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Growing Up Alongside The Son

Popularity 4Viewed 847 times 2015-1-22 09:47 |Personal category:StoryTeller|System category:Life| Looks, and, women, growing, alongside

Growing Up Alongside The Son


Tall, dark and handsome - of the three things that women look for in men, I definitely have one. I am dark! In India it should truly read tall, fair and handsome for males. However, just being dark is not considered veto worthy for males, particularly if they are from a 'well-to-do' family or have the prospects of becoming 'well-to-do'. I missed out on my father's height of well over six feet (that my younger brothers got). I also missed out on my mother's good looks. I got my height gene from her - she was barely five feet tall.


I had grown up with the belief and a gradual painful acceptance I was not a looker and that I needed to have something else to make up for that, if I was to be found attractive to some. I was of puny build and unremarkable looks. I got through my teens, twenties and halfway through my thirties with this comfortable self acceptance. My selling feature in the culture I grew up was based on my supposedly 'intellectual' capability and the fact that I became an engineer, with some reasonable prospects to support myself and a partner. I knew that I did not turn heads like some of my friends who were better built, were fair and drove stylish motorcycles (even a wimpy moped or scooter was still a vehicle that attracted female attention in those days). In many ways it made life easier for me. I did not bother to spend a lot of time and effort to groom, dress and look good or dashing. I just drifted into a comfort zone of wearing my most comfortable clothes, shoes, not shaving or shaving when i felt like. There was also another benefit - I knew that those that liked me, really liked me, not my looks. Those that hated me, hated me  and not my looks!


It was not until I was in my mid thirties, married and when my son was born that I realised how the women really felt about my looks. 


But, first, let me tell you how I came to know this happened. My son was born when I was in my mid thirties. He had turned a few months old and we had him in a stroller/pram going around the aisles on the supermarket, or taking a walk in the neighbourhood. I noticed how so many women would walk up to him, cooing to him, blowing him kisses and generally act silly in front of him. 


They would then turn to me and say things like:


,"He is so cute!"


"So beautiful!"


"Such a looker!"


"Wait till he is older! Sure to break a few hearts!"


 Sometimes the women would say, "He looks just like you!"


Often, my son's mother would be there, right at my side, hearing this. In case the women did not volunteer it themselves, I would ask them, quite innocently of course, who did they think my son looked more like - me or his mother?. 


Almost everyone, to more than 99 in a 100, would reply, "He looks just like his father!"


It was then that I realized, how cute and beautiful I really looked, even to random stranger women. I was frankly surprised at how all the women had kept this fact secret and hidden from me all these years and now felt suddenly comfortable telling it to my face! I could not really understand this!  I guess, I have some difficulty understanding women.


Now, after some teen years, my son has grown big and tall. He is well over six feet (and still growing). He still has my dark complexion and my looks. 


We pull over at a McDonald's restaurant the other day, while on a long drive. I go to the line at the counter to order food for my daughter and myself, while my son goes into the restrooms. I can feel the typical politeness and corporate friendliness from the middle-aged manager and her young bright looking assistant (who is about the age of my son) at the register.


  I get a standard McDonalds's smile and greeting,"Hi, How are you! What would you like today?" (Note that it is all said in one breath)


I too politely greet them with a "Good morning" and go on to place the order for my daughter and myself. Just as we are done, my son comes from the restrooms and stands behind me in the line.


There is a perceptible change in the women behind the counter. While the middle-aged manager is taking my order and believes that perhaps my son is a customer on his own, she smiles widely at him and signals the assistant to attend to him.


That young thing comes up with a flashing smile and says to my son,"Hi! How are you?"

and actually waits to hear him reply as to how he is really feeling! It is important to note that there is a pause here!


My son who normally grunts monosyllables in communicating with people, does the same with her,"Hurff" (which I presume is Hi or Hello)" 


That does not seem to faze the girl at all. She is still looking at, actually looking UP to, him, since he towers a head above her. She is all wide smiles and really willing to serve him.


"What would you like?" she asks with an additional tone to her voice.


 I fear that if he says he would like her, she would just jump across the counter into his arms!! The middle-aged manager attending to me is also having an understanding smile on her face.


"Grilled McChicken meal," he softly mumbles in his usual style of speaking. He is totally clueless about the impact he has on the women behind the counter. 


"He is with me and it will be on our order please," I rudely interrupt the reverie that the two McDonalds women seem to have gone into. They take the order and as my son walks away to find a seat and my daughter follows him, I pay at the register. I pick up some napkins and straws nearby and head back to the counter, 


They serve my order and my daughter's first on the tray that I took away. They say they will call out or bring up my son's order since it would take just a minute more.


As his order comes up, my son sees it from our table and goes to pick it up, even as the girl seems ready to bring it to him. She says,"Here! Sorry for the delay. Enjoy it. Have a good day!"


And she says it like she really, really means it and wants him to have a good day, even if it may not involve her. As she turns her back to return to her register I can see the young assistant and manager exchange a meaningful glance, wink and a smile. They fake a swoon and fan themselves as if it had suddenly got hotter in there. 


My son is tall, dark and handsome (despite getting my looks) and still seems to unaware of how he is looked at. I should simply let it be and not tell him. It might go to his head!


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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