Saturday, February 26, 2005 · posted at 2:43 AM I'm not only the Hair Club president, I'm also a member.
It must be incredibly hard to be a salesperson.
Today I met a pharmaceutical rep. Apparently there's no specific degree needed to be a rep, just training and a sociable personality. Oh and you need to be able to sell your product, and sell it well.
While his whole spiel was pretty convincing in and of itself, when he mentioned that he also uses this prescription medication, ears perked up and suddenly the rep and the product had a lot more cred. I think the most important duties of a salesperson are to know the product, believe in the product, and get the customer to believe in the product (i.e. believe in the salesperson).
Contrast this pharmaceutical rep with the salesman I met at the Snowboard and Ski Sale this weekend.
Picture mullet, Jeff Foxworthy mustache, rail thin build, tucked in t-shirt and tapered jeans. Am I really supposed to believe that this guy is the end all, know all of snowboard equipment? Especially after I asked if they carry Convert pants and he goes, "Con-vert?"
Why is this guy just kicking back while I'm shoving my feet into boots and clearly not knowing what I'm doing? Then I noticed I was sitting down and leaning over my feet while wearing a v-neck shirt. Boobage alert. Which led to the question...
Why is this guy looking down my shirt when there is nothing to see? Whatever commission he earns from each sale would definitely triple/quadruple or raise to the power of 5 the value of seeing my dinky A's.
Needless to say, I ended up not buying anything. I mean, I'm a newbie to all this gear too, but at least I can tell the difference between a men's 6.5 and a women's 6.5, which is more than I can say about this guy. Seriously, did he go to the The Cosby Show school of sale?
They say that if a product is good enough, it'll sell itself. But the product can't talk... a salesperson can. Lie to me if you must, but you better damn well believe it yourself.
Thursday, February 24, 2005 · posted at 4:38 AM Just not that into you. Every season I pick one reality show (okay more like 4 or 5) that I follow religiously. I become "priorly engaged" during the show's time slot. I talk about the people as though they are in my intimate circle of friends. I yell at the tv, I scream, I shout, I cheer, and I rant and I rave.
Recently I have been in love with Bravo's Project Runway. Girls may have heard about this show because, yay, fashion show. Guys may have heard about this show because of the sexpot host, Heidi Klum. Fun for the whole family, whether you like drama ("My agency just dropped me," sobs Morgan), comedy ("My agency just droppped me," sobs Morgan), suspense ("Who will be IN... who will be OUT?"), or just mindless entertainment (umm, well that's just about all 45 minutes).
Yesterday's finale pit Kara Saun "The Professional," Jay "The Wild Card," and Wendy "The Long Shot" against each other during New York's Olympus Fashion Week. I hate when shows take the liberty of stereotyping their own characters. I'm never sure if it's in an attempt to beat everyone else to the punchline, or just a blatant example of how manufactured and produced these shows are. But I digress...
The competition was really Kara Saun's "Aviatrix" collection versus Jay's "Stereotype" collection (complete with dyed-to-match headphones. Kara Saun's collection was flawless - cohesive with rich colors and a very polished touch. Jay's was risky - colorful and innovative.
And the winner of the Elle spread, $100,000 seed money, and Banana Republic mentorship? Jay McCarroll, fluorescent tie hat with ear flaps and all...
I can understand Jay's potential as the next great designer... he's incredibly talented and creative (although he never won any of the Runway challenges). But really, is a mentorship from Banana Republic going to inspire or stifle his mojo? A Banana Republic sales associate would NEVER give Jay the time of day if he set foot in that store, yet they expect a successful creative relationship between him and the design team? Take the seed money and run away, Jay, run away and never return.
More frustrating is that the judges dismissed Kara Saun for being "too perfect." What? Excuse me, but aren't you supposed to reward people for a job well done, not punish them? This reeks of last season's Apprentice when The Donald fired Kevin for being "too educated."
This is the reality tv equivalent of the "I don't deserve you" speech. You let the other party down easily by overloading compliments in hopes that you can trick them into thinking that it's no big loss on their part. Hell, they can do better than you (thus alleviating any guilt on your part for hurting feelings).
