Blake Lively is hot. This is pretty well accepted.

I've seen "Accepted" and "The Town" and admit that, yes, she is pretty. But when I've watched these movies with my guy friends, I've heard things like "She's the hottest woman alive."


Consider her hair – how many professionals were involved in making those locks fall so perfectly into place? Then consider her makeup – how expensive was the stuff another group of professionals smeared all over her face like cream cheese on an Einstein's Bagel? Between the lighting, the clothes, the people she is around, and the fact that a big part of her job is to be in extremely good shape, how would girls on the street ever stand a chance?

We men need to more effectively appreciate how incredibly lucky we are to be surrounded by dime pieces at any moment. Sure, they aren't going to live up to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but when I consider my own squishy physique, I realize I don't live up to the swimsuit edition of, well, anything.

As it turns out, we are surrounded by Blake Livelys. Look closer at that bartender at Tin Roof and the girl in checkerboard overalls at the tailgate; notice the girl studying for an exam in the Commons. They are each at least twice as likely to be a Tennessee fan, which is sweet. There's also a much better chance of the girl in the Commons thinking your double kegger in the Fort was fun, which is very sweet.

If nothing else, the girl in the Commons exists in real life. You can have a conversation with her; you can take her to dinner. Blake Lively will never hear your awful jokes, but that girl in the Commons might even laugh at them.

And you know what? There's a pretty good chance you wouldn't be compatible with Blake Lively. Even if she thought you were cute, and you could have a great conversation, what if you both like olives, or worse, what if you both hate olives? Who would eat your olives?!

The girl in the Commons is just studying, sitting there in sweatpants with her hair tied back. She did her make-up herself, if she is wearing any at all, and she may or may not have showered today. She's wearing a big T-shirt and yoga pants, and she's stressed out about her exam.

If you still can't see the smoke-show under all of that, then you have some problems, and you are going to have a rough life. Don't marry anyone I care about.

Wait until that girl in the Commons is in her element: her sorority formal, the day she is making a presentation or going to a job interview, maybe her friend's wedding. She'll get her hair and nails done, wear a dress she's obsessed with and she'll be really excited to see you in a suit and tie. You best believe you'll be excited for her to take lots of pictures so you can show her off to everyone you know.

My fellow men, I suggest that you take the Blake Livelys of the world to be what they are – an illusion of what you are attracted to. After you get beyond the illusion, you can take a walk around this campus and you might just find the best view in Knoxville isn't in Neyland or from the BB&T building, but instead can be seen from the intersection of Andy Holt and Volunteer during a class change on a sunny afternoon.

Nate Talbot is a senior in mechanical engineering. He can be reached at