It used to be asked why are there no men’s magazine’s; the equivalent of women’s magazine’s? The answer was: because men don’t need to be taught how to be men. That changed and men’s magazines were the publishing phenomenon of the nineties. Following that phase and Rostow’s ‘drive to maturity’ theory there are only a couple left, both American in origin.
I read both Esquire & GQ for the occasional piece of really good writing. Mostly though they are just stuff to look at. GQ has a soggy left political stance (why does a men’s magazine assume it’s readers will identify with this?). Esquire fortunately avoids a political stance. Weirdly GQ employs the ghastly Alastair Campbell as an interviewer. The poor man’s Dr Goebbels. On one occasion he rather insanely interviewed himself. Unreadable.
Much fun can be had from looking at the unwearable men’s attire. The magazines have to take this crap seriously because that’s where their advertising comes from. This month’s Esquire carries a feature on the M65 field jacket (think John Wayne in The Green Berets) . They suggest a tan suede number (will remain pristine for five minutes). Yours for £2500). The thing is like a magnet attracting iron these magazines are still drawn back to the benchmark, the lodestone, the source of everything that doesn’t cost £2500. I refer to the coolest man who ever lived: Steve. He of course would only wear an original M65. No edition of either magazine is ever published without some fleeting reference to a man who is the antithesis of everything they stand for. Le Style Steve as French Esquire put it when he appeared on their cover more than twenty years after his death.
He’s on page nine of this month’s Esquire.