Sunday, May 30, 2010


I first learned of the area where I live after reading a newspaper article many years ago. As prices for a home rose, the writer explored places outside of Vancouver to see if she could find other “livable” communities in British Columbia. She had a checklist to ensure she wouldn’t give up some of the simple pleasures she found in the city. Things like finding Thai food and being able to pick up the latest issue of a particular magazine—The Atlantic or The New Yorker, I don’t exactly remember.

I should have paid more attention. I should have made my own checklist.

Facing (another) Saturday night with nothing to do—alas, the hockey playoffs are down to two teams I don’t care about—I drove into town to rent a flick. Almost buried in New Releases amongst the multiple copies of Saw VI and Transformers was a single copy of The September Issue. (Tangent: Ever notice how the New Releases section stretches the meaning of “new”?) I wiped off the thin film of dust on the top edge of the clear plastic cover and checked out the documentary on Prada “devil” Anna Wintour and the process of making Vogue’s most anticipated issue of the year.

Earlier in the day, I’d envied a friend in Toronto who was off to see the new Sex in the City movie on its opening weekend. Alas, that blasted green ogre continues to take up the only two movie screens that I can drive to. But now I had my own fashion film. Thirty minutes in, I could hardly contain myself. I pressed pause and headed back into town. This would be Fashion Night! Despite living where it doesn’t matter, I had the urge to peruse the latest summer and fall collections for men. I scanned the shelves of London Drugs. Alas. Men’s magazines have taken a downward turn. Three publications were shrouded in black plastic wrapping. Esquire had a voluptuous woman yanking down the top of her black dress dangerously close to the nipple zone and the other men’s magazines dealt with cars and stocks and hockey. Nothing even hinted at fashion. (This time of year, hockey is more fashion challenged than ever as scraggly beards complement those damn mullets.)

Where was my GQ? I searched the display racks three times and surveyed the tabloid section by the checkout. Wait…Dennis Hopper did drugs?!

Gee, no GQ. What’s with this town’s aversion to the letter Q? No GQ, no DQ. (Tangent: I struggle with an addiction to Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzards. And the Oreo Mint ones. And…)

I felt another tirade coming whereby I rant against this deceptively pretty Hell Hole and John Mellencamp, he of that taunting “Small Town” song, the only line I ever remember being, “I’ll probably die in the same small town.” Fortunately, a Starbucks decaf—God knows I didn’t need caffeine in my state!—calmed me. I must have looked particularly pathetic as the barista said it was on the house.

I found the apparently elusive magazine at the gas station. I’ll admit I was embarrassed to take it to the counter. More scandalous than Esquire! Some Aussie “supermodel” stared seductively on the cover, anxious to peel off her teeny white bra. What would the clerk think?

No, I am NOT a perverted old man who hasn’t figured out where to find internet porn! I’m just a gay man, desperate to see if suspenders are coming back. And those silky disco shirts!

Turned out to be complete waste of money. GQ was that magazine I subscribed to in high school with a new impossibly chiseled model’s face gracing the cover each month and tips about the correct way to apply cologne and fold a pocket square. Sadly, the current issue has busy, garish ads with race car drivers, a floozy pushing Curve Fragrances and a Gillette one-pager without the customary male model posing shirtless at the sink. There was a shot of an overweight shirtless man barfing in a garbage can, photos of lions and moose having sex and some Playboy-inspired comics of politicians like Alexander Hamilton having sex.

It was yet another near bust of a Saturday night. Thank God I had another hour of The September Issue to browse. And, yes, Madonna—on cassette!—to pay tribute to a fashion magazine with the wisdom to stick to the runway.

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