If the judges didn't like Kara Saun's designs, if they thought she didn't need Bravo's help starting her own line (totally plausible - she designed Queen Latifah's 2000 Oscar gown afterall), if the network wanted Jay to win for ratings reasons, they should just own up to it rather than mask it with a fake "you're too good" talk.
Although I guess no one wants to hear "Well you didn't win the competition because your voice is too soporific," or "I'm breaking up with you because that extra 5 pounds you gained AREN'T loveable handles."
Because "it's not you, it's me" never means it.
Monday, February 21, 2005 · posted at 11:01 AM Hair-raiser. At the risk of sounding like a Long Hair Lovers blog, I have to talk about my hair-related epiphany.
I seldom go to the salon to get my hair cut for a multitude of reasons (see also hair nest entry). I'm cheap, lazy and seldom like the end result (always thinking it could be shorter, more layered, lighter, etc).
Sidebar: My roommate works at Pottery Barn and when she has customers who want to purchase shelves, she sends them to Target to get them for a fraction of the price. I wish stylists did that. "The layering 'do you want could be done at Supercuts... or the beauty school dropout... or with a pair of garden shears in your bathroom..."
I'm a chronic stylist shopper, jumping from one salon to the next in search of "the perfect cut." Then when I leave the salon feeling slightly disgruntled at having doled out half my paycheck for a style I'm not in loooove with, I vow to never return and find a better place.
This weekend, I got my hair cut in Hillcrest. Gay guys know hair right? During the consultation, I found myself nodding and saying, "yeah" and "uh huh" a lot, to the point where I thought "wait a minute, was this my idea or theirs?" When I saw two other girls getting similar color jobs, it became clear that it was not mine.
It seems that anytime I walk into a situation, I expect the benefits to just fall into my lap without having to do any work whatsoever. For instance, everytime I go to the salon, I have no idea what I want - just that I don't like my hair at its current state. I expect the stylist to be a stylist AND mindreader and at the end of the visit, I expect to be spun around in the chair, look in the mirror and just have one of those almost-bursting-into-tears Extreme Home Makeover reactions.
While that may occasionally happen in real life, it's definitely an unfair expectation. How can I expect perfection and total satisfaction without doing even an iota of work - even if that work comes in the form of a verbal direction?
So the reason that I never like my haircut is because I never take steps to make sure I get what I want. I just usually complain about not getting what I want afterward. What do you mean good things aren't supposed to just passively fall into your lap?
I have an intern at work who I'm constantly getting annoyed at because of her demanding, "bull by the horns" initiative. But is it irritation because she's pushy? Or because I'm envious at her ability to go after (and get) what she wants?
Jill Scott said that "what you give is what you get" from her concert, but that can be applied to all aspects of life whether you're talking about the effort to ask for the good projects at work, order meals minus the "shives", make sure you "get yours" in bed, or get a decent $200 ($250 if you count the products) haircut.
Afterschool Special over.
Friday, February 18, 2005 · posted at 7:01 PM Retract those claws.
Evelyn: Well, I wonder where Marge could be? She's missing her own initiation.
Susan: I hope she didn't take my attempt to destroy her too seriously [slurps her drink loudly].
- The Simpsons, "Class Struggles in Springfield"
Have you ever suspected that someone doesn't like you? It's never something blatant that triggers the thought (e.g. someone slashing your tires would be a glaring red flag), just little ambiguous things that can be construed either way (e.g. a "lost invite in the mail" could be intentional or an oversight).
Some people, particularly those of the double X'ed sex, direct thinly veiled barbs to others with the intention of hurting them while appearing on the surface to like them. This is called cattiness. I know it well because I'm a recovering "Mean Girl."
There was a time when almost everything out of my mouth was malicious and I felt so clever delivering back-handed compliments and sarcastic remarks. I'd like to think I'm now older, more enlightened and have tried to (1) stop expending effort on people I don't care for and (2) start holding my tongue before lashing out with hurtful comments.
Now I feel like I have a heightened sense for when someone's engaging in my old favorite pasttime... For example, there's this woman from my work who rides the line between obliviously blunt/naive and heinously bitchy. I'm not quite sure what I could have done to offend her, as I seldom interact with my coworkers period, but there is definitely a weird undertone whenever I run into her.
