Recently, I have encountered an interesting dichotomy between the demeanor of young men on my college campus. The majority, unfortunately, lack regard for others and have somehow come to the point where they are comfortable speaking vulgarities in front of women. There are some, though, who impress me daily with their tact and genuine care for others. To celebrate the latter, I’ve compiled the following list of ten real and fictional gentlemen whom I admire.
1. Edward Fairfax Rochester, Jane Eyre
Okay, there is definitely some room for debate here considering Mr. Rochester’s secret and his dark personality. I personally admire him for his sensitivity, his sympathy (taking in Adele Varens), and, obviously, his romantic, brilliant use of the English language. Some sigh-worthy lines:
“You transfix me quite.”
“And there is enchantment in the very hour I am now spending with you. Who can tell what a dark, dreary, hopeless life I have dragged on for months past? Doing nothing, expecting nothing; merging night in day; feeling but the sensation of cold when I let the fire go out, of hunger when I forgot to eat: and then a ceaseless sorrow, and, at times, a very delirium of desire to behold my Jane again. ”
2. Prince William
While he may be an Aston Villa fan, Prince William is one of the finest modern male role models I can think of. He served in the RAF as a search and rescue pilot, has been consistently involved in philanthropy, is well-educated, humble, and (despite what naysayers claim) hardworking. I can’t emphasize enough how much I hope my future son will aspire to be like Wills.
We’ve all seen the “Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling” lists, we all love Ryan Gosling, there’s not much I need to say here. Some of my favourite Gosling anecdotes are: the time he broke up a fight in New York, the fact that he owns a restaurant in L.A. where he also washes dishes, and that time he wore the Darfur t-shirt to the MTV Movie Awards.
If you are looking for an honourable role model, look no further than the work of Tolkien. Although the characters of Frodo, Sam Gamgee, and Gandalf are great picks, I have chosen to focus on the King of Gondor. Despite his royal lineage, he is courageous, humble, and loyal. Although this scene was not in the book and was added by Peter Jackson, I feel that it perfectly represents the kind of man Aragorn is.
5. Michael Fassbender
Yes, he is incredibly handsome. To be honest, I don’t know all that much about him as he seems to stay out of the spotlight despite his numerous major film roles in the past few years. I remember watching him on an episode of the Graham Norton show alongside Mark Wahlberg and Sarah Silverman. While the two obnoxious guests went about their business being insufferable, Michael just sort of sat by quietly until he eventually did this. But anyway, I just feel like he’s a nice guy.
6. Crown Prince Frederik
He’s got to be a gentleman if he is married to Crown Princess Mary. The Danish prince was educated at Harvard and the University of Aarhus, served in the Danish military, and is now patron of over 25 organizations. He, Mary, and their four children have been known to travel around town without security and are apparently quite approachable. He seems to be very down-to-earth and personable, while also maintaining a sense of decorum and respectability.
7. Jon Hamm
Oh, how I love Jon Hamm. He’s hilarious, well-spoken, and well-dressed. I secretly hope that he and Jennifer Westfeldt have children one day because I feel like he would be a fantastic dad.
8. John Keats
I adore John Keats. He was born in London in 1795 and lived to be 25 years old before dying of tuberculosis. He was prolific, writing over 200 in his short life. My favourite pieces are those written for his lover Fanny Brawne. I seriously urge you to watch the film “Bright Star” so that you may understand just how gorgeous this man’s writing was. Here’s an excerpt from a piece titled “Ode to Fanny”:
Ah! dearest love, sweet home of all my fears,
And hopes, and joys, and panting miseries, —
To-night, if I may guess, thy beauty wears
A smile of such delight,
As brilliant and as bright,
As when with ravished, aching, vassal eyes,
Lost in soft amaze,
I gaze, I gaze!
9. Jean Valjean, Les Miserables
He goes to prison for stealing food for his sister’s children, saves people from burning buildings, saves Fauchelevent’s life, becomes the mayor, turns himself in to save Champmathieu, steps in when Javert is about to arrest Fantine, adopts Cosette and raises her as his own, rescues Marius from the barricade, and more. Valjean is tough and heroic, yet tender and nurturing to Cosette. And, that voice.
An incredible actor (The Sting, anyone?), a social activist, and major philanthropist. In a culture where the misbehaved and narcissistic celebrities seem to get the most press, we need more men like Paul Newman. I mean, have you seen photos of him with Joanne Woodward?