Glenn O’Brien’s position in the cultural firmament is, at this point, unassailable. He’s defined his unique place in the world and no one can claim it from him. But just because there’s not much left to be said about Glenn doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot to say himself. His new book, How To Be A Man, comes out later this month. It’s a collection of indispensable essays on everything from beards to snobs, wine to women. In a world suffering from information overload his words, stylish and irreverent, cut to the heart of the matter.
We spoke over a leisurely lunch at Il Buco. Interview by David Coggins.
David Coggins: How did you come to the idea of writing the book, and why now?
Glenn O’Brien: Well, The Style Guy column has a big audience, and I thought I should write a book for that audience. But I didn’t want to do a greatest series of Q & A’s, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to write some essays. Basically this is all original, I mean there’s a couple of things that appeared here and there in slightly altered versions. But most of this is original, although I did cannibalize a lot of good lines.
DC: Is there some particular moment now that people are asking or asserting how to be a man—is it all these lumberjacks going around with beards?
GO: Don’t you like that? I think we’re at a pivotal moment, I think the yang is returning.
DC: And how do we see that? People certainly care where their clothes are from are how they’re made.
GO: I think culturally we reached a point of the sort of nadir of wussiness, and I think that people are going to be a little more assertive and demanding, and individual. Don’t you think?