I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Holy Cats! What an awkward commercial!

Blue Planet on the Discovery Channel has a really mixed bag of commercials. I guess I understand why; it's got a very broad audience. Old people (life insurance), Steel Workers (Afflack), and the Lonely and/or Stoned (Stouffer's bistro classics crisp panini, "Because dinner alone should...something something good as something something.")

Aqua Velva (which is a product I relate to the 1950s as much as Pepsodent or Brylcreme or Gleem) is apparently trying to broaden its marketshare, beyond the sixty-six year old set...

The Aqua Velva commercial "Men Get It" is hands-down the most awkward commercial I have seen in a long time. The commercial begins with a small tot playing "catch" with his father, which subsequently turns into a 16-year-old playing catch with his father, while the announcer says something like, "Over the years, many things are passed from father to son," and, instantly, my mind goes straight to Herpes. I can't explain why, nor do I want to think about it. Let's move on.

First, there's something so cliched about the image of fathers and sons playing catch, that it sets my teeth on edge. I rarely played catch with my father: 1) Because I didn't want to (i) because I'm gay (ii) because I'm gay (iii) because there was good television on, and/or (iv) because I was busy being a weird, friendless, dirty little child; 2) My father was never home; and 3) When my father was home, he was usually writing articles for publication or gardening, or enduring a forced house-cleaning session with my mother, once she hit the roof about how "This house is a mess, and none of you lift a finger, and you boys and your father treat me like I'm your maid." So, now that we've taken that brief jaunt into my relationship with my father and my blaming Hantavirus and Lyme Disease for any subconscious abandonment issues that I have with my father, back to the awkwardness at hand:

How many of you played catch with your fathers? I hate to say it, but I really hope few-to-none. As a kid in the neighborhood, I don't remember ever seeing any fathers out there playing catch with their kids, because, in my neighborhood, they were either workaholics, or driving riding mower tractors around, because "what a great toy! This is fun," or... raging alcoholics sleeping with their secretaries.

I'm never playing catch with my kids. I'll get them a bouncy ball and they can throw it against the wall, or throw a baseball against one of those soccer ball net kicky-back framey things...

I keep getting distracted.


Okay. So we've established (and delved the depths of, and "unpacked") the reasons for my visceral response to the catch image, but as the commercial plays, it's sort of like, "This has to be a joke, right? This is a Geico commercial or something, where the father will be all like acting like he's going to give the kid some sage advice, and then tell him, actually, that he saved 'a bunch of money on car insurance,' and then we'll all laugh and think good things about Geico" (I use Progressive.)

And then, as if the game of catch, and the "Sunrise, Sunset" image of children growing up wasn't grimace-inducing enough... we cut to a... eh, not unattractive, but not terribly attractive father, grinning as he... pats aftershave on his face, and grins, admiring the close shave he's given himself?


When I'm shaving, I'm scraping a razor across my face, bleary eyed, debating calling sick into work, and annoyed that I'm in a profession where under no circumstances would I be allowed to go around looking as shaggy as I would prefer to be. I fucking hate shaving. I want to grow a beard, I just can't look shaggy for the amount of time it would take for me to grow one. And then I get in the shower, to wash all the shit I have on my face, off.

I don't pat on a healthy palmful of aftershave, and grab my clefted chin. I trip towards the shower and turn the damn thing on. And debate calling sick into work. And decide I'm not going to fucking shave off that hair I missed under my nose, because... fuck that noise.

So, again, another thing that no one does. Just like no one tucks into a Stouffer's frozen panini, and then visibly savors the first bite with lots of satisfied smiling and slow head-shaking.

Are you ready for the gravy?

You sure?


Here it cooooomes!

Here comes the gravy train!

The second-to-last scene is a shudder-inducingly incestuously homoerotic shot of a father and son in the bathroom, standing at twin sinks, where the father casually tosses a glass bottle (unannounced) of Aqua Velva, to his son who catches the bottle and says, "Cool!"

They're both wearing T-Shirts and... sweat pants? No pants? Who knows.

That just seems wrong.

The father has a towel jauntily thrown over his shoulder.

God, are they wearing pants? That's so weird. Show me that they're wearing pants.

No one shaves together. That's weird. Bathroom time is BATHROOM TIME. Alone. Co-shaving? Eeeeeah. I never shaved with my father. I've never shaved next to anyone... And if I was in the bathroom when someone else was shaving, I would probably feel like I was intruding -- And then I'd make up some excuse like, "Oh! I have to go buy some Velcro. Right now," or "I'm going to make sure that there isn't an iguana in the freezer, trying to get out," and I'd get out of the bathroom.

