Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Manliness is a most debatable topic. Every man who is not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that) bones up (so to speak) on his own method of projecting his chosen brand of manliness. I would say there are categories of manliness. There's worldly manliness, cosmopolitan manliness, fake urban manliness, ghetto manliness, barrio manliness, suburban manliness, country gentleman manliness and backwoods redneck manliness just to name a few. The lowest form of fake urban manliness is the Metrosexual. That's a guy who uses epidermal skin scrub, wears slight makeup and mascara, dye their gray hair dark, go to spas, gets their forearms and legs tattooed and has their spikey tips bleached ala Guy Fierri.

Manliness is generally the domain of younger men trying to establish virility and older guys who missed the opportunity because they were immature dorks who trembled when looking for their zipper when they were of age, and that is true across all the aforementioned categories. For some of us older guys, we been there and done that. We’re comfortable in our own skin and fart in the general direction of those young turks and dorks, especially the ones wearing those awful "hipster hats".

Maybe that’s why I enjoy the Dos Equis (which is one damn good beer BTW) ads featuring The Most Interesting Man In The World.

Working in the ad business in Chicago for well over three decades I have met a few of the classic worldly manly man types. They were men of wealth, age and financial success. They were men full of past adventure and current myth. They were usually found in top shelf watering holes on Rush St. and were usually good pals with my boss. It was a pleasure to be in their presence and hear their stories, and just like that Dos Equis guy, had some fine young arm candy nearby. Humbling, really, but most of all they very impressive when they spoke. They never bragged, they just spoke and when they did, I listened. I hung on each and every word. It was once called having respect (today's snarky, immature young men have no idea what respect and honor for older gentlemen means).

But I never desired to be one of those worldly Most Interesting Men. I was a family man, dedicated to raising a traditional family just as I was raised. It was never about me, it was about my family, it was always about them. I made sacrifices for them because I loved them. No regrets. Those worldly doods had no family to love. All they did was travel and spend and play and screw.

But I sure did have a ball being a part of the latter day Madmen era in downtown Chicago enjoying three martini lunches when they were fashionable, listening to The Most Interesting Men In The world.

If you want to see these types of very classy manly men the place to go in Chicago is Gene & Georgetti’s for a prime steak lunch. This is where the real life Most Interesting Men In The World still enjoy a prime steak lunch. Before you enter you’ll see their Bentley’s, Jaguars and Masaratti’s parked out front in reserved parking spots secured by the valets. They have reserved tables on the main floor near the bar. You will usually find Illinois democrat politicians mingling amongst them looking to cut a deal. It’s a true throwback to the classic Chicago-style chop house. Go, experience and absorb what true manly class looks and sounds like.

What inspired me to write this was stumbling upon this blog.

It jarred my brain and I remembered manly men as portrayed in advertising during the 50’s and 60’. I saw most of these ads as a kid waiting for my turn in a six-chair barbershop. Don’s Barber Shop was where we got our hair trimmed every other week on a Saturday morning. There were “those” magazines stacked on the end tables of the waiting area.

No Playboys. No screw books. But there were tattered copies and back issues of Esquire, Argosy, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life just begging to be read. As a ten-year old kid who just learned how to read it was definitely the photos and ads that drew my attention.

How could I miss the fact that The Most Interesting Man In The World campaign is nothing but a very clever and entertaining spoof on the old manly man ads of that era. And does it ever work for a generation of young men that have no idea of who these famous bygone ad characters were. It’s the sharp humor, casting, situations and announcer’s quips that make the contemporary Dos Equis Most Interesting Man In The World ad spots work regardless of the true inspiration most time poor young moderns are completely unaware of.

My favorites manly man ad campaigns of old were:

The Hathaway Shirt Man.

The Marlboro Man.

The Schwepps Man.

I was never sold on The Arrow Shirt Dood. He looked a bit too urban gay for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

That Arrow Shirt thingie probably worked best in certain Manhattan enclaves.

And that's about all I have to say about that.


Dan from Madison said...

The Dos Equis ad campaign is probably one of my favorites of all time. My family likes them too and they are all wimmens.

Dan from Madison said...

I should ad that the Marlboro Man is alive and well in France. I was sitting in a bar reading some magazines, I think they were called Geo and each of the mags had old school Marlboro Man ads. I smiled. I love Altria.

Terry from Crown Point said...

Where, if at all, would "the walking guy" fit into this category?

Jonathan said...

The first step to being manly is to not give a shit about being manly. Let the chicks worry about how they look and what people think about them. Men have more important things on their minds, or should.