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Every month, we thoroughly examine the contents of GQ, Details and Esquire, so you don’t have to. This month’s breakdown—starring The Dude, caftans, younger men, Alyssa Miller, sherry, JFK, crying mascots, the Upright Citizens Brigade, Pharrell Williams, Elvis impersonators and 80 American men—now.

Page Count

GQ: 252
Esquire: 280
Details: 154

Cover

GQ: Depending on your copy, it’s either Idris Elba, Justin Theroux or Jeff Bridges looking concerned against a gray backdrop.
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Esquire: “The American Man Now” is the theme of this 80th Anniversary Issue, highlighted here by up-close portraits of men born in every year since. And it opens out.
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Details: Pharrell Williams, in profile and grayscale. As always, his skin is immaculate. It has to be photoshopped.
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Style

GQ: Included in this edition is a modest endorsement of fancy pajamas, Bridges with handsome coating, Elba dressing up a three-piece, Theroux making suits look punk rock and this little ditty from the Style Guy: “Jeans are cowboy pants, and any jeans you can’t run away from a bull in are bullshit.”

Esquire: Okay, so “The Timeless Style of Esquire” is a cringe-inducingly pompous title. But we’ll forgive only in return for these “Esquire Regrets” excerpts. A favorite: “‘In the comparatively brief time since it was introduced in this country, the caftan has established itself as one of the most practical and attractive articles of leisure wear.’ —June 1972.”

Details: The bit about fashion trends being for younger men is dead on. (We’re looking at you, Wooster.)

Women

GQ: Lizzy Caplan, page 228, skimpy white tank-top dress and a hefty dose of sideboob.
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Esquire: Alyssa Miller, page 122, number 46 of “The Esquire 80: The Things That Define Our Time.”

Details: N/A, unfortunately.

Grooming/Fitness/Health

GQ: A 10-step guide on “How to Not Stink at Finding the Right Cologne,” which we’re fully on board with. (Though that pun is killing us, guys.) As supplementary literature, check out our thoughts on the subject.

Esquire: Of the 80 men photographed to create a portrait of “The American Man Now,” four have mustaches, four have beards, one has a goatee, and 15 have stubble long enough to not be considered clean-shaven but not long enough to be deemed a beard. Discuss.

Details: Apparently, we should be applying some sort of “serum” to our face instead of a moisturizer. You know, for anti-aging purposes. Or whatever. And also, do you think it was part of the original plan for all of the models in the “Sweater Weather” shoot to have beards, or was it just a happy coincidence that they ended up running with? Probably the former, but we’d prefer the latter.

Food and Drink

GQ: Sherry—“like, um, wingtips, brussels sprouts and Twin Peaks”—is having a comeback, it would seem. Drink accordingly.

Esquire: “The State of Drinking Is Amazing” proclaims #17 of that aforementioned “Esquire 80.” And frankly, that’s all there really is to say on the matter.

Details:The Best Late-Night Dinner Menus.” We’ll make sure to test out your recommendations next time we… lose track of time.

Cars/Travel

GQ: A ringing endorsement for sites like Airbnb and VRBO, which make it easy to rent other people’s vacant homes for cheap. Great, if only we had the vacation days left.

Esquire: Read “The Flight from Dallas.” It’s about travel only in that an airplane is involved, and it’ll break your heart all over again in the way that only JFK could.
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Details: And on a lighter note, “An Insider’s Guide to Nashville” gives us a tour of the country capital.

Sex

GQ: On dildos and their effect in the bedroom: “[They’re] like sriracha, but for sex.” Interpret as you will.

Esquire: “In adolescence, I had only to say ‘God,’ and I would think of my groin.” —Norman Mailer, “A Piece of Harlot’s Ghost,” July 1988. This retrospective issue really does have its gems.

Details: Sir Richard’s condoms have applied the “give one, get one” business model to your favorite form of below-the-belt protection. Think about popping a few in the pocket of that socially conscious getup you’ve been meaning to take out for a spin.

Entertainment

GQ: In a Venn diagram entitled “Carrie-Themed Entertainment,” the Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries and the newly remade Carrie film overlap only in that they are utterly terrifying. Yep.

Esquire: The U.C.B. Diaspora, below.
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Details: Thanks Deets, for introducing us to our new TV obsession, Behind the Mask, which follows sports team mascots and “shows that there are plenty of tears behind the cheers.” Perfect.

Profiles

GQ: Arbitrarily, or maybe because he’s just who we know the least about, we’ve only read the profile of Idris Elba. (Sorry, Mr. Jennifer Aniston and The Dude.) And unsurprisingly, he is a remarkably cool guy.

Esquire: Where to even begin? From oldest to youngest: Joe Namath, Bill Clinton, Steven Chu, Matt Lauer, an “appreciation” of Peter Dinklage, Rick Ross, Shawn Fanning, Ronan Farrow and young Logan Parker, the cutest cancer survivor you ever did see, to name a few.

Details: Pharrell Williams talks about being Pharrell Williams and conquering the world as such. Then his collaborators, such as Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangaltar, Hans Zimmer and Robin Thicke, do the same.

Serious Journalism

GQ: Wells Tower heads down to Tupelo, Mississippi, to get a little perspective on the guy who mailed ricin to the president. Wait, did we say “guy”? We meant “Elvis impersonator.”

Esquire: Frankly, the whole issue is pretty darned serious, in a good way. Though we would have liked to see a little more daring in the Obama interview.

Details: A look at Pentecostal pop-idol Carl Lenz, who’s recently gotten to know a slurry of athletes and one Mr. Justin Bieber.

They text.

—S.P.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Stephen Praetorius