Neat, Clean, Shaved and Sober

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006, 9:57 am

If you read any of the blogs to your left you know that several lucky, lucky, lucky bastards are going to be doing something poker-related at the Playboy Mansion. I don’t even recall if there’s a tournament or whatever, my mind blocked out everything but the “Playboy Mansion” part of it. BG, JoeSpeaker, Pauly, CJ, Bobby Bracelet, Spaceman, Chad, and Al are going. And I’m so envious I’m not even going to link to them. The bastards, screw ’em.

Anyway, I was bemused that just about all of them immediately went out looking for new threads to wear on that magical, magical night. Because that’s the first thing I thought of–what the hell would I WEAR? A Polo oxford and Dockers ain’t cutting it at the goddam PLAYBOY MANSION. And as I mentally inventoried my wardrobe I realized I’m sorely lacking in sharp duds. I do have a Calvin Klein shirt with French cuffs that I adore, and I have one pair of jeans that fit me in a way that doesn’t make me look slovenly. But beyond that…I haven’t gone shopping in too, too long.

Is this a sign that men have indeed become metrosexualized into prettified wusses? New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a book called Are Men Necessary?, and while I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to…actually, I can’t say much more about it than to point out that the book exists. Conversely, a Harvard professor named Harvey Mansfield has just published a book titled Manliness, which is about manliness. Sorry, I don’t have more than that for you, I haven’t read it and don’t intend to. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use it to support the argument I’m making here.

Exactly what argument AM I making here? Who knows, let’s find out together. The idea that modern society is rendering men irrelevent, or that it’s castrating us by anathemetizing our biological need to conquor…it’s not a nice idea. If you’re a guy. I mean, I don’t want to be rendered irrelevent, no matter how high the evidence pile keeps rising against me. I enjoy the odd night of conquoring. And to paraphrase Phil Hellmuth from yesterday’s post, my position on castration has been well-documented.

And so, if you’re going to the PLAYBOY MANSION, is it wrong for the topic of clothes to be so in the forefront? I’m saying this as a heterosexual male who voluntarily watches What Not To Wear (though in my defense I usually only watch if they have a possibly attractive woman threatening to blossom forth). I tried to think about cool guys from history, what would they wear if they were going to a party with scores of women you’ve mostly seen with staples in their navels (yes, I know I’m dating myself something awful here)?

For some reason Humphrey Bogart came to mind. I didn’t know why at first, but as I thought more about it two lines popped into my head. One is an appearance Bogart makes in Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, where Woody imagines a conversation with Bogie as he gets ready for date. Allen is putting on colognes and powders and sprays and Bogie asks what the hell he’s doing. “I need them,” Woody whines, and Bogie says, “Somewheres in life you got turned around; it’s HER job to smell good for YOU.”

Good line. Good manly-man line. And who was a more manly-man that Bogart, in his trenchcoat and fedora, playing Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, private eyes following their own code of honor? They are the personification of how Mansfield defines “manliness”, which is “confidence in risky situations”. I got that off of Amazon–I didn’t read the book between paragraphs.

So we get that angle from Bogart. But another famous line also floated up from my subconscious, if that’s where famous lines float up from. It’s the opening line from The Big Sleep, where Bogart played Philip Marlowe:

I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

The “I didn’t care who knew it” is one of my favorite lines of all time. But anyway, my point is that if Philip Marlowe can dress up on a business call, a humble poker blogger can dress up for the Playboy Mansion with a clear conscience. Though a powder-blue suit might be a wee bit out there. Be neat, be clean, be shaved, be…well, be neat.

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3 Responses to “Neat, Clean, Shaved and Sober”

  1. BG Says:

    From one of Al’s first emails post-invite…

    “They’re going to put me in the monkey cage.”

    That’s totally how I feel. I can look decent, but not hip. And I’ll be damned if I’m spending another two bills to make that happen. Cross your fingers that Al and I aren’t stuck dodging thrown feces all night…

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  3. JoeSpeaker Says:

    I’ve formed an economic theory about stimulating spending by inviting a few hundred random people to the Mansion every week. I’m sure the garment and textile industries would agree this is a great idea.

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