We once knew a woman who rented the first floor of a house on Pennsylvania, around the corner from the Uptown Theater. Her upstairs neighbor was a good-looking young man. He was quiet. We never saw him all that much. But for a little while, the traffic on the back staircase leading to his apartment was a highway of women. He was a barista, and The Pitch's annual Best of Kansas City issue had just named him the most crushworthy man in town.
Then again, it's possible that the dozen locals we've rounded up on these pages — because one or two people once a year just isn't enough for us anymore — are about to experience their own surges in attention. We think they deserve it. (To anyone dating one of our crushes: We're sorry. But come on — you know what you're holding there, right?) These smart, talented, sexy men and women have been breaking our hearts for a while, and now we want to share the pain.
When it comes to cookies, we lack restraint. Tempt us with some European cookie sandwiches (with buttercream in the middle!), and we will tell you anything. And if Karina Parreño — the drop-dead-gorgeous co-owner of local pastry company Milk & Honey — is dangling those French macarons, we will happily follow her and her delicious desserts through the gates of hell.
Job: Co-owner, Milk & Honey
Relationship status: Recently started dating somebody.
What's your go-to drink? Moscow Mule
What's your guiltiest musical pleasure? Disney music
What's the last thing that made you cry? Slicing white onions for kale soup. Gets me every time.
What's on your nightstand? A pile of unfinished books.
What's the coolest thing in your home? A blowtorch. I like to use fire in my baking.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? Guys don't feed me too many lines.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Speak to me in Spanish.
Dumped or dumper? Does it matter? Breaking up hurts whether you're the one walking away or being left behind.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Le Fou Frog
If you want to impress me, feed me ... My favorite candy.
At what bar or restaurant would you like to have an open tab? Westport Café
What's your workout? Running. I also started doing this jump core class. It kind of makes me want to pass out, but I feel great afterward!
What's your pettiest relationship deal-breaker? Bad table manners
What do you do when you think nobody's looking? Use my nasal spray. I'm addicted.
With whom would you like to play Truth or Dare? Russell Brand or Daniel Tosh
Have you ever been the other woman? No.
What character flaw do you wish you could fix in yourself? Being a perfectionist about things that really don't matter.
What are you most vain about? Wrinkles. I want Botox, but my mom will disown me if I get it.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Kind eyes and dimples
Who's on your crush list? Gilles Marini and Channing Tatum
Last fall, Alex Espy worked as the prop designer for a production of Shrek the Musical at the Coterie Theatre (where he also serves as a teaching artist). This week, he wraps up another kid-friendly stint, narrating and acting in a Kansas City Symphony production of Peter and the Wolf at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Espy, who has written, directed, and designed sets for a number of other plays around town, also happens to be very handsome and unattached.
Job: Theater artist
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Lately, whiskey on the rocks.
What's your guiltiest musical pleasure? I was going to say Beyoncé. But she's not so bad. She can sing. There are a lot of cheesy pop songs I hear on the radio that I like after I hear them enough times.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Earlier today, when I was rehearsing with the KC Symphony for the first time. I didn't cry, exactly, but my eyes welled up a bit when I heard them start playing.
What's on your nightstand? A mug, for water
What's the coolest thing in your home? I have a couple of pachinko machines — these 1960s vintage, upright pinball machines from Japan. I also make a lot of my furniture. The headboard above my bed is an old bedspring with light bulbs in it.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard? Someone recently approached me and told me that he thought he knew what my astrological sign was. He was wrong. He didn't even get it by the third try. Astrological stuff doesn't interest me at all. I shut down if I pick up on that.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Just casual conversation. It turns me off if someone is too forceful.
Dumped or dumper? This sounds cocky, I guess, but historically I have been the dumper.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? It depends on the individual. But I do love La Bodega.
If you want to impress me, feed me ... Something I haven't had before.
At what bar or restaurant would you like to have an open tab? I really like Fred P. Ott's, because it's close to where I live.
What's your workout? Right now I'm getting exercise just working on Peter and the Wolf. I play eight different characters in the show, so it's basically this great 30-minute leg workout.
What's your pettiest relationship deal-breaker? I don't know how petty this is, but I get turned off when somebody is too interested too soon. I like to move slowly into things.
What do you do when you think nobody's looking? When I'm working on a show, I tend to say my lines under my breath, which might look a little strange to people who see me walking around mumbling in public.
With whom would you like to play Truth or Dare? Anderson Cooper
Have you ever been the other man? No.
What character flaw do you wish you could fix in yourself? I would like to spend less time on my phone. I tend to be too attached to it.
What are you most vain about? I started going gray when I was 12, and I did not like it back then. But I have to say that now I really do like my salt-and-pepper hair.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? I love a man in glasses. I always look twice at a tall, thin man in glasses. If we want to get more crass, I am an ass man.
Who's on your crush list? Anderson Cooper