6 unlikely sexy world leaders
Last week a woman fainted during a speech former President Bill Clinton was giving for a Democratic senate candidate in West Virginia. Clinton immediately demonstrated exactly why women still see him as the most rockstar-charming world leader in living memory. “I’m going to save her reputation,” he drawled as the woman was led away, his honeyed southern vowels slow and sweet like January molasses. “It was the sun and not me that made her faint.” Such a dude.
It’s no secret that power is sexy. Add a little Tabasco-splash of Arkansan charm (Clinton), a sprinkle of George Clooney salt-n-pepper (Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway) or some smouldering Latina sizzle (President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina) and you got yourself a recipe for hot that no ordinary civilian can match.
But there are a few world leaders that don’t fit the obvious parameters of sexy – yet are.
They all have power but it’s hard to see what they’ve got beyond that. Some are mawkish and bad-tempered. Others look like gargoyles. And some, it must be said, are despicable thugs. Yet they’ve all got a little bit of something that makes us go weak at the knees, especially if you can turn a blind eye to their more unpalatable excesses. Here, the Punch’s top six unexpectedly sexy world leaders, past and present:
President Nicolas Sarkozy, France
In 2008, psychiatrist Serge Hefez declared that the French people, and women in particular, were gripped by a mental illness he called “Obsessive Sarkosis” – an unhealthy fascination with the French president. “He’s penetrated some of their deepest fantasies,” Hefez said breathlessly in an interview. Sarkozy, Hefez explained, is the incarnation of the modern alpha male: “obsessed with himself, turned toward pleasure, autonomous and narcissistic.” It matters little that he’s squat and cross and almost certainly suffering an acutely embarrassing mid-life crisis. The fact that he scored the beautiful chanteuse and model Carla Bruni means something explosively erotic must be squashed into those stacked-heel shoes that we don’t know about.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
There is a Facebook page called “Margaret Thatcher is Sexy”. Dozens of websites too. Petitions, though it’s not clear what they’re petitioning for - some sort of formal, official sexy recognition, I presume. What is clear is that men go mad for Maggie. The writer Alan Clark was bewitched by her slim ankles. Former French President Francois Mitterand worked himself into a Gallic lather with his startling assertion that Thatcher had the “eyes of Caligula, mouth of Marilyn Monroe”. And the milksop former public schoolboys that made up much of her cabinet projected their mummy fantasies onto her, fawning upon every steely word. Not bad for someone with a boiled corgi for a hairdo.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia
A certain someone at the magazine where I work – we’ll call him Frank in case you check the masthead - is a hundred different busting-out shades of red-hot for the Russian PM and former KGB muscleman. “He’s got really nice abs,” he simpers guiltily, referring to widely-circulated pictures of a topless Putin looking like he’s about to arm-wrestle a bear. Is he aware that Mr Putin is responsible for a fiesta of human rights abuses, not least his role in the virtual destruction of Chechnya? “Oh, I know he’s a terrible man,” says Frank with commendable shame. “But look at those eyes. So chilling and merciless.” Shivery – in a good and bad way.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australia
Every so often, the PM does something clever with a bit of beige suiting, sets it off with that shock of red hair and some deftly-applied makeup (someone with a very practised touch has been in charge of that face lately, let me tell you), and she is 100 per cent smoking. There’s a bit of school-teacher about her, but also girl-next-door. A sort of schoolteacher who lives next door. Her gruff, blokeish side also titilates - she gets big points when she’s bundled up in her Bulldogs scarf, all chipper and game-faced, and then shrugs manfully when they lose.
Chiang Kai-Shek, former Nationalist leader of China and Taiwan
What’s wrong with people? Why isn’t the former Chinese Kuomintang leader who was defeated by the Chinese communists in the 1930s ever mentioned in the same breath as JFK or Barack Obama when it comes to world leader hotness? WHY? I suppose it could be something to do with the fact that he was an oppressive dictator who murdered his political enemies and was responsible for leading the Chinese people through years of crippling warfare. Or maybe it’s because no one really knows or cares who he is. Fine. I accept that. But he had cheekbones to die for.
Former Australian/British prime ministers John Major/John Howard
They were very different leaders but it’s hard to separate these two for hotness. I know, you think this is a typo. Why we calling them hot at all? Well, here’s how. Sometimes a girl doesn’t want to wrestle bears with Vladimir Putin. Sometimes she doesn’t want to be fighting off pouty, blousy interns, as she’d have to do with Bill Clinton. Sometimes she just wants to watch a bit of telly, have a nice cup of tea and a dry, sexless peck on the cheek before bed. Yes she does. Messrs Major and Howard, you’re the…zzz…
Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico
He thought Mexico should legalise drugs, looks like Tom Selleck and wears a belt buckle that reads F-O-X. Belt buckles don’t lie.
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