Also, can we talk about spontaneously hurling glass in a room where most surfaces are hard, and people like walking barefoot? It seems like a less-than-stellar idea.

The kid admires the bottle and beams "Cool!"

Cut, Print, Horrible.

"Cool?" Aqua Velva may be many things, but its most assuredly not, "Cool."

And then, we go back to more catch, and the slogan, "Aqua Velva. Men get it."

Aweeeeeee some.

I don't learn.

I can't drink like I used to. But I still do. The result is a slooooooow burn hangover that takes forever to go away. I went to Talulah last night with some friends. Drank lots of wine. Brought everyone back to my place. Polished off a bottle of Pouilly Fusee, probably drank some vodka, too... don't remember going to bed, but whatever, right?

This morning, I bounded up at 9:00 stretched and greeted a beautiful day. I made some coffee, and I bounced out the door to North Miami to go coffee table shopping in the Mid-Century stores up there.

And you know what?

I was drunk.


I realize that now... Hell, I realized it then, as the face-numbness crept in and I thought, "Mother. Fucker. I don't want to get in my car and drive home... I don't want to do anything. I just want to die, right. here. in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, and holy hell, I'll bet there's nary a Starbucks to be found around here."

I was quite wrong, and there was a Starbucks in the next block. Thank God. So, because my will to live is strong, I went to Starbucks and got a venti iced americano and a turkey sandwich, because I figured maybe I could quell the hangover if I had a sandwich.

And it did. For a bit.

I strolled, poking through some thrift stores to see whether I could find anything, and in my "La de los perros Cipion y Berganza" wander, I came across a hellish antique store full of tarnished busted old crap, with a scary cat woman chainsmoking Newports behind a filthy countertop.


Hungover/drunken shopping seems to be when I actually unclench my Jew-Fist and buy stuff. Normally I'm very ascetic and take great joy in denying myself material objects that would otherwise make me happy. Except, not when I'm drunk. Or hungover. On my second date with Stephen, millions of years ago (okay, four), I got wasted at Tapas y Tinto, and bought my parents a blue Alessi weiner-dog shaped papertowel holder. Because... Why not? Right? Bless his heart, he tried to talk me out of buying it right then and there, but I felt bad for the Dutch woman behind the counter with her silly "Goldfinger" accent, and I bought the damn thing. At 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. I had to go back for it a couple days later to pick it up...

In Hawaii I got drunk at dinner with my parents and bought a series of lithographs which are now framed and hanging in my living room. They're of Marilyn Monroe. The whole series of prints and the way I framed it is a little intense... and I don't really like it, but... drunken shopping.

What else have I drunkenly purchased?

A home.

A car.


But seriously, I really should learn not to buy things when I'm drunk. Except that I don't. I don't learn. I don't learn that I shouldn't be drinking like I'm 18 again, and I don't learn that when my judgment is impaired, I tend to buy odd crap.

Like wooden water skis.

Yeah, you heard me.

1950s wooden water skis.

I went out to look for a coffee table this morning, and instead of a coffee table, I picked up a pair of 50-year-old water skis. For decoration. And an old Westinghouse-emblem emblazoned top to a 1940s refrigerator dish. (It was cool, and could be used for a penny tray.)

Cuz, why not? I want my house to look like the inside of a Bennigan's.

No, I really bought them because I felt bad for the lady. I shouldn't talk to people in antique shops (especially while still drunk!), because then I end up spending sixty dollars... every time I talk to the owners, magically, sixty dollars flies out of my wallet and I end up with an amoeba-shaped ashtray from the '50s, that's a nice coffee table conversation piece, or some wooden water skis.

I don't have fucking sixty dollars to be spending on water skis for decoration! I live hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck. I'm housepoor. And carpoor. And student loans poor. Oh, sure I have a savings account with plenty of money in it, but that money is for EMERGENCIES. Like if I have to buy myself a new Mercedes. And I like earning interest on top of my interest, so I don't touch that account.

But I digress...

I'm now the proud owner of a burning hangover, and some water skis.

And why am I the proud owner of these items?

Because I don't learn. I don't learn that if I continue to guzzle liquor like it's 1998, I will nowadays likely still be drunk when I wake up in the morning. And I don't learn that if I am drunk and in a position to spend money on material items, I will make unwise decisions and ignore that very loud voice in my head that usually tells me, "HEY, MONEYBAGS MALLOY, PUT YOUR WALLET AWAY AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS PLACE."

And, having put fingers to keyboard to announce the fact that I am an idiot, I am going to take a nap to try to get rid of this hangover, so I can rally for tonight, and suffer tomorrow. Good day to you.