Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bumper cars



I love it when my auto show brethren share on Facebook the ridiculousness that happens to them in their own displays. This comment, from a particularly inventive visitor, is one of my favorites of all time:

"Are the airbags in this car on the inside or the outside?"

Now, people. Really?

The booth bro who shared is little gem is a much nicer person than I, or at least I assume he didn't immediately fall down, pointing and laughing and gasping for breath while loudly relaying his question to his coworker's as I would have been tempted to do (and no, the visitor was not referring to that Japanese iSave thingy, just regular old airbags).

No, while in the moment and faced with such a delightful piece of material our "Be nice to idiots" training kicks in and we just smile and say, "The inside, sir. Like all cars," with only the slightest hint of patronizing. I tend to deliver such responses with a tighter smile than I probably should, but after hearing this kind of ridiculousness for this many years it's truly miraculous I don't just hand them a dunce cap and walk away silently.

But if I could spend my days messing with people's heads, here is what my own response to that brilliant question would have been:

"This model comes standard with a bubble wrap exterior. Interior airbags are part of our $3000 Bumper Car Special Edition, which includes a helmet and a vengeful, nauseated little sister."

Come to think of it, that's a brilliant idea. Someone get iSave on the phone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't touch my junk



A new insidious danger has entered my world. While traveling as often as I do has always had its annoyances, large and small (thankfully mostly small), it is about to get much, much worse.

Because now I'm going to be sexually assaulted at the airport twice a week, on average.

We are being given a choice: Have naked photos taken or be felt up. I am sorry, but I am a model and even I haven't done full nude shots - which are worth a pretty penny, FYI - so what makes these crazy people think I'd do it for free? For some false sense of national security which is actually a joke and nothing more than a means to put some money in the pockets of the GE board of directors?

And the alternative, of being felt up? There is a very short list of people allowed to touch the flower of my womanhood:
1. My doctor
2. Special Man Friend
3. Mike Rowe

(Not necessarily in that order.)

If any of this actually did anything to make airline travel safer perhaps I might have a slightly different opinion (although I doubt it). But the fact is, it doesn't. Israeli security officials alternately think we're pathetic or just plain stupid. Do you know what the starting salary for a TSA agent is? $17,083. Do you know what kind of person accepts a job that pays so little? Someone who is desperate, with a lack of education, experience and/or hope. Is that the kind of person you want feeling up your daughter, or trust looking at nude photos of her?

See, there's this thing called a cell phone camera. And despite the TSA's assurance that the nudie pics will be immediately destroyed (which I also do not believe because that would be destroying evidence in case of an actual attempted attack) it is beyond simple for some pervy agent to snap cell phone pics of the video screen. I really don't care if he doesn't know my identity - that is still MY body. I have enough trouble trying to stop pervs from taking photos of my lady parts at auto shows, and now I have to deal with it at the airport too?

I started writing this really long diatribe about this issue, but it would probably just attract trolls screaming about 9/11 and false patriotism. Instead, I invite those people to take ten minutes and think critically about the issue, do a little independent research and remove the emotion.

By the way, when I flew earlier this week I nearly had a panic attack when I saw one of the machines set up at security. Nearly everyone was trying to avoid that line, but some people were going through voluntarily. I would've loved to have done mini interviews with them afterwards to ask why, but since airports are now practically Gestapo states that probably wouldn't have gone over well. Anyway, because hardly anyone wanted to go through it they started pulling people out of my line to go through, supposedly in an attempt to speed up the line. I started to freak out, because I knew I would refuse and I knew it would get messy and really, I don't want that. I'm not a criminal, I'm not a terrorist, I truly, deeply love my country and I truly, deeply love my privacy and dignity.

Luckily the woman ahead of me had pins in her knees and they sent her through it, so I got to go through the metal detector while she was in there. I may have to switch up my double vodka tonic airport ritual to before going through security rather than after.

So the moral of this story is that until Mike Rowe takes a dirty job at the TSA, you're not touching my junk.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Free polar bear hugs!


I WANT A POLAR BEAR HUG!!!!! I will buy three Nissan LEAFs if I can have three polar bear hugs. I will buy zero Nissan LEAFs if the "polar bear" is actually a pervy sales guy in a fluffy white suit.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grodiness Avoidance System



The 2011 model auto show season is nigh and I must prepare myself for the onslaught of germs and filth brought forth by the teeming masses I encounter daily.

I truly have no idea how I have not yet contracted hepatitis, leprosy, flesh eating disease, TB, ebola, Coxsackie virus and diptheria. (Notice I said and, not or, because I am flabbergasted that no one has come down with all of them at once at the New York show - particularly with all the barefoot freaks and whatnot.)

