Acuity

As in:

As first encounters go, the initial meeting between Christina “Tina” Barsokasian and Randi Doans was memorable for the ease with which they became such bitter rivals. By then, Tina was a day older than 46 and had so shattered the glass ceiling at Markworth Holdings that Fortune was eager to put her on its cover.

And, for that, she was ready.

“What’s the point of pulling in a million bucks if you don’t look like a million bucks?” is what she said to the writers.

Randi, who didn’t need to earn a million bucks a year, rolled her eyes when she heard about the quote. Although Randi had the bedroom eyes of a diva, she also had the shape of a kettle gourd, and about that, she cared not a bit. She was three years younger than Tina, but she looked much older, and exuded an air of contentedness.

“I guess you can tell that I’m not thin-skinned,” is the most she would say, amongst friends, about her expansive body.

Tina’s shorter hair—styled and tapered at the neck as if she were born to be a Merganser—served the functional purpose of being easier to care for coming out of the quick showers that followed from her frequent workouts. If her preoccupation with her form was her biggest weakness, then the cleverness with which she converted her greatest weakness to an image-enhancing strength was another example of her winning acuity.

When Tina walked the writers and photographers into her new office at Markworth, she took the hallway that passed by the corporate gym, where angular executives of both sexes could be seen through the glass, flexing, lifting, and churning away on stairmasters and elliptical machines.

“Nobody here ages gracefully,” Tina said, with a slim and capricious smile.

When Randi arrived for their first meeting, Tina brought her in via a different hallway and courted her with marinated chicken on skewers, accompanied with ceramic bowls brimming with aromatic sauces.

“I must look like I’m hungry,” Randi quipped.

It took only a quarter of an hour for Tina to steer the conversation toward the valuable beachside property that her company was eager to acquire. We have clients, Tina explained, “who ask themselves” when Randi “might” consider an offer for the property.

Randi drew a sip of lime Perrier from her water glass and methodically licked her upper lip.

“When I’m done with it,” she replied before dabbing at her mouth with a kerchief.