We were trying to see if we could build a new school of philosophy. Our founding text would be this utterance by the actor-director Cesar Montano: “Essential yung eksena, so dapat tantamount ang level niya.”
The new philosophy covered dinner arrangements easily enough.
â€”What about dinner with Chus on Tuesday?
â€”Chusday is tantamount lang ang level para sa ‘kin.
But would Tantamountism hold up in the face of that great intellectual challenge, window-shopping and imaginary retail? Riccardo, Noel, and Carlo were going to Greenbelt 4 to see if any of the merchandise was “them” (viz. They point at the product and ask, “Is that me?”); I tagged along.
In the window of the Gucci store there was a golden gown, very slinky, reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett in her Charlie’s Angels period. Noel and Carlo examined it closely. Carlo remarked that it was just the right size for a female friend of his. “You’re the same size,” Noel said, “Why don’t you try it on?” Which led to our first thought-problem for Tantamountism: Can a man try on an outfit made for a woman? After some discussion we decided that if the outfit was essential and the man could afford it, then it was tantamount. Especially if he brought us along to observe and record the salespersons’ reactions.
Then Noel spotted a scarf that had been turned into a halter-top. “It would be alright if the wearer herself had taken a scarf and repurposed it into a top, but for the manufacturer to make that decision for her is presumptuous.” Almost fascistic, I added. In Tantamountist terms, it would be essential but not tantamount.
Riccardo pointed to a handbag. “That’s the finest leather they’ve produced, la pelle Guccissimo.” I gasped and gazed upon the handbag in awe. “What is it? Is it made of dead Guccis?” We agreed that it was not only essential but tantamount, especially if one could buy it without going into hock.
Exhausted by our philosophizing, we broke for dinner.