28 June 2012

The Gentry Man

My sad collection of Four. Only 19 more to go.

At $20 - $30 an issue, The Gentry Man affords the "Best Of" for about $13 bucks on Amazon. Chapters speak to 'a good life' spirit. I'd add only one chapter.

Anachronistic travel stories with luggage made out of granite are balanced by insight into travel of style and luxury. Curious to know what happens to an industry hammered by price buyers? Look no further than air travel. Why has elegance gone out of menswear? Because we're wearing the equivalent of a $99 United Airline's ticket.

Publisher and editor, William Segal was an artist and color, despite a fair amount of monochrome pages, was always important. He was always looking to teach and enlighten. Any of the future car color combinations could be used anywhere. Clothing, house interiors or a painting.

Women have the talent to speak in color and understand it as well. Maybe that's why they get along so well with men in interior design. But as an artist and a publisher, color was everything to Segal and I can't help but wonder what he could have done with a larger budget or if he hadn't invested so much in the expensive attachment of swatches and fishing flies.

I'm a big fan of colorful resort wear and am always reminding myself of the 'Time, Place & Occasion' rule. Despite these fellas being in Barbados, I'm not sure the time is right and I can't imagine what the occasion would be.

My favorite chapter is food and drink. I've said it before, I may not be able to drink or screw the rest of my life, but you gotta eat. Author Hal Rubenstein has selected amazing recipes that are, unless you're a vegetarian, amazingly contemporary. If you're a young man and you're looking for classic seduction techniques, I recommend you start with cooking. Groans of passion, as a new friend tells me, can come from your cooking or sex.

These fabric swatches were applied by hand, mostly by young women working in Gentry's offices in the Empire State Building. Whenever I see these, I can't help but wonder who the young woman was that affixed the swatch -- what they were thinking at that moment...and what they would be having for dinner that night. Perhaps with a young man who knew how to cook. It's a lovely image I like to conjure up...

The down side of all the eating and drinking is addressed in another example of wise advice suitable for all of us middle aged men who get out of breath rolling over in bed. Some neat tricks. A tomato juice ordered first thing in a restaurant to fend off the bread basket. A creative use of glasses and a constant portion discipline trumps exclusion of certain foods.

When I was a young man, in my twenties and living in NYC and later Philadelphia...I paid very close attention to women who were artists. I suppose you might say I was a groupie. For me, there was nothing more boring than dating a CPA for an insurance company whose only art on her wall was a framed Winterhur poster and whose books were limited to college texts and best sellers that had never been cracked. I'm not saying I wouldn't stay the night given the opportunity or invitation. I am saying I'd never go back. Usually.

Show me a studio apartment crammed with family pictures, used books and water color or oil painting experiments on the wall. A collage on the fridge and inside a carton of milk gone bad three weeks ago. Thread bare rugs of mysterious middle eastern origin and dark brown furniture bought at a Freeman's basement auction.

You can flip through Hal's book but he warns you'll be missing the bigger picture. Part of it, for me, is that it's hard to live a life if you're just shopping. Hit the road, cook for a pretty girl, enjoy what you're looking at, and, like William Segal, never stop asking yourself, "Who am I?"


RulingPart said...

This is a great post! I must have this book.

Thanks very much.

Oyster Guy said...

A Trad tour de force today with a spicy dash of paint daubed post-war bohemian in the bedroom. An "instant classic" of a post in the nomenclature of Ralph...

Main Line Sportsman said...

Ah...Gay Pride week at the Seaport? I cannot fathom any time or place where an adult male should mince about in these silly ass sailor suit ensembles.

M.Lane said...

I bought it yesterday after your original post and should have it tomorrow! It will make a great companion to your book when I take delivery later this year.


Richard M said...

just ordered it.

Makaga said...

Hey Tintin and fellow Trad-ers,
How much would you pay for a copy of the original Gentry magazines? A buddy found a handful of them but wasn't sure what a reasonable price was. Apparently he thought it was a bit too high.


tintin said...

Makaga- it's all about provenance. For instance, they usually run $20-30 depending on condition. But, if they were owned by a well known blogger, they could be upwards of $500 an issue. Even more if they were associated with a book review of The Gentry Man.

Anonymous said...

First of all Alan Richman hasn't done a good film since Die Hard. Second of all William Seagal didn't say 'Who Am I?" Jackie Chan did. William Seagal said "I'm gonna take you to the bank Senator Trent... to the the Blood Bank!".

Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...

Just seeing this now and wanted to comment. Great post. It seems like an interesting publication and surely I'll order a copy.

More importantly, I like the back story on it, how you relate to it, and your take on women.

Recently, I went out on a date with an MBA student and her place was very much like you described the CPA. I remember thinking it felt like taking out a math teacher and retiring the side in a physician's office. Now to find an artist...


tintin said...

I was with a CPA. Very nice apartment in Phila. Two story loft. Went upstairs to her BR. She left the TV on. No sooner had things started to get interesting when I heard the Hogan's Heros theme. I couldn't stop thinking how much I'd rather be watching Hogan and how much she sounded like a truck backing up.

Anonymous said...

Great story.

Like always, thanks for sharing.