I love Esquire's old-fashioned ideas about masculinity--and clearly, that formula works for a lot of other women, although I would say I read the magazine for its stellar narrative journalism. In the Sept. "Best Dressed Real Men in America" issue, Charlie Schwartz, a 77-year-old man, best sums up this type of masculinity: "I would characterize my style as controlled sexuality."
Editor in Chief David Granger goes on in his editor's note to explain that's why he's an Esquire man--because he used his style to express his personality. And it's also why, in the age of the watered-down masculinity of the metrosexual, Esquire continues to be a truly sexy magazine about men.
The style of the Esquire man includes director Barry Sonnenfeld's explanation of why he likes the Kodak EasyShare V550 digital camera: "It looks like the interior of an old Jaguar XKE, with the glowing blue fluorescent controls."
Ted Allen, the food and wine guy from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," has a piece on why Gorgonzola is the manliest of cheeses, and "gives us the butchest of salad dressings." Stacey Woods, the sex columnist, patiently tells a man that there's "no pill, shake or dietary modification that will increase the volume of your ejaculate, and if anyone tells you different, it's time to sit down and really assess the friendship," and the Answer Fella tell us why ghosts don't appear naked.
Esquire's brilliant sense of humor--a mix of Monty Python and deadpan irony--continues through out the book. MTV news correspondent SuChin Pak, in "Ten Things You Don't Know About Women, says: "If I have to ask for it, go fuck yourself."
And the features aren't about guys who are trying to prove anything in an annoying way; they're just goofy, regular guys. A feature on laying the foundation of the Freedom Tower is written from the perspective of construction workers who are fed up with the politics and say things like: "I'm ready. The people are ready. As soon as we have a final design, put a couple of trailers down in the hole, and bingo, away we go. Right?"
This month's best features are by Tom Junot, about the last New York tailors, who I learn are "as suspicious as women;" Neil Strauss, on how to seduce a woman ("Make it look like she is chasing you rather than the other way around"); and A.J. Jacobs, who outsources his life--including the reporting of articles for Esquire--to an Indian executive assistant named Honey. What I like about Esquire is the magazine really loves women--even when they are objectifying their bodies in the name of feminine sexual power--unlike most women's mags, which just objectify. Esquire preaches how men are men, and women are women, and unlike so many magazines, there isn't that much confusion.