Every Girl's Crazy 'Bout a Sharp-dressed Man

As magazines marketed to the Y-chromosome set go, you just can't get any better than "Esquire." It's always got interesting and well-written articles, has a regular column by the always-entertaining Chuck Klosterman, and some pretty darn good photographs, some of which are of scantily-clad women. Whenever I read it, I feel like I've learned something, or been exposed to a new perspective on an important issue. It's not sleazy, barely-disguised porn like "Maxim". It's not sleazy, barely-disguised porn with terrible, terrible, terrible taste in women like "FHM". I will not force you to break out the Brain Bleach by even so much as linking to them, but trust me when I tell you that "FHM" has published pictures of Rachel goddamn Ray in a bra and miniskirt, licking chocolate off a spoon in what I suppose is meant to be a seductive manner. How their offices weren't instantly destroyed Sodom-and-Gomorrah-style by an angry God when they even thought of this idea, let alone actually going through with it, is a mystery suited to finer theological minds than my own. Where was I? Oh, yeah. "Playboy" is actually not bad - they at least have the sense to admit to being mildly pornographic - but they also seem to think it's still 1965.

So "Esquire" is where it's at - except for one thing. The "Style" section of each and every issue of "Esquire" absolutely blows my mind. In this month's issue, for example, they open by extolling the virtues of a shirt that costs $200. They go on to devote several pages to which shoes ought to be in a well-dressed man's wardrobe. Nothing wrong with that, save that even their recommended canvas sneakers cost over a hundred bones. It's a variation on the classic Chuck Taylor that's got some European designer's name slapped on it and therefore costs four times as much as any reasonable human being could possibly spend on canvas sneakers.

This seems perfectly sensible, however, compared to at least two other featured pairs of shoes, both of which cost more than two thousand dollars. Two thousand dollars. For a pair of shoes. If I'm going to spend two thousand dollars on any item of clothing, it had better be woven from 24-karat gold, bulletproof, make me run twice as fast and jump four times as high as I do now, and wash the fucking dishes for me.

Who buys these shoes? Or, more accurately, who buys both these shoes and "Esquire"? If you're dropping two grand on a pair of shoes, you've probably already got a robotic valet with a built-in internet connection in its positronic brain telling it all the most fashionable and absurdly expensive new clothes to go out and buy for you. If you're spending that kind of money on shoes, you probably don't need style advice from a magazine that features Chuck Klosterman ruminating on basketball and Stacey Grenrock-Woods explaining what a Dirty Sanchez is.

Some advice on clothes can be helpful, no doubt. God knows I could use it. But how about some advice on $40 shirts and $80 wingtips for those of us whose clothing budget is somewhat less than the GDP of Norway? I like to feel like I look good when I get dressed, but $300 for jeans seems a little steep to me.