Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Witz Pickz: Gillette Fusion, Virgin America Airlines

In the last week I've flown miles, rocked out at The Retox Lounge, played in a soccer tournament, finished one of the best books I've ever read (Shantaram) and discovered that Elliott Smith had a band called Heatmiser that is just as good as one would hope. AND YET NOTHING has been as exciting to me as the:

Gillette Fusion Razor:
A year or so ago, my friend The ATX told me that he tried shaving with what was then the newest razor from Gillette-- a razor that was battery powered so it shook when you shaved. He said it was weird because you didn't feel anything and it kind of numbed the skin. I told him I wasn't going to visit when he ended up with early onset multiple sclerosis. You see, up until that point, I assumed shaking razors was a bad idea, not unlike that weight loss belt that shocks your body into pretending it's in shape. There are electric razors for that, no need to make my regular razor shake, right? WRONG.

Big-time wrong. Since I flew sans checked luggage to Seattle, I couldn't bring my razor and was forced to buy one there. Guess which razor was on sale? Yep. The new Gillette Fusion-- a razor that not only has FIVE BLADES, but also SHAKES thanks to the AAA battery that is included. Let's break this one down. First of all, five blades seems excessive. It reminds me of a Dollar Store being undercut by a 99 Cent store. Or "7 Minute Abs." Some marketing wizard must have said, "How can we beat the razor with four blades-- oh, wait, here's an idea-- five of em. Pay me, bitches." Now let's talk about how the thing shakes. Obviously, it seems unnecessary, especially since there are now five separate blades that can cut you instead of 1-4 blades. The addition of the battery (which actually makes the price a pretty good deal-- like, if I needed a few AAA batteries and was in a pinch, I'd buy three Fusions) adds bulk to the razor, and when I say bulk, I mean that it turns a regular hand razor into roughly the size of a hammer. But I guess that's why you have to try it.

Because the moment I put that sucker to my face, my life changed-- and I don't mean that I scarred myself or did irreparable damage to my jawline. I mean cue "A Whole New World," give me a new lease on life to sign, and let's get me a new haircut. The Gillette Fusion is not just a battery powered razor-- and it was bad marketing to portray it as such. It's an Acoustic Electric Razor. With that marketing I would have tried it years ago, and would have been pleasantly surprised. The numbing is definitely a plus, and the shaking blades actually DO help cut more hairs without cutting or causing neck bumps, which for me (and I'm pretty sure most Jews I know), makes it similar to the Ark in Indiana Jones (yes, I did just equate neck bumps with nazis). When I got back to California (without it again because of baggage), I actually went to the store and bought ANOTHER one, just so I wouldn't have to go back to the reality of a lesser bladed, acoustic razor so quickly. I'm sure I will have to someday, probably when they prove that the Fusion causes cancer or makes you go blind or has free will and has begun killing its owners, but until that day, I'll live my new acoustic electric life.

Virgin America:
Apparently Virgin America was created on a single principle: "Cool people aren't able to look cool enough on planes, and it's time somebody did something about it." And it's true. How cool can you look when you're waiting in line, shuffling bags, feeling dehydrated, getting frustrated by delays, searching for your seat, getting stuck in the middle seat, feeling nauseaous, reclining slightly, eating on a tray, or popping Wheat Thins Crisps? The answer is not very cool. Virgin America has changed all that.

As you enter the plane you notice two things right off the bat-- the crew and pilot don't look old enough to have authority over your life, and there is mood lighting. Purple mood lighting. You also notice, as your ears perk up, that there is soft techno playing-- like the techno equivalent of smooth jazz or elevator music. If you're anything like me, you immediately wonder if you're cool enough to be on this flight. You're not a club guy or gal, and all of a sudden, you're very aware of being underdressed for your Club Flight-- under armor and shorts not the usual attire to get you on the guest list. You start to think back and realize that you should have known something was up. In the terminal, Virgin America gave very little information, barely announced the flight, and didn't seem even vaguely concerned about boarding or leaving on time. "They were too cool for that!" you realize, too late, and hope that the pilot doesn't skip out on the landing gear just to impress the 18 year old perky flight attendant.

As you sit down in your seat, next to the chic, pseudo-friendly girl flying from New York City, you notice that she's punching decisively at the in-seat entertainment system, Red. Red has live tv, movies you can pay for, music, music videos, a flight map, video games, and a menu to order food and drinks from. You'll probably use that as an opportunity to make some conversation:

"Man, have you ever flown these guys before?"
"This is the first time, but I've been flying from NY."
"It's....definitely interesting...clubby..."
"Yeah, it's fucking awesome. This Red this is awesome."
" do you..."

And all of a sudden you're the very uncool older dude who doesn't know how to use the VCR. You're the Dad in the club, and as far as the cool person next to you is concerned, you're the Dad in the club who needs to put in ear plugs and stand in the corner until his daughter is ready to go home. That's why you're in the middle seat-- you don't belong there. Like me, you might opt to pull out your iPod instead of listening to music on Red. Because you're old school and "the music just SOUNDS better." Instead of watching golf, tennis, soaps, or whatever Kathy Griffin has to offer on Bravo (live tv on a plane at 1:30pm is JUST as bad as live tv at home at 1:30pm), you choose to read a book. You're now the Dad, standing in the corner with preverbial earplugs in, waiting for his daughter to finish dancing, reading a book.

Before the flight takes off, you watch a safety video, with an apathetic voice narrating over a series of mundane facts that you know are boring and redundant, but that the airline typically does not admit. The images are pencil sketches, hip and unconcerned, and even though you know that it's a lot like a Daniel Johnston sketch style, you don't want to say anything to NYC girl because she's cool enough not to know who that hipster reference is. Fortunately, you don't have time to worry about it, because it's time for the super peppy gay asian flight attendant to announce the flight. As he talks, cheerleading the flight, and getting giggles and quick hand claps out of the girls on the flight, you realize what's so odd about the whole thing-- it's exactly like what The Future was supposed to look like in bad 80's Sci-Fi films. Campy, cheesy, brightly colored. Or even more so, it's like if The Fifth Element cinematographer designed an airline. Purple lighting, techno, gay asian men, it's all straight out of a movie. The announcements end, the flight takes off, and you lean back in your seat, turning on your iPod and enjoy the rest of what is actually a very smooth, relaxing flight. Maybe you can get into this club atmosphere. Maybe you're cooler than you think. At the low prices, you better at least fake it. And maybe, just maybe, you'll giggle along, when you land at your destination and hear the over the intercom, the joyous, effeminate, "We landed, WOO HOO!" that lets you know you can leave.

A Baby Seal Walks Into a Virgin America Airlines Flight,


IrishGal said...

I concur about the razor. Gillette makes a fantastic female version called the Venus Vibrance (which I purchased because, like you, I couldn't take mine on the plane). I love the battery-operated aspect, but do understand that I can't really advertise to my friends how much I love a personal battery-operated device called Vibrance without a few raised eyebrows.

Incidentally, if you want to experience purple lighting, techno, and gay Asian men the next time you're in Seattle, give me a call and we'll hit Broadway!

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