One part Eastwood,
One part Astaire.
Add a dash of Bogart.
Shake, strain and enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Single Man

Image: Jeff Burton for AnOther Magazine

Over a year ago, my first post was written featuring the work of Tom Ford. The film, A Single Man, was Mr. Ford's first foray into the genre and a triumphant showcase of his abilities as a creative visionary. A lot has happened since that initial post and recent events have reminded me of how I used to enjoy documenting my thoughts in writing.

March, being the fickle bitch that it is, has toyed with our hearts here in New York yet again. The bitter drop in temperatures since the previous Friday's stint in the 70's left me embracing the last few weekends of solitude that goes with a winter chill. A quick trip into my UES Best Buy left me the proud owner of A Single Man on DVD and the hopes of a quiet evening at home with my new friend the Negroni.

Frequently called "the bartender's drink",
a Negroni is an acquired taste with a
wonderfully complex flavor:
1oz. Sweet Vermouth
I oz. Campari
1 oz. Gin
Stir, strain, and garnish with orange twist

Mr. Ford and A Single Man have been on my mind again recently. At the time I started this blog I was in the midst of a budding romance with a wonderful woman with whom I share many fantastic memories. The return from my prolonged hiatus finds me at the opposite end of the relationship spectrum weathering an unfair end to a partnership that held much promise, sabotaged only by life's linear differences. While not as tragic as A Single Man's plot, it still stings with the pain of a lost compliment to my life - like a suit without a pocket square or shoes without a shine. Ironically, the joy of purchasing a favorite film brought with it the realization of my new bond with the title.

Having split, but being the thoughtful and classy lady that she is, I received an e-mail from her just hours before my planned DVD purchase. The catalyst of the correspondence was an alert to an upcoming article on Mr. Ford, knowing that I would appreciate and admire the content that she had found. Although the full article has not been published, the magazine AnOther has released a snippet of material in the form of "Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to be a modern gentleman". After reading his eloquent thoughts I was left even more in awe of his integrity and character. Mr. Ford's views and values could not be in any greater harmony with what I strive to promote on a daily basis:

1. You should put on the best version of yourself when you go out in the world because that is a show of respect to the other people around you.

2. A gentleman today has to work. People who do not work are so boring and are usually bored. You have to be passionate, you have to be engaged and you have to be contributing to the world.

3. Manners are very important and actually knowing when things are appropriate. I always open doors for women, I carry their coat, I make sure that they’re walking on the inside of the street. Stand up when people arrive at and leave the dinner table.

4. Don’t be pretentious or racist or sexist or judge people by their background.

5. A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.

Credit: AnOther Magazine, Interview: Jefferson Hack

We all may falter now and again, but think of how much better the world would be if each man approached their day with these rules in mind (yes, especially the last one).

Image: Jeff Burton for AnOther Magazine

Since my last post I have experienced and embraced a great many new things. I traveled to the west coast for the first time, been in the presence of Clint Eastwood, moved into my very own bachelor pad, bought my first tuxedo, attended a Prohibition era New Year's Eve party at a magnificent old mansion, sampled many delicious cocktails, abandoned my youthful haircut for one of Draper-esque maturity, and indulged in the refined leisure that only proper pajamas and a robe can provide. But my excitement over such things seemed confined without the ability to share the joy that they bring me.

I enjoyed documenting my adventures, but as with any creative endeavor I eventually became a victim of my own success. In my pursuit for unattainable perfection, each post started to require more and more of my time and efforts - topic formulation, writing, editing, photo selections, credits, formatting, html manipulation. I quickly found out that producing web content could be as tedious and time-consuming as "picking fly shit out of pepper" (a favorite quote of my late grandfather). I started to garner a small following and the demand for output became laborious. Before long I was writing more than doing. I began treating each post as if it was the cover story in Vanity Fair instead of focusing on my initial goals - to chronicle my opinions on style, my experiences in the city and my thoughts on all things gentlemanly.

Having gone back to read some of my earlier posts I realized that writing is no different than the month of March - a fickle bitch that ebbs and flows between hot and cold. Writing, in many ways mirrors life - some days are better than others and in the midst of frozen perfection there always lies a thaw just around the corner. The important thing is to keep at it and trudge through. Here I sit excited and refocused. The past weeks may have left me fragile but I am again inspired to release my views back into the world. While I may work on longer narratives from time to time, I'd like to get back to my original idea and post smaller more frequent pieces that are easier to digest and hopefully enjoyable and informative.

As other aspects of my life have evolved over the past months, so to will my writing as I try to re-learn and hone my craft. Change is inevitable and persistence is key.

Bear with me, for I am but a single man.