Thanks, but no thanks

It’s good to change things up. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, the second major US holiday in a 10 day period this year! I will do just that. Time to pick on another medium. Magazines.

There are so many awful mags to choose from and though they are often difficult to differentiate, I have one in my sights. Before I do, I’d just like to report, albeit maybe 7 years after the fact, on magazine covers. You can walk into almost any library in America now and see displayed on its shelves, lots o’ skin. The kind of pics, when I was a kid, your dad had hidden in the garage underneath Popular Mechanics. To be fair, and probably due to all that hard work of Gloria Steinem & her feminists in the 70’s, now it’s both female and male skin.

One of the pioneer men’s mags still extant, is ESQUIRE. They had scantily clad ( a dated, yet apt phrase, if I ever saw one ) women & illustrations by a guy named Vargas. Appreciating his work was a rite of passage for boys in that era. This was pre-Playboy. Can you imagine! if not the Dark Ages, it certainly was not so nakedly out in the light. Make that the spotlight. It’s that selfsame ESQUIRE I am about to rip a new one.

Now, in the 21st century, ESQUIRE is a compendium for all that is wrong with humans. They are a publication aimed at upscale men, or wannabes, in the 21-49 demographic. Features are always about how to dress, dine, drink, drive, drives ( sex ) and yes, even die. ESQUIRE never met a word beginning with the letter D it couldn’t publish 2000 words on it’s slick, pretentious pages.

ESQUIRE magazine at it’s inception was for men who are heterosexual. It ostensibly still is, unlike contemporary GENTLEMAN’s QUARTERLY ( GQ ), which is umm, metrosexual. . .. While being told black wingtips is the go to shoe for the serious grown up man on a monthly basis, is Hitler-like enough to make me bristle, the ads are truly something special. Somebody please explain to me what demo guy considers this a desirable kind of scenario? Five men, one woman? This is a family kinda blog, so I won’t use the word that scene brings to mind. It’s routine for ads in ESQUIRE and GQ though. In the name of full disclosure, I’m forced to admit, if the bashes I went to as a young dude are any measure, that disturbing ratio is about right! Maybe I’m just having difficulty accepting reality. Again.

What I really want to address ( undress? dress? redress? ) are the full page ads, sometimes a 2 pager, with no women to get in the way of good old homoeroticism. They often depict a naked or scantily clad male, surrounded by a male model mix of adoring and diffident chums. Oh boy! ( pardon the expression ) now there’s a party. Why wasn’t I invited? OK, I’m not good looking enough. But still! In the minds of twisted advertising people, they calculate a woman friend will open ESQUIRE and imagine her male companion in this setting, immediately run to Barney’s in Manhattan and do a Pretty Woman level shopping spree/music video montage for him. Deep in their fashion slave hearts, all the hot chicks wanna be Richard Gere ( the pre-white hair version, natch ).

If you got this far ( cough ), you’re likely puzzled. Why does this guy even know this stuff? Research, and I just like magazines. Also, I got it at the library; I sure wouldn’t pay for it. Hey, I really wanted to write how there are probably more than a few people out there who think the Pilgrims were racists because no black people were invited to the first Thanksgiving. No fear, things changed over the next 300 years. Slavers apparently being the 1660’s analog to the bussing of the 1960’s. Now we are all here and we all have so much to be thankful for annually, on the third Thursday of November. Me? I’m thankful I don’t own , or ever will own, a pair of black or any other color wingtips. That’s just shoe-ist not racist.

So much more to say, so much antipathy for typing & filing via dialup. Yet, I am compelled to add, is there anything more heartwarming than hearing barely articulate morons call in sports talk radio on Thanksgiving and share their golden memories of boxing? I am thankful for the off switch. I bet all of them were wearing boxer shorts & black wingtips too. . ..

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