She introduced me to a new coworker by saying: This is Christina. She works for Dr. Z taking care of clinical matters and she supervises interns and she also, well, that's pretty much it, right?
Positive interpretation: I don't blame her for not knowing my job functions because I can barely explain it on my resume and I don't really know anyone else's either. For example, beyond talking loudly on the phone to her boyfriend, I didn't know what she did at work either.
Negative interpretation: She could have mentioned that we work on one of the same projects (when budget cuts were made, they kept me and let her go - which may explain the dislike). Also shouldn't you make a point to portray team members with positive wording, especially to new team members?
My reaction: She clearly never practiced the Bridget Jones "introduce people with thoughtful details. Such as: 'Sheila, this is Daniel. Daniel, this is Sheila. Sheila enjoys horse-riding and comes from New Zealand'" rule. But I've never cared whether my coworkers (new and old) liked me or not, so really, her comment was inconsequential.
She approached me to tell me how glad she was that my boss was mentoring her intern. "It's so great that Dr. Z has taken Intern A under her wing. She might even hire her. She sees a lot of potential in Intern A and I'm sure sure Dr. Z is glad to finally be working with someone who wants to be a doctor."
Positive interpretation: She really is excited about Dr. Z and Intern A working together. She feels proud that one of her interns is blossoming under her tutelage.
Negative interpretation: She was trying to make me feel bad or threatened about my relationship with my boss.
My reaction: Again, not a huge need for love and acceptance for things relating to work. I think it's great if someone is actually getting something worthwhile from the workplace.
We run into each other in the hall. She tells me, "I like your pants. You don't see people wearing that style much anymore. They're got that retro 70's/80's look."
Positive intrepretation: She really does like my pants.
Negative interpretation: She was trying to insinuate that my pants/style was out of fashion.
My reaction: "Oh, no she d'dnt." Inflict all the work-related digs you want, but this is just personal now. For the record, I was wearing my tan corduroy flares... the kind that is super mass-produced right now that you can find at Abercrombie, American Eagle, Macy's, wherever. So though that may speak to the unoriginality of my fashion sense, it clearly shows it is not circa "out of style." Maybe she just hasn't seem them in a while because they don't carry those kinds of clothes at Talbot's or Lane Bryant (oops, I'm a work in progress - old habits die hard).
So from just reading the rant above, I'd probably say I was overanalyzing her intentions. But when I'm face to face with her, I swear I can like hear her claws scratching against the floor waiting to pounce.
Bring it on girl, I'd love the excuse.
· posted at 2:19 AM Beautifully Human. I went to the Jill Scott concert tonight. Based on what I'd heard from Jill Scott's albums, I really liked her. However, the two songs I knew, "A Long Walk" and "Cross My Mind," were just a small portion of her enormous talent and her 2.5 hour long concert.
The concert was at the Copley Symphony Hall. That's right, the Symphony Hall. What Urban/Alternative R&B has to do with a classical music venue is unbeknownst to me... But it was such a comedic image watching the mostly senior orchestra-loving ushers walk the Urban/Alternative R&B fans to their seats.
The crowd was an interesting mix. I saw a few button-down shirt Abercrombie types, a few rasta tam wearers (like the seat vulture who plopped right down in front of us and half obstructed the view...) and more Kangol caps than I'd seen since the last time I went to Aubergine. Mostly though, the people there were good-vibing hardcore fans who knew the songs inside out and were prone to hopping out of their seat to dance.
I was a little bit disappointed that Talib Kweli wasn't there. According to both the box office attendant and his website, Talib Kweli was supposed to perform, but come opening curtain was nowhere to be found. What do you mean the guy in the bad bowtie might not know what's going on? What do you mean the internet lies? Maybe after Raphael Saadiq's lukewarm reception in LA, the management company decided to forego opening acts for the concert...
Apparently the majority of Jill's songs fall into the following categories: (1) loving a man, (2) pleasing a man, (3) being pleased by a man, and (4) being burned by a man. With song titles like "It's Love," "He Loves Me," and "The Fact is (I Need You)" and lyrics like Mmm, this morning my man exclusively introduced me / To some good extra lovin' / He was lickin' and suckin' on everything / Just the way he should ... how was I to know? Actually a lyrical translator would have been really, really great because a lot of her words were drowned out by the sound of the audience's hooting and hollering.
