Rob and Chris took off their coats. Not that it was particularly hot, but the Prince Charlie jacket doesn’t allow much flexibility of movement when working utensils at a table.
I tugged on mine, but the buttons on my vest held me back. I had the youth size, you see, a word I like to use more than “children’s”, where the vest is an illusion created by sewing two panels to the jacket. I would have been naked had I had taken off my coat as the vest is a modern cuirass, offering a form of psychological protection, and I was left with the option of all or nothing.
I made a comment about it in passing, and Rob started to unbutton his vest, then adamantly told Chris to take his off. I had to convince them that I was joking before they stopped.
This has come to define Rob to me. A guy who’s willing to embarrass himself so that others will feel more comfortable. It reminded me of Adam Sandler in Billy Madison, pretending that he peed his pants by splashing water on his crotch so Ernie didn’t feel so bad about doing it himself. Sometimes Rob goes out of his way to help you and ends up embarrassing you even more, but his intentions make it easy to forgive him. His heart is in the right place, and that’s more than you can say for most people nowadays.
It’s the same way with his intelligence. He wraps his thoughts in humour, perhaps as a way of hiding his perspicuity to put others at ease1. Unfortunately, some people can’t see beneath this veneer and misinterpret it as typical male obnoxiousness. It didn’t fool Pat though, who described him as diverse, a person with something insightful to say about any subject. It was only after Pat used that word that I realized Rob is a cosmopolitan who feels at home anywhere doing anything.
Rob is also one of the few people who can tease me and get away with it, because he’s just as self-deprecating. I’ll make fun of his size, and he’ll make fun of mine. And while he’s a man’s man, he has no problem admitting that he has he visits craft stores for his daughter, that he watches cooking shows with his wife, and that he loves his brothers.
That’s the great thing about Rob. He’s filled with confidence and he has no problem speaking his mind, instead of pussy-footing around sensitive subjects2. He’s the genuine article. What you see is what you get, and if you have a problem with him, it’s your fault, not his.