Imagine if the famous secret agent rolled up in a dirty Pontiac Aztek, strolled into the room in a tank top and baggy camo shorts full of holes. "'S'up chickie," he says in a squeaky voice. "Bond. Jimmy Bond."
It wouldn't work. Not a bit.
The 24th James Bond movie, in a series stretching over more than 50 years, is hitting theaters this month. Each new installment still gets buzz and a line at the local box office, even though the franchise has changed stars several times as well as producers and directors.
Bond is the longest-running movie series in history - in comparison Rocky only managed six rounds, Star Wars launched eight flicks, the Pink Panther and Shaft were good for 11 each, Friday the 13th came around 12 times, Sherlock Holmes has solved 14 scripts, and the Marx Brothers cavorted through 16 episodes. The closest competitor to Bond is actually the ever-energetic "Debbie," of "Debbie Does Dallas" fame. I'm told that character - shall we say "performed?" - her way through 20 episodes over a span of 27 years.
Few fictional characters - maybe none - have withstood the passage of time as gracefully as Agent 007. Why?
Above all, I think, it's style.
Bond, no matter the situation, is always impeccable. His black suit is always perfect, his hair never messed up. He never has stray eyebrow hairs that need to be tweezered, or chewed fingernails.
I admire this. Suave is an adjective that will never, ever be used in the same sentence with my name.
Though our British secret agent has a license to kill his daunting adversaries, he still keeps his composed cool. Though, during the course of all those movies he consumes an average of one drink per 10 minutes, he is never drunk, loud, sloppy, obnoxious or helplessly lost.
Bond doesn't scream, or cry, or run. He strolls. He opens car doors for the ladies.
Personally, I never thought Pierce Brosnan was tough enough. I grew up with Roger Moore Bond, but to my estimation Sean Connery was the ideal - the juxtaposition of brooding brutality and polite society. He would punch your face in, then help your girlfriend on with her fur wrap.
He is a gentleman. A rogue, a killer, a playboy of legendary status, but still a gentleman. Perhaps there is something to be learned in that.
The world loves class, in fiction or reality, and it is one status that never goes out of style.
Guys, consider being a little Bondier. Or at least, make sure your underpants aren't sticking out of your pants in public and hold a door for someone once in a while.
I notice that Bond also never curses, insults, or uses vulgar lines to intimidate an enemy or impress a female. Instead, he employs witty quips.
Here are some of our favorites:
From Dr. No
Miss Moneypenny - You've never taken me to dinner...
James Bond - I would, you know. Only "M" would have me court-martialed for... illegal use of government equipment.
From Never Say Never Again
Fatima Blush - "Oh, how reckless of me. I made you all wet."
Bond - "Yes, but my martini is still dry. My name is James."
From Never Say Never Again
Largo - "Do you lose as gracefully as you win?"
James Bond - "I don't know, I've never lost."
Bond - "My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done. Such as, drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs."
From Diamonds Are Forever
(After being buried in a sewer, said to a rat) "Well, one of us smells like a tart's handkerchief. [sniffs] I'm afraid it's me. Sorry, old boy."
Bond: "Who is the competition?"
Jack Wade: "AH, an ex-KGB guy. Tough mother. Got a limp in his right leg. Name's Zukovsky."
Bond: "Valentin Dmitrovitch Zukovsky?"
Jack Wade: "Yeah, you know him?"
Bond: "I gave him the limp."
Mishkin - So, how shall we execute you, Mr Bond?
Bond - What, no small talk? No chit-chat? You know, that's the problem these days. No one bothers to take the time to give a really sinister interrogation.
Maybe we all need a little style and sophistication and savor faire in a world that is often ugly, brutish and rude. A little glamor in a world of mundane jobs and cookie-cutter days.
That's why Bond will probably live forever.