WE THOUGHT YOU COULD USE A gift about now. Let’s face it. Between the bimbos and the Bakkers, the Gulf and the sky, Meese and Reagan, North and Hart—not to mention the departure of Shelley Long from Cheers—this was one hell of a year. If our faith in our fellow man wasn’t entirely shaken, it certainly got cuffed around a bit.
THAT ESQUIRE IS THE MOST INTRIGUING, SELF-ASsured, and human magazine a man in America can read today is, in my mind, indisputable. Rereading last summer’s issue on the American Male, 1946-1986, has confirmed this fact in my mind once again.
Like most essential pieces of sports apparatus, skis are wrapped in mystique. Really, who knows what makes one tennis racket better than another? Why does one set of golf clubs surpass the rest? In choosing skis, though, there is a slight difference.
For all you need to know about the definitive motorcycle jacket and how to wear it, take a look at Marlon Brando in the 1953 movie The Wild One. He plays the leader of a motorcycle gang and wears a lustrous, heavy-duty black leather jacket that has all the requisite features: epaulets, metal snaps, belted waist, zippered forearms, and an oversize zipper running at an angle up the front.
Survival Lesson Number One,” Penelope Street announced firmly. “There are nine rules for avoiding avalanches ...” “... and the ninth rule is that there are no rules,” Jamie Ross interrupted. Penelope was our official ski guide for the weekend.
Champagne must have bubbles—that much is indisputable. But how many and how assertive? The modern taste requires corks that can knock ceiling tiles loose, unleashing enough foam to fill a laundromat. But it wasn’t always that way. Today’s Jacuzzi in a glass would have looked positively hazardous to the champagne drinker of two centuries ago, when even a mild fizz was controversial.
Two nonswimmers who burn under a reading lamp find themselves in midwinter baking on the beaches of Barbados. To escape the locals solicitously hawking milky aloe vera in rum bottles, they drag their reddened bodies into a rented Mini Moke and jolt up the Platinum Coast.
IN 1956, AT THE AGE OF NINE, I SAT at the breakfast table one morning babbling on and on about Elvis Presley, whom I had just seen on The Ed Sullivan Show. My father ate his cereal in silence. I kept talking about Elvis. Finally my father interrupted me in mid-sentence.
THE FLYER STUCK TO THE WALL OF a stupa in Durbar Square in Katmandu said MEET-GREET MOTHER TERESA. BLESSINGS-AUTOGRAPHS. I wasn’t doing anything that afternoon and figured it would be a kick to meet-greet a living saint and get her blessing-autograph.
The mysterious Mr. George Soros, known as the world’s greatest money manager, has long been an entirely different sort of money man. If you'd been lucky enough to find yourself with a spare hundred grand back in 1969, and if you’d had the foresight to invest it with the nascent investment fund Soros formed that year, that $100,000, at the end of last year, would have been worth (get out the cold compresses) just under twenty-three-and-a-half million dollars.
In Search of the Perfect (Okay, Decent) Airline Meal
You're the master of your own fate, captain of your own destiny. Whatever you’ve attempted, you’ve achieved ... except for one teensy failure. You’ve never figured out how to get an edible meal on an airplane. Now it’s become an obsession, befouling your disposition, poisoning your thoughts, consuming you from within.
Conformity is an inconstant god, bloodthirsty at times, indolent at others. Some guys get the ice pick because they refuse to eliminate their doggie photos from their desk tops, while others wipe the halls with their drooling psyches and get away with it.
Comprehensive longterm medical insurance is the single most important form of insurance you can buy. Without it, one major illness could mean the difference between financial health and bankruptcy. Yet surprisingly, 35 to 37 percent of Americans have no health insurance of any kind.
A laptop PC looks as cute as a puppy, and without the right software to drive it, it’s about as useful. Thankfully, Office Solutions Madison, Wisconsin, has come up with software specifically designed for the laptop. Their Office Writer Express combines in one package the two most crucial functions for the businessman on the go: word processing and intercomputer communication.
