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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm a guy, okay? Deal with it.

If there's a record for such things, I think Esquire magazine holds
the title for the longest-running assault on masculinity. Don't get
me wrong, I love a lot about Esquire. Their annual "Dubious
Achievement Awards" is a must and let's face it, a year's worth of
sexy women and inside guy jokes are worth the seven bucks a year.

Esquire is a brand that has sort of fluttered around the concept of
"man at his best" since the early 1930's. Back then, being a man
meant being a heterosexual male, white and preferably of east coast
extraction. Even their little logo guy, "Esky", had a patrician look
to him. When you're short and swarthy, bespectacled and willowy
makes a nice unattainable goal. It lets you know that no matter how
hard you try, there's simply no place for you at the top of the
American heap.

Over the years, Esquire morphed from the patrician man's magazine to the edge of Playboy territory. Where Playboy drew the line at pubic hair, Esquire drew the lines of public policy, dictating what class was and was not. Through it all, though, Esquire did manage to maintain its sense of humor.

Well, that's not entirely true. There was a dismal period in the
1990's when the magazine's penis fell off in a frenzy of sudden,
feministic political correctness.

Soon after, however, Esquire regained its equilibrium and was back
leveling smart cracks at just about anything and anyone. By the new
millennium, it was indeed good to be a man again, which served to
puzzle me even further. Because throughout its illustrious history,
Esquire has run an unbroken string of issues featuring the one thing
that definitely does not define man at his best:

Advertising filled with hermaphrodites.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why fashionable clothing has to be draped around humans I can only assume are male, although they would more reasonably pass for angular women. Even the models with facial hair look like runway models with hormone imbalances. And what's with the messy hair do's? With Esquire, there is no middle ground: you're either slicked back and stuck down or whipped into a rat's nest.

This is man at his best? Hey, nothing wrong with being a little gay,
I suppose, but the majority of us guys aren't in this for the men.
We want to look at women. We want to read about women. We want
women. What we don't want is page after page of androgynous
caricatures. They look like dopes. I mean, seriously, nobody wears
striped suits any more unless it's Halloween. As for the
photography, nothing shouts "Get me outta here" louder than those
fake, blurry black and white photos that scream "We're having the
time of our lives being gay at this party," where everyone is
laughing and icily handing off some skinny supermodels as if they had
the plague.

Here's a newsflash: that's not quite the image to which most
American males aspire. All that Thin White Duke stuff is over. Even
if we were foolish enough to buy those clothes at retail, none of us
would be caught dead walking down the street like that. It's
embarrassing.

So if anyone at Esquire is reading this, do a few million guys a
favor and knock off this homo-erectus thing and get back to sprucing
up the Neanderthals, would ya? For most of us, it's man at his worst.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jodie said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Rob - even if I were a man ;-)
Jodie - TryingReallyHard.com

3:11 PM  
Blogger andyszul@gmail.com said...

You're on to something, Rob. Though, sadly, it's not just Esquire. Check out several other "male" mags and the models don't look anything like what I see in the mirror. Guess I should hit the gym more often?!

###

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Ozami said...

Sounds like you have been thinking about this way to much! ;)

5:57 PM  
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