The Password is.....

February, 2006

Greetings, Social automaniacs!

It's the Read&Delete for February, 2006

I was standing in a crowd someplace where three women were discussing hair color.  Normally this would not surprise me at all or even enter in upon my consciousness. In my life as an engineer, I am not even remotely concerned with the hue and tint of the human follicle. Yet here I stood, totally puzzled by the banter and discourse by this troika of femininity going off into the subjects of highlighting and blending human hair. One of the women was talking about changing her hair to a 'neutral color'. The only neutral colors I can think of are off-white and beige. But on the whole- discussions about hair color or other body politics are generally regarded by me as conversational ballast-- totally devoid of reverence, significance or interest.   But what struck me as puzzling about this topic of conversation that had three members of the fair sex fairly
buzzing with estrogen saturated excitement was the location where this discourse was taking place. Not in a hair salon, not in an office, nor a elevator or a street corner-- but in the middle of the Chicago Auto show.

I was at the Auto Show with my then 12 year old son to look at some new models (of cars, OK?) and as we were standing in line to look over some new cars, two women were going on about hair color.  They were conversing pretty well as the line moved along (it was a long line) and the chatter went on for about five minutes, talking about their experiences with different products and hairdressers, while I was trying to look past them at the new cars on display. Suddenly another voice enters the conversation. I look at the women and discover that another woman has entered the group, and this other woman who was a good distance farther up the line had turned back from the car display in order to join in. She even stepped away from her male companion and ducked back under the barrier to join the other two. It seemed to me that prior to standing in that line, none of the three had laid eyes upon one another, and none of them had the slightest interest in anything going on at the show once they did-- in fact, they started letting people past them in the line to see the new cars. Eventually they stepped out of the line together and disappeared, possibly to seek out others in order to eventually start a new hair dye franchise. By the way, none of the male escorts seemed to care that their women departed.

This event reminded me of scenes that have I viewed in different movies about prisons or prisoner of war camps-- movies where inmates or escapees form instant
bonds of friendship due to the extremely punishing environment. Suddenly they are intimately connected at a level deeper than any oppressor can reach, their resolve to escape is unshakeable, and by the end of the movie they emerge victorious from the shackles of their tormentors.  They walk away, arm in arm from either the ruthless prison warden, the Nazi camp commandant or the heartless husband / boyfriend that dragged them kicking and screaming to the Chicago Auto Show.

After witnessing the Great Auto Show mutiny/revolt/jailbreak,  my engineer's brain took note-- then went right back to the Main Point of Ultimate Importance,
namely-- looking at the cars. Later on, I began to assess the situation. Why were these women here at the show in the first place?  Did their male counterparts coerce them into attendance? No. Were they drugged and brought in past the ticket booth in an unconscious state? Probably not.  Did they expect to see something other than automobiles at the Auto Show? Maybe. If so, then what? I got the answer the very next time I opened up a car magazine.  It was titled something like "Big Block Low Rider Hot Rod Chevies 'n Cleavage" and it featured a cover photo of a highly modified 1960's muscle car standing behind a highly modified, somewhat clothed, nubile young lady whose air brushed physique gave new meaning to the word 'cupholders'.  Each page had photos of classic cars and barely bikini clad mutant nymphs standing next to, lying by or bending over them.  Did you ever notice that these articles rarely show a full photograph of the car's owner? Nary a pot bellied, t-shirt clad, grease coated toothless Car Nut Guy- for which the term 'low rider' only applies to his pants and underwear.  Same thing the TV ads featuring hot cars and hotter women.

In my opinion, the two greatest magnets that draw women to car shows are fear and jealousy. They see these nearly pornographic car magazines, look at the car shows on cable TV, and listen to their significant other go on and on about getting tickets to the 'show' -- and it becomes a threat to their self esteem. They begin to picture in their minds that every car display at the show features the winner and runner ups for Miss Botox USA or the Swedish Saline Implant Team.They imaging their men ogling some young thing poured into a tight dress, smiling at their men- while a 50 foot digital display flashes out her phone number.  The car show promoters know this, and they encourage this paranoid curiosity, as it sells more tickets. One or two displays will show a 'silicon sister' for sure, but the emphasis will always be on the cars.

So the wife/girlfriend comes to the Auto Show, and she sees that it is the Auto Show and not the Scantily Clad College Girl Doing a Pole Dance on the Car Lift Show, and after about 30 minutes she has seen all the gadgets and gizmos and spoilers and spinners and turbos and valve covers and macho stickers that she ever wants to see until the End Of Time. Then she becomes the Great Ball And Chain  attached to her man's ankle-- noticing the time passing s-l-o-w-l-y and casting hopeful glances at every exit sign , while her escort looks over every wheeled object with the excitement of a two year old, and gives it the attention that she secretly wishes that HE would give to HER. Pretty soon she would welcome the opportunity to see or hear ANYTHING that has nothing to do with cars, transportation or even the topic of men.

So her ears hear the word 'hair color' spoken softly, but with great reverence, and her eyes start searching through the sea of testosterone, looking for a kindred soul, someone who can commute her sentence and take her away from the forced servitude of Car Nut companionship.  She sees another woman, and they make eye contact. The password is spoken again, while nodding ever so slightly to each other. Each is overjoyed at finding someone who finally *understands*, so they join up forces and make their break to the nearest latte peddler and commiserate their plights with caffeine and chocolate, leaving their temporarily bewildered male companions in the line to see the new General Motors smog-powered V-18 engine.

The joke is on the lady, of course. The guy will notice her absence for about 18.5 nanoseconds, which is about the amount of time necessary for him to notice the next bright shiny object and perhaps even forget that women actually exist. He is overjoyed to be in a place where the air bags are located in car dashboards, and not standing in line next to him, rolling her eyes, looking at her wrist watch and complaining, "Haven't you seen enough?", every five minutes.

Folks, the auto show is coming around again, and this is my advice to you.  If  you don't like cars, don't go. If you love someone who loves cars, and you can't tell a spark plug from a lug nut-- politely decline the offer of  accompaniment to the show. This will save you, your significant other and the rest of the show attendees a lot of frustration. And if you are the car lover, don't drag dead weight to the show. Just bring home some car literature, and if you like excitement, jot the car dealers phone number on the back of some of them (the ones with the pretty girls on them)-- no name- just the phone numbers. Your wife will contact the car dealers for you.

Gotta go---- to the Auto Show


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