In 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, our crushes got a little weird.
Think Anthony Fauci, the diminutive 79-year-old epidemiologist whose soft Brooklyn accent has become the nation’s voice of reason.
Proof of his heartthrob status? More than 28,000 people have signed a petition to make the good doctor People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” The nod went to the more conventionally attractive Michael B. Jordan. Better luck in 2021, Fauc!
Maybe it’s the 10 months of self-isolation. Maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t seen a hot person’s whole face in public since March, but something about this pandemic has made us increasingly thirsty for increasingly non-heartthrobby men.
Below, in no particular order, 15 men most of us had at least a semi-crush on in 2020.
What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man, amirite, ladies and gents? Fauci, with his cool, calm demeanor, his plainspoken delivery of the facts, and his clear emotional intelligence was an obvious object of thirst in our pandemic year.
Writing about our collective Fauci fetish, The Atlantic explained that “times of crisis often breed infatuation with authorities who can provide guidance and soothe anxiety.” Or as a Twitter user put it more simply: “Can’t tell if Dr. Fauci is actually sexy or I’m just desperately horny for good leadership right now.”
Inexplicably, the universal love for health care providers extended to TV therapists, too. So many of you were feeling Dr. Phil, the poor guy had to put out a TikTok video begging people to stop replying “daddy” on all his posts.
“I ain’t your daddy, I hate to break it to you, but I ain’t your daddy,” the bald-headed legend said before caving in just a little: “I appreciate the support … It’s a little weird, but I do appreciate the support.”
Steve Kornacki And His Gap Khakis On MSNBC
If you weren’t horny on main for an election week newscaster, did you really even live through November 2020? In our sleep-deprived, stressful fugue of election week, we all had a chart-throb of choice. For many people, it was the hypothetical math of MSNBC’s “map guy” Steve Kornacki that got them all hot and bothered. Who knew slim-fit Gap khaki pants could be so alluring?
Kornacki’s on-air dedication to his khakis led to a “dramatic increase in online traffic and within a day, we saw around 90% unit sale increase online,” according to a Gap spokesperson. If your boyfriend starts dressing in normie nerd wear, you have no one to blame but yourself.
John King And His Sizable Hands On CNN
Kornacki wasn’t king for everyone. For another subset of viewers, there was something oddly erotic about watching CNN chief national correspondent John King swipe his giant hands across that “magic board” of his.
“The real winner of the election is the news anchors who are now considered hot’ because we’ve watched them for three days straight,” writer Quinta Brunson said, summing up our weird newscaster lovefest.
Fivey, FiveThirtyEight’s Fox Mascot
Some of us were so desperate for a hero ― ideally, a hot one ― who’d show us the pathway to 270, we started crushing on cartoon mammals. Fivey, the fox mascot of Nate Silver’s wonk blog, FiveThirtyEight, may be the weirdest addition to this lusty list.
“Incredible how many furries coped with their election anxiety today by drawing horny fivey the fox art or got off to horny fivey the fox art,” one Twitter user said of the “Fivey is sexy” phenomenon.
Bong Joon-ho And His Infectious Zeal For Life
Before we got into the doldrums of the pandemic, there was a brief shining moment in February when “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho took home the Academy Awards for Best Director, becoming the first Korean to do so.
“Once you overcome the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many amazing films,” the lovable director previously declared during his Golden Globes acceptance speech through a translator.
Consider him our wholesome crush of the year. The guy definitely knows how to live it up: After his Oscar wins, he and 50 cast members and crew reportedly crammed into Soban, a tiny 30-seat restaurant in LA’s Koreatown, and celebrated from 2:45 a.m. until 5 a.m. Galbi jjim (braised short ribs), eundaegu jorim (braised spicy black cod) and bibimbap were enjoyed by all! (We didn’t need to mention all that, we just wanted to reminisce about the days we could gorge ourselves in public with nary a mask in sight.)
Stanley Tucci’s Negroni Recipes
There’s nothing surprising about this one: Everyone knows Stanley Tucci is a major league babe. But in quarantine, we had a specific longing for a specific version of Stanley: Tucci the masterful negroni maker!
Watch the video below. It’s in the way he shakes that “fair amount of ice” and gin ― those forearms! ― and the way he’s wearing actual clothes instead of the spaghetti-stained company teambuilding tee the rest of us are wearing. Please, Tucc, when this whole thing is over, make us a drink.
Adam Sandler And His Matchless Lazy Pandemic Wardrobe
Look, as much as we love how Stanley got dressed up for us to make a cocktail, around here, we also worship lazy, relatable kings. In 2020, Adam Sandler took his legendary schlub style to the next level, serving us giant polo shirt, dad windbreaker realness and jorts with pockets that could fit at least five bottles of hand sanitizer.
“16 times Adam Sandler looked like he got dressed in the dark,” USA Today once headlined a photo roundup. More like 16 times Adam Sandler looked exactly like every single one of us in the year 2020.
Mufasa From ‘The Lion King’ In Street Style
Another animal? Really? OK, fine. As the AV Club noted all the way back in March, people who leaned in to nostalgic, comfort views of “The Lion King” were struck by how almost … hot? … Simba’s late father was in the movie. “We’ve reached the “horny for Mufasa” stage of quarantine,” the site remarked.
More pointedly, people were into these sexified versions of the James Earl Jones-voiced Disney father figure, drawn by Los Angeles-based illustrator Marco Bernard.
The Faceless Main Character In ‘The Mandalorian’
Ah, the Mandalorian (aka Din Djarin). Maybe it’s his paternal instinct to protect baby Yoda (sorry, Grogu). Maybe it’s the muffled and modulated voice. Maybe it’s the fact he’s voiced by Pedro Pascal, a “Game of Thrones” vet we all know is categorically hot under that metal mask. Whatever it is, we’re big fans of this entirely covered-up man of mystery.
As comedian Matt Rogers tweeted early on in the show’s run, “Three seconds in I’m attracted to the Mandalorian who has no face or body only a cape and an energy.”
The Brothers Cuomo
Look, it’s hard to admit now, but at least at the beginning of the pandemic, we were all simping over the Cuomo brothers. Sure, it verged on a bad “Sopranos” parody, but it was endearing to watch CNN host Chris Cuomo use an interview segment as an excuse to rib his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, about how he hadn’t called their mom in days, who makes the better sauce and who’s “the meatball in the family.”
Big John Fetterman
He is tall ― 6-foot-8, to be exact ― tattooed, wears exactly one shirt (this one), has a Harvard degree, and by his own admission, he kind of looks like a “skinhead biker.” In those hazy weeks after the election, we kind of fell for Fetterman. Chalk it up to his highly reassuring straight talk and his fondness for calling people “jagoffs.”
“Math doesn’t care about his feelings,” Fetterman famously said as President Trump pushed his voter fraud agenda.
Justin Trudeau’s Pandemic Beard
No, not Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, just his absolute gamechanger beard. HELLO, SALT-AND-PEPPER BEAAAARD. Hot. Hotter than a just-ordered Double Double at Tim Hortons, even.
Mario Lopez As A ‘Sexy’ Colonel Sanders In Lifetime/KFC Movie
A late-in-the-game addition! Lifetime and the higher-ups at Kentucky Fried Chicken picked up on the general pandemic-induced horniness in the air and decided to turn A.C. Slater into a sexified Colonel Sanders. Frankly, a “horny KFC Lifetime movie” is weird, but we’re sure some of you are finding the concept finger-lickin’ good. No judgment! Look at the rest of our list; we have no room for judgment.