DAVID SEDARIS is extremely funny, and he is very successful. He is somewhat less successful, however, when it comes to dressing up and presenting himself to the world. But this month, just in time for our style issue, Sedaris gives us "Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?" (page 166), five hilarious "cardinal rules" he's learned from his own fashion disasters.
WHEN I THINK about men’s style these days, I think of the two Maccioni brothers, who run the restaurant Osteria Del Circo, which is just down the street from the Esquire offices. Mauro is tall and dark, and he is always impeccably dressed for business-tailored suit, perfect shirt and tie, and just the right accessories: pocket square and/or cufflinks.
MUCH OF OUR SPECIAL January issue was devoted to seventeen What I’ve Learned interviews, culling a thousand collective years of insight from the wise and the wiseass, including John Kenneth Galbraith, George Carlin, Robert McNamara, Edward Teller, Barbara Walters, Larry King, and Homer Simpson.
She's magnificently blasé, Shannyn Sossamon is, yawning through the first 15 minutes our interview (not rudely, though, not at all, just a little sleepyheaded at two in the afternoon), hungover after a late night of ice cream and drinking and videotaping (I asked; she wouldn't say), lying in bed, eating Grape-Nuts with soy milk, gamely fielding questions about orgasm-inducing orchids (you'll need to see 40 Days and 40 Nights, a poor man's American Pie, out this month) and the time-warped dance scene in A Knight's Tale (her first movie) and the curiously expanding cult of Ron Jeremy (who has a cameo in her upcoming The Rules of Attraction), all the while nailing her end of the conversation with the balmy air of a woman who's at once aware of her own blessedness and weirded out by all the fuss.
MOST POWERFUL IMAGES —From the Smithsonian's exhibit of presidential portraits, now showing at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Shtickiest One-Liner in Fiction "They played every resort in the Catskills. They'd work for peanuts, sometimes less, just the shells." —From Funnymen, an interesting novel by Ted Heller Most Disturbing Chapter Titles •"TurboTongue" • "Side Entry, Lateral Stroking" •
We've all heard the hype: This nifty gyroscopic scooter is going to change the future of human mobility. Okay, fine. But what about the real question: Will it do anything to alleviate the transportation plight of the completely and totally hammered? ¶ I felt I had to test out the Segway Human Transporter (aka Ginger, aka It), and I had to do it blotto.
With everything headed to hell in a handbasket, it's good to know that some things are actually getting better. Like breakfast. And porn. Yes, there are still a few things out there that you can have tailored to your taste, no matter how refined or bizarre.
Rule No. 154: There is nothing that can be marketed that cannot be better marketed using the voice of James Earl Jones. Rule No. 193: The ampersand should be more popular. Rule No. 198: Never trust a man who calls the bathroom "the little boys' room."
Okay, he wasn't a complete hack. Those tragedies are powerful and deep and majestic. And the histories are fascinating. But the comedies? They doth bloweth. Verily. Comedy in general, I think, ages about as well as unrefrigerated pork products or your average falsetto boy band.
They are weighty. That's the first thing you have to love about those 32 volumes. Snap them shut with conviction and marvel at that deep, resonant booming sound. It's the sound of gravitas, a sound no plasticky CD-ROM could impart. The second thing you have to love is the quirkiness.
Ian McEwan—master of the fable in a minor key—could be the most psychologically astute writer working today, our era's Jane Austen, only creepier. His new novel, the intricate, terrifying Atonement (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26), unfurls with the sinister foreboding of his previous books (Amsterdam and Enduring Love, among many others).
Finally, the equine love story you've been waiting for. Stud: Adventures in Breeding (Bloomsbury, $25), by Kevin Conley, is a somewhat disturbing but totally engrossing study of the sex lives of champion thoroughbred horses, with special attention paid to the studliest of them all, a stallion named Storm Cat who will earn $20 million this year____For another disturbing book about breeding, try Notable American Women (Vintage, $12), by Ben Marcus, an allegory about a misdirected child-rearing experiment (a boy is raised to have no feelings) that makes for a stunning, strange, and beautiful novel____David Grand's The Disappearing Body (Nan A.
TREND: Books You Can't Read on Public Transportation
TITLE: History of Shit (MIT Press, $13), by Dominique Laporte VERDICT: A lilting, hyperacademic dialectic of merde—worth every labored, postmodern second. SAMPLE POETICS: "If language is beautiful, it must be because a master bathes it—a master who cleans shit holes, sweeps offal, and expurgates city and speech to confer upon them order and beauty."
