Look, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that selecting celebrities to nominate for Pajiba 10 recognition is serious business ‘round these parts. Are they famous? Do they tickle us in our upper and lower regions? Are they deserving of the honor of joining the P10 ranks alongside such luminaries as Tessa Thompson (who won last year) and John Cho (who cracked the Hall of Fame last year)? This is not an endeavor to take lightly. Which is why, before I explain the reasons why this particular specimen of zexy duckness (“zexy” is a word! look it up! I’m hip!) deserves your attention this year, I want to walk you through the journey that brought me to this nomination.
Because friends: I’m over humanity at the moment.
Not, like, in a “I just want to watch the world burn” kind of way (though it feels like I’m doing that anyway, 24/7, thank you very much). It’s more that I’m sick and tired of waiting for all my heroes to reveal their inner ugliness. Nobody is perfect, I get that, but when everyone I think I admire is one bad Tweet away from dousing my ardor, what’s the point? When ogling hotties feels shallow, but listening to them feels like a disaster waiting to happen, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and find my joy in other, less crowded corners. After all, Pajiba 10 is a competition that’s about the brain as much as the beauty — and my brain is telling me that this is what an existential thirst crisis looks like.
That was the first a-ha moment I had as I set out to determine my FYC, and it was a big one. So if I’m excluding actual human-type people from contention, what’s left? What has been a consistent source of fascination and delight for me in the past, oh, 32 months or so? MOTHER F*CKING NATURE, THAT’S WHAT. People aren’t the only animals on this big, beautiful space rock we call home. And when all else fails, I can read up on magical wombat butts or crazy monster spiders or giant crabstrocities and experience the kind of simple, uncomplicated joy I used to get from watching Keanu — only without that lingering sense of dread as I wait for the other shoe to drop.
(I know, I know, Keanu is a bad example. He’s perfect. He’ll never do anything wrong. Probably. Maybe. Oh god, what if I can’t even trust Keanu?!)
And before you get it twisted — no, I’m not advocating for bestiality. Don’t be gross, I’m not that into critters. My animal affection is not sexual in any way. Of course, my thirst for celebrities never really has been, either. I might regularly consider the possibility that Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones could cut actual glass, but that doesn’t mean I want to bone down. It just means I enjoy looking at him. A lot. And honestly, I think that’s an acceptable part of what P10 is all about! These nominations are as much about mental lust-worthiness as they are about physical, and at the moment nothing turns my mind on harder than learning about how weird nature is. This is the shape my self-care is taking. Because reading about parasitic wasps is far less disturbing than parasitic politicians.
And speaking of just wanting to look at something pretty… LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL BIRD RIGHT HERE:
You see, it turns out that “Not People” is a pretty crappy P10 nomination, but there aren’t a whole lotta bonafide celebrities in the animal kingdom that fit the bill either. Or at least there weren’t, until a certain Very Attractive Mandarin Duck started causing a social media flap in Central Park last year. And don’t even @ me about whether the Hot Duck, a.k.a. “Mandarin Patinkin,” counts as a celebrity because I guarantee he’s more famous than some people getting nominated this year. He’s TMZ material, folks!
(Mieka, I love you, and Nyle is incredibly good looking. But I gotta rep my bird here)
And lest you think he’s just some flash-in-the-pan Instagram personality — people flock to see him IRL too:
But this is one duck that’s more than just hot (though he is very, very pretty. I mean, look at him). He’s shrouded in mystery, as nobody seems entirely certain how a water fowl that’s native to East Asia wound up kickin’ it in Manhattan (he probably either escaped captivity or was released by a breeder). He’s not without controversy, as his celebrity seems to have ruffled some feathers in the bird-watching community. And if bad boys are your thing, you should see the way he chases after those mallards!
Basically, Hot Duck’s the complete package. 10/10 would lure him onto my lap with stale bread crusts. And that’s saying something since you know I have very high duck standards…
So if you’re ready buck off the appallingly narrow, species-normative trends of past Pajiba 10 nominations and broaden the scope of your interests, then vote Hot Duck. Because, I mean, look at him. HE’S SO DUCKING HOT IT HURTS.
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty Images, TMZ