Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
July 31, 2009
Did you ever have one of those moments where you weren’t really paying attention to what was going on, but then something so bizarre happened that you were forced to sit up and take notice?
I’ll give you an example from my own life: In college I was taking a course on 20th century American novelists. The professor gave us two weeks to read “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon, an impossible task for even the most dedicated student, which I was decidedly not. Weighing in at nearly 900 pages of basically incomprehensible prose, “Gravity’s Rainbow” requires at least a few months to tackle.
I tried gamely to read the sucker for a week or so but gave up after 40 pages, which was about as far as any of my classmates got. After that I essentially tuned out the professor and spent the class time half asleep.
I hadn’t written down a single note about the book and had no intention of doing so until one day when the professor said something I just couldn’t ignore. There’s no way I can quote him verbatim without offending pretty much everyone, so I’ll paraphrase. He blurted out, “So this whole business of eating feces has to do with his desire to have something similarly long and brown in his mouth with a black man attached to the other end of it.”
The professor’s statement was much more succinct and involved four-letter words and a colorful description of a sex act, but I think you get the idea. I was so amazed someone would say such a thing that I briefly snapped out of my stupor and wrote the quote down word for word, the only note I would take for roughly three weeks.
I bring this up because I had a similar experience the other night. Being a heterosexual male, I don’t watch “The Bachelorette,” but my wife and my mother do. In fact, they are such “Bachelorette” devotees that they not only watched the season finale but also taped it with the DVR in case they got called away for some reason. I didn’t bother to get up off the couch while the show was on, so I was vaguely aware of it in the background as I read a book on golf courses.
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Midway though the show an ad came on that was so odd that I immediately pulled my head out of the book and demanded my mother rewind the show a little so I could make sure I’d actually seen what I thought I’d seen. No words can do the ad justice, but I’ll try my best to describe it for you.
It started with a woman in a bikini, with the particular focus being on her pelvic region. That first drew my attention, but it was what followed that really pulled me in. The woman walked past a few haggard-looking shrubs, and as she passed each one it morphed into a perfectly trimmed … well, bush, for lack of a less suggestive word. The last one was even triangular in shape and stood exactly waist high, in case the images of the other trimmed bushes were too subtle.
Sure enough, the ad turned out to be for something called the Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle, a gadget for shaving and trimming one’s pelvic region or, possibly, one’s shrubberies. It was the most subtlety unsubtle ad I’d ever witnessed, and I found myself silently applauding whoever came up with the concept.
The odd thing, though, was that my wife and my mother didn’t even notice the ad until I made them rewind and watch it again. Once I’d done that, of course, we watched the ad four or five times in a row just to crack ourselves up. Their lack of attention, however, led me to believe that the ad, entertaining as it may have been, wasn’t exactly reaching its target audience.
If only guys are paying attention, sales of the Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle are in trouble. It’s not exactly the sort of thing you can buy for the woman in your life without her taking the gesture the wrong way. Might as well buy her a stick of deodorant and some mouthwash while you’re at it.
What I want to know, though, is am I the only one who found the ad a little strange? Surely I can’t be the only person out there who sat up and took notice of something so bizarre.