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Ryan Gosling worship is leading to the rise of the 'blandsome'. Let's give men a (Diet Coke) break

If you're a man, and you don't have a six pack you may recently have been forced to question your own sexiness by Ryan Gosling and the new Diet Coke ads. Don't.
  • @MsEllenEJones

This column goes out to all the sexy people. You know who you are. Although, if you’re a man and you don’t have a six pack you may have been forced to question your own sexiness by the news that the Diet Coke hunk is making a comeback to mark the soft drink’s 30th anniversary. This time around, British model Andrew Cooper will be betraying his countrymen by going shirtless to play the perved-on manual worker, enlivening break time for a gaggle of googly-eyed female office workers.

Then there’s Ryan Gosling, an actor who, it seems increasingly likely, is not an actual living, breathing human male but in fact an elaborate satire on the laughably predictable sexuality of straight women. If he was papped tomorrow doing the washing up in a Mr Darcy costume while talking about how much he loves his cat, we’d have no reason to be surprised.

The blandsome man is on the rise. Are they handsome? Sure. But in such a symmetrical, samey way that your visual cortex will often shut down from boredom before your brain has time to distinguish between them (see the picture of Ben Affleck and Hugh Jackman standing side-by-side at this year’s SAG Awards. Spot the difference.). Not only does can this make it difficult to follow the plots of films and TV shows, it also puts pressure on ordinary, everyday sort of men, by bombarding them with images of unobtainable masculine perfection.

I sympathise, I do. But not that much. Firstly because I’m a member of the traditionally bombarded gender and secondly because this is a situation that also insults straight women, by assuming we all have the same, rather obvious tastes.

So I won’t relate a reassuring anecdote about my friend who prefers shorter men because “they are more portable and take up less room in bed”, although I could. Nor will I be listing stats on women who associate baldness with virility, though I have them by the bucket-load. Like the women’s mag features “celebrating” curves or the ads featuring “real women” (the same models, but chubbier) this would probably just come off as patronising.

The media that targets teenagers (ahem, Nuts magazine) should take responsibility for the messages they plant in impressionable minds. If you’re a fully-matured adult, however, the glaring mis-match between what the media deems sexy (tragically limited) and what real people find sexy (infinitely varied) will have long ago become obvious . In short, it takes all sorts. This is a theory I’d love to expand on, but unfortunately it’s coming up to 11.30 and I’ve got a got a sudden craving for Diet Coke…