I don’t know whether it’s the obsessive watching of VH1, the grim blasé attitude that comes with senioritis, or just general procrastinative malaise, but there’s been something in the air lately that has prompted me to think long and hard about the Secretly Sexy. You know what I mean: it’s that je ne sais quoi that attracts you to someone, the little things you can’t put your finger on when you’re talking about the object of your affection with your friends. It is the positive inverse of the Secretly Unsexy, that wealth of cultural ‘sexy’ stereotypes which are secretly not sexy at all.

In the spirit of journalistic investigation, through careful, scientific research, and by polling secretly sexy friends and staff members, we have amassed a Top-Forty list. Lest you find yourself concerned by our public exposure of these alleged secrets, rest assured: the items on the Sexy list are, if not classic enough to retain sexiness despite disclosure, at least the type of sexy that only gets sexier when discussed in a public forum. There’s nothing lewd about the Secretly Sexy; that’s part of what makes it secret.

Secretly Sexy:

1. drinking out of a milk carton

2. thin, worn cotton tee shirts

3. chapped lips

4. the husky morning after partying voice

5. guys talking about their little sisters

6. the signature “warm regards”

7. the secret smile, the nose wiggle, winking

8. love handles (on girls)

9. middle names

10. the between-the-brow wrinkle

11. bitten fingernails

12. laughing with your mouth wide open (by accident)

13. touching the tip of your own nose

14. the oboe

15. bad hair

16. elbows

17. smooth-talkin’whig-clio debaters

18. clumsiness

19. gloves and mittens

20. blond hair with really obvious roots

21. burping

22. eating cheeseburgers and other types of meat

23. wearing basically the same outfit every day

24. the third hook-up

25. using the name of the person you’re speaking to

26. spaghetti

27. riding the Dinky

28. making eye contact

29. skinny girls with bad posture

30. normal-sized girls with excellent posture

31. big dogs

32. fraternities

33. Mr. Clean

34. mineral water

35. big men holding small children

36. bad jokes, told with gusto

37. chewing with one’s mouth closed

38. watching someone think

39. the phrase ‘get yo’ freak on’

40. dancing with a deadpan