Len Levinson and his history with Black Leather jackets.
I worked in advertising and PR for ten years after I graduated from college, Michigan State University, class of 1961. First I wrote direct mail letters and brochures for Prentice-Hall, a publishing company in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Then I was pressbook editor for Paramount Pictures, which involved writing articles and feature stories based on information supplied by publicists assigned to movies being filmed. Next I was pressbook editor for 20th Century-Fox, but soon was promoted to trade press contact, which involved writing daily press releases and dealing with reporters and editors who worked for publications like VARIETY, BOXOFFICE, MOTION PICTURE DAILY, FILM DAILY, and others that I don’t remember. Finally I was a press agent with Solters and Sabinson, an agency that had many clients in the entertainment industry such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Flip Wilson, Bob Hope, Benny Goodman, the Playboy Organization, all the David Merrick Shows, numerous movie clients, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Holiday on Ice, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and others that I don’t remember. I resigned my position at Solters and Sabinson to become a novelist.
Throughout most of my life, I’ve always believed that if I wore a black leather jacket, I’d be irresistible to woman.Perhaps the seed of this idea was planted when I first watched Marlon Brando in THE WILD ONES.
But I never bought a black leather jacket for three reasons: (1) The good ones seemed extremely expensive compared to other jackets, and I never could justify spending that much money on a mere jacket. (2) I thought they were too ostentatious, too flashy, like wearing a sign that said LOOK HOW SEXY I AM! (3) I felt like I’d be an accomplice to the murder of an animal and theft of his coat.
I’m aware this latter excuse is irrational, because I wear leather belts and shoes, and occasionally eat meat. But you can’t expect consistency from a crazy old dude.
In recent years, relatively inexpensive faux leather jackets that look just like real leather have come onto the market. The temptation to buy one became too great to overcome, because I still want to be irresistible to women at my advanced old age of 79.
Finally I bought a black faux leather jacket by Guess from the Macy’s website. The price was only $119.00. My heart filled with trepidation while waiting for it to arrive. Would it fit? Would it look cheesy? Would I need to go through the bother of returning it?
It arrived around six days later, fit perfectly and looked great, without all the extraneous bells and whistles that black leather jackets often have. I was amazed at how well it was designed and constructed, featuring subtle epaulettes not visible in the ad.
The time had come to test my theory. Would I be irresistible to women?
If I still lived in Manhattan, I’d simply go outside and walk the streets, observing with amusement as women fell at my feet. But now I live in a small farm town on the Great American Prairie, population 3100, and one seldom sees people on the streets.
So I drove 35 miles to Rockford, 3rd largest city in Illinois, and parked in a lot adjacent to its one and only mall, the Cherryvale Mall. Because malls are the modern downtowns of cities, with people strolling past store windows, dining in restaurants, and checking out each other. I was about to put my lifelong theory to the test. Would I be irresistible to women?
I straightened my backbone, squared my shoulders, tucked in my chin, and marched into the Cherryvale Mall. To cut to the chase, no women fell at my feet. No women even looked at me and my black (fake) leather jacket.
No college cheerleader in civilian clothes smiled invitingly. No unhappily married woman slipped me her phone number. No athletic chick in yoga pants fainted dead away. No elderly lady in a wheelchair winked.
Then I spotted a twenty-something woman in black leather jacket, and thought for sure she’d recognize me as a kindred spirit, whereupon she’d flirt outrageously. Well, she didn’t even glance in my direction.
Out of desperation, I walked into the Barnes and Noble. Surely a lonely poetess might view me as the answer to her Jack Kerouac fantasy. Not one soul was in the poetry section. No other women looked at me with the least bit of interest.
I was crushed. My black leather jacket theory, which I’d believed all my life, proved erroneous. It was almost like losing faith in God. I couldn’t help wondering what other beliefs I hold dearly that are similarly false.
But my black (fake) leather jacket isn’t a total loss, I don’t think. Because for some strange reason, I feel great when I wear it. I feel like a heavy hitter, although I never was very good at sports. I feel like a top gun, although I hate to fly. I feel like a hit man, although I never could shoot anybody for money, I don’t think. I feel like a movie star, although I can’t portray any character except the crazy old dude that I evidently am.
Now I need to find someone to photograph me in my black fake leather jacket, so you can see what I’m talking about. Stay tuned.