The Basics: age, occupation, where are you from, where do you live now?
36. Author/Journalist* (*after two years of freelancing and writing a book, I am looking for a staff magazine/newspaper job, if anybody in a hiring position is reading this). I grew up in a suburb of Detroit called Bloomfield Hills. I've lived in New York City for 11 years, half the time in the West Village, half the time in the East Village.
"Metrosexual" is a word journalists love to write, but people cannot really say without being ironic, artificial, or both. Can't we strike it from the vernacular already?
Yes, and I'm lobbying Congress to do so as we speak, but that manicure-loving blowhard Al D'Amato keeps filibustering me. I've never really understood the term or liked the label, and thus, I call my book The RELUCTANT Metrosexual as a subtle and clever act of protest. Why do I deserve special categorization because I can dress myself in something other than a golf shirt and pleated Dockers? That the culture industry needed to create a special label for what is essentially a man with refined taste is emblematic of how rooted our culture is in shallow machismo. In Europe, there is a simpler term for such men with sensitive and tasteful sensibilities'they are called 'males.'
How has the book's release affected your dating life? Are girls now well armed, having read your dating thoughts, strategies, quirks, etc.?
Well, let's be clear here. It's not like there are armies of woman tracking me down. But, yes, the book does provide a detailed Cliff's Notes look into my life, in some very revealing ways. I'd say, however, if anything, there is a certain freedom in being so honest, and letting women in on our strategies. And any woman who reads the books at least knows what she is in for.
Is there a cute, blended word for the feminine equivalent (or if not equivalent, opposite) of metrosexual? If not, you can coin one.
Oh, I could coin a clever term, but then we'd have to go through the legalistic wrangling of ownership determination and fair usage, and who has the time for that, with the new season of reality television is starting soon?
Saturday night, midnight: where are you, what are you doing?
At home, organizing my iTunes by sub-genre, or maybe just getting out of a movie and hoping to find a bar where two or three people can actually talk and not, say, be subjected to bad DJ music played at the decibel level of a Live Aid concert. Friday nights are tough at my advanced age.
Most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
My tie rack (its constructed of weapons-grade bullet proof titanium), though I do have a nice grey suit I had made in Italy last summer, during the flush days of a book advance.
Best place in the city to take a really cheap date?
Crif Dogs, on St. Marks, followed by a walk through Tompkins Square Park then onto 7A for $2 beers and a few games of pinball. I would never take a woman out on a cheap date, but if one wants a well-priced evening of fun, this is a doable scenario.
What's your best dining experience in the city?
Well, thank God for the ESPN Zone. When I can't get a table there, I settle for Da Silvano or il Bagatto. Blue Ribbon is probably my favorite restaurant in the world. And for authentic 'cuchifritas,' a little hallway of a place called Spanish American Food Restaurant is excellent. Solid grub, and perhaps the most literally-named establishment in New York.
Please describe your greatest celebrity encounter in N.Y.C.
In the middle 1990s, just after his show on MTV was cancelled, I bumped into Jon Stewart at the Corner Bistro. Well, 'bumped into' makes it sound like we were on the same softball team, but I saw him. He was in line for a table, and I was leaving. As I passed him I said, 'Jon, you have try to the kiwi and berry fruit salad tonight, it�s to die for. Tell Tommy to make it special for you.� The Corner Bistro's menu has 3 items, and they are all involve red meat. The closest thing they have to fruit is peach Schnapps. He laughed, but, oddly, I have not been able to convert the experience into a writing gig at The Daily Show.
What's your favorite scene from a movie that reflects New York life?
The scene from Annie Hall, just after the tennis game, when Alvy and Annie are standing on a street and he compliments her outfit and she mentions that her tie was a gift from her grammy Hall. Alvy replies 'My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks.'
And, I know it's not a movie, but every minute of every episode of 'Friends' (well, not counting the ones in Vegas or London). Oh my God, that Chandler was like so funny.
Best public restroom?
I am not a fan of public restrooms, but, if pushed for an answer, I will say the bathroom at the Barnes & Noble on Astor place. It's on the first floor, so access is easy. And, it's conveniently located near the map section, so you can research the topography of Eastern Europe while using their extremely free and moderately clean facilities.
What bygone N.Y.C. place or thing do you wish were still around? (Defunct bar, passe trend, checkerboard taxicabs, etc.)
There are a lot of establishments that I miss (Balduccis, the Bottom Line) but what I long for most are the simple, bygone days of last fall, when every male in my neighborhood dressed like a member of the Strokes or, at the very least, wore one of those clever trucker hats. Ah, sweet nostalgia. I guess I'll have to wait twenty years for the cycle to come back around, though, no doubt, VH1 has an 'I Love September 2003' show in the works.
Who, in your opinion, is the quintessential New Yorker? (Name up to three if you like.)
George Plimpton, for his grace
Reggie Jackson, for his flash
The Ramones, for their three-chord sonic bouquets
Ever consider leaving N.Y. for good?
I've considered it, but doing so would mean living in a home with space for storage, a real kitchen and immediate access to grass/trees, and then what would I have to complain about?
What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
One of my best friends from prep school got married, so that was a hoot, what with all the taffeta and pigs in a blanket. Also: I drove in a car, a lot, over very long distances, and sat in traffic, in the warm sunshine, wishing I were sitting by the pool of an overpriced hotel that looks like every other hip hotel with white linens in Miami or LA.
What location would you declare a city landmark?
All places that sell books, coffee, hardware or office supplies independently. I'd also like to make it illegal for any edifice built before 1945 to be torn down, bar none. Do we really need another brick and faux-sandstone apartment building with a Duane Reade on the ground floor? Real estate development is, for the most part, criminal in this day and age. And what is the best use of vacant space we can come up? Building a football stadium in a city that has too few public spaces and too many homeless people and a dozen other stadiums within 10 square miles.
The End of the World is on its way. What would you do with your last 24 hours in N.Y.C.?
I'd eat lunch with William F. Buckley, and change his view during at least one argument. I'd play tennis with John McEnroe, and win at least one point. I'd have drinks with Christy Brinkley, and get her to give me at least one good explanation of the whole Billy Joel marriage. I'd sit in with whatever band was playing at the Village Vanguard, and try not to get booed offstage. And I'd probably end the night at Joes Pizza, on Bleeker Street, then walk home to my apartment. If the Hilton sisters wanted to spend the last few hours with me, I could make the cinematic arrangements (for my biographers, of course).
Interview by Josh Abraham