At the height of the season I could be in six airports and two hotels in a week's time. That's a lot of exposure to utter grodiness. That's a lot of unwashed hands, coughs and sneezes into my hair and doorknob touching. Plus a new enemy has been thrown into the mix this year: bed bugs.

While I am still formulating my bedbug plan (I'm taking suggestions, please), for all other things I carry my travel/hotel survival kit.

For the airport:
- Always wear socks to the airport so you don't have to stand at security in bare feet and walk on that gross floor and get foot fungus from the other people who forgot socks. This might be a no brainer for dudes, but ladies have cute shoes that we often don't wear socks with, so I have to make a concerted effort to remember this one.
- My very own travel pillow/blanket. Never, ever, ever use the airline's stuff, even if they sell it to you, especially if it's free. Do you honestly think they ever wash those things? Do you want to know what happens under those blankets in redeyes?
- Cough drops to shovel into the mouths of anyone near me who is coughing their nastiness all over the plane.

For the hotel:
(I want to specify that I am fortunate to be put up in very nice hotels. I do this stuff anyway.)
- Antibacterial wet wipes. The minute I get in my room, before I touch anything I whip these out and wipe down every surface my hands are going to touch. Door knobs, cabinet pulls, curtain rods, light switches, bedside lights, the phone, the remote (what do guys reach for immediately after whacking off?), faucet handles, toilet handle, shower handle, closet door pulls, everything. This also gives me a great opportunity to see if anything is wrong with the room that would make me want to switch before I unpack.

- Slippers. I never walk around on hotel rugs barefoot if I can help it. Do you think they are ever shampooed unless someone is murdered in there in a particularly bloody fashion? They are not. There is all kinds of nastiness going on in those carpets. See airline blankets, remote control.

- Remove the bedspread and leave it in the furthest corner of the room that I won't go anywhere near. Do you ever see bedspreads on the maid's cart when you pass her in the hall? No. You only see sheets. That's because they only change the sheets. God only knows when the last time that bedspread was washed.

- Place the privacy sign on the door and don't remove it for my entire stay. When I need new towels I call down and request them. I leave the garbage pail and room service tray outside the door in the morning. I do not want a stranger in my room going through my stuff. It's not like the hotel cleaning staff is licensed, bonded and insured. I know too many people who have had things mysteriously go missing from their rooms, even in really nice hotels. I also know people who have come back to wet toothbrushes, misplaced panties and strange hair in strange places.

- Emergen-C. I start and end the day with it.

- But I never, ever, ever drink it or anything else from the glasses in the room. I saw Dirty Hotel Secrets Exposed on TV. Not happening. I either hoard the restaurant glasses brought up from room service or stick to the shrink-wrapped plastic coffee cups.

- And don't use the in-room coffee maker, either. Not ever cleaned ever.

- Never, ever, ever take a bath. Ugh. Just the thought makes me shudder. Showers only. I have not yet resorted to shower shoes like in college.

At the show:
- It's all about the hand sanitizer, once an hour or upon being touched by someone particularly smelly, or by someone I just saw come out of the bathroom, blow their nose, cough into their hand instead of doing the vampire cough, etc.

- More Emergen-C.

- Try really, really hard not to shake hands with anyone. There's just too many people. I'd rather a gentle touch on the arm of my suit jacket, please. Gentle. Not lingering. Don't be a creeper.

I am not a germaphobe -- I fully abide by the five second rule under reasonable circumstances. But I do not get paid sick days. If I get sick in the middle of the show, I can either suck it up, go to work and infect all my coworkers and visitors while being nearly incapacitated by illness, or I can lay shivering and miserable in my hotel room - probably being eaten by bedbugs - and miss out on a lot of money. Neither of these is a very appealing option.

What's really funny is that I'm not a clean freak at home. Far from it. I wait until the garbage smells to take it out. I have sour cream in the fridge that expired in August. My jack-o-lantern's face has caved in and I'm waiting for Special Man Friend to take care of it for me. Let's not even get into the laundry situation. But those are MY germs.

Not yours.

No offense dude, but I'll stick to mine.

PS - Is there any way to deal with bedbugs other than setting the bed on fire? While that may be effective, that still leaves me with nothing soft upon which to sleep.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mike Rowe is such a tease



The closest we will ever get to reenacting the hot candle wax scene from Body of Evidence with my boyfriend Mike Rowe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where are my panties?



The auto show lost and found is a fascinating slice of anthropologic wonder. The things people leave behind can tell you a lot about what they truly value -- or, alternately, how much you've managed to blow their minds with your vehicle, to the point where they forget all kinds of stuff.

