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The Kempt Five

  • Caitlin Ganswindt
  • Najib Benouar

Kempt Five

Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So welcome to our most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.

Without further ado, here’s what’s on our minds this week.

BeardsThe Summer Beard: “Aren’t you hot with that?”—a thing annoying people ask. No, I’m not. And hey, studies say beards have an SPF of 21, so I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.” —P.L.U.

TubesAn Inner Tube in the Ocean: “One of those old-school black rubber ones. Beach power move.” —C.G.

Button-DownsThe New Era of Short-Sleeved Button-Downs: “Once the nerdier cousin to the polo shirt, now the short-sleeved button-down is a bona fide summer style essential thanks to the revival of all-over prints, stripes and tailored cuts—eschewing everything that once made the shirt a staple of Dilbert comics. For the advanced move, go with a pop-over.” —N.B.

ReadingSummer Reading: “You hate it as a kid, you treasure it as an adult. I’ve been shotgunning the novels of Patricia Highsmith recently. I’ve been a fan since I came across her excellent short story collection Nothing That Meets the Eye a few years ago, and after rereading The Talented Mr. Ripley, I’ve gone on something of a binge: The Tremor of Forgery, a Camus-like tale of an author who accidently commits a murder in Tunisia (his weapon: a heavy typewriter) that is subsequently covered up by parties unknown; The Price of Salt, a controversial lesbian adventure that was one of the first same-sex romances to have a happy ending; the second Tom Ripley book, Ripley Under Ground; and now I’m on to A Dog’s Ransom, a nasty tale of a rich Manhattan couple’s kidnapped dog. Each book brims with unsettling dread. “With contempt” may best describe the way Highsmith views the human race, but her wry observations are pretty spot-on. On these very hot, very humid days, there’s nothing like feeling your blood run a little cold.” —A.P.B.

GreeceBeing of Mediterranean Descent: “Half of the office returned beet-red after the long weekend. The other half was pale, probably from avoiding the sun like the plague. And then there was me, perfectly olive-skinned because that’s how my people have always responded to the sun. The motherland may not have given me much (I can’t balance a checkbook for shit), but it gave me that. It’s the little victories, you know?” —S.P.