Tony is an Irish man who works as a bartender at the restaurant across the street. He’s very approachable, and deeply kind by all measures. Tony shows up in conversations with his trademark rough edges. He says “fack” a lot. He goes up and down the bar, and in infrequent moments, stops to share the gossip about other people who sit right beside me. By default, Tony thinks all of his customers are idiots. However, there is something special about Tony. He knows about medieval history and old fashion primitives, more than my late uncle who was a history teacher.

Last night, there was a fire alarm in the building and I was forced to leave the building and wait outside -until fire fighters concluded their show. I thought, I might as well go see Tony. As soon as I walked in, he turned around and poured me a drink without saying a word. He put the drink in front of me and then asked “sit here, I want to ask you something”. I knew right then, a classic bar moment was about to be born with his show and all. He looked at me dead in the eye, and asked, “what does gorgeous mean to you?”

I admit, I had to think a lot. Albeit if I was smart, I’d not be the pensive guy at the bar who knows the bartender. Because what happens next is that, other people at the bar stare at you and keep buying you more drinks.

After a while, I was able to form a thought about the subject. Here is what I listed out for Tony. I said, “Gorgeous is the one who:

– Has a flawlessly symmetrical and kind face
– Carries a mildly reserved persona
– Makes me think, ‘God she’s gorgeous’ consistently, and with no qualms”

Tony, who’s very argumentative, reluctantly made me feel he understood the first two, but he needed more information on the last one. He said that he’d never be able to admit or internalize such thing, even to self. That said, Tony was on a good mood last night and ended up buying my drink.

Admitting someone else’s qualifications happens to be a hard task -if you’re competitive, complex, or analytical. Such admission shows some of your cards –even if you spend no other form of capital. Tony’s mindset reflects our society. The Rugged Man Society, where everyone is on his own. In such place, there is no room for give and take of credit, in any shape or form. I said all of that to Tony. His response was “Fack Off!”.

Or maybe, I’m just a late bloomer who still has inner voices of “god, she’s gorgeous”. From time to time, I am known to have a slow get-it factor. Maybe, I’m just not that smart. Well, the graveyard is full of indispensable men. Someone else will come and fill that role.

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