David Beckham, Patron Saint of Lunch Dates

·3-min read
Photo credit: James Devaney
Photo credit: James Devaney

Paris Syndrome, a black dog of depression that bites those whose expectations of a dreamy Jean-Paul Belmondo city were shattered upon being mugged within minutes of arriving at Gare du Nord, has been debated by the psychiatric fringes for years. But New York Malady? Yet to be officially diagnosed. The same for London Disorder. And there's every reason why these cities could disappoint. The British capital's famed clubbing scene is suspiciously low on actual clubs, and high on WW2-themed bars that close at 11pm. The Greatest City in the World has rats the size of Pringle tubes. There's every reason to get a bit down about it all.

But not this summer! No siree! Because the cities are open(ish), and there are even whisperings of actual travel. Bonjour Paris. Good morning London. Waddddddup Noo Yawk! And with this summer of unbridled joy comes a backlog of prior Hinge conversations that need a face putting to the name, while those happily cuffed have a whole year of nice lunches to catch up on, and those somewhere in-between need to have a very serious meeting in which someone silently weeps behind sunglasses. And how do you tackle these summer afternoons? Like David Beckham, that's how.

Photo credit: James Devaney
Photo credit: James Devaney

In New York, the Maserati ambassador and patriarch of Britain's first family joined his good wife for a lunch date that leads by example. Which, in this instance, meant a knitted polo shirt, some pleated slacks and heavy, rompy stompy shoes that can work year round. So far, so Beckham. What makes this get-up so particularly good is the balance of smart, casual and effort.

First off: on a date which shows promise, one should show a semblance of making an effort, but not too much effort. A bunch of flowers is overwhelming, as is a full three-piece suit and a tableside Frank Sinatra tribute act that unexpectedly arrives mid-lunch. Beckham maintains a sense of polish with clean lines and a tailored trouser, but it's relaxed, and it's something that can be worn to a whole host of other occasions. And secondly: it's not an outfit that'll make a date say "right, OK, you clearly march to the beat of your own mad, 808 drum". These are classics. They worked for Mr Ripley, they worked for the men he was based upon, and they work for the men who dress like those men some 21 years on after the film's release.

And even if you don't get a text back: who cares? It's summer. You're in Paris, London, New York, or some other city that's finally allowed to enjoy itself once more. There are plenty more dates to be had, and plenty more overpriced, overcooked lunches to be enjoyed on broiling pavements. Come now. The city isn't so bad after all.

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