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The truth about sex-appeal

C. Alexander Haywood | 11/24/2010, 5 p.m.

What makes a woman sexy? Is it what's in her eyes; the devilish innocence of her smile; the language of her walk; or the style of her dress that inspires sublime sexual fantasies?

My personal thought is that obviousness qualifies most, that a woman unaware of her own magnetism is a woman worthy of even God's watchful eye.

Others, men and women included, openly prefer the contrary-ya'll know who I'm talkin' about: The high-stepping, hair-flicking, stiletto-rocking Prada queens, who pride themselves on the drool suspended from the mouths of male onlookers as they prance by.

And I think it's safe to say that we (men) can all appreciate the half-naked supermodel on the catwalk; the "stacked" video-vixen on BET; and the girl next door featured in Maxim Magazine.
However, no matter the source of attraction-whether it's intelligence, sophistication, virtue or all three-most men would probably agree that sex-appeal is an ultimately subjective and immeasurable concept.

Of course, there are a few "choice" exceptions to this rule-at least in our community.

On the female side, 56-year-old Denzel Washington still holds the honorary crown of sexiest Black man alive. And a case could be made that Halle Berry, is still the ultimate Black male fantasy.

But, in an era when cosmetic surgery is even more of a cliché than the almighty hair-weave, what about these two aged Oscar winners gives them ascendancy over the newer, fresher, more enhanced Hollywood generation?

My guess is that it's not the wrinkles forming around the knees of Ms. Berry, nor is it the mound of middle-age growing underneath Mr. Washington's button down.

Like most timeless things, sex-appeal is intangible, as are its various components-hence Denzel's notoriously smooth disposition, and Halle's girlish charm. This is especially true for women-father time's worst enemy.

Since the beginning of time itself, women have made it a point to ignore the foreordained reality of "old age." Make-up helps. Botox has become a new coping mechanism. And an attempt at reinvention usually occurs by age 50.

But what many women, young and old, fail to understand is that the average guy cares more about the presentation of the product (yourself), rather than the product itself.

So your figure has expanded a tad-that's okay, to a point. What's paramount is that your attitude doesn't reflect the change in your appearance.

So your hair isn't the longest-that's cool, have the confidence to rock a short cut, or be proud of the humble press and curl you paid for.

So your wardrobe is really no wardrobe at all-don't fret, just take a page out of John Witherspoon's ("Friday") book and fashionably "coordinate" the clearance items you do have-plastic hoop earrings and all.

The key is confidence ladies-in everything you do, say, and feel. That's the truth. And that's sexy.