O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on. --Iago.
|Not envious: silverback|
Thankfully I learned to cope with that envy. Our friendship survived and endures still. In general I find I am not envious: I am happy with my life, even if I don't own a sports car. (And would I really be happier if I had one? Surely not!).
Then a couple of years ago, I was walking in the centre of a European capital city with my family. I was carrying one of my kids, aged about 2, on my shoulders. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon; the streets were busy and the cafes bustling. As we walked up the hill, I saw a young woman ahead of me bending down to get something out of her bag. She had fantastic legs, a lovely figure, lavish long dark hair and looked dazzling. I couldn't help looking at her, and I am sure I was not the only one.
|Envious of this: me|
I found myself very upset. My wife, who hadn't seen any of this, couldn't understand why I had been previously cheerful and became suddenly tense and silent. Even I couldn't at first identify why I was so upset. It was only later on that I realised that I was experiencing that cold metallic sensation of pure envy.
The girl I saw looked fantastic, was comfortable (and passable) crossdressing in public, and (I presumed) was on her way to some social event with her friend (who was also presenting as female, but I didn't get enough of a look at her). For me to achieve that is as impossible as to buy a Lamborghini. Sometimes, when I am dressing alone at home with the blinds drawn, I remind myself of that, and that doesn't help in any way at all!
If there was emotion written on my face when I looked at that girl, it was longing. The emotion of envy completely overwhelmed me, and prevented me from smiling, saying "Hi, you look fantastic. Do you mind if I ask where you got those shoes?" and turning the encounter into a pleasant event for both of us. Instead, she probably thought "Let's get in this taxi quick, before that creepy guy comes back".
If de Botton is right, envy is a clue to our most fundamental desires. If I were to actually buy a Lamborghini, I could just about do it, but it would mean selling my house, among other changes so profound that they cannot reasonably be made (and the truth is, I don't really want one any more). Likewise, regular public crossdressing would, in all likelihood, involve sacrifices which are too great to be reasonably made.