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O’BRIEN ALONE: GQ readers have lots of crucial questions about life. He might be dating a woman richer than him, for instance. “How can I keep my dignity?” He is flummoxed by the proper way to sit. “I find it more comfortable to cross at the knees, but I often feel self-conscious.” For the past 13 years, it’s been Glenn O’Brien’s job to answer these queries and reassure the GQ man at a crossroads. He’s the magazine’s in-house “Style Guy” columnist and resident wise man, a former TV-host turned dandy-about-town with bylines in magazines mainstream (many different Vogues) and stubbornly niche (Purple magazine).
“Respect yourself,” he told the guy with the loaded girlfriend. You can cross your legs if you want, he advised the other guy.
Now, GQ has compiled the advice column in a special stand-alone issue that’s on newsstands today through January. It’s the magazine’s second style guide — the first came out in 2010. Competitor Esquire has a similar style guide, “The Big Black Book,” that has come out twice annually since 2006. But there are differences: GQ’s new guide is ad-free, and it’s dedicated to O’Brien.
He has never been at a loss for opinions on anything — he even has a book of essays, “How to Be a Man,” as he’ll remind you — and over the years, he’s dished out advice on everything from sex to social manners, which, helpfully, are some of the chapters in the issue. He picked the columns with GQ senior editor Will Welch.
And though some of the advice may be several years old, O’Brien maintains it’s timeless.
“I’m not very trendy, so I think I haven’t recanted on anything. I’ve revised my opinions on some things. I used to be fuddy-duddy about white shoes,” he said. Now, he thinks they’re acceptable to wear during any warm months.
While the column is usually accompanied by an illustration, for this issue, O’Brien also let GQ editors into his closet, offering up several of his own pieces, like a Schott motorcycle jacket — adorned by a Basquiat doodle — and Nike Destroyers sneakers, to be photographed.
“Fortunately, they didn’t run my underwear,” he said.