Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Literary Memoir

I was hosting an event at Skylight. It was for a pretty coffee table book called Casa Mexicana. Photographs by Tim Street-Porter. This book attracted several interior designers. There was a disntinguished man in the audience. I started chatting with him. I asked, "Are you a designer?" He said, I used to design hair. He told me his name was Vidal.

It took me a second to realise that he is famed hair stylist Vidal Sassoon (pictured). Back in the day, there were some names in fashion that brought awe to this gay teenage boy: Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Larent, and Vidal Sassoon.

He told me that he doesn't design as much these days. He's asked to do more lecturing. Talking to him, I was thrown back to the 80's, reading Gentleman's Quarterly--when they had male models, not celebrities on the cover. Vidal Sasssoon products was plastered all over the magazine. I sat in my room reading GQ, wondering if I had it in me to someday be a gentleman.

In GQ, tips were given on behavior and appearance. Prepare to pay atleast $100 on a date or your chest should be precisely seven inches bigger than your waist. Of course, my concecpt of Gentleman and gentelmanly behavior has changed in the last 20 years. Some of the best dates had been spent curled up with someone in front of the TV, eating chinese take-out. Price: $10. I don't think my chest has ever been precisely seven inches bigger than my waist (there have been times in my life when my waistline was bigger than my chest.)

One concept about being a Gentleman that hasn't changed is humility. Mr. Sassoon, despite his contribution to pop culture, was humble and upon leaving, he said to me: "It was lovely to meet you."

Lovely, indeed.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful! It's so satisfying when you meet someone you admire and they are as pleasant as you might hope. I've had that happen a couple of times. Most notably Andre Brauer. Another true gentleman.

Rich said...

Better get my tape measure and see if I "measure up"! Seriously, spend all the hours you like in the gym--the results will never mean as much as having good manners and humility.