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When the “hey girl” meme originator and boyfriend of Eva Mendes hit the Cannes Film Festival red carpet across the weekend to promote his film The Nice Guys, we noticed something. Ryan Gosling never smiles with his teeth. And upon pictorial investigation, this is not just exclusive to the French Riviera.

For centuries (wait, no, make that just years), women (and men) have tried to denote what it is about the 35-year-old actor that makes him irresistible to almost any type of woman; the type where when someone asks who your celebrity crush is, a collective eye roll can be felt when you say “Ryan Gosling”. Because that’s everybody’s answer and that answer is too expected and boring so please pick another. The eminent scene from Crazy Stupid Love where an ab-centric Gosling dirty dances with Emma Stone still stands out as one of the most important cinematic moments in shirtless history. In Drive, the American neo-noir thriller, Gosling played a Hollywood stuntmen who moonlit as a getaway driver. He didn’t even have to speak and we were into him. Then there was 2012’s The Place Beyond The Pines which was actually not a great film but as it starred his real-life girlfriend, 42-year-old Mendes, we watched it anyway to get all but a glimpse of their relationship. But what was it about Gosling that had us so intrigued?

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Last week we learned the pair had welcomed a second baby girl, Amada Lee, into the world. And, in his first public appearance since her birth, Gosling walked the red carpet in Cannes. After trawling through endless paparazzi shots of the actor in a crisp white suit, the penny dropped. No, Ryan Gosling doesn’t smile with his teeth. He smiles with eyes.

“When you have smouldering eyes or bedroom eyes, it is an attractive feature,” explains psychologist Gemma Cribb from equilibriumpsychology.com.au. “Humans are wired to find eyes with large pupils – a sign of arousal – attractive. 

“Our pupils dilate when we see someone we’re attracted to and humans judge potential mates with larger pupils as more attractive because it indicates their mutual interest in us,” says Cribb.

While there may be a cinema screen between us and our collective boyfriend, Gosling knows his broodiness sells us in. 

Ryan Gosling at the premiere of the The Nice Guys at the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival
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