May 23, 2008

Happy Innuendo Day!

Well, folks, it's my favorite time of year again, so to speak. That's right, the day when it's encouraged to say "is that a gun in your pocket, or...", as it were. The day when "that's what she said" reigns, and "not that there's anything wrong with that..." is king -- or at least that's implied.

It's a hard thing to stay on top of, and requires cunning linguistics and repetitious practice before you can fully grasp the thrust of it. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

I think you know what I'm talking about...

Happy Innuendo Day, all.

May 08, 2008

Man-Shave, anyone?

"You know what I think we should get your brother for graduation?"

My mom was driving, I was sitting in the passenger seat, fighting sleep, which was threatening to take me down like a rogue rebel force as we drove the 5 hours from our hometown to Washington State University, where my brother would be graduating the next day.

I shook off the dazed look and attempted to act like I'd processed the question.


"An old fashioned lather and shave," she said, all excited-like. "Except I didn't think about that until right this minute and graduation is tomorrow and so there's no way we can do it now."

My adorable mother is trapped in the stone age. She thought that because she'd not arrived more than a day in advance that there was no way she could now, in the car, figure out how/where she could send my brother in his college town for a fresh shave the morning of graduation. It never occurred to her that phones now have web access or that 411 might be a good place to start... instead, she was thinking the most efficient way to do this would have been to arrive in town, ask the locals, and go door to door until she found someone who a) provided the service and b) had a slot open the saturday of graduation for my brother.

She just -- JUST -- learned how to text message, in fact, and though she knows how to do it, she never does for two reasons:

1) she says it's ungodly expensive, and cents (CENTS!) per text, and
2) she can't figure out how to use the "shift" function on her phone, so all her messages are a strange combination of letters and numbers only sometime resembling actual English

Anyway, the problem: I was sleepy and needed a job in the car and my mother needed to find a barber shop.

Well, Liz to the rescue.

"No sweat," I said, pulling my shiny blackberry out of my pocket with a proud flourish. "I can take care of that for you in no time, flat!"

"Suuurrrree," she said, eyeing the phone warily. "We'll see."

I shrugged and started typing. Google wasn't turning up great results, but at least I got a list of phone numbers I could call in the Pullman, WA. area. Proud of my little progress and eager to show my mother that technology was, in fact, the obvious answer to this problem, I held up the phone, showing her the screen (nevermind that we were hurtling down the freeway at 80 miles an hour).

"There! See? A whole bunch of places we can call!"

I clicked the first link, calling a barbershop with a very masculine name. Surely, I thought, these folks would be the place a guy would go to get a...


shit, what are they called?

As the phone was ringing, my mind was racing.

A straight shave?
A lather shave?
An old-fashioned shave?

My mind was blank. Though I could picture the service in my mind: man sitting in barber's chair, a hot towel on his face, then lather on his beard, then a straight-razor shave, I couldn't figure out what in the world that experience was technically called.

And then a man answered.

"Phil's Barber shop, this is Phil, how can I help you?"
"Oh! Hi!" I was far too enthusiastic in an attempt to buy me some time and hide how flustered I was.
"Hi," Phil said patiently. "What can I do for you?"
"Umm," I stammered, "I...I..." spit it out already! what were they called again? "I was wondering if you did those... uh... fluffy--er, I mean, soapy... uh... MANSHAVES!?"

There was a pause, then the sound like ol' Phil pulled the phone away from his ear and covered up the reciever, and then a snort.

"ManShaves?" Phil was sweetly trying to contain a laugh.

"Yeah... uh, you know..." It was over. I realized I'd just said "man shave" and completely lost it, bursting out in hysterical laughter.

"Fluffy?!!" he gasped.
"MANSHAVES??" I screeched.

Phil did the same. For two minutes at least -- a long and intimate time to be laughing on the phone with a dude you don't at all know -- Phil and I snorted, howled and tried to contain the waves of hysterical laughter that kept rolling back and forth between us.

When I finally composed myself and he courteously did the same, I of course apologized.

"Sorry, I didn't know what they were called," I said. "I cannot believe I just said 'man-shave'. How embarassing."

"No, it's cool," said Phil. "It's just that we're an equal-opportunity shaver. We prefer to call them 'PersonShaves'."

"Oh, of course," I said. "My mistake!"

Cue laughter again.

God bless goofy strangers.

And what the eff is wrong with me?