Michael Cera may be stuck in the profitable rut of playing aloof hipster love interests in every movie. But outside of his cinematic work, he has managed a stunning transformation from plaid-shirted preppy to hair-gelled guido. Could it be that the gulf between the two Caucasian subcultures is shrinking? We sure hope so.
The Guido bathes in his patented blend of Axe and Drakkar Noir before a night of fist-pumping. Always averse to flashiness, The Preppy adheres to the WASP's renowned code of thrift, scoffing even at Irish Spring as an unnecessary indulgence, preferring good old Dial bars.
After fighting his way through a veritable mushroom cloud of spray-on deodorant, the Guido wears his labels (Armani Exchange, Ed Hardy), literally, on his bulging sleeves. This is in defiance of the Preppy norm condemning ostentatious displays of materialism in favor of beat-up Volvos, well-worn boat shoes and tasteful tote bags from L.L Bean (with monogrammed initials being the only acceptable flourish).
The Guido would sooner spend a Saturday night dusting off his first edition Plimpton hardcovers than obscure his neck muscles. The Preppy pops his pastel polo collar (well, he did at some point, before the public school proletariat caught on).
Similarly, the Guido showers any and all members of the opposite sex with lustful affection. The WASP cringes at the thought of hugging family members but thinks nothing of Frenching his Golden Lab.
Is there any common ground? There may be.
Consider the suntan. Tans were once a tasteful status symbol among the WASPy jet-set who could afford plane tickets during the LONG-gone Golden Age of Air Travel. The ever-practical Guido has democratized the copper tone, making it possible to obtain one in your living room tanning bed.
The tribes also share an affinity for nicknames. Only instead of Trip (short for the "triple sticks" of those preppy-beloved roman numeral suffixes) and Muffy, the Guido has The Situation and, of course, Snooki.
As for native habitats, both tribes base their breeding grounds near major bodies of water. The Guido roams free on Staten Island and along the Jersey Shore, where used condoms make up the bulk of flotsam. The Preppy seeks solace from the barbarians along the gold coasts of Gatsby Land (Long Island's North Shore) and Cheever Country (Westchester and Connecticut).
Lucky for us observers of this culture merger, the geographic middle ground is none other than Manhattan.
Wednesday, May 22
We sat down with Anne Pasternak for a few questions about Creative Time's past and future, as well as the importance of having an awareness about public art in the city.