The most amazing thing about the experience, aside from Jill's voice (at one point she broke into this opera-esque noteholding...), was the audience. Aside from belting out the lyrics and dancing, they also clapped along to the beat... with perfect rhythm. I have a huge disdain for clapping along to the song. It's not that it's too grade-school "singing circle" or deters from the music... it's just that people often do it wrong. Contrary to what Hongky thinks about people without rhythm, there is nothing attractive about a person not keeping with the beat (my dancing included). So when people at the concert started clapping in unison, I about fell over in my seat. It really can be a beautiful sound.
The overall experience definitely reminded me of the importance of really knowing and appreciating the artist before attending a performance. A concert shouldn't really be an introduction to an artist, it should be the cherry on top of an already deep appreciation for that artist. While I really did enjoy the concert and want to listen to more of her music, I also wish I had primed myself better for it so that I too could sing along and hoot and holler at the appropriate moments.
Though I'd still draw the line at myself clapping along - wouldn't want to infect the rhythm.
Sunday, February 13, 2005 · posted at 5:58 AM Author's Note: Usually I renounce Valentine's Day and all it stands for, but when it's all encompassing, it's especially hard to ignore (just like Christmas!) and not succumb to the culture and tradition, even if it is personally meaningless (just like Christmas!). For example, this weekend the non-traditionalist anachronic watched the Will Smith romantic comedy Hitch and my self-proclaimed relapse queen roommate rented the British romantic comedy Love Actually. Therefore, I feel justified in writing this Lupercalia tribute.
By the way, that's right, I just put you out on blast. If I'm going down, I'm bringing the whole damn shipyard with me. Enjoy.
The Unofficial Couchbanshee Collection of Songs That Make You Go "Awwwwwww"
This week's Entertainment Weekly included a feature on "The 50 Greatest Love Songs."
Some of them I agree with:
Some of them leave me wondering who holds EW parent company Time Warner's pursestrings:
So I decided to (hastily) compile my own love song list. Some of these songs may not be stand-alone great love songs, but coupled with the perfect romantic moment, they are. And sure they're not my romantic moments (rather they are those of the small and silver screen) but they are outstanding nonetheless:
Did I get away with it?
* song also appeared on EW's list.
Friday, February 11, 2005 · posted at 2:23 PM Allow me to introduce you to my pukey face.
And it starts. In the mail I received my catalog for RedEnvelope appropriately titled “Gifts for Valentine’s Day 2005.” 35 pages of lovey-dovey couples, sinful gifts (gourmet body paint, “get-lucky dice,” and kama sutra kits), and many, many pretty shiny things. If anyone says mail-order catalogs were not created as convenient porn, that person obviously does not get the Tiffany’s gift guide (as an aside, I think Tiffany’s is highly overrated, but gosh darn if they don’t make some pretty shiny things)
Starting in January, after all the red & green merchandise has been slapped with a 75% off sign (my 2005 Christmas cards will have a 2004 copyright on them), the consumer is inundated with red and pink and hearts and chocolates. Just shoot me now.
Perhaps this is the alternative hypothesis to why I avoid the mall like a sandaled black foot during this time. It’s not that I‘m broke from the holidays or burnt out from shopping (is this possible?)… it’s really that I’m afraid that my pukey face (you know the reflexive nose-scrunching, gag-producing, tongue-sticking out, “eww gross” face people, namely single people make at the site of Valentine paraphernalia) will permanently freeze in that position after seeing all the hearts and that darn 4-letter word plastered all over the place.
Would I feel like this if I had someone to shower me with flowers, teddy bears and pretty shiny things? Of course! Because it’s ridiculous and Valentine’s Day is just a stupid Hallmark Holiday and I know this regardless of my relationship status.
Yeah of course we know this is not true (see bandwagoner). If I was getting fluffy heart slippers, or Happy Feet slippers for that matter, I doubt I’d be saying, “Damn my boyfriend, he’s too romantic. Why couldn’t he be less attentive? Why couldn’t he have bad taste in picking out something I’d really enjoy?!”
