KYLE: Lindsey! I have brought you here today — at an undisclosed location at the corner of Academia Street and Wolf Whistle Avenue — to discuss perhaps the most important development yet in this year’s summer movie season. I am speaking, of course, about Superman’s hairy chest in Man of Steel.
LINDSEY: Oh, man, I am so glad you brought this up. I am NOT the type of girl who goes for the big, brawny types, I swear, but there was something about this particular Superman that left me practically breathless. And after plenty of Google Image searching, I’ve realize that it’s alllllll because of his hairy chest. What is it about Henry Cavill’s SuperChest that gets us going?
KYLE: I think some of that must be because it’s such an anomaly. Beefcake shots are nothing new for this genre, but when Thor doffs his shirt, his pecs are as round and smooth as two stones from the souvenir shop. Even when Captain America cast Chris Evans — an actor who’s normally very hairy — his transformation into a superhero came with an obligatory chest wax. (Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is the rare exception.) That’s why it’s so surprising when, in Henry Cavill’s second Man of Steel scene, he strides confidently toward the camera in a hairy-chested glamour shot so over-the-top hot that flames are literally coming off his unshaven body.
LINDSEY: Right? It was totally refreshing to see that hairy chest! For me, when the film opened and he was on that fishing boat wearing a wool cap and full beard, I was immediately into it. We associate Superman with being this super-cheesy beefcake with sculpted hair and a butt chin, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this “alt” Clark Kent.
KYLE: With that beard and that flannel and that Crossfit-jacked hairy chest, I expected Superman to eschew his usual secret identity at the Daily Planet and start a new life as Portland’s hottest artisanal-beer brewer.
LINDSEY: Well, he does work as a bar back! So many “hot” jobs in that movie. I was almost disappointed when he put on the Superman suit.
KYLE: Although it’s worth noting that even when he has the super suit on, there’s still plenty of chest hair tufting up above his collar. I wonder how the toy-makers are gonna handle that.
LINDSEY: That is true. I really do hope the young men of America follow suit. I guess the question everyone’s asking, though, is about that beard. If his hair is indeed invincible, how does he shave? But it doesn’t really matter, because in my opinion, he should never shave. Anything.
KYLE: Yeah, it’s funny that the film’s most visible promotional partner is Gilette, since this is a Superman who’s not much for man-scaping. There’s something old-fashioned about Superman’s hairy chest, I think, and that’s appropriate, since Superman is a famously old-fashioned superhero. It reminds me of Don Draper on Mad Men: Would we really think of Don as the paragon of retro manliness if Jon Hamm showed up for each shirtless scene with a fussy shaved chest?
LINDSEY: Ugh, no thank you. I was just about to complain about how “unrealistic” a shaved chest is, but then realized that I’m talking about a dude who can fly. Nevertheless, I want my modern-day hero with a chest full of hair. I hope Cavill sets a precedent for future leading men (and their wardrobe stylists!) to keep natural body hair fully intact. I also vote for more shirtless scenes in general, but that’s another conversation we can have another time.
KYLE: Let’s just hope Hollywood lets Cavill himself stay hirsute, since in his last big credit, Immortals, he was as smooth as a 300 warrior with alopecia. (He’s even a little bit trimmed on this month’s cover of Details.) Let Henry be Henry! Jake Gyllenhaal needs some hairy-chested company out there.