Jamie Reidy smacks down the Good Men Project founder’s argument that men should be allowed to wear dresses to the Academy Awards.
My boss’s boss Tom Matlack has more fashion dollars than sense. (If you say that with a southern accent it’ll resonate more.) He claims that tuxes are boring and old fashioned.
I say “Balderdash!” to that.
Just check out the way my man Jake Gyllenhaal is rocking his in that NY Times pic Tom references. (And, sure, I might be a little biased toward JG because he played “Jamie,” a character based on me in the movie “Love and Other Drugs.” But that man crush had no effect on my sartorial stance.)
I’ve never been to the Oscars. But I have been to the Emmys. The only reason I got to attend was the simple fact that I own a tuxedo. Check out the below blog describing that amazing experience.
If being a “know it all” is a prerequisite for fatherhood, then my old man tested out. Nothing annoys me more than my father’s unsolicited advice proving correct. I’d rather suffer through an endless loop of Sally Field acceptance speeches than hear my dad gloating, “No need to thank me…”.
Yet, for some unknown reason, I don’t mind it when my mom is right.
When I was a teenager, my mother’s old roommate tried to regale me with stories about their crazy times living in New York City. “Aunt” Jean failed in her mission. I simply did not believe a word of it; after all this was my mom she was talking about. But Aunt Jean did floor me with a throwaway line.
“We always had a case of champagne on hand.” Right. Good one. Aunt Jean assured me that she was serious. I yelled to my mom in the kitchen for confirmation.
“Sure!” she said, sounding surprised that I was surprised. I asked why they ever would have needed a case of champagne.
“In case a party broke out.” My mother the Boy Scout – always prepared. She then encouraged me to do the same. Though I’ve never followed that advice, I make sure to always be alcoholically ready in case the occasion calls for it – say, 2 A.M. after the bars close. My neighbors are not crazy about my preparedness.
I thought about the champagne story yesterday during a limo ride made possible by another bit of mom’s wisdom.
Late Saturday afternoon my friend Nora** called my cell phone. I almost didn’t answer it. Six beers into the day at a sports bar, this Notre Dame/Yankee fan was not happy to hear from a Boston College/Red Sox fan; I figured she wanted to give me some grief for my teams’ pathetic performances.
I was wrong.
“Do you own a tux?” Nora asked immediately. I raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Uh, yeah…”
“Do you want to go to the Emmys and the Governor’s Ball Sunday night?” I looked around at my friends, certain I was being Punk’d. “Uh, YEAH!”
Nora explained that she had just gotten a big promotion at NBC Universal, and had received a pair of Emmy tickets last minute, as the result. She said she’d call Sunday morning with more details.
Beaming, I turned to my friends who had known Nora much longer than I had. “Guess who’s going to the Emmys tomorrow night?”
They did not react in a gentlemanly manner to this news.
Right away, they began debating how many other guys Nora had called prior to me, none of whom owned a tuxedo. The most conservative estimate was 17. (Note: At the Emmys we ran into a gay friend of hers who was the first man she called to invite. ”Of course he owned a tux,” she explained. Since he was already attending, she moved down her list. I was second. Take that, Larry and Allan!)
Those poor fellas should have listened to their mothers.
Right after I got out of the Army in 1995, I attended a formal wedding. My mom advised me to buy a tuxedo instead of renting one. She said for the cost of three or four tux rentals, I could purchase my own and then not have to worry about it again. “As you get older and more successful, you’ll go to a lot more formal events. It’s a lifetime investment.”
Solid logic? Absolutely. I ignored it.
After renting a tux five or six more times, I finally came around to mom’s way of thinking. In an insane deal at Macy’s, I got a $900 Hugo Boss tuxedo for $95. Sometimes it pays to risk your macho street cred by getting a personal shopper.
But I digress.
Mom told me to buy a tux, I finally did, and there I was: stuck in the endless limo line leading to L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, home of the Emmy Awards.
I walked the red carpet! Well, I walked a red carpet. They have two: one for the stars and one parallel to it for the less luminous.
But while I was walking on my red carpet, I paralleled Stephen Colbert, Mario Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (surprisingly attractive), Dennis Leary, John Krasinski (Jim from The Office is surprisingly tall; like, 6′ 4″) and, biggest star of them all, Ron Jeremy. (I think I spotted Sylvia Saint inside, but it’s hard to recognize her, uh, dressed.)
I’ve never seen such an awesome display of wealth. The gowns and jewels were astounding, as was the amount of “work” done to the women wearing them. The accessibility shocked me, too; lots and lots of famous people just mingling in the lobby. Hey, there’s that chubby guy from “Alias” and “Heroes!”
Once inside the show, our seats were toward the back but we could see everything, including the entire Sopranos’ section getting pump faked out of their seats. In the Best Actor category, James Gandolfini was the overwhelming favorite. When presenter Kate Walsh read the winner’s name, “James…” the Sopranos contingent started to their feet, only to be stunned to hear, “…Spader.” D’oh! That was a little awkward. And a little funny.
My favorite star encounter involved an Italian guy who grew up across the river from Jersey. Exiting the men’s room at the Governor’s Ball, I bumped into an older gentleman. Stepping out of his way, I realized it was Tony Bennett! I said, “Excuse me, sir,” and he smiled with a wave. “Forget it!” Like I could ever forget that. Seeing Tony Bennett perform has been on my list of lifetime goals for years. But when I missed him last time he played in LA, I thought I’d never accomplish it. Thank you, Nora! Mr. Bennett won several Emmys last night, and then entertained at the Governor’s Ball. He even sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”!
My heartbeat picked up a few levels throughout the night, thanks to the multitude of gorgeous women. For a while, Kate Walsh held the title “Belle of the Ball.” I got to stand next to her at the bar - I’ll just have a beer. Wait, it’s an open bar? Then make it a Bombay Sapphire Martini, please. - at the Governor’s Ball. They did not do her justice on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Wow. Sadly for Kate, she lost the title once I passed the “Entourage” table and saw Emmanuelle Chriqui, who plays E’s ex-girlfriend. If I were Kevin Connolly, I would have keyed the car of the show writer responsible for making me break up with a goddess.
The Governor’s Ball was a stalker’s paradise. Security didn’t stop any nobody like me from walking up to any somebody’s table. The casts of “The Office” and “30 Rock” were located near each other. I thought it was a little soon post-separation for me to ask Jenna Fischer out, but I definitely could have proximity-wise. Emmy winner Tina Fey is way hotter in person than on TV.
But I wouldn’t know that had I not been invited to the Emmys. And I wouldn’t have been invited to the Emmys had I not bought a tuxedo. And I wouldn’t have bought a tuxedo had my mom not unsolicitedly advised me to do so.
Father may know best, but mother is always right.
**Re-reading this reminds me how much I miss my friend Nora O’Brien, who left us far too soon nearly three years ago. But her spirit lives on in http://www.hollywoodheart.org/, a non-profit organization that provides recreational and educational opportunities to at-risk youth. If you’re looking to donate to a charity today, I can’t think of a better or more appropriate one on Oscars Sunday.
Photo courtesy of PopCultureGeek.com