Magnum P.I.-ness

My favorite embassy guard looks lifted straight from a Magnum P.I. rerun. He's Jordanian, but he pulls off the late-70s/early-80s look with considerable aplomb. His hair is perfectly brushed back on the sides, and the two respective flows of dark locks meet in a neat convection zone in the back. A smallish and appropriately-worn police cap perches atop his crown, bill folded stylishly and pulled low over his large highway patrolman sunglasses.

His long, narrow face sports a prominent, yet unobtrusive, mustache that hangs slightly over his perpetually expressionless mouth. With the massive sunglasses and the dark mustache, you can't really see him -- and this is a bit unnerving, as you don't know whether he's sizing you and deciding where he should shoot you to cause the most pain possible, or whether he's just admiring the sunflowers in the field behind you, or whether he's asleep.

He wears his sleeves rolled casually up to the mid-forearm, his trousers sit comfortably low on his hips, and one hand rests lightly on his nightstick, ready to strike you with lightning speed and precision should you make snide comments about Tom Selleck under your breath.

This is all in stark contrast to the standard guard. The typical Joe Jordanian Guard doesn't quite know how to do a baseball cap -- the bill typically points upward at a 70 or 80-degree angle, making the wearer something of a functional sundial. ("Hey, do you know what time it is?" "No, take a gander at Ahmad though." "Oh, okay... looks like it's about 2:45.")

Moreover, his trousers are pulled over his bulging gut, the belt stretched across the chest two or three inches above the navel. Most importantly, the typical Joe Jordanian Guard has a permanent expression of joy plastered across his face; he's happy just to be alive and to be smoking a Marlboro... and to be therefore slowly dying, I guess.

As uplifting as it is to encounter smiling, cheerful guards, none of them possesses the cool tubularity that the Magnum P.I. guard exudes. That's why he's my fave.

Imagine, then, my dismay when I passed him on my way to my parking spot and saw that he had replaced his highway patrolman shades with sleek, black wraparound shades. It was all wrong! I wanted to slam on my brakes and express to him my profound sense of disappointment and disillusionment that his ill-considered fashion decision was causing me! But that would've been really weird, so I just parked and went to work.

Well, my new colleague, a blonde, single female just arrived from the States, has occasion to interact regularly with the guards since she's able to walk to work. While the rest of us are separated from the guards by steel car doors, glass windows that keep in the air conditioning, and Michael Bolton's greatest hits flowing sweetly from the car speakers, my new colleague, who speaks some Arabic, gets to shoot the breeze with them.

I therefore seized these fortuitous circumstances to describe to her my favorite guard and to furthermore lament his recent and unwitting departure from Magnum P.I.-ness to mid-90s-sport-boat-owner-ness. I pleaded with her to suggest that he re-don the highway patrolman glasses, should she have occasion to speak to him.

The results were mixed: positive for me, negative for her. She did, in fact, happen upon him later that day and mentioned that his larger and more retro sunglasses were preferred. The opinion of a blonde young American must have sufficient sway with him, because when I passed him the next day his steely gaze came from behind the big highway patrolman shades. I heaved a sigh of relief and whistled a jaunty tune.

Unfortunately, he may have somewhat misinterpreted my colleague's interest in his sunglasses as my colleague's interest in his musky manliness. He now regularly chats her up on her way to work and on her way home, and he even asked her if she wanted to take a weekend trip with him to see some relatives.

I feel kind of bad about it, because it was my desire to vicariously influence his fashion choices through my colleague that landed her in the awkward situation. But then again, it's really all about the universe being balanced and Magnum P.I.-ness being preserved. It was a sacrifice I had to make.