Raw, noun: 12. a sore or irritated place, as on the flesh.

Out of nowhere, I am sick.

Really sick. Flu-sick. For the first time in what must be at least a year or two. Trying to trust that my body's telling me something here - maybe to draw in and take it easy today, after a busy and fairly sleepless weekend. With the rain continuing to pour outside and the day just growing colder by the hour, I don't mind the excuse to stay in. But my nose is raw-red-Rudolph-style. Ow.

Went to the opera the other night, and the evening's been resonating in my mind ever since. When you go to the opera, you generally know what to expect: stellar vocals, beautiful costumes, an excellent orchestra, and of course the sweeping scenery and gilt-domed beauty of the opera house itself. You don't, however, necessarily expect to find a lot of eye candy. It's the simultaneous charm and the disappointment of opera that the performers' aesthetics generally play second fiddle to their vocal prowess. And so sometimes - ok, often - that means the romantic male lead is played by, say, an obese hairy man in his 50s, albeit with a killer vibrato and a soaring range.

That's cool. No prob. I can go to the movies for the pretty boys.

So you can imagine my surprise on sitting down to "The Barber of Seville" and seeing the most gorgeous piece of eye candy zoom onstage in his 1940s red Vespa and strapping boots. Whoa mama goddess. Hello, Nathan Gunn. Google this man. Please. Because he's a stunner. A chiseled radiant uber-sexy young baritone with the most charismatic, self-possessed body language this side of Hugh Jackman. Talk about raw male beauty. Wow. I almost had to leave the room.

Needless to say, I was riveted. Opera sans eye candy will never be the same now. Unfortunately for me, Dreamboat Gunn is a) very much married, b) very much a father, and c) very much not based in San Francisco. So I'll have to fall back on my default, Mr. Clooney. Which is fine - George will do. But I'm just saying, if you ever get a chance to see this guy - take it. It's not often that you run across such a rare combination of stunning good looks, audacious ease of movement, and resonant vocal talent.

Now if I could just get the image of him swaggering around onstage out of my mind...


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