Marty Lerner is a peaceable gentleman in a murderous profession. From his sun-filled offices in Great Neck, New York, he sells lists of names and addresses to respectable companies who need them, more names over the years than all the people in the world today.
THERE IS NEVER FIGURING A YEAR in sports before it starts. You think you can predict what’s going to happen, the next thing, you’ll be trying to figure out what ever happened to William “Refrigerator” Perry. No one ever knows. No one knew that Larry Bird would be criticized for being white, that baseball bats would be CAT-scanned, that Sports Illustrated would put pit bulls on the cover, that Lawrence Taylor, the writer, would recommend golf as a cure for cocaine; maybe that’s what they need in the South Bronx, miniature golf on every corner.
I HAVE BEEN REREADING TWO OF THE best-selling books of 1987. Each was a sleeper whose success astonished both authors and publishers. One book is The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, a longtime professor of social thought, a teacher at the University of Chicago, and a translator of Plato’s Republic.
<p>THE EDITORS OF ESQUIRE ARE PLEASED to present the fourth annual Esquire Register, an honor roll of men and women whose accomplishments, values, and dreams reflect America at its best. This year’s honorees, now holding positions of leadership in their various fields, were selected because they and their peers will shape American society in the next two decades.</p>
CHECKINC IN ON THE LIVES AND TIMES OF PAST HONOREES
Our 1985 profile of Wall Street Wunderkind Lewis Ranieri shocked the banking community with its disclosure that Salomon Brothers chairman John Gutfreund had put Ranieri “on the short list of potential future chairmen.” A year later he became vice-chairman, and then last summer rocked the financial world again, this time by suddenly and unexpectedly resigning his post.
ELLIOT ABRAMS, 1984 honoree. Last summer admitted soliciting a $10 million “donation” from the Sultan of Brunei for the Nicaraguan contras; shielded Oliver North’s covert role. MARTIN A. SIEGEL, 1984 honoree. Forced to pay back $9 million for tax evasion and colluding with Ivan Boesky et al, after heading up one of last winter’s most egregious Wall Street insider-trading scams.
<p>EARLY ONE MORNING, THIS PAST JULY. I’M SITting on a bench in Florence. The tourists are restless. Europe is suffering through its worst heat wave in years, but visitors—mostly Americans—are out in force, prowling the ancient streets in their shorts and tank tops.</p>
T was the night before Christmas, and deep was the need To find something besides Clement Moore’s poem to read. The children were pacing the hallways in fear That nothing much new would be offered this year. But back on the bookshelf were classics galore, Teeming with faith, hope, and humor and more— All the right thoughts for a holiday season But much less familiar, and thereby more pleasin’.
<p>In this oh-so-jolly season, at least one big bash is always fitting, a party that helps you discharge all your social obligations in one merry swoop. Of course, swooping has its perils. By bringing together people from all walks of your life—onerous workmates, primitive family members, fractious neighbors—you are inviting a certain amount of discord.</p>
<p>CHRISTMAS MAY COME BUT ONCE A YEAR, BUT MIRACLES KNOW no season. They are seen in the springtime and seen in the fall. They are seen in the mountains and seen in the valleys. They cometh to those who watcheth and wait. Someone below sees a sign from above.</p>
<p>MY FATHER TOUCHED ME and I was awake. He stood by the bed in the dark. I felt his hand on me and I was wide awake in my head and saw and felt things but all the rest of me was asleep. "Jimmy," he said, "are you awake?" "Yes." “Get dressed then.” “All right.”</p>
In the Christmas stocking of your dreams, there is room for everything you see here. Each object is of such impeccable design and taste that it transcends the term accessory. Each is simple, functional, timelessly stylish. Each is a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence.
