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.