OH, TO HAVE ATIME MACHINE. Imagine traveling back to that blissful era before domestic terrorism, the economic crisis, and Chris Kattan's movie career. Well, it seems we're not the only ones thinking along those lines, in a quirky twist of timing, March boasts two major, like-themed projects: the movie The Time Machine, starring Guy Pearce and directed by Simon Wells, great-grandson of H. G. Wells; and How to Build a Time Machine (Viking), a book by noted physicist Paul Davies that examines the real possibility of creating such a device.
The Most Overrated Show on TV: six Feet Under Back for a second season this month, Six Feet Under is HBO's most extravagantly praised series this side of The Sopranos. So how come nobody's noticed that it’s basically a sitcom with elephantiasis?
It's pretty clear that Argentina's got problems. It can't maintain its debt payments, its pesos, or its presidents. But there is one thing that this country has going for it: wine. I'm not being flip here. After California's central valley, the Mendoza region of Argentina is the biggest wine producer in the Western Hemisphere, and its juice makes up a nice little chunk of the nation's GDP.
Sniff it. Swirl it. Sip it. But do not disrespect Sam Adams Utopias MMII. At 24 percent alcohol (yes, a 48-proof beer), it's the strongest beer in the world. And it will kick your ass if you treat it like frat-party swill. The just-released Uto— pias tastes as much like Scotch as beer.
I NEVER THOUGHT of myself as a sectional guy. And you have to be; to own a sectional couch, you have to be a sectional guy. It may even be said that you become a sectional guy once you own one. The sectional isn't just a couch; it's a lifestyle and so is tainted by all the prejudices that taint the word lifestyle itself.
ESQUIRE'S ANSWER FELLA believes that there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who don't ask questions, fearing they'll look stupid. So ask Answer Fella anything. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll find out who does, or who has a guess that sounds right.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS TO RUDY GIULIANI AS: a) Ronald Reagan is to Gerald Ford b) George Lazenby is to Sean Connery c) Hamid Karzai Is to Mullah Muhammad Omar d) Steve Young is to Joe Montana JOHN WALKER IS TO JOHNNIE WALKER AS: a) Scotch is to Scotland b) Guy Ritchie is to Richie Rich c) Madonna is to the Virgin Mary
USING THIS VERY CLASSIC double-breasted navy blazer with gold buttons, we will demonstrate how old money is different from the regular kind. Observe: If you have regular money, you can buy this jacket. And if you have regular money, you might wear it with a pin-collar shirt and a pair of white flannels and make like you just got back from the beach house on Block Island.
There oughta be a law. Actually, In sixteenth-century England, there was. By that time, shirts had evolved from functional tunics into decorative pieces of a man's wardrobe, and a shirt said so much about its wearer that it became illegal in the realm for individuals without particular social standing to wear elaborately decorated shirts, relegating the masses to the basics.
Investors are down on Merck for doing things differently. Does that make sense?
THE CONJURES Washington an image straight: acted Gimme out by drugs, the Sweathogs gimme drugs. to scare In fact, Freddie the future of the drug business looks more like Park Avenue than Skid Row: an older, more prosperous population of Americans with hypertension, arthritis, and high cholesterol, yet still desperate to grow hair and achieve an erection.
Geniuses of high-yield debt certainly understand the dynamics of falling rates. But with interest rates sinking faster than a sitcom with a Seinfeld alum, even regular joes can benefit. Don't rush to refi. I'm old school here. Unless you can do better than a full point or move from an ARM with a large swing to a nice little fixed rate, it's not worth the fees and inconvenience and chance you'll move too soon to recoup the savings.
COMEDY CENTRAL is where the hip and cheesy sides of cable pro gramming come together. It's a T-shirt cart in the shopping mall, the Beav to parent network HBO's Eddie Haskell. Since Haskell Box Office pre dictably keeps the A-list comedy stuff for itself-the marquee-name specials, like Jerry Seinfeld's, that get promoted like heavyweight-box ing matches at which only the champion has shown up-nothing on the Beav's schedule will ever look like event TV.
I FELL IN LOVE with it-college basketball, that is-at a drafty old barn in Lincoln Square in Worces ter, Massachusetts, not far from where one of mygreat-uncles once owned a saloon. The Worcester Memorial Auditorium was square and huge, and it had toweringmurals depicting men loading shells into the bigguns of a dreadnought and firing artillery alongthe banks of the Somme.
ESQ: What do you have to do to recruit a player to your school? RM: You gotta trick 'em. It's very difficult to get a black athlete here, because there aren't a lot of black people in Utah. You can go a week in Salt Lake and not see a black person. And there aren't that many players in Utah.
