The list

by Lorin Michel Monday, April 24, 2017 10:11 PM

Many years ago, cocktail party conversation often veered into discussions of “the list.” This was before we all got too old and cynical, before we started worrying regularly about what was going to happen to all of us at any given moment; about the decaying state of the world. We’d get together with friends, and we’d laugh and talk and drink. The list – the frivolous and fun list – would come up.

The list mainly consisted of musicians or actors who, if allowed, we would have a fling with. It was a stupid game and also ridiculous since it was never going to happen and even faced with the possibility, most of us wouldn’t have taken advantage of anyway.

My list, once upon a time, included Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell. They were both so gorgeous. It expanded to included Antonio Banderas especially after I saw The Mask of Zorro. Then it expanded again to include Pierce Brosnan. And Taye Diggs. 

Kevin’s list included Sela Ward, Rene Russo, and for a while Angie Harmon. These lists were great sources of amusement in the house. I actually loved that the women on his list, with the exception of Angie Harmon, were older than me. It made me feel secure. He had no trouble that I loved the way Antonio Banderas moved or that I drooled over Pierce Brosnan. For the longest time whenever Pierce Brosnan’s name was mentioned it was immediately followed with the words “he’s a beautiful man” because he was. If you haven’t seen The Thomas Crown Affair, see it. I dare you not to drool.

I have since moved on from my list. I completely lost interest in Mel Gibson when he imploded. Actually, I think I started losing interest when he did The Passion of the Christ, for a number of reasons. I haven’t seen him in anything in a long time, though I still have a poster from the film Ransom hanging in my office. It’s the eyes. With Kurt Russell, it was the hair. 

I’ve dabbled with putting George Clooney on my list should I resurrect it. But as much as I like him, he’s not really list material. At least not for me. I’ve never felt particularly strongly about Brad Pitt though Bobbi is a huge fan. I never cared much about Ben Affleck and as much as I like Matt Damon, he’s not really list material either. I love Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks but again, not list material. I liked Patrick Dempsey for a while but not enough for him to make the list. 

Which brings me the guy who would probably be near the top of the list today. Matthew McConaughey. I love his smile, his Texas drawl; his hair, and his smile. And he’s a good actor. Forget the stupid romantic comedies. Revisit A Time to Kill, or The Lincoln Lawyer. Or even Contact or Interstellar. Watch Magic Mike or the Lincoln Commercials on television. Be still my middle-aged heart. 

I saw a bit of Contact today. It was made in 1997 and he looked so young. But he’s magnetic. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, even though I’d seen the film several times; even though after seeing it several times, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.

But the man at the top of the list is someone who’s not an actor or a singer, someone I saw today during a live broadcast from the University of Chicago. A man I miss every day. A man of grace and intelligence, who remains completely in love with his wife. A man with a great sense of a humor and an easy smile. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 44, otherwise known as Barrack Obama. I just love that man. 

This is how far I’ve come, or at least that’s how I like to see it. That my infatuation with actors has waned a bit (except for McConaughey) and has been replaced, instead, with a man of known substance, the former President of the United States. I don’t know if it’s something to celebrate, but it something that’s causing me to smile out loud.

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live out loud

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