Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Israelis-Glocks and Slippers: Redux

I’m working today from CasaMinimus. The Global Nerve Center doesn’t need my presence for anything and my couch is inviting. I should be completely recharged after my lazy Thanksgiving replenishment and I was-but my give and take for five hours with an Israeli biotech client yesterday left me spent. As my paternal grandfather would say though…it’s a “good tired”-the kind of fatigue resultant from doing good work. In his case it was operating the family farm. In my case it’s peddling …whatever.

I’ve approached the main entrance of most pharma, device, diagnostic and biotech companies here in the States. Fairly standard processes regarding sign in-identification-sometimes a photo for their records etc. Some corporate campuses are more dutiful in their security processes than others-no big deal. Yesterday was a first though. The security guy at my Israeli client’s U.S. headquarters was holstering a freakin’ Glock. Now mind you, this guy was not a law enforcement officer-he was a corporate security employee. Nice as he could be but make no mistake about it-the Glock was not there just for show.  I understand the need to protect corporate intellectual property but geez. The Israelis are not to be trifled with.

The no nonsense Israelis rolled out the beige carpet for me as evidenced here in a quick pic that I snapped before Mr. Glock escorted my cavalry twilled and Flusser hosed-Ferragamo bluchered little self back to the workout room.

I have great respect for Israelis-really... I mean if I went to bed every night with the fairly well documented assumption that there were those nearby who wanted to destroy me and push me into the sea, I’d be a fairly intense fella myself. One of my business partners who is a former fighter pilot and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jockey says that the Israeli pilots were the only ones that he and his peers felt like that in a one on one fight-they would lose. That’s high praise.

Now I’m a pretty good pitch man-It’s a strength of mine and I like being in front of a group. Goes back to my Chippendales days. I like the pressure and the larger the audience the better. We all have our strengths no? I can bring the group along with me when I’m on stage-just don’t ask me to balance a checkbook or be the final due diligence vote in validating a revenue model. Why would I need those skills? We have other niche experts for those deliverables and as long as Excel spreadsheets exist-I don’t care to hone my skills there.

I rehearsed and reworked my presentation and created a list of questions and challenges that may be posed and worked out answers to each. I was reconciled to the 90th percentile which is about as good as I’m gonna be-ever. It’s that other 10 percent that will get-cha during a pitch. Sun Tzu teaches us in The Art of War that … all success is realized in the temple rehearsal”. I agree and subscribe to this wisdom to a fair degree. However, my temple’s ass gets bored after a while and subsequent to about a zillion dry runs I’m thinkin’ cocktails. There were executives that flew over from Tel Aviv on Sunday to be a part of this meeting and they showed no signs of jet lag. My presentation was a success and we’ll have some additional work to do with our Israeli client as a result. Some people did say that perhaps I shouldn’t have opened my presentation with…  “I hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving. What are y’alls’ plans for Christmas?  Ok, I’m coachable. It won’t happen again.

Now speaking of hubris and cocksurety-let’s revisit slippers. Want to? Let me just say again that there’s a fine line between candor and stupidity. I like being a bit edgy and candor is a big part of being confident with your personal style. However-I ain’t stupid…much. When LFG and I head to my mom’s for Christmas, the slippers will stay in Washington. There are still a few places that I’ll wanna frequent in my hometown that if you roll in wearing a pair of slippers-even if you roll in hot and full of yourself, you’re gonna get your ass beat.

I found another picture of Bobby Kennedy sporting his slippers and figured I’d pass it along. Funny though, he’s wearing said slippies with funny trousers and no belt. I suppose that it’s a reasonable enough outfit to don while working the phones with baby brother Teddy.

I began to ponder what my mother might say to Bobby if she saw him in such a get up…. "Now Bobby, all us women down here in South Carolina think you are one fine specimen of a man. However honey, you gotta get your hands out of the back of those checkiddy britches and put a belt on”. To which Bobby, if he was smart, woulda said to my mamma…. "Yes ma’am Miss Minimus…right away"”.

Slippers-Time To Man Up Again

Saturday afternoon...I wrote this post earlier in the week but it got pushed by other more pressing irrelevance. I hope that everyone is having a great weekend.

