I’ve been reading Glenn O’Brien’s “Style Guy” column in GQ for years. Readers write in and ask him all kinds of questions: can you wear white to a wedding, are baseball caps appropriate outside baseball stadiums, how much chest hair can you show at work (hint: none, so button up)?
A recent question/answer to and from The Style Guy.
Q: “I am curious as to the proper way a guy should sit. Should I be a stereotypical man and keep my legs apart, or should I cross them at the ankles? Personally, I sometimes find it more comfortable to cross them at the knees, but when I do this I often feel self-conscious. It may seem silly, but it is something I think about every time I sit. What should I do?”
Glenn: “Good question. A lot of men think about their standing but then sort of lie down on a chair. Sitting is just the social end of good posture. I once attended an Alexander Technique class, which is all about good posture and how it affects your back, and the instructors kept talking about our “sit bones.” It sounds silly, but it’s true that your sit bones—let’s call them the butt bones for fun—not the middle of your back, should be in contact with the chair or seating surface. I believe sitting up straight really does help you pay attention, or at least appear to be paying attention, which, in business, is almost as good. It’s OK to cross your legs at the ankles or at the knees when you’re relaxing. Just avoid the crotch-shot Sharon Stone position. You’re not Sharon Stone. Once you get in the habit of sitting properly, you shouldn’t have to think about it anymore and you can devote that time to thinking about cheap, renewable sources of energy.”
O’Brien writes with such wit that you almost hit yourself on the head every time you read something, like ‘Duh, should have known that!’
O’Brien once worked for Andy Warhol and was a member of the Factory. He also wrote for Allure, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, among other publications, hosted a television show in the 80s and once dated Grace Jones, so yeah, the guy probably knows a thing or nine about climbing social ladders, being successful and, well, being a man of men. A guy’s guy.
Last month’s GQ (April 2011) had a preview-type piece for his book “How To Be a Man,” out now.
I just got my copy this morning, and plan on making it my companion on my way to and from work today. Here are some of my favorite tips and quotes from Glenn O’Brien’s April 2011 piece in GQ.
– “We often hear the platitude of cynics, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” I get it, but it’s a bit facile. It’s what you know, who you know, and what you know about who you know and what who you know knows, too. Not to mention knowing what else and who else you ought to know. Is that clear?”
– “It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. People will assume you are going to or coming from something better.”
– “While some men maintain that it is impossible for hetero men to have a true non-sexual friendship with a woman, those are men ruled by their glands. I can be genuine friends with anyone smart and funny, gender aside. Many of my best friends are women, who are, sorry to say, far less likely to be assholes than men.”
– “I have friends of numerous generations. Transgenerational exchange is one of the most essential processes in society; this is how great companies and empires are built. We are mentored as youths, and in maturity we mentor. But at the same time, we can laugh at the same jokes and collaborate in meaningful enterprises. I’ll write the manifesto, kid; you write the code.”
That last one is probably my favorite. Hint, hint. I could be your mentee, Glenn.