Thursday, August 23, 2007

Real Life Renaissance Men

My regular readers know I do tend to focus on fictional heroes. I’ve blogged endlessly about fantasy men like Admiral Adama, Jack Sparrow, and Rhett Butler. Even when I turn my attention to real men, it is usually some celebrity who by that token is somewhat larger than life. I mean, if you’re talking about someone who got his own show, it’s not so surprising that he be able to survive in the wild, write beautifully about the wilderness, film his own escapades, and compose and play the soundtrack. Okay, I’m still impressed, Les. But you get my point: it’s easy to find men to admire and lust after in the fantasy world of books, film and TV.

But can’t a girl find one of these guys in “real life”? Aren’t there any “Renaissance men”--guys who can excel with right brain and left--in our homes, shopping malls and offices? I don’t need to sleep with these guys (happily married, remember!), but it does the soul good to find them anyway.

As a matter of fact, I do know a real life Renaissance man. He’s a great friend of mine and my husband’s, also happily married, and if there were more people like this guy in the world, I think we’d all be happier. John (yeah, that’s his real name) has managed to excel in such a variety of ways, it truly boggles the mind.

John studied music in college and to this day plays wonderful classical guitar. He can do rock too (always a plus in my book). I could listen to him play all day; if only I could keep him in my closet to pull out whenever I’m in the mood for live music. But on the other side of the brain, John is a total computer whiz. He can build ’em, network ’em, troubleshoot ’em. Hardware, software, he’s your man. This is an even better reason to store him in a handy closet, hey?

John’s a voracious reader--for example, I believe he read all the Tolkien books before puberty. He’s quite a good pop culture guy as well--TV and movies and music. Meanwhile he can also talk sports--even hockey--intelligently. He can put together a grill and choose nice décor pieces. And dare I mention it...he’s also a fabulous cook.

If you’re starting to think I’m making this guy up, read on.

So, clearly John’s brain is pretty impressive, but wait, there’s more. He’s also damn amazing in the brawn department. He’s run marathons and recently moved on to triathlons, seeing as he’s also a good swimmer as well as cyclist. Yeah, the cycling: he does 100-mile rides on a regular basis. Meanwhile, he’s studying yoga and planning a trip to India for intense training. And he also took up mountain climbing and negotiated Mount Rainier the same week a couple climbers were lost up there.

Yep, he can do the outdoor thang, not quite as well as Les Stroud, but with similar enthusiasm. He loves to hike, camp, backpack, and takes excellent photos of his adventures as well.

It might have been easier thinking of things John can’t do. Okay, not much in the way of arts and crafts, and I haven’t seen him shoot pool.

The cherry on top is that John is a really thoughtful, generous friend. The whipped cream is that he’s also really cute.


You have to be wondering what kind of woman snags a husband like this. Well, John’s wife is also thoughtful, generous and cute. She has a doctorate, also cycles and is the true yoga expert in the family, and has extensive training in martial arts. She’s just as smart as John (have to be to be a scientist) and keeps up with him in all his adventures, which is certainly more than I could ever do.

Am I jealous? Not unless I become a widow, LOL. My own David, although he doesn’t have quite John’s repertoire, is an accomplished runner, can build a computer too, and has many irreplaceable qualities like his ability to do ventriloquism with our cats. He has nothing to worry about, there is only one David.

I’m just thrilled to be friends with a guy like John, a real, true, living Renaissance man. (And by the way, he looks great in Renaissance clothes, too.)

Know any real life Renaissance men? If so, do post and tell!

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