<p>aLL summer long, Jim Bakker sat on a mountain looking over Gatlinburg, Tennessee, imprisoned by the celebrity he craved, isolated from the community he created, denied the salvation he sought. It was a comfortable confinement in a pretty penitentiary, a sprawling, solitary retreat hidden in hickory woods off a winding road that begins at the back of the Howard Johnson's parking lot and climbs past resort condos and the fancier estates of Gatlinburg’s rich and famous.</p>
<p>ON JANUARY 4, 1987, ORAL ROBERTS MADE THE ULtimate fundraising appeal: if he didn’t raise $4.5 million by March 31, he said, God would kill him. A compelling fundraising technique to be sure, and in just three months Roberts had raised enough to complete his City of Faith Medical Center.</p>
We don’t propose you squirrel these goods away like a survivalist hoarding for the Apocalypse. Not exactly. But we do say that certain things in life deserve to be enjoyed by people who fully appreciate their rare quality. So don’t feel guilty about stashing these bottles in your closet; just remember to bring them out when moment and company are deserving.
How to recover your equilibrium at the paradise of your choice
THE TRUEST BENEFIT OF TRAVEL IS NOT JUST GETTING AWAY from it all but coming back to it better able to manage the things you were so happy to get away from in the first place. In a word, rejuvenation. On these pages we’ve selected three retreats for a rechargeable ’88.
Forget everything you've heard about Frank Sinatra— just listen
<p>What he had, what he has, what made and makes him different from and greater than any singer who has stalked a stage, is sex. For fifty years now, Frank Sinatra has been coming on to us. Along the way—maybe all the way—he has treated some people badly; a highly erotic nature tends to expose the nerve ends.</p>
Look, we know that Christmas dinner is the focal point of holiday tradition. The turkey. The goose. The rib roast. The stuffing, the scalloped oysters. Heavy sauces, creamed vegetables. The works. Years ago, in one of its most savory traditions, Esquire would present such a feast, each course prepared for us by one of the country’s leading chefs.
Afading day, raw and cold. The house is empty and still, darker even than the early dusk, chilled through by the heavy air. You find the light switch, but you don’t stop to check the mail, or pour a stiff drink, or turn on the news. First you get a fire going.
WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS FOR ONLY about five generations; whereas our experience of the image in all other forms, from the face trembling in water to the three-dimensional forms of sculpture, goes back thousands of years. What a photograph is remains still a mystery of perception.
<p>THE FRANKFURT AIRPORT HAS BATH AND SHOWER FACILITIES for transit passengers facing a long layover between flights. In the men’s room, before boarding Lufthansa Flight 686 to Tel Aviv, I cleaned up after the all-night trip from New York. Another passenger was dressing there, as if for a date.</p>
A big bowl of hot popcorn, Chinatown simmering on the VCR, and thou beside me on the couch ... hey, nowhere is it written that higher culture has to be hard. But sometimes even the good life needs a little juice. The best tonic? Live theater, whose special magic stems from one simple fact: the actors work without a net.
The palm trees were swaying. The winter sun was shining. The neighbors were cavorting. O heart, be still
<p>I’d be the last one to brag up my vacation, show slides of Mustique’s Cotton House, Curtain Bluff you, Bitter End you, call Petit St. Vincent by its initials (PSV). As for chitchatting my physiological bona fides, my regime, pulse rate at rest, systolic upper (let’s talk through the roof), and diastolic lower (shoot the moon), my SGOT abnormalities, the uric acid settled in gouty crystals at my extremities—would I impose the particulars?</p>
This is not science fiction. This is science. It may look like science fiction, but that’s mainly to get your attention. And to make a point: that there are certain borders to the realm of cynicism and doubt—even the kind we may have felt this year—and science can still be one of them.
On page 152: Hickey Freeman for Hartmarx tuxedo at F. R. Tripler and Co., New York. For information contact: Hickey Freeman c/o Hartmarx, 1290 Sixth Avenue, New York, New York 10104. For information on Lord West waistcoat, shirt, and bow tie contact:
Gay Talese: Without having to explain what is, or should be, undoubtedly clear to all: Saul Bellow Michael Jackson Donald Trump John Updike: Harry Levin, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lover of letters and elegant lecturer. Cast the light of high literary possibility on my undergraduate days and still upholds, in print and person, the joyous life of the mind.