Previously in this series on fantasies of masculine vanity and feigned nonchalance: How I Intend to Comport Myself When I Have Abs.
Oh, wow, I hadn’t even noticed I’d grown darkly handsome. If I have grown darkly handsome, that is – I really haven’t noticed. I guess people have been talking about it lately, maybe a lot, as in maybe a lot of people have been talking about it and they’ve also been talking about it a lot, because it’s a really popular topic for conversation — I guess two really popular topics for conversation, because the first topic is about whether I’ve recently grown darkly handsome (the consensus seems to be yes on that front, but I’m really not the person to ask, since I haven’t been involved in those conversations and really don’t have the first idea what makes someone darkly handsome or not) and the second topic is about whether I’ve noticed that I’ve become darkly handsome. It sounds like people don’t think I have noticed it, which is true, and I suppose that leads into the third topic, which is whether my not noticing my newly-darkened handsomeness (is it that my handsomeness has become dark, or that I’ve become newly handsome and that handsomeness happens to function as a sort of dark mysterious aloofness, like a widower with a secret, but not the bad kind of widower secret where he didn’t really love his wife or god forbid maybe even killed her, the good kind of widower secret where the secret is how much he loved his wife, which is even more than everyone knew at the time, and they already knew he loved her so much, and his conspicuous devotion to the dead is only exceeded by his inconspicuous devotion to the dead) is amplified by my not noticing it, and I guess the answer would probably be yes, but of course I don’t know for sure because I’m not really invested in any of these questions, I have no stake in my own enigmatic magnetism, if it even exists.
Sorry I can’t be of more help! I love being able to provide people with help, because I’m an infinitely-renewable source of competence, expertise, ease and fluidity of action, purpose, clarity of thought, and decisiveness, which I guess is something people appreciate about me, and possibly even eroticize, but I wouldn’t know anything about that, because I never think about what people might eroticize. Or do I! I guess maybe that very tense uncertainty is part of what makes me so coilingly attractive, is wondering whether there’s any sunken erotic potential boiling underneath the smooth, almost-featureless surface of my sophisticated, propulsive affect. I guess the onus is on other people to try to figure me out, so hopefully they enjoy silently wrestling with the possible contradictions of my faultlessly-inscrutable nature? I don’t really know if people enjoy that kind of thing, if they find the idea of unlocking a darkly handsome puzzle rewarding or frustrating, if the idea of inconsistent and unpredictable rewards for troubling someone’s (my) enigmatic remove adds to the thrill of my cryptic good looks or not. Do people spoil for carelessly masculine emotional withholding?
It’s probably a good thing that my carelessly masculine emotional withholding is solely confined to the question of my becoming gradually (but also kind of suddenly?) darkly handsome, because in all other circumstances I’m reliably frank and totally emotionally equitable. And now that I’m darkly handsome and everyone’s talking about it so much these days, they’re all asking themselves things like, Was it gradual? Or was it sudden? And some people are saying it’s kind of both, and other people are saying that’s not really possible, and some of the first group of people are saying Maybe it didn’t used to be possible but it’s clearly possible now, because he did it, and the rest of everybody (the other part of the first group and the entirety of the second) agrees that it does seem to be unprecedented, and difficult to pinpoint the exact emergence of my blistered beauty, “It’s not like he just changed his hair or started working out, it’s obviously not connected to any sort of conspicuous effort it’s more like an unexpected trip through a carwash than a makeover,” and I guess it seems like the only thing everyone can reliably agree upon is that I have become a wholly-novel avatar of handsomeness, but they’re constantly squabbling about how and when and why, and I’m just like a wonderful placid island resting calmly in the midst of a roiling sea of arguments about my handsomeness, which I guess makes me both a sorely-needed port in a storm and the storm itself, which I guess a lot of people find attractive. Do people find that attractive? Rough-hewn and unconstrained elemental power of the kind found in the squalling, surging sea coupled with the deep and profound peace of a sheltered isle, such that any darkly handsome man who somehow managed to marry the two seemingly-contradictory modes of being into a single, seamlessly-integrated whole would arrest the interest of any halfway-libidinized subject and suffuse their character with the brutal, delirious, terrifying joy that rushes in with freely accepting the inevitable, even though inevitability usually precludes freedom, but in this one very handsome instance it actually doesn’t? That this particular handsome instance has already resigned everything infinitely and then taken everything back on the strength of the absurd, and therefore his own desires must reside within some location fundamentally unknowable to you, which relieves you firstly from the pressure of finding yourself an object of conscious desire and provides you secondly with the thrilling possibility of wrenching his focus away with sufficient focus, force, and intent? And this very handsome instance doesn’t even realize the delirious brutality he unleashes on everyone around him, which only increases the mysteriousness of his darkly handsome charisma, because he doesn’t even know he’s doing it, which inevitably raises the question, What could he do to you once he realizes what he’s capable of doing to you? Which I hadn’t even realized, until you put the question to me just now.
If you went backward through the car wash, would you come out pale and homely?
It is possible for me to imagine this resonating with me if I were darkly handsome, I could indulge that thought. If I were ever to think of myself as darkly enigmatically handsome in the eyes of others - which is possible to imagine, though I’m not sure why I would - I’m just getting on with being myself and existing in the world. Well, doing more than anything else - isn’t that what existing is? One does things. Not imposing, though, that’s far too brutish. Perish the thought. Just doing what so clearly needs to be done, in the way that it needs to be.