MARNIE EDGAR: A little. Why? Don’t you like it?
BERNICE EDGAR: Too-blonde hair always looks like a woman’s trying to attract the man.
—Marnie, 1964, Alfred Hitchcock.
LET ME TELL YA, I never believed in blond girls.
Octave Parango is a publicist who’s being paid to tell lies. He knows that it’s crucial to boost everybody’s envy, pain, and insatiability to create needs. The consumer manipulation is his work. “To pay or to be paid: that is the question” is his monologue. “I spend, therefore I exist” is his guidance. Trapped in a profession that wish no happiness on anybody, because happy people don’t consume, he decides to write a book telling blow-by-blow the picture of the advertising industry, and thus to get fired off from the Agency for which he works.
After reading the bitter satire of the French novelist Frédéric Beigbeder, £ 9.99, I wondered myself if people are capable of being manipulated and if I was being manipulated by the machinery of advertising.
So one day I bought this T-shirt embroidered with this promotional message: “Drink, dance, and be blond.”
Want to know the outcome? I suspect you do.
When I put the T-shirt on, people smiled at me more than ever on the streets. Even once a guy told me, “Baby, I like it.”
My first experiment confirmed that advertising works.
So soon afterward I made a mental inventory of stuff acquired in the last five years that I had never used.
Though, I have to point out that once I went shopping for a dress, and I ended up buying three. Trickling back home, I realized that I didn’t need three, so I decided to go back to the store and return two of them.
The saleswoman asked me: “Sweetie, don’t they fit well? Don’t you want to look other sizes? Perhaps you want to see other styles?”
I replied: “Thanks, but I don’t need them.”
That reminds me, in a different, much different scale, that a magnificent F.C. Barcelona soccer player, Éric Abidal, who, after a major surgery1, decided to sell out all his cars. Some soccer players (as well as other wealthy people) like to accumulate luxury cars in their garages: Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis… as the rest of the mortals collect magnets for our fridge. When I read that, a conspiratorial smile appeared on my lips. I totally understood why he did that. When you are awake, you don’t need them. Actually, you feel kind of stupid having them.
So thinking that I was not being manipulated, ergo I was happy, I recalled once I tried a sample promotion that the magazine Vogue gave along with the August issue, a Love Lotion.
I studied the label:
* A pleasurable cocktail to see, feel, smell, and kiss: Interesting.
* Seductive fragrance highly irresistible: Alluring.
* 9 out of 10 men feel attracted to this multi-sensorial cream: Please, gimme ten jars!!!
First off, I thought it was bullshit: well-thought messages to fool women and make them purchase the Love Lotion till its addiction.
Nevertheless, I kept the marvellous sample, until one day running out of my usual body cream, I scattered the lotion on my skin. I recall I was at my folks’ kitchen making Orient Express, jasmine-scented green tea. The maid was sweeping the floor clean behind me, and after five minutes or so, I turned around to see what on earth was going on.
She said, “I’m sorry, your smell is…”
“Yes, your smell is…”
“Your smell is so, so… Sexy!”
I swear I didn’t remember about the Love Lotion, so I looked at her with eyes of a scared dog. Suddenly, the alluring lotion came to my mind and I started to laugh long and hard under the surprised maid’s look.
So the question is: If Cleopatra had her milk’s bath, do I need a Love Lotion?
PS: Girls, don’t envy me, but I might have the elixir of Love!
(1) Death is the most powerful tool I’ve ever seen: can make an atheist pray to God everyday, and awaken a sleeping man.