Friday, October 24, 2008

If a Tree Falls in a Barber Shop . . .

I realized yesterday that there are some questions I don't know the answer to. Oh, I'm not talking about the classic toughies like "What is truth?" and "If a tree falls in the forest. . . ." I mean questions I should know how to answer, in the not-exactly-rocket-science category. I encountered one such question yesterday, when the young lady swung my chair around to face the mirror and asked, "How would you like your hair done?"

You might as well ask a pig, "Do you think the paella needs a pinch more saffron?" Except the pig would have an unfair advantage in that he got the Yes/No question and I got Short Answer. If the pig just nodded his head, he would look more intelligent than I did, staring stupidly into the mirror, my mind searching in vain for an answer. A paradigmatic deer in the headlights moment for Steve.

The honest answer, of course, is "well, I want it to look kind of like it does now, only shorter.' But saying that, I fear, would insult the skill and intelligence of the young lady. She wants to hear something like "layer the left side, and I'd like filigree on the right side, and shave 'J-Lo' into the back, and can you weave some beads across the bald spot?" Now that's an order worthy of those two years of beauty school.

As it was, all I could come up with was, "well, make it shorter." She looked into the eyes of my reflection in the mirror, saw panic, and resorted to the "ask some questions" technique (Lesson 17, "Dealing with the Hopelessly Clueless Client"). "How much shorter?" She had me there. "About an inch?" she asked helpfully/hopefully. "Yeah, " I said, trying to portray the image of a devil-may-care man of the world, who had been places and seen things and could tell you that when the rhino is charging and you have to make the shot, nobody cares if your hair is three-quarters of an inch shorter or an inch and a half, and so an inch would be fine, because I had better things to do, like go home and clean my elephant gun.

The rest of our business was transacted pretty much in silence, until she asked, "Does that look short enough?" The truth was, it looked like it always looked after a haircut, which was blurry, because my glasses were in my pocket. "Looks great!" I said. "Do you want some product in it?" "Nah," I said, trying once again to project the idea that it isn't product in your hair that will save you in the jungle. She released me, I threw a $20 at her and bolted for the door.

People have complemented me on my haircut. I thank them graciously, and give them a smile that says, "It's all in letting the stylist know what you want. You've just got to be firm."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

At Last! Corporate America Understands Me!

Warning to Church Ladies and Utah Republicans:
This blog contains pictures of partially nekkid women. You might try instead.

I’m used to dealing with junk mail and “$-$-$-$AVE BIG!” offers. You know the type: “This coupon good for $300 off a New Lexus!” (Just what I was waiting for. I had the other $79,700 sitting in the bank, biding my time.) Living as I do with wives and daughters I’m also used to various free samples of pantyhose and aloe-intensive razors. I get a LOT of pink junk mail. I could wallpaper the house with JoAnn Fabric flyers. You get the idea.

So I wasn’t particularly thrown off my game when I saw the following piece of pink junk mail last week:

My major concern was finding out what kind of cosmetic or perfume was going to find its way into the bathroom menagerie as a result. So I opened it to find out. Attached was this little card.

Ah. Victoria's Secret. OK. I could live with that. What kind of damage could be done with $10 in Victoria's Secret? Like $300 off on a Lexus. So I announced to the assembled females, "Anybody want $10 off on some underwear?" Yeah, my wife agreed that someone could use that, and I shouldn't throw it away.

I examined the fine print more closely. "...any purchase during the month of your birthday." That would mean we'd have to wait until (straining the small part of my male brain that remembers birthday months) . . . uh, June (got that one easy, you got to remember the wife's birthday, after all) or April or July or August. Hmmm. I started to wonder how long it was good for. I looked on the back of the card for the finer fine print.

CARD VALID OCTOBER 1-31, 2008 it said on the back. Now THAT posed a conundrum. Why would they send out a card to a household of women that (with probability 0.70606674... -- no, really!) would not have a birthday in October? Sheesh. What morons.

So I cast my mind about to determine whether I knew a woman with an October birthday. As I was reeling my mind back in I started to shuffle through the other mail. An uncomfortable little feeling started to stretch in the back of my mind. Then it did some hopping about in place, then a few jumping jacks, a push-up or two, and then ran really fast up to the front of my mind.

MY birthday is in October. I slowly turned over the pink mailer. There it was:

It was me. I got to go spend $10 at Victoria's Secret. Me.

Well, that put a new perspective on the question, "What kind of damage could be done with $10 in Victoria's Secret?" I started to think about it. My wife gave me a funny look. I don't think she liked the gleam in my eye.