So much to be learned from hunks. What hand of fate makes one hollow-cheeked pin-up into a poster child for regret, the other for self-actualization? James Franco is the hunk we want to be, Robert Pattinson the hunk we fear we are.

Spare me the debate about whether or not these men are hunks, for hunk is a state of being as much as it is a subjective interpretation of appearance. They are hunks because we have made them hunks. Everything else is what they have made themselves.

Franco uses his hunkiness, if not for good, at least for some kind of gentleman hobbyist agenda, a casual, try-anything approach to existing (see above: that is how you wear a sleazy moustache with conviction). Not without its missteps, but always entertaining, and a little baffling; every line on his resume looks like a whim. If someone will let you have like ten Master’s degrees and a role on a soap opera I guess you’re a chump not to. Who wants to guess his next career move? My money is on directing a horror film.  

R-Pattz is a prisoner of his hunkiness, too ill at ease in his overwhelming celebrity to enjoy it (and who can blame him? it seems genuinely awful). He seems as though he will never be comfortable enough with himself enough to take Franco’s inept renaissance man approach to life. Which is a shame. He should probably buy a cabin and grow a beard and live off the land, emerging only once his fan base has passed puberty, mostly because I’m tired of feeling sorry for the guy.

The lesson, as far as I can tell, is that if one cannot be the graceful hunk (Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm), be the weird, unpredictable hunk. You’ll like yourself, even if no one else likes you.