Earlier this year, I posted a few of my favorites of 2012  lists: favorite albums, favorite movies, favorite songs. One more that I’ve been meaning to post is a list of the men I started following online in 2012. Some of these have pages on Facebook that I liked. Others have YouTube Channels or Twitter feeds that I follow. And one or two are just men I now Google frequently!

In no particular order, my favorite men of 2012 were:

Andy Murray 

2012 was a breakout year for the Scotsman Andy Murray. He made it to his first Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, and then won his first grand slam tournament at the U.S. Open. I’ve liked Murray for a long time, but I LOVE Rafael Nadal, so I have to agree with tennis commentators who suggest that some of Murray’s success is due to Rafa’s absence. But when you get right down to it, Murray worked hard for his success and deserves all of the victories he scored last year. I just hope he’s able to keep it up and doesn’t fall back down to #4 by the end of summer. Tennis benefits when all four of the top players have a real shot at winning each tournament.

PJ and I got to see Murray play Federer in the semis of the 2009 Southern & Western in Cincinnati. Murray takes some heat from gay viewers, but I think he’s hot! He’s got the best legs in men’s tennis, and he’s competitive with Federer for best chest.

But more importantly than looks, he’s a great competitor on the court, and he’s fun to watch. I really do hope that 2013 brings him a lot of success (except for when he plays Rafa!).

Chad White

Chad White became one of my favorite male models in 2012. Not only did he publicly support marriage equality and gay rights, but he’s got even more handsome as he’s matured. He used to keep his hair really short; I’m really liking the longer cut he’s sported in the past year or so.

I’ve followed White’s career in a general way for a couple of years now, but in 2012 I liked his Facebook page and started following his Twitter feed. This means that I get a relatively frequent update on his work! My three favorite pics of him so far are:

This picture is incendiary in its hotness! I liked it so much when I first saw it that I blogged about Chad White being the hottest man on earth based on it!

He also looks great in clothes:

And finally, add some scruff and Chad White is definitely the hottest man on earth:

Colby Keller 

Colby Keller is a gay porn star, but he’s also a lot more than just that.

His blog, Big Shoe Diaries, is one of my favorite blogs. He’s not only sexy but he’s also smart, witty, and laugh-out-loud funny. In addition to his work in sex, he is an artist, and I’ve enjoyed his posts about artists whose work he’s seen and liked. He is also a great reader; he’s been reading Larry Duplechan’s Eight Days a Week via YouTube on his blog.

This reading project is indicative of what’s so appealing about Keller: he’s using some of his gay porn fame to introduce his fans to more esoteric forms of queer culture. Whether it’s this largely forgotten author (I taught one of his other novels in my Lesbian & Gay Lit class once and might use it again next term) or up-and-coming artists (no pun intended), Keller wants his fans to think about more than just watching him have sex.

Speaking of which, I haven’t seen much of his adult work. It’s not that I’m in any way adverse to watching it, but I’m cautious about ruining the image of him that I have from reading his blog and reading/watching interviews with him. I’d hate to see him something boring or second rate! Sometimes our fantasies are better than reality.

Andrew Rannells

I still haven’t seen The Book of Mormon, so I missed seeing Andrew Rannells in his star-making turn in that musical. My first introduction to him was in Girls last year, but where he really became one of my favorites was in The New Normal.

For reasons that escape me, a lot of gay men seemed to think The New Normal was terrible; they often singled out Rannells’ character in particular as a gay minstrel. I totally disagree and think such criticisms reflect their authors’ own misogynist self-loathing. We gay men all too often are taught to hate anything feminine within our selves and we lash out at gay men who exhibit more flamboyant characteristics. Rannells’ performance in The New Normal is fantastic — he doesn’t seem to be playing himself — and the show is breaking all kinds of new grounds in the topics it explores. If nothing else, it shows a loving gay couple who actually seem to be in a physically and emotionally satisfying relationship, something unique on primetime television (cue criticisms of Modern Family here!).