I admonished guys a few months ago to “Man Up” regarding the decision to wear Belgian shoes.
Now on to a similar sentiment regarding slippers. You are gonna have to Man Up and then some. Unlike Belgians that when confronted with confidence will settle down and become compliant, slippers must be slapped a few times just to let them know you mean business. If you think Belgians can smell fear a mile away, slippers can suss out even the most trace elements of fear so fast it’ll make your head spin. And the consequences are much more severe.

While Belgians will simply giggle at you, causing you to become a bit nervous and self conscious, slippers will howl, cackle, hoot, cat-call at you and seriously…they’ll summons some good ole boy to come over and just whip your ascot. This slipper business is not for the faint of heart or the sexually ambiguous. On second thought, they may be just the thing for guys who haven’t yet sorted themselves out.

I WILL draw the line on these real girlie looking ones with the bow...the Opera Pump version...not my bag. I'll wear something called a "slipper" but I ain't wearin' nothin' refered to as a "pump". Cecil Beaton here on the other hand, looks right at home in them. One should realize though, that Cecil never manifested any ambiguity regarding his "nature". What is more interesting about this picture is his friend Elsa Maxwell sitting on his left flank, slamming a glass of hooch, smoking a cig. Looks like she took a punch in the face...trace elements of a shiner lingering under that right eye. No surprise there. I bet she won the fight...defending Cecil.
Strap on a dose of don’t give a shitake and get on with it. I was married in a pair of Stubbs and Wootton needlepoint slippers with gold bees on them.

I’m sitting in my office now, shod a pair of RL Purple Label wool needlepoints. I walked the ten blocks to work and didn’t get a single whistle, cat-call or sexual preference questioning shout-out from the roadcrew. Honestly, I really think the key to pulling these kinds of looks off is not really caring too much if your look for the day is “correct” or what people think. Granted, I don’t have any client meetings for the balance of the week. Otherwise, I’d be a bit more reigned in. Tomorrow, I think I’ll wear another pair.

David Niven sported them with unrivaled style.

Fred Astaire and artist William Nicholson seemed to prefer the Grecian Slipper.

Here's Nicholson dressed for work in his Apple Tree Yard Studio. I'm gonna do a post on Nicholson soon. He lived and worked in Apple Tree Yard...one block away from Jermyn Streetin London. Nice. I'd be perpetually broke(er) if I could walk out of my office into St. James...the Mother Church of sartorial aplomb. By the way, the top hat in the photo...Nicholson's brush bucket...was formerly the property of his dandy good friend Max Beerbohm.

Here's a guy who can pull the slippers routine off with a decent amount of style...no?

Ok...a day later. Levi's 501 jeans and another pair of needlpoint slippers.

And yes...I should have wiped the dust from them but hey...I'm a guy. Really. I have references.
Steve McQueen wore them. So did Bobby Kennedy. Go ahead, let your inner bon vivant manifest. Give your wife or girlfriend the most passionate kiss you can muster. This assures them that you aren't on the cusp of asking to next wear their garments. Bust out in your slippers 'cause you know you want to. I'd only suggest avoiding them as part of your ensemble if your travels are taking you to Dillon, South Carolina or Hahira, Georgia. Walk into any 7-11 store in either one of those towns without Elsa Maxwell to protect you and you're gonna get injured-injured bad.


L.A.S said...

While these aren't really my speed, I respect a guy willing to put himself out there with his footwear. Regardless, If McQueen and various Kennedy's wore 'em they must be good. Right?

Brian said...

I guess it's all in where you wear them. I think they would be a bad idea at an Eagles game, but then again maybe a needle point pair in green with an eagle.

ADG said...

Brian...you'd still get your ass beat at the Eagles game but at least they'd say "nice slippers-well rendered eagle" just before they decked you.

L.A.S. ... indeed.

Conor said...

Great post ADG. On campus here slippers might fly, but five miles any which way and I'm sure I'd need some protection. Back in South Florida, however, I could see 'em working.

Recognizing a lot of your pictures from Flusser. A thousand thanks for that.

The Sluice Box said...

I've found that there are about five or six occasions per year for which velvet slippers are perfect. For these events, I'm delighted to have them. -Aaron

Toad said...

