It's been a long-held view that Australia produces some pretty hunky blokes. I recall that several years back American 20-something chicky babes flocked down under in search of the legendary (some say mythical) Aussie-male-in-a-box featuring tanned muscular torso, twinkling eyes, charming smile, cute accent and laconic manner. Move on out Ken!
And now Hollywood is trawling the Antipodes for blokey actors with the AT factor (Aussie Toughness - I made that up).
In an interview in last Wednesday's SMH, Hollywood producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura said the pool of US actors who radiated genuine toughness was drying up. Of Australian actors, he said: "They are not afraid to be men."
Another producer Donald de Line, who worked in Australia on that awful flick Fool's Gold starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, said that even the Australian male crew members were "hale and hearty. They are outdoorsmen. They're guys' guys." (Note that he didn't say they were girls' guys).
Avatar director James Cameron watched hour upon hour of audition tapes of "pretty boys" in his search for an actor suitable for the role of paraplegic marine Jake Sully. When he saw Aussie Sam Worthington's tape, Cameron said: "Get him to LA."
Then there's the Hemsworth brothers, Liam and Chris. The former is dating Miley Cyrus and will star in the 3D action thriller Arabian Nights, alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins. Chris will play the lead in Thor, an action blockbuster cast by English actor and director Kenneth Branagh.
It's all good news for Aussie romance writers looking to draw their characters from the Aussie bloke stereotype. And as for the eye candy... well, you're never to old to ogle.
PS: It was a bad week for the Italian male (IM), with a report from Agence Presse-France that Italian men had lost their mojo. Nearly four in five female tourists were unmoved by the IM's charms. Most complained that the IM showed too much of his feminine side and not enough of the masculine. The IM was also regarded as childish and lacking a sense of humour and athleticism.
PPS: If it's any consolation to American and Italian men, who may feel disheartened to learn they are behaving like 'girls', I live with an Aussie bloke. And they're not perfect. But that's another blog post.