Ever pondered on the misery of a handsome man?
Many a lady and a fellow out there will probably dispute this statement, countering, how so can a mucho gwapo chap be unhappy, eh, Ah Kong?
An ugly-faced man like Ah, yes, surely, will have misery. But not a mucho gwapo.
Of the friends Ah gathered in his lifetime, Dario Algadao, 62, whose father hails from the Cordillera and his mother from Ilocandia, is probably the most handsome of them all.
Ah and Dario came to know each other when they were merely knee-high to a grasshopper, the time Dario was in Grade 3.
During Dario’s teens, his being an Adonis (good-looker) was the talk particularly of his classmates – the gals.
Ever seen pictures of the god Apollo in Greek mythology? Then you can picture Dario’s face. Handsome, eh?
But why Dario chose to stick with Ah as a friend was a mystery. Because they are poles very much apart. Ah possessed the ugliest of face no girl would like to dream about while Dario’s features melted ladies’ hearts.
Many who saw them in their young days likened the two as the perfect match, calling the pair: the good and the ugly.
Ah and Dario parted ways in the late 80’s after Dario finished college, and never saw each’s shadow for more than forty years.
For those lost years, Ah smiling remembered Dario as a kid who painfully laughed his woes away when he stumbled and his shins scraped raw.
Hurrying for home last Tuesday afternoon at around 5:30 P.M., Ah crossed over towards Baguio’s Post Office Loop, went down the steps leading away from the Post Office, to catch a ride along Session road when somebody called, “Bony, Bony!”
Ah turned towards the voice. Momentarily, he thought he saw an apparition. But recognition set in. By Jove! It was Dario, Apollo’s apparition alright.
Greeting each other over, they retreated towards a café. They talked of times gone when Ah suddenly blurted, “So how many children have you, now?”
Dario scratched his head and said, “none,” suddenly looking forlorn.
“What do you mean none?” Ah pressed on.
“Because I’m not married,” Salvador sadly intoned.
Surprised, Ah intoned, “Now, don’t you go pulling my leg. Remember? Of the times I teased you being slayer of women?”
“Not joking, Ah. I’m not married, not lying,” Salvador stated. For a long moment, the two kept silent, as Ah digested Dario’s revelation and wished for his patience to understand his bachelor friend.
“Want to tell me about it?” Ah softly asked. Seconds passed before Dario did. And the emptiness of his years poured forth like water, yet in revealing his plight, his humor about it never left him. That’s Dario – his sense to grin and bear things.
Here’s how Dario described his unhappiness, in the most likeness Ah was able to capture their conversation.
Dario started: “Your readers may find my declaration incredulous, but I have the miseries of a handsome man. Oh, by the way, your column is famously read for the smile it brings them. Now, where was I?”
“Ah yes, your readers may say I am incredulous. Far from it. Little do they imagine how I am led to reprimand my face. Too often do I envy the peaceful state of mind of they who are called ordinary-looking.”
Salvador explained he envies those like us who have personal attributes, everything in common, that attract not so much an attention.
“Perhaps,” Salvador chimed, “your readers may laugh at what I’s saying. They don’t understand. I want them to know.”
Salvador noted the first hint that scenes of his life will change was when he heard his pa tell his ma, “our boy’s handsomeness will likely make him a pretty fool someday.”
His pa’s prediction seemed to be right. Dario discovered to his woe there were those who described handsome men as vain. When he walked, he heard people say, “Look at the creature Dario. How he walks, strutting, fancying the world admires him.”
So anything to please people, Dario appeared unkempt, but it became worse when he heard, “Personal cleanliness is the bounden duty of all; no personal reason can excuse inattention to this essential.”
Another worse comment Dario heard was, “Have you seen that piece of vanity of Dario lately? He imagines he has the handsomest face and is entitled to be vilely dressed.” Such criticism came from his aunties.
The world seemed to be one great critic against Dario. Mothers began to gather their daughters whenever Dario made an appearance and he was left with the old and the ugly.
Then there was the scandalous report circulated that he courted more than 10 women in one day and the women promised to marry him the next day.
Dario explained to Ah that he could have borne all the criticism, “he’s so handsome, he’s immoral,” but it was denied him, he being the object of universal fear.
Elder sisters would tell their younger sisters to “keep close to them,” when Dario was around. For this, Dario felt, in fact, treated as a monster.
Dario grew melancholy, miserable and felt like a wandering Jew. Then he heard some say, “Well, let him be miserable. It maybe some consolation to the many whose hearts he has broken.”
Dario complained to Ah that his life he compares it to the story about the miller and his donkey. You know about this story. But the comparison ends there. Because while the miller was able to sell his donkey, alas, Dario could not even sell his beauty, er, handsomeness, to be exact.
A day came when Dario’s friend, (Dario named him Kudsie) got married. Dario thought this was his chance for Kudsie and his wife to introduce to him their female friends for Dario to befriend. So he went to the married couple’s home.
But hope vanished. It was foolish anticipation. On his first visit, Dario noticed Kudsie, being uneasy, shifting in his chair and making signs to his wife.
Dario, miserable that he was, saw it all. His unhappiness seemed to have made his senses acute.
Then Kudsie’s wife stood up, reasoning she needed to leave their presence because she had a violent headache. But Dario never saw a woman look very much better.
Dario understood the meaning of Kudsie’s signs to his wife. Kudsie was afraid of entrusting his wife in the presence of Dario.
One day Dario was able to ask permission to visit a lady in her home. As he sat in the Sala, he noticed a mirror. And he looked long into it. He didn’t know he was secretly observed by the girl as he stared at the mirror.
His next visit for the next day was cancelled by the girl, who declared to her parents, “I would never marry a man who keeps looking at himself at the mirror.”
“Why did you have to keep staring at the mirror, anyway, when you were there to court a lady,” Ah said, interrupting Dario’s story.
But Dario swore to Ah that he solemnly declares he wasn’t admiring himself before the mirror, but merely endeavoring to discover what was causing his nose to itch.
So, it’s all over for Dario. He’s a marked man. Unless, one gal out there, who’s really meant for him, thinks otherwise.