If you haven’t had the privilege yourself, you’re going to think I’m hyperbolizing here, or that I’m saying these things because I love him--which I do, but which does not compromise the simple fact that he is slightly different from the rest of us homo sapiens.
I’m not even talking about the fact that he is a very, very talented and accomplished writer, which many of you may already know. What I mean is that he has this charisma, on almost a JFK level of magnitude.
Admittedly, when people stare at us as we walk into a room together, they are generally just either taken by his height or staring at my tits (I’m resigned to this). But if--as in the case of last Saturday’s i-Blog blogging summit--Dean has the opportunity to address the audience, then the peculiar alchemy of his sheer force of personality takes effect. In less than three minutes, guaranteed, my boobs will be forgotten, by even the horniest males in the room.
Dean opens his mouth; and area by area, person by person, you can actually watch the audience members realign their bodies and attention, as if to accommodate the fact that he somehow takes up more psychic real estate than anyone else. This goes beyond his being very, very loud (he is); very, very funny (he is); and very, very opinionated (If you don’t know that, you’ve really never met him). He is simply more there than anyone else you’ve likely met; more resonant, more arresting, more present. His words seem to have more weight--a color and texture you can almost see and feel. He could sell you snake oil or the Brooklyn Bridge… and as long as he’s still there and still talking, you would buy it and thank him for the privilege.
A friend of ours used to refer to this as “the essence of his presence”: the notion that Dean is capable of altering a room just by walking into it, and that you can actually sense he’s there before really seeing or hearing him. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but really? Not by too much. He’s one of those rare human beings that are catalytic by nature--when he’s around, people think better, laugh louder, react faster, and are sometimes even inspired to do more.
I’m not really sure how or why it works, but it does. And every now and then, on occasions like this most recent one, I remember how lucky I am to be the only one of the awestruck audience who gets to take the man home with me.