GuysEdge's Naked P.R. Grab

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A lot of people, even here, don't realize the extent to which New Yorkers are justified in taking the World Trade Center massacre personally. Even those of us who didn't lose any loved ones. And not because of the fear, or the skyline. Because personally is how it was meant. Torpedoing a nuclear reactor would have been more deadly; bringing down the Statue of Liberty would have been a greater affront to the patriotic psyche. The bastards chose the towers because they represented effort. New York is Effort Town.

The bastards, not knowing anything about effort, saw arrogance. But those of us who are familiar with striving, who appreciate an endeavor and a building, know that effort is the most humbling thing in the world. Achievement comes only with risking failure, and?in most cases?getting an acrid mouthful of it more than once. Then comes the ordeal of assessing what went wrong and how to fix it, which takes a lot more courage than suicide. Finally, you have to get back to work. If you live in New York City of your own free will, some version of this process is probably the one that guides your life. And it's precisely what the bastards hate, because they're not equipped to hack it.

These thoughts occurred to me while surrounded by bikini models in a frigid midtown disco. The event was "GuysEdge Magazine Live: Model Hunt 2002." GuysEdge is more of a marketing plan than a magazine, so far. Its plan involves beauty contests they call Model Hunts in various cities, apparently to drum up interest and investment in the company. Other than that, all they seem to have is a pamphlet. Oh?and the postcard flier for the New York Model Hunt, which reads: "Everything for Every Man and More. GUYSEDGE. There is a New Guy in Town. Sports Music Martial Arts Seduction Tech-Toys Guy-Fashion Health & Fitness Plus More! Club Saci, The Westsides Hotspot & Guysedge Magazine Event. Bikini Alert! Forget Photos. Live Bikini Modeling Contest. You Be The JUDGE! Sexiest Girl Wins By A Thong! Bikini Circus?Three Rings of Wild Bikinis."

The pamphlet is even more inspiring. It starts with an "Editor's Letter" that seems to reference 9/11, though I suppose the guy could just as well be talking about the cancellation of Pamela Anderson's V.I.P. He writes, "It's a new world with new rules, and it will keep changing. Changing into what you may ask? That is the first major question of the 21st Century.

"Pandora's Box has been opened and now anything and everything is possible in today's world.

"Living with uncertainty does not have to be the rule for you. There are always particular types of men who independent of world events surf waves of uncertainty. Now more than ever the world demands you FIND AN EDGE!"

Sitting in club Saci, waiting for the event to start, it seemed my duty to marvel at the insane ambition of the guys behind GuysEdge. One employee, hired only for the evening, told me they're 25- to 35-year-old dudes who worked in publishing or marketing. The pamphlet explains an elaborate "membership" plan with "7 Dimensions," including the "GuyBox" ("unique products to give our members?stuff they need"), the "Online Experience" and the "Book and CD Set 'Seduce Beautiful Women.'" There's a preview of the latter, packed with original jargon like "Science of Sexship," "Mind-Windowing" and "the E-line technique," plus teasers about "Add[ing] more horsepower to your Guystyle" with "Seduction Edge," and learning the "Inner Game" that "creates a halo of desirability," so you can "melt" the "Glass Wall Of Ice."

The pamphlet reads like someone spent a very long time on it. What the GuysEdge crew didn't work at hard enough was packing their New York event with red-blooded young men. There were barely 20 males in Saci, a club that can hold hundreds. The air conditioner was cranked like it needs to be for a big, whooping crowd of drunken fratboys. But they never showed up, and if they had they might not have been able to afford to get more than tipsy, because the place was selling beer for the same amount they do when something is actually happening. We few in attendance were kept waiting, shivering, for about an hour and a half. It seemed GuysEdge was off to a miserable start.

Finally, a choreographed parade of young women in bikinis began, and it became absolutely clear that GuysEdge is off to a miserable start. They had a woman with a strong European accent emceeing, and all she did was read robotically off index cards. I'm sure it's not easy to sell lines like, "GuysEdge is committed to giving you variety. The entire rainbow of beauty. GuysEdge will show the diversity of beautiful modern women" (recited when the model referred to as "our Asian beauty" walked), but she didn't even give it the ol' New York City try.

The token black model brought along her own cheering section, and she had the nicest smile. (I think the fact that I evaluate the faces of nearly naked chicks might mean I have an uncommon GuyStyle. The pamphlet lists the "common GuyStyles" as follows: FunnyGuy, IntellectualGuy, PartyGuy, SportsGuy, NiceGuy and TuffGuy. Pay no attention to that GayGuy behind the curtain.) I hope she won, but I left before the chosen audience members rendered their judgment, so I don't know.

The girls strutted, posed and wiggled their buns for the measly crowd. Their desire to make it as models must be extremely powerful. One could hardly hitch one's caboose to a weaker locomotive. It'd take a mighty suspension of disbelief to imagine GuysEdge getting funded, let alone succeeding as another Maxim. The opening in the culture for organs (ahem) of raw masculinity?for salves against the psychological beating guys took in the Clinton era just for being guy-ish?closed last fall, when everybody at once remembered why we need cops, firemen, construction workers, secretaries of defense, engineers and so on. Another Maxim that takes itself as seriously as Popular Mechanics is not exactly a solution to this problem.

Then again, their strategy might change. The culture will mutate once more. GuysEdge may adapt and thrive. I'd never put it that way, but some people really do surf waves of uncertainty. And before you can surf, you must wipe out. Horrifically, in public. Then, if you really want to become who you want to be someday, you need to get back on that board as if no one saw you get pounded face-first into the sand. God Bless America.

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