I found myself telling a friend he had a lot of gravitas. He gave me a funny look that suggested surprise, or what the fuck does that mean?
I’m leaning towards the latter, not because he isn’t sharp, but it’s an uncommon noun meaning…dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner….gravity, authority…sobriety with distinguished formality…
all of which he suffers from.
Its opposite being frivolity, lightheartedness, flippancy and fun a feature or two (or three) he lacks.
I could certainly claim this word if you’d discount my Lucy tendencies since it doesn’t share the stage with scatterbrain, loopy, dippy and daft. Airy, zany, quirky and just a tad off.
Having gravitas however can be viewed as a compliment since it also suggests leadership, guidance and good-orderly direction. Focus, wisdom, intelligence and soundness of mind.
One can translate this of course as dull, boring, overbearing and flat…tedious, monotonous and one helluva pain in the ass to anyone it applies to.
We all know people like that with feet almost too firmly on the ground their humor crushed by the weight.
My friend, for instance, is a well-read, slightly pompous writer I try to make laugh on a regular basis, a true challenge since I’m rarely successful gravitas coming between his distinguished formality and my chronic silliness.
What can a screwball do who can’t help if she thinks everything is slightly funny, a lifeboat of sorts keeping her afloat.
But all is not lost…he inspired this essay after all and would be more than a little mortified if he knew.