His Most Attractive Feature

I recently overheard several middle-aged, female, Starbucks customers gushing over Hollywood star Ryan Gosling.

They each took turns trying to describe what it was that made him so attractive to “their daughters”:

“He can do it all: Act, direct, sing, even do a lot of push-ups with his shirt off.”

“I saw him looking good in some cut-off cord shorts and mid-ankle boots with heels.”

“He looks good when he’s wet, dry, bearded… even wearing those nerd glasses that the pastors at my church are all getting.”

The whole thing eventually devolved into a conversation about whether his eyes were better than his pecs, or his pecs were better than his abs.

I left before they started working any lower.

As I drove away I wondered if they realized that these things are also true of just about every other handsome, chiseled, actor in Los Angeles?

When I relayed this story, and my cynical comments about the common desirability of A-list leading men to my friend Jordan (who looks good dry or bearded) he told me that Ryan Gosling was actually quite a bit different than the average movie star.

“That guy works at a sandwich shop”, he said.

It’s true, after his star making turn in “The Notebook”, Gosling went out and got a job working at a sandwich shop.

If you’re wondering why a man with cash and muscles like Jillian Michaels would take a job at a sandwich shop then you’re probably going to like the explanation that he gave GQ magazine:

“I’d never had a real job.”

Gosling got his start in show business on the very same incarnation of The Mickey Mouse Club that launched the careers of Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake.

If this is news to you, you aren’t alone; he didn’t get famous overnight.

It was obvious to Disney execs that Gosling didn’t have the same prodigious musical talent of the other kids, so he got fewer opportunities to work.

His free time wasn’t all spent idly.

Instead of overindulging himself on small-time stardom, Gosling applied himself to the craft of acting. Applying diligent effort to the talents he did posses eventually led him to the big screen.

In the process he also gained an understanding of why stardom crushes so many of the people who pursue it:

“The problem with Hollywood is that nobody works. They have meals, they go to Pilates, but it’s not enough. So they do drugs. If everybody had a pile of rocks in their backyard and spent every day moving them from one side of the yard to the other, it would be a much happier place.”

Gosling’s point is well made isn’t it?

When we have nothing to do but pursue our own pleasure, that pleasure becomes unsatisfying. In a life without purpose, pleasure will eventually become meaningless.

What makes Gosling so different from so many others, and I’m not just talking about celebrities, is that he didn’t just grasp the problem, he actively did something to counteract it.

“People used to come in and request me, I put love in those sandwiches!”

Gosling could easily have taken the low road, insisting on being served, and been able to pay for it all.

Instead of living it up, he centered himself around the purpose of serving others and found joy in doing something productive with his hands.

I don’t know Ryan Gosling.

I don’t know if he’s married or single.

I don’t know if he’s a faithful man or an unspeakable cad.

I don’t know if he looks better wet or dry.

I just know that he wasn’t scared of doing something difficult to avoid going down the same track that derails both kings and commoners alike.

That’s probably his most attractive feature .

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” -Proverbs 12:11

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”-Proverbs 14:23

One Response to “His Most Attractive Feature”

  1. Sharon O December 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    good thoughts and great write up about a man and his ‘life’ thank you.

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