Flashback to times when I was the less-than-enthused recipient of stuffed animals, chalky conversation hearts and dirty, paste-constructed paper cards. Come to think of it, have I gotten a Valentine since then? Apparently, my romantic history peaked way too soon at the young age of seven.
Romance is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and there’s a fine line between "awww, how sweet" and "ewww, how stalkerish." There’s an obvious bias where, if you’re looking for romance - you can find romance even in a gift like a glass rose (okay, I’m definitely taking it too far right there. The desire for romance should never overrule the foundation of taste).
So maybe the trick is to become hypersensitive and attribute everything to romantic intention. Trucker yielding right of way to me? Oh he wants me. Coworker refilling the paper in the printer? Blatant symbol of affection. In fact, I think the deli lady slipped an extra tomato in my sandwich the other day... could it be true love?
I can’t wait until the Target shelves are lined with leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and the color green.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005 · posted at 11:58 PM One night stand. Most women think it's completely unacceptable to wake up to an empty bed "the morning after," for a man to get up and go home before the woman wakes. After falling asleep at my old roommate's new pad, I can see the man's point of view from a logical stance.
You wake up and regardless of how well the night went, you are thinking about:
1. Sleeping in your own bed. Who doesn't love their bed more than someone else's? Or in my case, an egg crate on the floor?
2. Showering. Regardless of whether you're a morning or night showerer, you're probably past due at this time.
3. Change of clothes. There's no way you can go to work wearing yesterday's outfit.
4. Brushing your teeth. No one is immune to the terrors of morning breath.
You may also be thinking of additional factors such as the traffic commute, getting to work on time or prying your dry contacts from your eyes.
So what's the solution? You might keep an overnight bag complete with clothes and assorted toiletries (possibly towel as well, depending)... but then wouldn't it be incredibly presumptuous to show up on someone's stoop with a bag? Ladies, wouldn't you be equally offended if a guy felt so certain he could seal the deal that he prepared for it in this manner?
Additionally do you really want to be woken up at 5 in the morning just so that he can tell you he's leaving?
So take the hastily written note that he will call, relish in having the whole bed to yourself once again, and enjoy the fact that you don't have to worry about sleeping in your own bed, showering, changing your clothes and brushing your teeth... at least any more so than you normally do.
Monday, February 07, 2005 · posted at 6:33 AM Just say no and other taglines. Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of social power and persuasion. Common techniques include:
Foot-in-the-door: Making an initial small request that no one would refuse in order to pave the way for a larger request.
Door-in-the-face: Making an initial exaggerated demand then a smaller more reasonable demand in order to elicit reciprocal concession (“I gave in, now you give in” negotiations).
Scarcity: Making something appear scarce and unavailable in order to increase its attractiveness.
That's-not-all: Throwing in an extra benefit in order to tip the scale or seem like a favor.
Deadline: Use of “limited time only” strategy to rush the decision-maker.
Lowball: After an agreement is reached, one party reveals additional conditions such as hidden fees.
These techniques are common for a reason – they work. How do I know they work? Because I fell for every one of them this weekend.
My roommate and I decided to brave Little India without our Gudrati roommate in search of a lengha to wear to a traditional Hindu wedding. If you've ever been in the Tijuana shops without speaking a lick of Spanish, you might relate.
After going to a few shops and being (1) ignored, (2) shadowed like a teenager in an accessory store, and (3) forced politely look at tens of dresses we had no interest in because we were gorahs, we went to a little shop just off the main boulevard where we were schooled in salesmanship.
Foot-in-the-door: You try on.
Door-in-the-face: That one is $250. Okay for you I give good price. $200.
Scarcity: That pattern is very unique. The work is very different from everything else you see.
That's-not-all: Okay, okay I give you alterations included in the price.
Deadline:Why you need to think? You think and then you come back and it not here anymore. We take you to the bank right now.
And perhaps the worst of all...
Lowball: How do you do your eyebrows? You still pluck? I thread for you. So I sit down, get some witch hazel swabbed across my face and there go my eyebrows in a fury of white thread (pulled through the woman's fingers and teeth!!). She gestures to smack my mouth together, I comply, and I feel my upper lip being ripped off. Wait a minute I didn't sign up for a de-moustachifying! Once the blinding pain subsides, all I see is an outstretched palm awaiting my 5-turned-8-dollar fee.
