28 December 2012

Esquire's Subliminal Seduction

When I was 12, I had a cousin who was a golf pro, somewhere on Hilton Head Island. He drove a white Porsche 912 (he wasn't that good of a golf pro) and was dating more women than James Bond.  I worshiped him. As an only child his parents kept his bedroom, just as he left it, sometime in his early 20s. Whenever we'd visit, I was lucky enough to get his room and his room taught me a lot.

A giant plastic bottle of VAT 69, holding what must have been over $299 worth of pennies, sat on the corner of a desk with a piece of glass covering snap shots of girl friends. Steel drum albums from the Carribean waited for me under bookshelves filled with paperbacks, a few dirty,  and piles of Esquire magazines.

I would sit on the edge of my cousin's bed and stare at the Esquire pages of adults living out their happening lives as steel drums danced from a Marantz receiver.  Booze ads were everywhere.  Large breasted women were everywhere. And everywhere people in Esquire smoked.  20 years later my ex-wife would rightly observe that my idea of being a man was limited to smoking, drinking and breasts.  She wrongly attributed this to Playboy. It was Esquire and... I've always been a leg man.

When I look back at old issues of Esquire, I see where my idea of manhood originated.  Those  old Esquires, smelling of dusty years that make me sneeze, still grab the 12 year old in me --still unsure of being a man.  Of having paid the right dues, made the just sacrifices and fought the good fights to hold  onto my character.   This'll  be my 55th new year.  I still don't think I write well. I know I can't balance a check book. I have no discipline.  There's an awful lot I know I can't do.

But when I look at the January 2013 issue of Esquire  -  I'm reminded of who I am. Sure, most of the smoking is gone but the booze ads are still there as are the large breast-extruded actresses who offer up what they find attractive in a man.  Happily, it's always for sale but I ain't buyin' anymore.  A watch isn't going to define me. Neither is the scotch I drink, the tobacco I smoke or pictures of girl friends under glass.

Having said all that -- I have no idea why I just bought a bottle of Old Crow. I should'a bought the White Horse.


Anonymous Texan said...

You are right as rain on Esquire. Cut my teeth on it in the 4th grade ,early sixties. Fond memories.
Happy New Year.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Smoking,drinking and breasts...throw in a good 12 bore over/under and a fine bird dog and life is complete.
You are an excellent qriter Tin-tin. Happy New Year!

NCJack said...

Dad subscribed since I could recall, so I was into Esquire in the late '50s. Even as a kid, I knew the "Playboy" man was a sort of a poseur, while the "Esquire" man had the confidence born of achievement.

And the best fiction in the country, probably, up through at least the '70s. Guy named Rust Hills was the fiction editor, and must have been some kind of genius.

My 1959 Esquire "Etiquette for Men" is still a good reference for dress and how to act in a variety of situations.

M.Lane said...

Wonderful piece. I sat in the woods and read Esquire and Playboy and learned a lot too. I wish they were as worth reading now. Then I read them AND stared at the pictures. Now, mainly the pictures.
Happy 55th. We all look forward to many more.


Anonymous said...

Being a legs man too, I can appreciate why you lead off with the first ad above! Nice.

Anonymous said...

OK, you had me until you said a watch isn't going to define you. C'mon, not even a Rolex Submariner Oyster Perpetual? That's always been signature, man. Signature.


-=Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-=Doug said...

Great piece, Tin, as usual. Happy New Year to you, sir!!

tintin said...

Thank you, Doug. Happy New Year to you but the White Horse glasses are gone.

ann said...

"After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same." All the best this year.

atrone said...

i love the glow of this photography. check out this collection http://www.socialbliss.com/atrone/street-style-HAZDGNZU

Julia said...

Hope you enjoyed your holiday birthday, Tintin. Keep writing and taking pictures!