A Few Choice Words from GQ’s Style Guy, Glenn O’Brien

He’s been telling GQ readers how to dress and behave for eleven years, but Style Guy Glenn O’Brien’s true expertise might be the art of social navigation. On the ocassion of his new book, ‘How To Be A Man’ ($39.59, available at Colette on April 25th), O’Brien shares his expertise from years of hanging with the right crowds (Warhol, Bowie, Madonna) with readers on this month’s GQ, in stores now.

  • It’s good to stay friend with your exes.
  • Always buy drinks and meals for rich people; since no one else does, they’ll notice.
  • Don’t be afraid to display all your personalities
  • It’s normal to like coworkers. Where else is a workaholic going to meet anyone?
  • Never assume that beautiful people are not equally outstanding in the brains department.
  • People remember a good listener better than a good talker
  • Never judge a person by his clothes or his acts.
  • Always try to sit in front. You meet interesting people.
  • Always be on the lookout for people who remind you of yourself.

Don’t Undredress: It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. People will assume you are going to or coming from somewhere better.

Don’t Overstay: I like to go to parties early. That’s often when the VIP’s arrive for their brief appearance. If you stay too long, it will appear you have nothing better to do. It’s okay to make an appearance. The exception is at seated dinners. You can make an appearance at cocktails, but once your seated, you’re stuck.

When A Friend Drinks Too Much: Do unto others, etc. But if it;s getting to be a bore, you might say something. I prefer mockery to concern. It’s cooler and much more effective. If you think making fun doesn’t get the message across, you’re wrong. “You left something at my house light night” “I did? What?” “Your dignity.” I call it “zero tolerance with a twist.”

Gossip I believe in not informing on one’s friends, unless your silence will do harm to the friend and society. I’m not entirely against gossip, but I generally stay away from it, unless I feel like there is something positive about passing on a particular tidbit. Ironically, displaying unusual discretion and an unwillingness to dish the dirt will lead more and more people to provide you with the most salacious inside info. I’ll only loose my lips if I want to shink a ship.

Punishing Friends Everyone misbehaves. And people change, not always for the best. When our friends behave badly, we want to do something about it. Shunning is when one’s former friends and associates shut you off, and it was perfected by many religious groups. Generally, I prefer the cold shoulder, which is more informal.You deny that you are shunning, pretending instead that you are very busy. You don’t come to the phone or return calls, You can answer e-mail with an old out-of-office message, preferably dated several weeks earlier.

Former Friends Nothing makes for enemies like friendships gone wrong. I know Jesus advised loving one’s enemies, but I believe that when he said turn the other cheek, he actually meant ‘Ignore the motherfuckers!’ This requires complete indifference. The former friend must be completely invisible; his presence or existence is not aknowledged. I would even recommend not speaking ill of him/her as it will make you seem petty, jealous or slighted. Take the high road–you can’t see him from up here. Once you have practiced shunning, you get pretty good at it. not long ago, I was seated at a dinner near someone I had not acknowledged in nearly two decades. We participated fully in the same conversations, but never once spoke directly. That’s civility. When one’s enemies are mentioned, simply dismiss them or change the subject.

Enemies Having the right enemies is as important as having the right friends. It shows you have standards and guts. But like friendship, hostility should be one-on-one, not a group thing. Don’t expect your friends to support your animosities. If an enemy’s name comes up , just say “We don’t speak.” That speaks volumes, and you may leak further details intriguningly, artfully revealing your enemie’s flaws without appearing rhetoric.

Revenge A dish best served cold and al dente. As long as you get even before death, you win. A brilliant revenge may even carry on beyond the grave. Why do you think they invented wills?

(C) Copyright, Gentlemen’s Quarterly and Glenn O’Brien.

About ‘How To Be A Man’ This is a must-have guide for every gentleman and modern dandy. With over 30 years of experience, Glenn O’Brien, GQ’s Style Guy, will tell you absolutely everything you need to know to be stylish, create a successful guest list for your cocktail party, prepare your suitcase for a last minute trip to the Caribbean. The wonderful illustrations by Jean-Philippe Delhomme perfectly match the playful and sometimes sarcastic tone of the texts, and delight us. Rizzoli. (from Stay tuned for a preview of his book.


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