a faux horse." "too matchy-matchy." "Zac Efron out taking a stroll in his vintage distressed Diesel Thanaz jeans." "Busting a move at a party for VEVO." "Luc has always been really ambitious, but he's been caught up in the party world." "I couldn't move to Florida with her — it's not the life I want." "And her beautiful face complemented them all!" "He plays a hot hooker on TV."
Miscellaneous: Even Rihanna can't sell her house right now. Brett Ratner is making a "conscious effort" to stop using homophobic language. "A lot of young girls dream of being models like they dream of being princesses." Jennifer Lopez is dating her hot 24-year-old backup dancer. Gwyneth Paltrow leaning down to hug Justin Bieber. On Amy Adams: "the Oscar-nominated actress proved she has the S factor — soft, sexy, and sophisticated, that is — down pat." David Spade has a gaming addiction. Jennifer Garner is teaching her unborn child Spanish in hopes of making it bilingual. All Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively do is "hang out in their apartment" and "walk their dogs" and "savor" Blake's "home-cooked meals" like "an old married couple." Maybe they met on n+1 personals. What do you think they Netflix in bed? I picture Downton Abbey. We have some suggestions, too.
Best Pictures: Johnny Weir in a leopard-print cardigan; Kim Zolciak's 32-pound wedding gown; Bill Clinton and Keith Richards looking like a couple of old horndogs; a shot from Sofia Vergara's 1998 swimsuit calendar.
Actual Story: "Taylor Swift: Meet My Cat." Bonus quote: "I may learn calligraphy!"
Inane Sentence Fragments: "A rescue cat named Gloomy." "Blissful babymoon." "But she's happy to muck in, too!" "A penguin in love."
Miscellaneous: Maury Povich's father was a sportswriter at the Washington Post. Beyoncé: "I need to have a bottle [of ketchup] close at hand." Madonna: "Straight men did not find me attractive. I think they were scared of me. I've always asked, why? Why do I have to look this way? Why do I have to behave this way?" Nicki Minaj says she feels the most confident when she's "showing the least skin" (more support for that study on the effects of objectification). Gwyneth Paltrow has partnered with a champagne company to raise money for South African high schools. Cameron Diaz is dating Diddy, or just "dating" him: "When she's single she'll booty-call him." Jessica Simpson: "I love holidays, so it looks like autumn just vomited all over my house." George Clooney: "I'm a terrible dancer."
1. "_______ and wife ________ make a striking pair at the CMA Awards."
2. "I had a violinist play 'Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?' ________ teared up and said yes." — _________
3. "_______'s irritation with ________ is written all over her face"
4. "_______ was working as a casino dealer on a cruise ship when she met ______"
A. Loni Willison/Jeremy Jackson
B. Zuzana Deane/Shengo Deane
C. Tim McGraw/Faith Hill
D. Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries
1. C 2. A 3. D 4. B
Molly Lambert is a Grantland staff writer