CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -
A while back Old Spice ran a print ad that showed Faye Dunaway lounging in front of a roaring fire, and at the bottom right of the spread there was the best tag line I’d ever read - “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist.” I loved everything about the ad - Faye Dunaway! Classic Old Spice! Roaring Fire! None of this metrosexual shit - be a fucking man like your grandfather was!
It made me think of my own grandfather - he was one of the more interesting people I had ever met. Like pretty much all the men in my family, he was big and barrel-chested and he had that old-man strength that always surprises you. When he was younger he had dark hair, and there is a portrait of him my unlce has where he has a cigarette casually dangling from the side of his mouth and he looks like Ernest Hemingway.
He lived at the beach and he drank gin, all day every day. Beefeater on the rocks. And he loved classical music. He should have worked at a classical music radio station - he could hear the opening stanza to any piece and know the composer. It was kind of amazing. After my grandmother died, he would sit late at night, listening to the classical music station, and rub his finger along the rim of his glass, staring blankly into the ice.
He was the first person to offer me a beer - I was 14 and spending the night at his house and he said “you want an Oranjeboom?” Every time I see Oranjeboom now I think of that night, the sounds of the ocean and the classical music and the white carpet and the wood panels and the pale yellow Oranjeboom tall boy. (more…)