Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
Q: Love the site, I check it on a daily basis. I wanted to weigh in on the whole helmet/scooter issue. I live in Paris and drive a Vespa Gran Turismo, and I just bought this helmet, which I thought you would like. Let me know if you think I made a mistake. The most popular helmets in Paris are Ruby (http://boutiqueruby.com/?lang=eng#/main) but I am not sure about wearing a 1000€ helmet with a picture of Karl Lagerfeld kissing it.
A: Tonio, you definitely did not make a mistake. But even at more than twice the price, don't dismiss that Ruby. It's limited edition (100), by being covered in tweed makes for desirably nubby fall/winter head protection, and it's unlikely Lagerfeld will be kissing it while you're tooling around the Marais.
Sorry, ya'all. There is no such thing as an MB scooter helmet because scooters just ain't MB. Especially nuevo-retro scooters. Riding a scooter is like fucking a fat chick. It might be fun until your friends find out. Said another way, did McQueen ever ride a scooter? Fuck no. He was a MAN, and he rode a MOTORCYCLE. Take a hint. Scooters are either for dorks or toolbags.
Last week, after our scooter helmet post, we learned that many of our readers do not like scooters one bit. Or helmets. One reader even concluded the post was so off-brand that we had to be paid by either Genuine Scooters or Bell helmets to write it.
That's not true. In fact, our policy on advertisers is the same as our policy on fat chicks. When we land one, we tell everyone!
But we're getting off-track. This post is about scooters. As longtime readers know, we've always liked 'em. Making them work does, however, have a high DD (degree of difficulty). It helps if you're ex-CIA with an unflappable patrician air, but even imminent rock superstars can sometimes pull it off. Of course, the failure rate will always be high, as Hugh Grant (top), Hugh Jackman, and James Gandolfini demonstrate. But there's nothing MB about never risking spectacular failure.
Also, we nearly forgot: Steve McQueen didn't only ride motorcycles (bottom).
via bellhelmets.com. $39.95.
Q: I'm going to be getting a scooter soon, hopefully. It'll be a four stroke Stella from Genuine Scooters -- retro sexy and good for the environment. My question is, what kind of helmet should I get? I definitely don't want something full face covering. I was looking at Davida's "Classic" helmet line, but those are not approved for driving on US roads apparently. But what else could match a ride this amazing?
A: Nice choice, Mark. That Stella is so well-designed (especially if you are getting it in green) that we can totally forgive its practicality and environmental friendliness (and the fact that Genuine Scooters refers to green as "avocado"). You are headed in the right direction on helmet choice too. Ultimately, you're piloting a scooter, not a rocket ship, so the less helmet, the better. That's why we like the Bell Bandito. It's simple, streamlined, and it will let you feel the wind against your face and your ears.
Regarding scooters, I can't believe you missed this fine example of how to pull off the MB scooter look: riding double with Audrey Hepburn on the the back, Roman Holiday style.
A: Our oversight. Anytime Audrey Hepburn is riding with you on a scooter, you are automatically pulling off the scooter look.
Side note: If you can distract yourself from Gregory Peck's tie knot, check out Ms. Hepburn in an early version of gladiator sandals.
Q: With gas prices where they are the idea of commuting on a scooter is looking more attractive. The problem is I don't want to look like a toolbag. Is there anyway to avoid this? By the way I am not a 20 year-old, 100 pound, Starbucks barista.
A: Making a scooter work definitely has a high DD (Degree of Difficulty) but can be very MB (Magnificent Bastardly), primarily due to scootering's importance in the British "mod" scene of the '60s and '70s. Sting is riding one with aplomb in the poster for the 1979 film Quadrophenia (top). So they meet the MB principle of Anglophilia straight away.
Also, Certified Magnificent Bastard William F. Buckley is riding one on the cover of his 1968 book "The Jeweler's Eye" (bottom). Take note of these examples -- check out Buckley's dress, hair, and facial expression -- and ride with confidence.