Full disclosure: I am a bit biased when it comes to Wales. My people are Welsh. The line in my family I most strongly resemble physically and in temperament are Welsh. I have a Welsh name, Welsh coloring, Welsh features…I’ve even been accused –graciously– of having a Welsh Character because of my all-consuming love of language, mysticism and brooding.
I can also get around Welsh pronunciation fairly well. For this reason I was put in charge of any and all communication IN Wales because asking a gay man from the American South to inquire what bus goes from Aberyswyth to Machynlleth and whether we have to transfer at Llanymawddwy or Dolgellau — although highly entertaining– is considered “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” and thus puts you in violation of the 1975 Geneva Convention. Oops.
Back to the boyos.
Wales, at least the parts we were in, is rural. I mean really rural, and for Kirk and I –two fun-loving career girls from the big city– it meant one thing: Hot Boys On Tractors.
I don’t know WHAT they were farming and I don’t care. By the time Kirk and I got on our ferry to Dublin, we both had concussions from the repeated thwonking our heads took on the bus windows every time we passed some inevitably pouty, well-muscled farm boy, his dirt-streaked skin glistening in the sun while his shirt clung to his rippl…well, you get the picture.
Sadly, we did NOT get pictures of the hot sweatsy menssesses (yes, our vacation was pretty much a seven day version of a Men on Film sketch. don’t act like you’re surprised) so you’ll have to settle for the famous ones.
There aren’t just a ton of really famous Welshmen but don’t think a little thing like that will stop me from bringing you some A+ hotness from the land of my people.
But first, we have to get one thing out of the way:
Yes. It’s Tom Jones. And his prison-issue banana hammock.
Because any mention of Wales must include a reference to either Tom Jones or sheep. Sometimes both. I’m not happy about it either, but there you go. Still, in all fairness to Mister Jones, he’s got one of the most versatile voices of the past several decades and the CD he released with Jools Holland (creatively titled Tom Jones & Jools Holland) is one of those rare “all-killer no-filler” albums that’s actually an incredibly solid record masquerading as a guilty pleasure. That still doesn’t mean I’m happy about the budgie smuggler.
If you only know him as the man who married Elizabeth Taylor twice, everything you need to know about him can be found in this 1980 interview with Dick Cavett. More than handsome, more than talented, more than troubled, he was entrancing. Watching Burton, even near the end of his life talking about something as mundane as coal mining, I’ve always felt the way I suspect a bird must feel looking into the eyes of the cobra who has just raised his hood; mesmerized, half attracted and half afraid, but incapable of looking away.
Coincidentally –or perhaps not– he is involved with several of my favorite literary and cinematic works. He played the Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon in my favorite film “The Night of the Iguana“, the first voice in my beloved “Under Milk Wood” (by perhaps the most famous Welshman of them all, Dylan Thomas) and although he did not originate the role of Dr. Martin Dysart in Peter Shaffer’s play “Equus”, I remember walking home to my hotel in London having just seen Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths in the West End revival thinking “that was practically written for Richard Burton” only to find out –like most of you probably knew– he played Dysart in the 1977 film version. If you haven’t been exposed to any or or all of them, I demand you avail yourself of them now. They’ll wait.
Moving on to something SLIGHTLY less obvious but no less a legend I give you this:
Should I, by some unforeseen celestial error, actually make it into heaven, I am fairly sure I’ll see this in the God’s Greatest Hits section of eternity right next to Michelangelo’s hands and Joan Crawford’s eyebrows.
For those of you who don’t know, Giggs is a Proper Football legend and pure class. He’s been playing for Manchester United since 1990, which is pretty amazing considering 1990 was the year two of his MU teammates, Brazilian twins (sigh, have lovelier words ever been uttered?) Rafael and Fábio da Silva WERE BORN. At this point, I could totally go all footballer geek girl on you, or tell you about the deep and meaningful conversation I had with our cab driver in Dublin about the inherent superiority of Giggs over Robbie Keane while he (the cabbie) stared intently down my top. Instead I’ll just show you a picture of him with his shirt off, with a bit o’ Becks as a bonus.
One good footballer deserves another, which brings us to our last offering, Little Gareth Bale.
However, at 21, age has slowly begun to decrease his chances of a be-loinclothed Charlton Heston damning him to hell.
On the other hand, I love him. I can’t help it, I have a soft spot for Bale.
Not only does he have the potential to be one of the all-time greats (thanks in no small part to his ridiculous speed, by which I mean thighs), he’s a classy player and remarkably well-behaved off the pitch so in my head he is going to be the next Ryan Giggs, thus Saving English Football from the likes of Rooney and Keane. Plus his hat trick at the San Siro (turned into a beautiful animation here, seriously, it’s worth watching) made me love him even more. I understand none of you care about that, so again, it’s strip-down time at White Hart Lane:
Now why on earth did my people ever leave Wales?