You're So Vain
Have you ever noticed that men's vanity is like women's aggression: character issues that neither handles very well? Men can get mad and it blows over like a seasonal thunderstorm. Women simmer. They claim they're not mad. They don't give themselves permission to be mad. You know: "he's angry but she's catty."
Men and their vanity are similarly disowned. But you know it when you see it. I remember being in a bar one time -- in my youth, when I did such things and when doing them was simpler and more straight forward-- and noticing a bunch of guys sitting at a table. They were nice looking men, but one was particularly attractive. Not drop-dead handsome, just an open, friendly face and an obvious interest in whatever his friends were saying. I mentioned his demeanor to the person I was with and he suggested I go tell the man he was attractive. He reminded me that life was short and we needed to appreciate one another whenever the opportunity presented itself. He was right.
So I went over to the table and excused myself for interrupting their conversation. Their faces lit up and they assured me it was fine. I turned to the man (who happened to be wearing Goodwrench coveralls) and told him that of everyone there in that bar tonight, he was the most attractive. There was a stunned silence and then the rest of the group got up, remonstrating with me: "Hey, I'm better looking than him," and "No, it's me. I work out everyday," or "You're kidding! Joe is ugly. *I'm* the good looking one..." And so on. I turned back to Joe and he just said, with a big grin, "Thanks." I made his night and his reaction made mine.
Which tale is by way of introducing a funny story from Arghhh! The Home of Two of Jonah's Military Guys
After I got out of the Army the *first* time, I had a bartending gig at the local Large Chain Motel and Cocktail Lounge, which was Large Chain enough to have *two* bars. Mine was the "party" bar, so-called because it was part of the conference suite usually booked for large, festive weekend shindigs, such as umptieth birthday parties, wedding receptions or the local pols receiving a particularly grandiose campaign contribution.I know it's a mean trick but you have to go over to the link to get the punchline. Just in case it times out or you have dial up and could wait for Godot quicker than you can wait for them to load, tomorrow I'll put the punchline in the comments.
But on weeknights, it was a nice, quietly contemplative joint, not unlike Callahan's (especially if you peered into the shadows after a few of my Perfect Rob Roys). Mostly regulars, with just the right sprinkling of passers-through to keep things light. One Friday night, I was pretty much alone except for a small gaggle of secretarials enjoying some liquid decompression, when in strolls Bobby, the local heart-breaker. Imagine (a young) John Travolta crossed with Ben Affleck, then add a dash of Leonardo diCaprio.
And just as shallow.
One of the secretarials couldn't take her eyes off him. Bobby made eye contact, zeroed in and walked slowly over. Before the secretarial could say a word, Bobby took her hand and purred his patented, "I'll do anything -- absolutely anything -- that you want me to do. No matter how kinky. For a hundred dollars. On one condition."
To her credit, the secretarial kept what was left of her cool and asked what the condition was.
Bobby replied, "You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."
The secretarial didn't even hesitate. She grabbed her purse and slowly counted out five $20 bills (I mentally kissed off the chance of a decent tip for the night). Then she wrote her address on the back of a barnap and pressed the bills and the barnap into Bobby's hand.
She looked deeply into his eyes and slowly, meaningfully said....
Let's just say that in the on-going war between the sexes, her tactical manuever left me with the same grin Joe had on his face. Just the nice warm feeling that doing the right thing brings.