So happens I ordered my first pair this forenoon. The wait will make their arrival so much better.

CeceliaMc said...

Oh, yes, that's what those southern shit-kickers do, you know.

They hang out down at the local slurpee salon just waiting to beat the hell out of some bold bon vivant shod in batting-stuffed velvet.

On a more cordial note, I approve of the choice of the Glock, as long as it wasn't a .45.

DAM said...

You have more style in your pinky toe than most people have in two whole size 12 feet.

I dig the slippers and will one day have a pair for black tie events and jeans around the house.

Anonymous said...

got 'em with skull and bones, but I come back to what somebody said about not wearing somebody else's initials on your clothes. And that knocks me out, not having RL as my initals.

Anonymous said...

Some random thoughts for the King of Randomness (in a good way).

I like the slippers, but admire the socklessness at your wedding more.

I dont much like the needlepoints. A bit too feminine somehow.

Don't tell Toad, but it looks like Teddy Kennedy was a member of the ranks of no-consequence with that monogrammed shirt.

Memphis88 said...

I want a pair of slippers so bad. My girlfriend would be none to happy if I bought some now, though. I'm very, very tempted to get some anyway.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Married in a pair of black New & Lingwood's with a gold lion stalking across the toe myself. They were out of leopards and I was on a tight schedule. Wish I'd've popped for a pair of custom embroidered ones now.

Rule 1: you'll be glad you did a year down the road.

ADG said...

Conor...I hear you my friend. I know your part of South Carolina well. Glad you are enjoying the Flusser book-it’s the best.

Sluice...Five or six occasions a year…that’s reason enough to own a pair I think.

Toad...Good on you buddy! Which ones did you get? I’m assuming you’ll do a post to let us know. Good luck with the wainscoting-moulding. I used to do such work but the house had to be empty so that my profanity could accompany my efforts. The Plantation Shutters in a seventy year old house ‘bout killed me.

CeceliaMc...Settle down there missy. I come from a long line of said shit-kickers so I can speak with validity and authority about them. Sorry if my stereotyping put you off. I’ll let the security guys know that the Glock choice was a good one!

DAM...Thanks. You are still gonna buy me lunch before Santy comes.

Anonymous...I’m prolly gonna jump on the skull and bones ones when they go on sale.

Anonymous...My former mother in law was aghast when she saw me sockless. She got over it. Regarding monograms…I’ll keep wearing them just to give Toad something to not like about me.

Memphis88...Man Up and get a pair and wear ‘em NOW.

Easy and Elegant...Looks like the needlepoint ones are no longer being offered by Stubbs et al. I’m digging your Rule 1.


Rasputin said...

Wow! You win the medal for best juxtaposition! Google "Mordecai Rachmim" for an a story of a real Israeli badass- he might even wear slippers...

Anonymous said...

Nice slipper post. For the record, Beaton had a crush on Garbo for years and wanted to marry her. So I think you must give him credit for hitting from both sides of the plate (or at least being in the on-deck circle).

ADG said...

Rasputin...just spent almost an hour reading about that guy. Thanks.

Anon...duly noted re Cecil. Garbo had more Prussian testosterone in her pinky than Cecil could've ever handled.

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - You eschew beautiful Opera pumps? I think there's a time and a place. IMO nothing looks more elegant with say, an Anderson & Sheppard single breasted peak lapel Dinner Jacket and I think too you could carry them off with a DB velvet and frogged Smoking Jacket. Cecil Beaton in a white suit, white socks and dubious neckwear definitely required Elsa Maxwell as a potentialy life-preserving accessory...

ilovelimegreen said...

On the bus this morning, I saw a gentleman sporting pair of socks that you would have killed for! I did not have the nerve to snap a photo for you though.
Happy belated Thanksgiving to you and LFG!

James said...

How did the gumbo turn out?

tintin said...

The foxtrot gave me a pair (black velvet w/my initials) five years ago from Shipton Henage. I've only worn them outside the house once but in NYC no one even looked. Fair to say they can get you a good ass woopin at a Philly's game. But I were you Brian I'd wear 'em to Buckleys in Greenville in a heartbeat.