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Is it Noonan or is it Not?
by Barry Friedman


I think now of suits, cheap suits, worn by Hussein, and suits, expensive ones, worn by men who filled them in like, well, like men. These were times when men would carry themselves with pride, with their shoulders back, when men held doors and wore bowties with panache and verve. America has come to admire such memory. I saw Richard Roberts, son of much maligned Oral, once, in a fast food restaurant, one like Papa John’s, one where workers on minimum wage learned about an America that Ronald Reagan restored, gave back its shape like a tailor altering an Armani. Richard Roberts blessed this restaurant and people smiled and were gay and the restaurant prospered that day. He said—and I’ll never forget how I tingled when he said it—“I serve a first class God, I need to look first class, to wear a first-class suit."

Ahem. And. Ahem.

Reagan, too, gave America the business. He understood being first class. A dazzling man with perfect hair and pitch, he gave America its new look, a new suit, if you will (see what I did there?) And the suit fit us well, through one Bush, through another (We put on running shorts when Clinton ran around)—oh, how the suit wore. The seat, the elbows not worn—not worn at all.

But what kind of suit do we wear now? It is too big for us. Like this country is too big for this president. He is dwarfed by it. The shoulders sag, the waist baggy, and the inseam—ah, the inseam (what memories)—hangs, its girth, our girth, lost in excess material.

Nothing sexual, dear friends, but one asks (I know my good friends Maureen Dowd and David Brooks ask) where is the package?

I remember Reagan, telling Gorbachev to tear down a wall; I remember Bush the younger, landing on a plane, holding himself proudly. I have not seen this president do that.

Yes, America. I, like you, want men who have that package, want men who aren’t afraid to show--how best to say this--some bulge, whether in a flight—or first class—suit. I yearn for it. I beat my breasts, I touch my breasts, I fondle my breasts over and over, yearning for it … for that bulge to appear. I want Reagan's suit. I. want. it.

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