So now I'm the somewhat-proud-owner of two half-eyebrows, a smooth lip and a $185 orange dress that I will probably wear only once in my life. Excuse me, is it 1999 and my prom again?
And though my roommate managed to finagle two more Jacksons off her bill, I take comfort in the fact that from the looks of the Z3 the owners are driving, I'm not the first one to be taken in by their craft. And hopefully you won't be the next...
Sunday, February 06, 2005 · posted at 2:57 AM Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you. No you can't. Yes I can. No you can't!
Last week on MTV's Battle of the Sexes 2, the guys took home the $180,000 prize. First season of Battle of the Sexes found the men taking home cash and a new car. Can you predict a trend by two points of the puzzle? Will the victor of a physical task always be the one with a Y chromosome? Are men "better" than women?
Before, when I was younger, more naive and unreasonably idealistic, I would have shouted a resounding NO! I would have argued until I was blue in the face that girls and guys are equal, that a girl can do everything a guy can do (including peeing standing up) and then some (giving birth). Before, that is, me and my 5-foot roommate tried to drag a queen size mattress set home from Costco.
I spent most of the day helping my roommate move. Not sure how this transpired, first because she was probably one of the best roommates I ever had and I didn't want her to move out, and second because nobody likes to move - this is the reason people stay living at their craphole apartments and with obnoxious people for way too long.
Moving her stuff was actually not horrible. She had the good sense to pack multiple small, light boxes rather than a few large "holds everything but the kitchen sink and weighs twice that" boxes and we had a huge truck adorned with animal print to hold it all.
The bed on the other hand was an entirely different story.
I love Costco. Not in the "I would marry it if it took on human form" the way I love Target, but it's a formidable love. Like many things I love, it has a tendency to get me in trouble. Seldom do I leave Costco without a $100 debt in hand or without a 5 gallon jar of peanut butter when I only needed 8oz. Today's Achilles heel? A Sealy Posturepedic Fenway Queen Mattress Set regularly priced at a steal of $529.99 plus a $100 off coupon.
How could one resist?
So defying fatigue, logic, and spatial perception, we got the mattress set and attempted to jam it into the animal-print truck plus camper shell.
Truck width: 57"
Mattress width: 60"
F***. We should have realized it was a losing battle right then and there.
Five minutes into alternate pushing/shoving and looking forlorn, two guys came over to help us. I think they had to, being in danger of choking on their pizza from laughing and all. Somehow they managed to cram the mattress in (I wonder if all the pressure destroyed the posturepedic power) and tie the boxspring to the roof. I'm usually not impressed with most military men I meet, but damned if they don't teach you to tie a mean knot in the armed forces.
So we set off on our way, twine spiderwebbing the car, driving 30 mph and sans hazard lights. But come on, what doesn't scream "hazard" like a 17-foot truck emblazoned with animal print, bogged down by half a skein of twine plus boxspring and barreling down the road with a tiny girl who can wear a size 2.2 bangle behind the wheel?
After half-dragging, lifting, pushing and Pivot!ing a queen size mattress out of an alleyway, through a courtyard and up a flight of stairs, I was ready to concede. When it comes to physical tasks, I am most definitely a member of the weaker team.
And no, boys are not better than girls at everything. But let's face it, when was my perfect blanket stitch going to come into play during this whole moving debacle? Could I scrapbook a frictionless ramp up to the door with my special edge scissors?
I'm getting too old to play the "I can do anything" game. I know what I'm good at and what I fail miserably at. Now if you'll just do all that back-breaking labor, I'll go into the kitchen and make you a pie.
Friday, February 04, 2005 · posted at 2:18 AM How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
- Satchel Paige
I got asked how old I am by a coworker today. It was the first time I had to admit I was 24... and incredibly depressing. No longer can I say I'm "just out of college." No longer am I eligible for Love Boat. No longer can I hide behind the words "the only thing you have to be by the age of 23 is yourself." Hello mid-twenties. Hello adulthood, responsibilities, and obligations. Hello time to be more than I already am.
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