Not long ago I was walking through an airport when I briefly locked eyes with another man.
The man in question was a gentleman’s underwear model. I know this not because he was in his underwear, but simply because I have seen him in his underwear so much. I have seen him in his underwear more than I have seen myself in my underwear, and I have enjoyed that particular image almost every single day (sorry if this comes across as showing off).
I’ve seen this man in other situations too. He must constantly have a photographer with him. Sometimes you’ll see him standing in a field wearing a tweed hat and holding a rifle. Or relaxing on a bed in a delightful robe. Perhaps you’ll see him in a well-cut suit, his tousled hair draped over a bronzed forehead, as a sad thought crosses his mind and he has to look off camera (very unprofessional).
The man was David Gandy.
David Gandy is not like me or you. He is a proper man. I often judge a man on whether he has trustworthy forearms – the kind of forearms that could sweep away helicopter wreckage in an emergency or perhaps lob a bowling ball at a fleeing robber – and Gandy has not one but two of them, should both situations arise at once. And as we locked eyes I think for a second we were just two men drinking in each other’s beauty.
“Poor guy,” I thought. “His beauty is so obvious, whereas mine is very understated.” Was that a look of jealous longing I saw in his eyes? A look that said, “Brother, help me. Help me live a life like yours.”
Who is really to say? Not you. But I take your point. Probably the main difference between David Gandy and me is our looks. Certainly, if you were to see pictures of us side by side, nine out of ten people would immediately know who is who. But I like that. I do. I do not want to look like David Gandy. I don’t. No way.
Because for one thing, whereas it is the aforementioned obviousness of his beauty that has made him a millionaire icon of the fashion industry, it is that exact same obviousness that meant that – when it turned out he was on the same flight as me – he had to make sure he was the very last to board.
Not because he was late. David Gandy is never late for anything, because nothing truly starts until David Gandy is there. But in case he was stared at by hungry eyes. Getting on last all the time means David Gandy can never pay for, say, the Speedy Boarding option on EasyJet flights, because what’s the point? Maybe that’s why he sometimes looks sad in his photos.
It also means he was suddenly wearing a baseball cap he had pulled down low, possibly in case his piercing blue eyes startled the pilots. It’s the same reason they banned those laser pens.
No such problems for me! Civilians tend to leave me be, when it comes to matters of aesthetics, whether on flight or ferry, and I welcome this. My motto is very much “I won’t go on about it if you don’t!” Nor do I suffer the inconvenience of David’s daily routines. Gandy probably uses things with jojoba beans in them, or has to wash his beard in volcanic ash etc. Neither of those are available as part of a Boot’s 3-for-2. He probably has to carry so many bottles with him he sounds like a drinks trolley when he walks.
And while there might be minor advantages to his beauty, they are only advantages if you consider wealth, women and adulation to be somehow ‘desirable’, but you’re better than that. The real advantage, of course, is that someone who possesses a level of looks that high means that he can get away with things that you or I (you) just could not.
Take the oversized bow tie, for example. David Gandy could wear a bow tie half the size of his torso, and people would literally cross a room to congratulate him on it. If you wore the same tie, you’d look like a children’s entertainer, or a forgotten ‘80s snooker player.
David Gandy could change his hairstyle every single day and no one would make a single comment. You’ve been using the same hair gel you got from a garage for sixteen years.
So yes, in terms of hair gel and bow ties, David Gandy has the upper hand. But that is where it ends. Because would you swap lives? Of course you wouldn’t.
And sure, you will see photos of men reclining in dressing gowns, or standing in fields wielding guns in tweed hats.
Well, you’ve got a camera phone. What’s to stop you doing the same, but unpaid, voluntary
And many hours later, as I sit in the disappointing bar of a Hilton, I wonder what brought David Gandy to the same city I have travelled to.
So I google his name and hit News. His picture comes up. David Gandy has come all this way just to put on a big bow tie and attend the launch of a glamorous new car, while being handsomely paid to be handsome.
This, I consider ruefully, is the danger of being too beautiful.
Me? I’m going to have a sausage pizza and be in bed in half an hour. I smile as I raise my overpriced hotel lager to my lips.
“Close shave,” I think.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
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(Main image: D&G Light blue ad shot by Mario Testino)