I’m not too sure how I came to be subscribed to Details magazine, but this weekend saw the third arrival of the “upscale and irreverent fashion magazine for affluent men” in my mailbox. I originally suspected it was a covert gift from my girlfriend, a stealth attempt to get me gelling my hair and updating my moth-eaten wardrobe, but her denial seemed plausible. I can say with certainty that I’m not being charged for it, so I can only assume that it’s either a clerical error or a very poorly targeted promotion.
This April 2009 edition is the first one I’ve spared the direct flight from mailbox to recycling bin. Perhaps it was due to boredom or curiosity or the hypnotic, flared-nostril gaze of the rear cover model (pictured at left), but I decided to crack this copy open and see what was to be gleaned from the pages of Details.
First, I discovered that their readers feel strongly about the knots of men’s ties. Here’s one of the letters to the editor:
“What Knot to Wear” was a ridiculous article. Are you aware of how Obama’s knots look, or those of every other American guy on television these days–who have absolutely no sense of how to properly knot a tie? They all resemble the same old “funnel” look. European men are the ones who know how to knot their ties: They’re classy, proportionally right, and add a touch of style. I have all my American friends asking me how to do the Euro knot.
Orlando Medeiros — Boston, Massachusetts
Next, we find a useful Q&A session on how to “unlock your bathroom’s inner style”:
Q: Is it okay to buy bath accessories in sets?
A: The best way to fight the matchy-matchy thing is to include a bit of your own personality. You could buy a set of chrome accessories but then insert an object with character. I shop on eBay for vintage items. I keep Q-tips in an Old Spice shaving mug and use a ceramic olive jar as my garbage pail.
Their style section divvies up men sporting goatees into two categories: cool or tool. Here’s a sampling:
They also provide a handy pictorial on how to wear white jeans:
Apparently it helps to snarl and flex your bicep.
Then there’s a hard-hitting interview with Barry Manilow:
I walked into a hotel wall and I broke my nose. I did! So many hotel rooms, you know? I’m surprised I haven’t peed in the closet — I just never know where the bathroom is. I went left instead of right, and I hit the wall and fractured my nose. I was hoping, Oh, goodie, I can get a nose job!
I warmed to Details for a moment when I saw they ranked Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap, a fixture on the University of Chicago campus, one of the best dive bars in America (check here for a great profile by the New York Times). But the warmth dissipated when I came to their “DOSANDDONT’S” in the same article with advice like “When in doubt, order what the patrons who get their mail delivered to the bar are drinking” (so probably Old Style or cheap whiskey?) and “Don’t attempt to bro down with the established denizens–regular status comes with time” (hey man, mind if I bro down with you?).
Chalk it up to my short attention span if you like, but I was not able to maintain interest enough to finish their journalistic pieces, “The Curious Case of the Gay-Porn-Star Identical Twins” and “A-Rod, Confessions of a Damned Yankee”.
I’m afraid my final verdict is that I will probably not open the next Details that arrives at my doorstep, but to the magazine’s defense, I am not in their target audience: the affluent, white-jeans-wearing, perfect-tie-knotting, olive-
jar-repurposing, sharp-goatee-line-avoiding Barry Manilow fan, broing down in a dive bar near you.