Tiger: tigre in Spanish, tíguere in the local argot, in which the word came to represent the essential defining characteristic of the Dominican alpha male. The Dominican tíguere was, like the ideal male in all Latin cultures, profoundly masculine--macho, in the Castilian--but had dimensions unique, perhaps, to the Creole culture of Hispaniola. He was handsome, graceful, strong, and well-presented, possessed of a deep-seated vanity that allowed him the luxury of niceties of character and appearance that might otherwise hint at femininity. He could move with sensuality or violence; he was fast, fearless, fortunate. A tíguere emerged well from nearly any situation that confronted him, twisted any misfortune to an asset, spun a happy ending of some sort out of the most outrageously poor circumstance; he was able, being feline, to climb to unlikely heights and, should he fall, always landed, being feline, on his feet.
You needed a good closet. You had to be proficient in at least one sport, the more dangerous and expensive the better. Languages were an asset--for blandishments if nothing else--and smarts: not bookishness so much as worldliness. It wasn't necessary to be drop-dead handsome but you had to be charming, and you got extra points for a reputation for danger and good times. You had to dance well, it went without saying. A little money didn't hurt, if only to get you into the right restaurants and nightclubs and casinos and hotels. (A lot of money didn't, of course, hurt either.) Connections were essential, whether acquired through school or sports or socializing or business, if you were the sort who went in for business. And time. Time was, as the saying went, of the essence: time to travel and time to play and time to lounge and time to get fit and time to get fitted and time to dally and time to take your time while others, less certain of themselves and what they wanted, scurried. You had always to be on your guard; the least sign of ordinary sloth or slovenliness or boredom or fatigue or complacence could be a crushing turnoff, and you'd be through. It helped to have an equanimous sense of humor about yourself and what you were up to, both of which could look pretty ridiculous if the light was aimed just so. And taste, the je ne sais quoi that separated the vulgarian from the connoisseur: God help the fellow who went into this racket and lacked fine taste. No, no, laugh though people might, whisper and snipe and grumble and disparage, when it was totted up and taken as a whole, if the thing was to be done as it ought, there was nothing especially easy about the life of a playboy. Years later, when he was internationally famous for his women and his sporting life and his diplomatic postings and his gaudy adventures and his seeming ubiquity in the scandalmongering media, chic nightclubs, and enviable boudoirs, a journalist asked Rubi when he found time for work. "Work?" he answered. "It's impossible for me to work. I just don't have the time." It was no joke. Gumption and pluck and guts and fortune he had in surfeit, but his chief employment, the thing that ate his time, was creating out of whole cloth the image of himself.
Formal schooling in the gentlemanly pursuits of riding, fencing, skiing, tennis, dancing, etiquette, languages, and the rudiments of the liberal arts.