I’m at a restaurant for dinner the other night and at a corner table I see Lefkowitz, this guy I know from LA. He’s got a certain look down cold which I guess we’ll have to call the “LA in NY” look. It consists mostly of a suit and an open-collared shirt.
I hasten to add this is the “Executive LA in NY look” because Internet entrepreneurs and actors from the left coast don’t sport this particular fashion package. They are more the black t-shirt, black slacks with butch belt and unstructured sport coat look, with possibly a pair of $800 prescription sun glasses on a neck cord or chain.
The really successful right-brain types actually do without the sport coat entirely and just show up in what they had lying around on the floor from last night. You have to be in the eight figures to be able to do that bi-coastally.
At any rate, Lefkowitz was in the aforementioned executive garb looking cool and dreamy with his slightly rumpled silk shirt under a perfectly natty suit that never saw a rack. Somewhere between the appetizer and the main course I figure what the hey, I’ll go over and say hi to the guy. I don’t know him very well, but we occasionally are on the same e-mail chain together. Why not log a minute of face time?
So I go over and as I approach I see that his face is covered with about three days of stubble — not a micro-managed mini stubble thing you get with one of those special razors, no, the guy is basically walking around unshaven. It’s not a good look for him. His growth is uneven, and unlike his hair it’s turned kind of white. There’s quite a bit of fuzz on his chin, a couple of patches on his neck, all in all not an attractive sight.
There’s a reason why men shave. It changes the aspect of the entire persona. Sometimes when I’m out and about on a weekend, I’ll see a person I know from the office walking around with a load of stubble. Who’s that guy? I think. Do I know him?
“Hey, Lefkowitz,” I say to him. Does he think he looks good? It’s clear he made a definite decision NOT to shave. It’s a pretty nice restaurant. He’s walking around with at least $3,000 worth of duds on his back.
“Hey, Bing,” he says. We exchange a few pleasantries and I go back to my table.
“What’s up with the grizzled thing?” I ask Forbisher, my dinner companion that evening who, like me, does a fair amount of business in the Los Angeles area now and then.
“Lefkowitz?” he says. “That’s his New York look. Haven’t you noticed? A bunch of the LA guys don’t shave when they’re in New York.”
Now that he mentioned it, I had seen it before. They come here. They’re awesome. They don’t shave. At our lunch places, I’ve seen movie moguls who make billions walking around like my uncle Al after he spent a night at the track. All that’s missing is the Pendleton bathrobe hanging open.
I figure this: it’s a statement of power. It’s trying to convey the message, “You may live here, but we’re not impressed. We rule out there. We rule here. In fact, we’re not even going to shave for you. That’s how much we don’t care about your opinion. You’re nerds in suits and ties and squeaky faces. We’re the cool kids and we can do what we want.”
Fine. I get it now. So here’s what I’m going to do and I suggest you do the same: The next time we’re in LA, we don’t shave either. Also, we don’t bathe. After that, if this nonsense continues, we neglect to comb our hair. See how they like that.
Of course, LA is a competitive town. They may retaliate in kind and, on their next visit here, wear their pyjamas to lunch. In that case, we’ll have to consider an escalation of some sort. Maybe they’d like it if we appeared at The Ivy wearing our underwear on the outside?