They shook hands briefly and a strained, unfamiliar look of embarrassment came over Gatsby’s face.
Gatsby’s embarrassment is the most acute strain of all, as he’s a man who has everything he wants but one woman-as-object of desire; he’s attained everything he has in single-minded pursuit of that one desire, he’s become frighteningly resourceful and unflappable, but he never envisioned this. He never gave much thought to the man who actually has the love of his life, so when they actually meet, his embarrassment is so unbearable that he flees the scene before another word of introduction can be uttered.
What do you look like when you come face to face with the one who has what you want? Someone who has the girl or guy, the clothes the car the house, the job, the life? You might see this face if your webcam was on while you surf the web. Envy is the defining emotion of our age, bolstered and boosted by the immersive wash of posts, likes, tweets, and shares. What purpose to all this public commentary on minutiae if not to spray the arrows of envy from everyone to everyone, to make us all both humblebraggarts and envious targets at once?