When the Gosling craze began in earnest in 2011, it seemed run-of-the-mill: another fleeting, Tumblr-powered fad that'd come and go like a super-handsome shooting star, and be unceremoniously succeeded by, oh, maybe Michael Fassbender, six months later.
But it hasn't been succeeded. It's barely cooled. Gosling has flirted with the zeitgeist for going on five years now—all while never (really) becoming tired or clichéd or the object of ridicule.
More importantly: Gosling has flirted with the female population at large. And they—and most of the rest of us—still can't get enough.
But how? It's not like other actors don't have talented PR teams. What is it about Gosling that inspires the female masses to what is surely the most refined, cultivated hysteria of the Internet generation?
Because there are certainly better looking actors. There are certainly better dressed actors. And, yes, there are certainly better actors.
What are the lessons to be learned? How can we steal his charisma—his je ne sais quoi-the-hell-is-so-mesmerising-about-this-guy?
Esquire's thorough, intensive, and wholly empirical research has revealed the following:
1. PRAISE THE VIRTUES OF CUNNILINGUS
There's a reason Gosling is both sex symbol and feminist icon. Unless you're a pop culture hermit, you've seen the memes of Gosling overlaid with feminist theory. The fairer sex's adoration for Gosling is deep and complex and varied–but it might have its roots in a letter. After his raw indie flick Blue Valentine was given an NC-17 rating, all owing to a single scene of (consensual), non-graphic cunnilingus, he wrote the following:
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self.
2. BREAK UP FIGHTS
While a grown man doesn't get into fights, he can most certainly break them up. (Wherever possible, perform your peace-keeping act while wearing a wife-beater for that extra punch of dissonance.)
3. BUT BE PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF BEATING A MAN TO DEATH
Just so everyone knows you can.
4. MASTER THE BROODING STAR
Step 1: Neutralise your face.
Step 2: Channel the moment you realised that you forgot to turn off the iron.
5. LEARN AN INSTRUMENT
Being able to sing in a sweet, affected voice: a bonus.
6. WEAR THE HELL OUT OF A SUIT
7. GIVE LIFE TO WORTHY, INDIE FILM PROJECTS
Because there were a helluva lot of projects between The Notebook and The Big Short.
Try Lars and the Real Girl. Concept: man falls in love with doll. Result: convincing and honest.
Or Blue Valentine, a lyrical, brutally real portrayal of love, bleak and candid enough to make you question every relationship you've ever entered into. Oof.
It's not that either of these films–or his other low-budget projects, like Half Nelson–were stop-the-presses superlative.
It's that after the sustained success of The Notebook (now clearly the Titanic of '00s date movies), Gosling could have opted for the low-hanging, high-reward fruits of the motion picture industry: the assembly line rom-coms, the mind-numbing, Michael Bay popcorn flicks. Make no mistake, he could have spent his past decade on the silver screen nailing a smorgasbord of sexy actresses du jour, spouting out of-the-moment pop culture references in smug post-coital bliss. Let's be real: it's the career path 99 percent of us would have taken.
But take a look at Gosling's ratio of easy wins to small-town doll romance dramas: the man's discerning. The man's got principles.
And chicks dig principles.
8. IF IN DOUBT, WEAR A WHITE TEE
9. WEAR THE HELL OUT OF A PAJAMA SHIRT
With the caveat of knowing your limits and knowing there's approximately two dudes that can pull this off. (The other lives in the bunny mansion.)
10. WEAR THE HELL OUT OF NO SHIRT
A substantially more difficult style to acquire.
11. BE SPARING WITH YOUR WORDS
Total running time of Ryan Gosling's dialogue in Drive: about 5 minutes.
12. BE A DOG PERSON
Because women have loved this since forever.
13. BE GOOD WITH KIDS
Because women have also loved this since forever.
14. BE IN A BAND
Because women have loved this since before forever.
15. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
16. CULTIVATE A TOUGH GUY ACCENT
From an interview with W Magazine: "As a kid I decided that having a Canadian accent doesn't sound tough. I thought guys should sound like Marlon Brando. So now I have a phony accent that I can't shake, so it's not phony anymore."
17. ABOVE ALL, BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR HETEROSEXUALITY
From: Esquire US