The entire concept that certain human beings are "hot" basically means that some of us are born into a narrow, carefully drawn, entirely arbitrary construct that defines desirability. The rest of us are left by the curb. In High school, I was nicknamed "Physique". As with most school monikers, it did not mean that I was muscular or even athletic. I was a six-foot-four-inch, 165 pound geek who wouldn't be hot at a nerd convention.
What bothers me most, now that I am fifty-eight and above such things, is that little girls, specifically my grand daughters, now recognize "hot" at insanely early ages. To my five year old grand daughter boys may be icky but Johnny Depp is hot! It is never a throwaway line. She is not just mimicking her mother who considers Johnny Depp her future ex-husband - because he is hot! It is more like "I want to watch Alice in Wonderland NOW!; Johnny Depp is sooooo Hot!" Johnny Depp played the Mad Hatter. He paraded about beneath a 30-gallon top hat covered in 40 pounds of make-up. "Hot" apparently transcends Tim Burton's vision. "Hot" radiates through any shield - be it grease paint, nuclear waste or kryptonite. In five year old girls, however, the "that's hot" gene is not fully developed. She also thinks Justin Bieber is hot.
The five year old's sister, now seven, finds "hot" in non-celebrity types. She has a crush on one of our life guards at the beach. He's the guy with the six-pack abs of the muscle variety not the more common, more natural six pack of beer abdomen. Just today, she relocated her beach towel so that she could lay on the sand at the foot of his lifeguard chair. I don't know if this twenty-something guy has a clue that the forty pound seven year old at the foot of his chair has claimed him for her own but, as a grandfather, I plan to keep both eyes sharply focused on the goo-goo eyed kid.
My twenty year old nephew has a sixteen year old sister. Every once in a while, he warns her that he'll be cleaning their dad's shotgun whenever she brings a date home. She usually moans and protests and cries for her mother in the face of her brother's threats - largely because, on some level, she takes him seriously. While I'm sitting on the beach, dressed in my tie-dye, peacenik t-shirt (partially covered by my non-violent Amish beard) I realize that the kid - my nephew that is - makes a lot of sense.