Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to be a Man…Glenn O’Brien for President

I met Glenn O’Brien last night. Actually, I abandoned my date and pounced from my bar perch at Rasika and like an adolescent Labrador, floppy ears and big paws in the lead, jumped in his lap and started licking him. And it was obvious that he wasn't impressed. I think he was as shocked to be suddenly recognized in Washington DC as I was to recognize him. I barged my ass back out almost as fast as I barged in on him.
I stand by my assertion that DC is three-button goofball sack-coat company town. The kinda town that cool cats like Glenn O’Brien don’t generally hang out in. So when I, with my typical pinball machine synapse firing machinations, giddily told him that his recent book, How to be a Man should be required reading for any male under the age of fifty-five (guys older than probably forty-five are irredeemable but what the hell, I wanted to include myself in the demographic), he thanked me politely and looked to his two, I assume local cohorts, for a rescue move. I may be a country ass redneck from South Carolina but I’m coachable. I knew to amble back over to my bar stool without delay.
So why is O’Brien the Shit? A better explanation will manifest when you get up off of some of that moldy ass money of yours and buy his book. But for now, let me provide you with an excerpt or two. If I was limited to only one paragraph…one exhibit to support my "O'Brien is the shit" premise, it would be this:

On Shirts…
“…The worst male fashion trend of the millennium so far may be the shirttail worn out. On purpose. I know that many consider it hip to go around with the shirt untucked, or even half tucked, like you slept in your clothes and haven’t had coffee yet. I know this is intended to convey a youthful, casual je ne sais quoi, but more often than not he looks like he’s too fat to tuck. Even worse than the shirttail out is when this is under a jacket. Of course, some casual shirts are made to be worn out, and these have squared off bottoms, but even these should not be worn under a jacket. A caftan would look better. Another egregious trend was unfastened French cuffs hanging loose through and far beyond the jacket sleeves, giving the wearer a waifish street urchin look. Accessorize this look with a tin cup.”

That paragraph is worth the price of the three hundred and two page book.  But here’s the opening statement on O’Brien’s tie treatise…

“I love the necktie because it is the only article of clothing in a man’s wardrobe that has real enemies. Iranian revolutionaries for instance, see the tie as an evil phallic symbol of Western decadence, emblematic of the Crusader’s Cross of the Great Satan. The enemies of the cravat point to it as a symbol of conformity, even servitude. Some see covert obeisance to black magic encrypted in it, a fashion version of the “cable tow” of Masonic initiation rites.”

So mode it be. Buy the damn book.
I could end it there but there’s a bit more of the Glenn O’Brien oeuvre that caused me to lick him. Without it, I’d have limited my fawning to a sloppy paw or two. They say he can drive the piss out of a golf ball. He’s a husband and father and his journey includes a stint with Warhol. Not some vague collateral thread of Studio 54-esque Factory wannabe. O’Brien was Editor and Art Director at Interview and Warhol includes O’Brien a half dozen or so times in his diaries. I checked it last night. Shut up. I'm erudite. January 26, 1987… “Oh, and I talked on the phone to Glenn O’Brien about why the sixties are coming back or something, he was doing an article for Elle, he was fun.

Jean-Phillipe Delhomme illustrated O’Brien’s book and offers a postscript portrait of Glenn. It isn’t fawning. It’s fact. He says… “I could mention TV Party, the cult TV show that he hosted in the early 1980’s or Downtown 81, the poetic film that he wrote about his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat. I could mention some of his current projects. But it would still be incomplete. In fact, every time I see Glenn, I have to update his bio.”
So Mr. O’Brien, I apologize for licking you. Labrador slobber stinks. Even if it’s slap-dashed all over you with an admirable tongue. I’ll hope that a few others will buy your book. And send me the dry cleaning bill.

Onward. Rube ass that I am.
ADG II                           

17 comments:

Zach said...

I concur on the essential reading. As a 26 year old, I feel like I have an edge because of this book. I really like his advice on how to be sick, the mindset with which to tie a tie, and his words on why being a wino is a better path than a beer drinker.

Suburban Princess said...

I felt the same way when I met Lisa Birnbach.

I think I will pick up this book for my son - my husband is beyond help when it come to clothes. He dresses like a farmer on a camping trip if I don't pick out his outfits for him.

Although...he did mention 2 inch cuffs once, which let me know he reads your blog ;o)

JMW said...

I can't stand that untucked look. Buy a belt and tuck in your damn pants.

AEV said...

great post....it reminded me to buy this book....and that it's been too long since I ate at Rasika.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but the guy strikes me as an imperious faggot. What's so "manly" about a book of catty comments about the way other people dress?

Gail, in northern California said...

Tuck in your shirt, pull up your pants, use a handkerchief, and SHAVE.
Simple.

ADG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LPC said...

What an image. Always glad to read you buddy.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I agree re GO'B, but I suspect you could teach him a thing or three.

ilovelimegreen said...

The Andy Warhol Diaries was the first book I bought when I moved to DC -you have just reminded me to reread it -and about that fun summer.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous - I hope the irony of your bigoted comment about a book of manners/etiquette/style isn't lost on you....people really still use the word 'fa**ot' in 2011, huh? Wow.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anon. The guy seems like an arrogant prick. If he made you feel the way you did when fawning the praises of his book, he's no gentleman.

On another note. Eastwood drinks beer, O'Brien prefers wine. Take your pick.

Greg D.

ADG said...

I deleted my original response to the “imperious faggot” commenter because I stooped to his level and then regretted it. O’Brien’s book is NOT a three hundred page tome of sniping ass arrogant pot shots. It’s a well written, wise and fun book. And there’s even some self-deprecation in it…which, and this is coming from ADG, the preening peacock of self-deprecation, gives the book and O’Brien further cred. And it’s not my job to defend it further.

So if anyone is being imperious, it’s the “faggot” commenter. Five makes ten he hasn’t read the book so his authority is nil…leastways it is here in ADG land. And if Glenn O’Brien is an imperious faggot, then so am I. And those who are important to me know unequivocally, that I love girl-bootie better than Peter loved the Lord.

And finally, Glenn O’Brien wasn’t being haughty and aloof to me. He was, if anything, appropriately startled that someone got in his face so enthusiastically and started firing off specifics about what he’d written. He was courteous. I knew, based on social cues, to be brief.

Ok, I’ve gotta go back to work now. I have Cleverley shoes to pay for.

Oh, and Greg D. ... I'll take wine any day.

Anonymous said...

ADG. I love this blog. You have sold a book for Mr O'Brien. I didn't know of his connection to Warhol or Basquiat. I just thought he was a guy who's name is dropped regularly in GQ.

I think the F word is becoming like the N word. Some can use it and some can't. I'm not defending anyone who uses either word and never use them, but occaisionally they are used in a self depricating fashion.

If I didn't have an insane addiction to wine I would have a fancy Italian automobile and a closet full of bespoke shoes. We all make our choices.

David J. Cooper
Wine Snob

Easy and Elegant Life said...

ADG, you are living.

I was hesitant to buy the book, but I'll pop for a copy now. So, on to the really important question. How was he dressed?

Anonymous said...

Was the "So mode it be" v. "So mote it be" deliberate?

ADG said...

Anon Mode-Mote: Maybe.

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