It's rare I meet a man who makes me do a double take based on esthetic attractiveness alone. Culligan Man, the dude who delivers our water at work, is an exception, and his prettiness is so potent his mere presence can be bowel-churning, his sparkling eyes blinding beneath the stark fluorescent lights, as if he's some glitch in the Matrix's programming. Despite Culligan Man's jarring good looks, I'm not attracted to him. At all. And yet I still noticed an awkward energy when he walks into a room, as if he's silently begging those he meets not to objectify him as a hot piece of ass, as if he's trying to convince the world that he, too, rips man-farts that can clear a room.
I conceptualize social constructs of esthetic attractiveness and the ogling of those constructs (e.g., so n' so has nice tits, therefore she's hot) as quite different from sex appeal. On the other hand, sex appeal (or human attraction in general) seems to be a personal phenomenon that is not easily defined. Then there are those human anomalies who throw the "personal" angle of sex appeal out the window, who, despite not mirroring society's strict, robot-like standards of beauty, possess such magnetism that they garner widespread swooning, as if they wear the residue of some sort of fucked up, Voodoo, sex magic.
And so I introduce to you Chino Moreno, lead vocalist of Deftones, one of the few high profile bands that came into fruition in the 90s and haven't sold out to the dumbed down standards of the mainstream.
Over the years Deftones have progressed from an easy-listening metal band to a band that creates complex and experimental music, yet manages to hone a distinct sound that I refer to as I should be high or having sex right now music.
Back-in-the-day Chino reflected a young, dark featured image of what Western society deems attractive, and therefore his swoony persona was a given. But over the decades Deftones fans have watched Chino physically morph as he matures and it hasn't seemed to diminish his sex aura. I once read a conversation online that played out as follows:
"Chino has gotten fat."
"Your mom would still do him."
"Yes, she would."
Chino is not a genetic fluke like Clooney or Pitt. Period. And so I wondered . . . what is it with Chino Moreno?
I decided to conduct my own observational research and concluded the best place to collect data of people's most uncensored and Neanderthal-like reactions to Chino Moreno was to scour the comments on youtube.
The comment feed for this now old-school, acoustic version of "Be Quiet and Drive" was ripe with lust. One dude commented that Chino gave him, and I quote, "man-chills," and a girl called out Chino in grammatically incorrect, youtube blabber stating, "Chino . . . I hate that you ruined every guy in my eyes," which in proper English can be translated to, "Chino . . . I hate how no other guy can live up to your superior sex magic."
Other videos were littered with comments like . . .
"Seriously. . . . meeeooowww. LOVE."
And in what I can only assume to be a fit of frenzied lust, Athena wrote, "Oh, Chino, so sexy . . . gosh."
But it didn't stop at the women. One dude wrote, "dear reincarnation, may I request to come back as Chino in my next life please, for he is the coolest man on earth. More common were the dudes who openly discussed their raging boners after watching a Deftones video. The following specimens were typical, status quo comments:
"I'm so horny right now."
"WHO WANTS TO MAKE A BABY TO THIS SONG?"
"If sex were music, this would be it."
"I have a boner."
The video below for the song "Sextape" is one of my favorite music videos of all time. Its dreamscape images are what I saw in my mind's eye when I laid in my bedroom at seventeen listening to their White Pony album.
Chino nor any of the other band members are in the video, however, this does not damper the lust buzz of the video's comment feed. One dude comments, "Chino makes me question my straightness," and another dude expresses his gratefulness for the creation of the song because it is "like unicorn tears."
I love unicorns. Those who personally know me can attest that I often make reference to a magical, imaginary land called Unicornia, and at one point I had a unicorn figurine I named, quite fittingly in this circumstance, Boner. But the "unicorn tears" comment threw me off. Had I fallen into an internet vortex? Had I accidentally slipped into the virtual backdoor of a Bronies forum for dudes who dig My Little Ponies?
No. It seemed I was still in a comment feed for Deftones. Not Gaga, or Lauper, or Ke$ha, or some Japanese act, or some band featured on the soundtrack of a 1980s fantasy movie - no, no. I was in a comment feed for this band:
Suddenly everything I understood about the world - all the little boxes I had created in my mind - were lit on fire then doused in, you guessed it, unicorn tears. But one conclusion I did make was when it comes to the hard rock sub-culture of my generation, Chino's sex magic may be on par with Morrissey's. Or close to it. Or at least has the potential to be close to it. And that's fucking impressive.
Did I make any solid conclusions as to the ingredients of Chino's unique brew of sex magic? Not really. But I did narrow down one common quality that seems to infiltrate his appeal: Juxtaposition. And by juxtaposition I mean his persona's convergence of humility and cool confidence, tenderness and testicular fortitude, a visual style that crossbreeds classic and street. But hands down his most sex magical tension is his vocal style that ranges from post love-making lullabies, to hardcore, soul explosive belly wails.
While I may have failed at successfully demystifying Chino's appeal, I have done a public service for the guys out there who are stuck in the friend zone - Chino is your man. No, not the man to name your body pillow after, but a mysteriously magnetic man-specimen to take notes on. Apparently he's worth the study.