The Manolo On Glamour

Manolo says, the Manolo has down the comprehensive interview on the subject of glamour with his internet friend, and all-around smart person, Virginia Postrel for her blog Deep Glamour.

Here is the little portion of what awaits when you go to read the whole thing.

1) How do you define glamour?

Glamour is the peculiar and elusive characteristic that combines, in unspecified and unspecifiable proportions, the qualities of charisma, style, beauty, desirability, confidence, rarity, and mysteriousness. In fact, it is almost impossible to fully define what makes something glamorous. As with the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity, we have trouble defining glamour, but know it when we see it.

Having said that, the Manolo further avers that of all the previously mentioned characteristics, the most important are beauty and mysteriousness.

That which can be held closely and examined intimately loses its glamour, which is why the most glamorous of persons (Jackie O, Greta Garbo, Lord Byron, Galla Placidia, Cleopatra, Sappho) have always had something wonderfully opaque about them. Their motives are not well known, perhaps even to themselves, and thus it is this mysteriousness that in large part makes them glamorous. Likewise without beauty, such mysteriousness does not fully compel us.

By this definition, to be glamorous is to be extraordinary, perhaps even uncanny, unheimlich, if you will; the exact opposite of ordinary. What makes someone glamorous cannot be fully and clearly comprehended.

[…]

7) Most glamorous place?

Can the place be glamorous? Yes, but only until you visit it, and then your illusions of glamour are dispelled by the mundane things of the everyday world that you cannot help but notice, like traffic jams, and garbage collection, and sewers that back up when it rains too much. Thus Venice is glamorous, until the breeze off the Adriatic brings in the smell of rotting fish and raw sewage, at which point it is like Hoboken with better architecture.

And so, the Manolo would have to say, that for him, the current most glamorous place in the world is Saint Petersburg, but only because he has never been there.

As the footnote, the Manolo must explain that romantic and glamorous are not the same. The place like Venice, which sometimes smells of rotting fish, or Paris, where the traffic is sometimes horrific, are still terribly romantic, while Hoboken will never be romantic, even if it were to smell constantly of roses and freshly roasted coffee.

There is, of the course, much, much more.

6 Responses to “The Manolo On Glamour”

  1. Virginia October 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    But Hoboken has a terrific view of NYC. I can recall being a desperately poor, but dreamy and starry-eyed, student who commuted to evening classes in the city via the PATH. If you got on the PATH at 9th Street, you’d leave the city with the wonderful smells of the old Balducci’s still in your mind, exit the PATH at Hoboken, look over your shoulder and dream a bit. Then you’d head to your beater car and play a great song and hope you weren’t caught in traffic by the Meadowlands. On a good day, you’d have let yourself buy the marked-down bread at Balducci’s or have had the recession special at Grey’s Papaya. In your mind you knew: if you worked hard, it wouldn’t always be like this. Hoboken, to me, will always be the romance of the possible.

  2. Long Island October 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    I agree with the Manolo about St. Petersburg. I have never been to St. Petersburg but feel in love with the city after watching Russkiy kovcheg (Russian Ark).

    Posted below is the summary from IMDb:

    “Told in one fluid shot, a tale which floats like a dreamlike journey through the majestic spaces of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, engaging real and imagined characters from Russian and European history. The nameless protagonist, a 19th-century French diplomat, guides the audience through a lost, sumptuous dream that was the Enlightenment period. The film, staged among some of the Western Art tradition’s greatest masterpieces, climaxes in a pageant of color, motion, and music. For Sokurov, the Hermitage–home to generations of Romonovs and repository of so much Russian history–is the ark of the Russian soul, guarding it affectionately until the world sees better days. Written by Sujit R. Varma”

  3. Nicola Masciandaro October 30, 2008 at 6:47 am #

    Glamour, cf. Aquinas on claritas.

    *See* also, Sara Grace-Heller, “Light as Glamour” (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2903616).

  4. belle October 30, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    George Clooney isn’t glamourous…who knew?
    I thought everyone profiled in US Weekly was the non plus ultra of Glamour!

    Not really. And George Washington was glamourous. In addition to being tall, handsome, wealthy, mysterious and charismatic, he was highly accomplished, well educated and let’s nor forget impeccably turned out in his bespoke uniforms.

    Congrats on the interview.

  5. La BellaDonna October 31, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Dear Manolo, La BellaDonna, she wants to know: does it count towards the goal of glamour if one has at least performed at The Kennedy Center, playing someone glamourous? It was before the wife of the President (not the current one!), and not the President himself, but La BellaDonna, she gave it all she had. It is certainly the closest she is likely to come in her lifetime to being feted anywhere.

  6. Chloé Wright-Sinclair November 26, 2008 at 1:20 pm #

    That the only “unglamorous” thing The Manolo can think of about Paris is the traffic, I think it’s safe to say it’s the most glamorous!! AND the most romantic…. Paris Paris Paris has got my vote!