Growing up, the “Sexiest Man Alive” issue of People Magazine was a big deal in my house. By the age of 15, I had all the names of every “Sexiest Man” memorized, and while there were always years when I disagreed with People‘s choice, there was only one error that I filed in the “unforgivable” category. (And once you see his hair, you will know why.)
Every year, the Internet starts gossiping about the “Sexiest Man” selection well ahead of time, and in 2005, the debate was on between Matthew McConaughey and Patrick Dempsey. Now, both of these men were in my “Top 10 Hottest Men” list at the time, so I wasn’t about to dislike either choice. But there was just something about Dempsey that felt like he was, without a doubt, the sexiest man alive in that moment.
See, in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy launched, and by the time People‘s Sexiest issue came out, season 2 of the hit show—arguably the series’ best—had begun. So at that point, Dempsey was already carrying around the “McDreamy” label as one half of television’s hottest couple. Heck, that’s why EW put Dempsey and co-star Ellen Pompeo on our September 2005 cover.
As for McConaughey, he too could rock some flowing locks, but what did he have in 2005? Sahara and Two for the Money. And despite how good his triceps looked in Sahara, I’m just not buying it. I mean, had People seen the way that Dempsey leaned on things and smirked? The man oozed sex appeal in the subtlest of ways.
However, looking back now, I’m not just mad that Dempsey was passed over in 2005. In fact, 2006 was probably his perfect year. Yep, 2006 was prime Dempsey, something I can chalk up to two things: Grey’s Anatomy‘s season 2 finale and season 3 premiere.
In Grey’s Anatomy‘s season 2 finale, Dempsey gave viewers what I consider to be the single sexiest look of all-time. When Derek sees Meredith across the dance floor at the hospital’s prom—it’s a long story—the way he looks at her can’t really be described with words, but let’s just say nobody wondered why she stormed off the floor because she couldn’t breathe. Then? They had sex. Obviously.
Additionally, in September of 2006, Dempsey gave us an unforgettable moment when Derek finally admitted that he was in love with Meredith. But it was better than just an “I love you,” because well, he’s Patrick Dempsey.
And before you tell me he’s just a good actor and Shonda Rhimes is a great writer, let me be clear—I’m also speaking to Dempsey’s off-screen personality. He’s a family man. He races cars, which gives him an edge. And his sense of humor is almost as great as his smile. Also in 2006? He graced the cover of Us Weekly with word “Sexy” in big bold letters. Big. Bold. Letters.
With all that having been said, I do realize that in order for Dempsey to take the 2006 title, he would’ve had to have beaten George Clooney, who is the king of all sexy men. No, I’m not saying Dempsey is sexier than Clooney, but what I am saying is that Clooney can win any year, so why give it to him the year he did The Good German?
And if skipping Dempsey two years in a row wasn’t bad enough, 2007—arguably the last real shot for McDreamy in terms of Grey’s Anatomy‘s peak—marked the time he was overlooked for Matt Damon. Yes, Damon was Jason Bourne, but there’s a reason Dempsey was on the cover of TV Guide‘s “Sexy Issue” that year, not to mention EW‘s Photo Issue. Also, Enchanted!
So now the question remains: Is it too late for Dempsey? Honestly, it never is, but his hair is starting to get a little out of control, and I fear the worst.
I’ll leave you with this.