Plus, Rannells is so cute and hot:

Hunter Canning and Tommy Heleringer

The Outs is by far the best gay online series of the past year. I think everything about it is brilliant! Its depictions of relationships is so nuanced and interesting. The show is funny, sexy, and heart-breaking, often all at once.

Hunter Canning, pictured here on the right, plays Jack. He’s introduced to us through the eyes of another character, which initially sets him up as the “bad guy.” That impression soon changes, however, and Jack becomes a totally different character. The success of the character is due in large measure to Canning, who is adorable. The part calls for a versatile actor, someone who can play goofy and immature one minute and quietly deep another. Canning definitely brings that versatility to the role.

Tommy Heleringer (below) plays his boyfriend, a long-suffering and persistent realist who loves Jack and doesn’t want to give in to all of his usual bull shit. Heleringer plays his part wonderfully as well. And he’s adorable! Anyone who hasn’t seen the show should watch all seven episodes now!

Andrew Grey 

For a long time I’ve been looking for a gay romance series that is well written and sexy. I finally found that in Andrew Grey’s novels. I started by reading his Range series and ended up reading two other series as well. Now I tend to devour his books as soon as they are published.

I’ve been meaning to blog about how much I like his novels but haven’t had time. The Range series, for example, starts with a couple of cowboys meeting each other and falling in love. Like all romance fiction, the novels’ plots are formulaic, but it’s what Grey does with the formula that makes his novels so good.  The novels tend to emphasize romance over casual sex, for instance, but his descriptions of gay sex are both steamy and romantic. It’s a little far-fetched that everyone who has sex in his novels always falls in love with their one and only sex partner, but romance fiction isn’t really meant to be realistic.

I also really liked the Bottled Up series (though I haven’t read the first novel in the series, which is only available directly from Grey). The Art series was also really good, and I found its plots about international art theft to be very sophisticated and gripping. So far I’ve enjoyed every book by Grey that I’ve read (but one–one of the newer series just felt too contrived for my tastes). I still want to read the Of Love series, and I have already downloaded the Kindle edition of the latest Range book but haven’t had time to read it. I highly recommend them to gay readers who enjoy a little romance fiction from time to time.

Tyler Oakley 

The Internet seems littered with new online celebrities. One of my favorites is Davey Wavey. Tyler Oakley is one of my newest favorite online personalities. He’s an early twenty-something living in California who loves all things pop culture. It’s been interesting watching him over the past year as he’s moved toward making his career in entertainment.

Watching some of his videos gave me the idea that for me my LGBT class in the fall I want to have my students follow an online personality for the semester, watching their videos, liking them on Facebook, and/or following them on Twitter. I think it would be a great way to examine contemporary queer culture. It’s interesting, for example, that Oakley general does not talk much about sex. He alludes to it occasionally, usually comically, but it’s not something he foregrounds. Davey Wavey doesn’t really talk about sex explicitly, but he does refer to sex a lot. It’s interesting to see how gay personalities position themselves in the market. I think this could lead to some interesting discussions.

But back to the point at hand, Oakley is funny and personable. If his is the face of “the younger generation,” then I think I’m really happy with where the world is headed!

Bruno Mars

I know the rest of the world discovered and fell in love with Bruno Mars long before I did, but 2012 was the year that I finally gave in and started listening to his music. This kid is talented! Right at the end of 2011 I listened to “The Lazy Song,” and I loved the video for the song, but it wasn’t until I saw Mars on the Grammys singing “Runaway baby” that I really fell in love:

Mars is cute and can really put together a great pop song. I think he’s going to have a long music career.

Felix d’Eon

Last, but definitely not least, on my list is Felix d’Eon, a gay artist from Mexico who now lives in San Francisco. His blog depicts his artistic process for creating his work, which usually involves taking lots of pictures of nude men. I loved his “Hood Ornaments” so much that I bought a print of it:

This work reminds me of J. C. Leyendecker’s illustrations from the early twentieth century but with an even more explicitly queer twist. I love it! You can check out his blog here.

So, those are my favorite men of 2012. Not too bad: a little bit of tennis, some male modeling, the Internet, books, music, and art — not quite as shallow as it seemed at first!

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