In college, my roommates and I made an annual practice of exchanging Hanukkah gifts before we went home for winter break. My roommates were both in serious relationships for a majority of the time we were in college, whereas I dated around. One year, my roommate bought me "Mr. Wonderful."
Mr. Wonderful has a lean body, a pronounced jaw, a perfect head of hair, giant feet and hands and a sparkling smile. I forgot to mention, Mr. Wonderful is also about a foot in height and battery operated. When one squeezes Mr. Wonderful's hand, he says all the right things.
I found Mr. Wonderful in the depths of my closet. His batteries are low and as a result, his slurred speech resembles a cross between a drunken sailor and Barry White. Here's what Mr. Wonderful knows how to say:
1. "You know, I think it's really important we talk about our relationship."
2. "Let's just cuddle tonight."
3. "Oh, you look so beautiful in the morning."
4. "No, you don't look at all fat in that dress. How could anything make you look fat?"
5. "Aw, can't your mother stay another week?"
6. "Hello darling. Have I told you I loved you lately?"
7. "Did you have a hard day, honey? Why don't you sit down and let me rub your feet."
8. "You're going shopping by yourself? How about if I tag along and carry your bags?"
9. "Actually I'm not sure which way to go. I'll turn in here and ask directions."
10. "I love you."
11. "Yes dear."
12. "You've been on my mind all day. That's why I bought you these flowers."
13. "You know honey, why don't you just relax and let me make dinner tonight."
14. "Why don't we go to the mall? Didn't you want some new shoes?"
15. "The ball game really isn't that important. I'd rather spend time with you."
16. "Here, you take the remote. As long as I'm with you, I don't care what we watch."
According to Amazon.com, you too can have your own Mr. Wonderful for the cost of anywhere from $6.99 to $84.99. I am not sure when and why he got so expensive. However, his package does promise, "He always knows just what to say!"
Now, add "Hey Girl," before any of Mr. Wonderful's key phrases, and you'll be amazed at how Mr. Wonderful shows an uncanny resemblance to Ryan Gosling—or the Ryan Gosling Tumblr meme, that is. Proudly, I can say my plush Mr. Wonderful with a plastic head was ahead of his time, before the Ryan Gosling meme ever exploded across the blogosphere. However, I have to admit, I'm obsessed with the Goz.
If you've been following Pinterest, Tumblr, or really pay attention to what's happening on the Internet at all, you've probably run into a Ryan Gosling meme. According to the Huffington Post, the "Hey Girl" trend originated from the blog, "F*** Yeah! Ryan Gosling."
I didn't catch on to the meme until the feminists took hold of Goz and the "Feminist Ryan Gosling" Tumblr blog evolved, featuring a series of feminist theory flashcards using various steamy and/or sensitive pictures of Gosling saying forwarding-thinking theories about women and gender stereotypes. I got a little choked up/turned on seeing Gosling in this feminist context. Match his fabricated feminist persona with his role in the film Crazy, Stupid Love—in which he had rock-hard abs and wooed Emma Stone's character with a Dirty Dancing move—and I was sold. (For the record, I was never a Notebook convert.)
After the feminists started showcasing Gosling in this sensitive and evolved light, everyone seemed to want a piece. Now you can find "Hey Girl" Ryan Gosling Tumblr sites for puppy lovers, librarians, biologists, teachers, crafters, food bloggers, Silicon Valley geeks, typographers, Jews (check out the latest Passover Gosling memes) and more.
With news that Gosling not only stopped a street fight a few months back, but also recently saved a British woman in New York from getting hit by a taxi, he's basically the sexy messiah. I joined women across the country when I died a little bit inside reading the news, wishing it was me. Gosling has reached a God-like status, and none of us is really quite sure how he got there.
As Jezebel.com writer Lindy West wrote after Gosling's taxi save, "…how is Ryan Gosling even possible? And how much longer can he keep up this bonkers trajectory of increasing human perfection?"
"Just to recap: He's stupid handsome, just quirky-looking enough that it's not annoying," West added. "He's masculine, but not threatening—like a bro that you actually want to hang out with. He's funny. He's feminist. He wears t-shirts THE BEST. He breaks up fights and keeps the streets safe."
West goes on to point out that he's actually a great actor too (despite his squeaky clean start in the Mickey Mouse Club).
In some ways Gosling has overshadowed George Clooney in the sweltering Prince Charming department. He's not old enough to be a sleazy bachelor and doesn't date Vegas waitresses (that we know of). Gosling, by no Tumblr efforts of his own, has become an ordinary superhero for women; a champion among dudes; a guy that gets us—or so we've projected upon him.
I was having the old "buy the cow" argument with my mom the other day about women moving in with men before marriage. You know, "Why buy the milk, when you can get the cow for free?" She argued men are being handed everything on a silver platter (companionship, sex, house chores) and then they don't have to work for their meal (or marriage). To make matters worse, she argued, they're just immature. I can't argue with that. But, the cow metaphor makes me a little sick. However, I do agree men aren't set to commit like they were in her day. I also know couples who have lived together for years and then split up. I still believe living with someone is knowing someone. And knowing someone takes time and self-adjustment. I read a Wall Street Journal article a while back that posited that we actually fall for our emotional opposites—for some reason we like the challenge—and each member of the couple has to adapt to how each other receives emotional attention in a positive way.
The Gosling memes have become an arena for women to laugh at themselves and their own quirks and interests. They've also become a bit of a sounding board for women to express how they wish they were appreciated. Women are essentially building the perfect man—or Mr. Wonderful—through this meme form of expression. The fact that so many women have caught on and made it theirs speaks to something—something we feel like we're missing. Messiah Gosling has become a vehicle for the voices of women.
We want someone who loves us for all of our quirks—loves us in our element. We want a mate that thinks we're fabulous when we're engaged in something we are passionate about, be it biology, teaching, cooking, crafting, geeking out or just being ourselves. We want Mr. Wonderful. No batteries necessary.