Heath for the Holidays

The movies' hunk of the month appeals to men (in Brokeback Mountain) and women (in Casanova). What's the difference between Homo Heath and Hetero Heath?

OH, HEATH, HOLD ME! The versatile Australian actor has hit the holiday movie jackpot with two crowd pleasers drawing two very different crowds. Heath Ledger's wildly acclaimed gay cowboy romance, Brokeback Mountain, has made him the likely favorite for Best Actor at the Oscars. His taciturn Wyoming ranch hand, Ennis Del Mar, is a man very much surprised to fall in love with a fellow wrangler (Jake Gyllenhaal), but he remains passionate and true through two decades and many obstacles. He's a hero of forbearance and fidelity, a true man's man. Then there's his turn as the famous ladies' man in Casanova (see review), bedding countless beauties before settling down with one (Sienna Miller). Here, Heath is catnip to Venetian vixens, a snappy, frilly dresser, cool as the cucumber in his pants, as skilled with the pole as any gondolier, yet inclined to fall finally for a lady's brains (though her heaving bosom helps). So how can we account for Ledger's bisexual magnetism at the box office? Here, we scientifically analyze his AC/DC appeal.

    The Cowboy The Casanova Lifestyle Deeply introverted. In the closet. Gloriously extroverted. Wears the closet. Vocation Cowpoke. Nunpoke. Role models Marlboro Man. Gary Cooper. Renaissance man. Cary Grant. Personal aesthetic Sparse yet tasteful mobile home. Rocky Mountain Zen. Ruffles, breeches, buckles, and bodices. 18th-century metrosexual. Who he'd be in another century Exactly the same. James Bond. Sexy duds Tight jeans, battered cowboy hat, field jacket, significant other's shirt. Frock shirts, frilly sleeves, breeches cut just so at the crotch. Impressive feats of athleticism Ropes cattle, shoots elk, slugs bullies, carries adorable sheep in saddlebags. Leaps out windows to escape authorities after deflowering maidens. Code of honor Loves one man and one man only. Loves many women, leaves them, and leaves them asking for more. Turn-ons Campfires. Wool. Isolation. Masquerades. Silk. Virginity. Turn-offs Cities. Marriage. Fences. Ma'am. Ugliness. Pettiness. Propriety. Bad tailoring. The perfect date Riding on horseback through the majestic mountains of Wyoming. Herding sheep and shooting coyotes all day. Then back to camp for a romantic dinner of baked beans, elk meat, and straight whisky. As dessert: Jake Gyllenhaal's thighs. A sensual gondola ride through the winding canals of Venice. Fine wine, lavish food, dancing, and duels. Finally a waterborne tryst beneath the Bridge of Sighs. Opening moves Get mauled by bear, drink self silly, shiver in cold outside until invited into tent. Make grand entrances at parties, wait for the girls to go silly until invited into their warm beds. Closing the deal Squint eyes, immobilize upper lip, turn to left profile (works best with fireworks in background). Lock those blues on target, immobilize her, produce fireworks in bed. Life-into-art subtext Screen wife Michelle Williams is mother of his real-life child. Miller, whose character denounces Casanova's promiscuity, did the same with her (sorta) ex, Jude Law. Opposites attract Chatty, lively Gyllenhaal gets him to open up. Proto-feminist Miller gets him to settle down. Gender confusion "Ah ain't queer." Falls for a woman (Miller) dressed like a man. Castration issues Gelds livestock for a living—bulls, stallions, etc. Fears losing his own balls to morality cop Jeremy Irons. Favorite euphemism for sex Goin' fishin'. Why bother with euphemisms, m'lady?

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