published in Volume 2, Issue 5 on November 8th, 1995
I can remember the first time I saw the commercial vividly, for I was scarred eternally, not unlike the first time I had a woman look me square in the eye, force a smile, and mumble "Don't worry, I heard it happens to a LOT of guys." While channel surfing a few months ago, I found myself landing on MTV. It was The Real World Two that was on, and I couldn't change the channel because it was my favorite one, where Tammi purposely wired her mouth shut to lose weight. I was thinking about taking up a collection to keep it wired shut forever, but alas, I digress. A commercial interlude began with a Mentos commercial, and I was appalled to find myself mouthing along "Mentos, the freshmaker!" with my television. That was bad enough, but when I realized I was actually holding my remote triumphantly, not unlike the girl holding up her mighty Mentos, I knew I must turn off the television and get some fresh air. I reached for the "off" button on the remote, but found myself unable to hit it. Instead, I my eyes were glazed as I heard my RCA beckon: "The following demonstration has been made suitable for television." It piqued my interest, I figured I'd watch the commercial. Big mistake.
It was a naked woman prancing around the screen with a spray can, covered only by two blue bars that followed her around covering her breasts, and her holiest of holies. Now, seeing an attractive naked woman bopping around on a television screen, this is not what scarred me. Don't you worry. In fact, it made me laugh hysterically. A voice-over was explaining "First, spray Designer Imposter Spray on your arms, and then spray some on your (beeped out the breasts), and the same time the woman was spraying it on the described areas. It went on to describe all the different places one could spray it, while the woman, seemingly in ecstasy, followed suit. It was truly a ridiculous image, the quasi-orgasmic quality of spraying some cheap-assed imitation perfume all over herself. She wound up spraying every part of her body really, as the voice-over told me that spraying this poisonous smelling fluid all over feels so good "you could spray them everywhere". But this of course, is not true. She missed a spot. If she was to spray the faux- spray in one particular place, shall we say, below the equator, this would not produce the ecstatic result as it provided elsewhere. I believe the correct word to describe the result would be "agony". But, thankfully, she missed that spot, so the commercial, which I thought was over wound up being just silly, not traumatic. Little did I know that in just ten seconds, I would be huddled in the corner of the room, rocking in the fetal position, hand immersed in my pants, a la Al Bundy.
It seemed as though the commercial was over, as they showed a bottle of the stuff on the screen. But then it happened. Like all horrible things in my life, I saw it in slow motion, like when Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction had Zed give him a proctologic exam without the courtesy of a sigmoidoscope. A nude man appeared on the screen, bottle in hand, blue bar on crotch. The voice-over triumphantly announced, "Available for men too!" The man, with a smug as hell grin, SPRAYS HIS CROTCH AND CHUCKLES! He laughs with this smirk on his face, as if it were the most euphoric and wonderful experience he had ever experienced. .And the commercial was over. It was an overload for my brain, I believe that was when I went into shock. In my trauma induced state, my entire life passed before my eyes. Well, okay, not my WHOLE life, but an incident in particular that involved myself, and my cajones.
I flashed back to seventh grade, I must have been around twelve or thirteen years old. I remember being twelve quite well, it was when I was a tiny 5'4 boy, and knew that someday I would grow and grow and finally be able to conquer that freaking sign that said "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO GO ON THIS RIDE". Now I'm twenty-five. Hey, it's not that I'm still not allowed to go on certain rides, I just CHOOSE not to okay?? I could go on any ride I want, I just don't like waiting in line! Wait, I'm mixing up my traumas. Let's go back to my being twelvish.
My dream girl, Penelope Horowitz, had asked me whether I wanted to go over her house on Sunday and study with her for an algebra exam. I could hardly sleep that night, knowing what would happen when I was alone with her, perusing the subtle nuances of algebra. I knew in my heart of hearts, that in the midst of studying, we would look up from the book, stare into each others eyes, admit our undying love, have a torrid affair, get married, have children, and happily grow old together. I just had to make sure everything was right. Sunday morning, I spent two hours getting myself absolutely perfect for the big study date. When I felt I was ready, I started to leave the house, but ran back into the bathroom.
As I was singing along to "Islands in the Stream" on my radio, I realized I had forgotten the key to getting a woman to think of me as real man. Cologne. So I covered myself with my dad's English Leather, not thoroughly unlike the naked woman in the Designer Imposter commercial. But what if Penelope begged me to have sex with her? This was a real possibility. The prospect of her finding me "not so fresh" was strictly unacceptable. So in the middle of singing the Dolly Parton part of the chorus, I pulled out the waistband of my underwear, and did my final spray. "Islands in the stream...that is what we AREEEEEEEEEEEEGHHHHHHH!" I had never experienced such excruciating pain in my entire life. I had to cancel the date. I spent the remainder of the day holding my wounded huevos and cursing the day I had tried to spray myself "there". Penelope went on to date and marry my best friend. Oh Penelope, I miss you so...if you're reading this give me a call, I know I can make you so happy...
Back to the story at hand. the man in the commercial had made the same mistake I had made, yet suffered no ill consequences. It was the most unreal and unjust act I had seen since Marisa Tomei had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But like the Tomei tragedy, this wrong could be righted, I knew it. I knew then why I had been put on this earth. It was to get that commercial modified. I wrote letters. I made urgent phone calls. I boycotted using the product. Okay, I hadn't really used it in the first place, but hey, manufacturers didn't know that. Yet every day that blasted commercial would come on time and time again. Hundreds of times, I saw that smug bastard spray his crotch. Was there no justice in the world? The horror, the horror. But just as I began to give up hope, it happened. The commercial began the same, bimbo dancing around in her Imposter glory. Same guy, blue bar on privates. But this time, he sprayed his CHEST, smirking and chuckling. Glory, hallelujah! Can I get an amen? There's no need to thank me. Just knowing that I might have saved one pubescent boy from making the same mistakes I made is enough. All I ask for is a page in the history books documenting my selfless effort to make the world a better place to live. Or maybe a statue.