i knew matthew mcconaughey. matthew mcconaughey was a friend of mine. matt damon, you’re no matthew mcconaughey

We have arrived at the midway point of Matt Damon’s first term as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. Already, contenders are massing for this fall’s grueling sexiness primaries – raising funds, preparing attack ads (“Clooney: he’s soft on back fat!”) and putting on their shirts, so as to be better able to sultrily remove them.

Few would deny that Damon’s administration began with great promise. The film star chose a sombre, snow-flecked day for his inaugural, enrapturing the crowd of thousands with his inspirational “Check out these glutes” address. A symbolic contrast to Ben Affleck, who delivered his inaugural speech to twin brunettes in the backseat of a Hummer, was instantly achieved.

Damon had some early successes in enhancing American sexiness. He swiftly established a National Mullet Registry (which, conveniently, also turned out to be a census of North Dakota). He appeased the powerful anti-obesity interest groups by imposing a three-day waiting period on the acquisition of a Baconator. And who can deny the astonishing takeup that met his offer of a 24-hour handlebar moustache amnesty?

But the early momentum has given way to a sense of drift. His administration has proved unable to stem the tide of non-sexiness that is spreading across the United States in the form of oversized buttocks, camouflage fleece and Drew Carey. Damon’s choice for Vice-Sexiest Man Alive – the dignified, low-key Lance Armstrong – backfired when the Tour de France champion was accused of being a mere pawn of the influential spandex lobby.

Worse still, Damon has yet to offer a convincing explanation for why, despite ample warnings from the Sexy Intelligence Agency, he has stood by idly during his reign and done nothing to protect America from Jack Black removing his T-shirt. Opinion surveys now indicate there hasn’t been a Sexiest Man Alive this unpopular since Pierce Brosnan put on a heavy sweater.

In 2007 (the most recent figures available from the Organization of Sexually Attractive States), the United States dropped to 17th in the world in Gross Domestic Sexiness per capita, making this its least sexy period since 1986’s catastrophic leg-warmers fad. On the positive side, the number-crunchers say America will shoot right back up to 12th if they can just get rid of that fat guy on Lost.

There’s still time for Matt Damon to salvage his term in office. He can reassert his sense of purpose by immediately declaring Alec Baldwin’s torso a sexiness disaster area. He must overcome his reticence and sign into law the proposed bill banning the sale of sweat pants and chalupas. And he needs to scale back his international philanthropic pursuits to focus squarely on a domestic agenda: Americans don’t want to know what he’s doing to reduce suffering among people living in Africa – they want to know what he’s doing to reduce suffering among people looking at Willem Dafoe.

Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to do all this while wearing short shorts.

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