Jim valvano was justified, to an extent, by his horrible death from cancer and the stoicism with which he faced it, and by his subsequent beatification by ESPN, where he worked at the end of his life. The circumstances of his end tended to obscure the fact that as a basketball coach, he was the rough equivalent of the guy on the car lot who turns back odometers.
SHE TOOK HIS LEAVE from the Hollywood stage late last year, the littlelamented Edgar Bronfman Jr.-outgoing executive vice-chairman ofVivendi Universal-made a statement that helps explain why the industry takes such a dim view of him.
<p>1.Women are the new men, and Elizabeth Hurley is their patron saint. At or around the age of twenty-five, the gender roles to which we've grown so woozily accustomed throughout puberty and young adulthood suddenly reverse themselves. Women become emotionally detached, while men become needy.</p>
COOL CHRONOGRAPHS The gap between Seikos and Pateks—a long-standing void that forced watch buyers to opposite extremes of the price spectrum— is being filled by a new crop of designer timepieces that cost more than a Walkman but less than a Volkswagen.
<p>IT’S HOT. Day after day of record-breaking, neck-searing, mid-July heat—heat that sweats you all day long and then, toward five when it should be easing off, cooks you all over again. Johnny Hamburger works two jobs, weekend nights at the Sea Shanty flipping burgers and weekdays on the water with a dock-building crew, driving piles on Don Lopatka’s rusty iron barge: two griddle jobs, he jokes, one where he’s the cook, and one where he’s the meat.</p>
We're not talking about some stuffy, Brooks Brothers definition of well dressed. Each of these guys has a style and swagger all his own-elegant, easy, and often imitated. Herewith, Esquire honors the well dressed who walk among us so that you, the reader, might learn something, and also as a thank-you to these guys for bringing something new and good to our collective style consciousness.
<p>The typical American man is 5'9" and weighs 180 pounds. The typical man will live to be 73. His penis is 6 inches long while standing at attention.The typical man watches 4.5 hours of television every day.</p>
<p>ESQ: Where'd the name Nona Aisha Gaye come from? NG: Aisha's not really my middle name. I thought it was until I was about twelve. But one day we're driving in the car and my mom's like, Honey, Aisha's not your middle name. It's Marvisa. And I'm like, It's what?</p>
Let's settle the eternal question right now, once and for all: What is the perfect mood music? Well, there's Stevie Wonder-if you're looking to cuddle all night. Barry White perhaps? Too predictable. Rick James? Slow down, this ain't no one-night stand.
<p>I presided over eighty-nine executions—eighty-eight men and one woman—and every one was different. I would signal that it was time to start the chemicals by taking off my glasses. The best part of leaving the job is not having to watch anybody die.</p>
He's happy (at least, that's what his wife tells us), pain-free (although his neck is killing him), and talented (about that, we think there is no dispute). His show, Curb YourEnthusiasm, is the funniest thing on television. He has more money than God. He even looks good in corduroy. What more could Larry David want? Don't ask.
<p>TO LOOK AT LARRY DAVID-bespectacled, bald, and basset-eared, a longlimbed fifty-four-year-old fellow draped in untucked cotton and baggy corduroy, sipping lukewarm decaf-you would never glean his anguish. To hear him whistle as he works, tilted back in his office chair, whistling and humming, laughing at his own image on the TV screen, you would not sense his suffering.</p>
<p>DAVID REACHES OUT AND TOUCHES THINGS. He wants you to touch them too. See this railing? How it's wrapped with leather? Doesn't that feel good? And those walls of black river pebbles embedded in black ash? It's impossible to walk past them without reaching out a hand.</p>
The five cardinal rules of personal style. (From a man who doesn't have any.)
<p>ONCE LIVED WITH AN ATHLETIC TEXAN WHOSE exercise regimen and innate self-confidence allowed him to look good in everything from a pale-blue tuxe do to the fake Cherokee loincloth I bribed him to wear on special occasions. The guy could tuck a napkin beneath his chin and strangers would approach, asking where he'd gotten it.</p>
<p>O'Neill? Oh, yeah, O'Neill would have loved this. Look at the clock. Look at the bartender's face. It's 4:30 in the morning. It's closing time, babe, even in New York, and we're still talking about him. We're still try ing to figure him out. We're smoking one cigarette after another and wash ing them down with Scotch-his Scotch, Chivas.</p>
Store Information For availability of the items featured in Esquire, call the phone number or consult the Web site provided. The Style Guide, p. 75: Hugo Boss blazer, 800-4846267. P. 76: Pal Zileri suit, Shirt, and tie, 212-751-8585; www.sartoriale.it.