Opinion by Ryan Allan
Does Esquire magazine suck? Or is it just me?
I used to read every page voraciously. It would take me a few hours. When I was young, I would look at the clothes to learn how to dress (albeit on 1% of the budget). Esquire would tell me what the best types of bars and restaurants were, where they were & inspire me to travel there. I’d read stories on what it meant to be a man. Inevitably, it meant doing the “right thing.” Every year they’d show me the coolest new cars, the hottest gear at Christmas, make snarky jokes about elections & introduce me to new sex words in the Q&A Sex Talk.
My favorite part used to be the “What I’ve Learned” column. The subject was always someone who seemed like they had really lived. Were maybe a little rough around the edges but had grown wise over the years. Kris Kristofferson comes to mind. There was always a little nugget I could pull away to use in my own life.
Now, I skim through it for 20 to 30 minutes picking and choosing the articles that seem important. Usually, I’ll read one high quality piece at the end that is always a hard-hitting super bummer & the “Joke by a Beautiful Woman” at the beginning. Each issue has about a page of relevant information & 40 pages of watch advertisements.
Why so many watch ads? Do people still wear watches? Don’t we all just use our phones. Didn’t we just watch the Apple watch fail? APPLE! Why keep pushing the watch down our throats? If I can afford the watches in the pages of Esquire it is a good bet that I don’t spend time reading Esquire.
Has Esquire magazine changed or have my priorities about what it means to be a Man or what I need to live the fulfilled life changed? Since I’ve started reading the magazine I’ve actually gotten to go out into the world. See some of the “Best Bars in America.” I’ve gone to stores selling $1000 blazers (and left empty-handed). I’ve learned more about politics, world issues, what constitutes a good beer & how to make a Manhattan. In short, I’ve grown up some. I’ve lived some. The advice I read in the “What I’ve Learned” column doesn’t resonate anymore. Because I realize those things only work in those people lives. I want to keep living my own.
I don’t know if Esquire has gotten worse over the years. If I had to guess I’d say they added more advertising & stayed about the same. But I’ve changed. I think for the better, and it has made me realize that magazines like Esquire are mostly about wish-fulfillment. They give us a life to aspire too. A life that looks cool, expensive & that will attract whomever it is you wish to attract.
Somewhere along the line that stopped being the life I wished for. The life I wished for is happening right now, every day in the real world. Not in the pages of a glossy magazine.
And now…for an Unnecessary Rant:
Who at Esquire makes the decision on who the “Sexiest Woman Alive” is? And who is Esquire that they even know what is sexy. The mags sexiest women alive have been attractive, physically attractive, but I bet your definition of sexy is different from mine. The sexiest woman alive could be any woman, anywhere.
There’s about a 0% chance the sexiest woman alive is a famous celebrity. I say there’s even a less of a chance that the sexiest woman alive would let herself be photographed as the sexiest woman alive. Instead of continuing to pick someone we might recognize from the big screens (or increasingly, the small screen) let’s look to the real world for what is sexy. The fun-loving barista, the confident athlete, your wife or girlfriend. Stop telling us who is sexy Esquire. We can figure it out for ourselves.