This week's special issue of People—perhaps the magazine's second-most anticipated installment behind its annual Baby Bumps, Secret Weddings, and Conspicuous Nose Jobs spectacular—brings some happy news: Matt Damon will wear the magazine's Sexiest Man Alive tiara for the next 12 months, a choice that may indicate a seismic shift in the criteria it uses to select its honorees; if this newly established precedent holds, we may be entering a Golden Age of Sexy Lists in which less conventionally handsome Hollywood stars (work out all you want, Matt, you still have the face of a cherub who can't quite lose those last three pounds of baby-angel fat) can compete on equal footing with the throbbing slabs of leading-man-beef who tend to dominate the glossies' evaluations of Hollywood hunksmanship. People explains its choice:
George Clooney and Brad Pitt have shamelessly campaigned for him since 2001, but this year's winner was Bourne to the title. "You've given an aging suburban dad the ego-boost of a lifetime," Damon, 37, told PEOPLE, explaining why he couldn't possibly accept the crown - which perfectly demonstrates many of the reasons we chose him in the first place: irresistible sense of humor, rock solid family man, heart-melting humility.
While Damon will doubtlessly enjoy the temporary ego-gains of receiving hourly shipments of oversized lacy underthings from the most easily excitable segment of People's readership, he'll probably soon wake up to the same kind of sobering prank Clooney suffered last year. Upon flipping through tomorrow's copy of Variety, he shouldn't be surprised to see a a full-page photo his Sexiest-predecessor co-stars promised would never become public, in which the normally image-conscious Damon, after having allowed himself an open-bar bender at the Ocean's 13 wrap party, is shown passed out in the back of Pitt's limousine, caked in the hardening chocolate of the dessert fountain he'd repeatedly thrust his head into for the drunken amusement of his crew.