We find at least one phone a day. We used to find a lot of cameras, but those have started to dwindle as cell phone cameras have become more common. Weed. Lots of hats and sweaters. I hate touching those, especially the hats. You never know who has lice. Or scabies. Union flyers. Anti-union flyers. Anti-anti-union flyers. Used tissues. By the way, stop leaving your used tissues in the cars you plague-ridden lepers.

But none of those things are what was found in a car at a show today.

I don't want to be overly dramatic. It's not like someone found the head of a dead hooker or something. But still, I think we should make a pact.

If you are going to take off your panties at the auto show, please keep them in your purse until you get home.

It is unfortunately necessary to specify this, because someone thought it was appropriate to leave a pair of panties in the door pocket today. Nice ones, too - a black satin thong.

So it begs the question, why did someone leave a pair of black thong panties in a car at the auto show?

I've come up with a few theories:
1. One of the Chrysler girls realized too late that those little dresses reveal major VPL and ditched them in another display on her way to her own
2. The September heat of Texas simply became too much to bear
3. Some d-bag forgot he had his mistress's panties in his pocket and ditched them in the car before his wife could find them
4. There is some sort of panty geocaching event going on of which we were not made aware
5. Mike Rowe sat in the seat beside me and they just fell off, I swear I didn't do it on purpose

Thankfully I am not the one who found these panties -- if I had I'd still be too busy Lysol-ing the entire car to write this. (Or too busy with Mike Rowe. Take your pick.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The only kid I want to see at the auto show



I am not the only person who has a problem with Unnecessary Trucks. I am also not the youngest, grouchiest, most knowledgeable or most vocal. No, that title must go to the 10-year-old son of a former Booth Bro.

Brendan, who worked as a product specialist for Toyota, Chrysler and Ford, reports the following:

"The other day, my 10-year-old son, who could say 'Duesenberg' and 'Bugatti Veyron' at age 2, was riding with me when some tool cut me off in a big pick-up. From the backseat, the voice of youthful wisdom yelled out, 'Hey, Mr. Unnecessary Truck, pay attention.'

Apparently, he reads your columns, too, or listens to me when I drive! Either way, your work is spreading to yet another generation!"

Here is why this kid is awesome:
A) He obviously has excellent taste in vehicles, judging from his early vocabulary skills.
B) He is already yelling at douchebags on the highway.
C) He reads my blog.

Brendan, your kid is welcome in my display any time. As long as he doesn't lick any door handles.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fat and unfashionable



As you can tell, I'm an observer of people. I've noticed a recurring theme among the slice of Americans I get to spend time with on the auto show circuit: a desperate need for more episodes of What Not To Wear and a lack of dietary restraint.

People. Put away the acid wash. I know you're not a hipster because we're in places like Kansas and Alabama and Nebraska and those are the kinds of places where hipsters are called fags and sent to those religious brainwashing camps, and even hipsters and the Kardashians look ridiculous in acid wash.

I know 1988 was your heyday. I know you're proud you can still fit into your jeans from high school. Who cares if you can only do it by hoisting your fupa over the waistband? Who cares if they are absolutely yellow with age and hard water stains?

If you must wear it at all, must you wear every piece you own all at the same time? Is it necessary to pair your acid wash jeans with your acid wash jacket and shirt? There are children in third world countries that are in desperate need of clothing to protect them from the elements, and I would rather you burn this sh!t than send it to them -- they should be spared the same indignity to which you are obliviously subjecting yourselves.

I'm not saying I expect you all in Brooks Brothers suits, Dior dresses and Burberry coats. Just go to Target and buy a pair of $30 normal wash jeans, for crying out loud. Welcome to the new millennium.

And for Christ's sake make sure they fit without the fupa hoist. Want to know how to avoid the fupa hoist? Stop eating breakfast at McDonald's, lunch at Taco Bell and dinner at Denny's. In fact, just avoid anything on this website. I don't know how many times I've heard the same people that b!tch about the seats being too small make snide comments about what we booth babes must do to keep fit figures.

These comments are generally made with mouths full of nachos and cups full of Orange Crush. Yes, obviously I must snort buckets of cocaine in order to not blow up like something floating over Manhattan at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Or maybe it's because I didn't inhale 3 blocks of Ryba's fudge today? (This wouldn't be such an issue for me if these people weren't making nasty comments about us... and if my monthly health insurance premiums weren't the equivalent of a car payment because of other people's diet-induced heart disease and diabetes.)

So. No acid wash jeans. No fupa. Lay off the nachos -- especially while in the cars, please. The last thing I need is to slide into the backseat to talk to the next person and land in a pile of your nasty fake liquid cheese product. You don't want to know how hard it is to find late night, overnight dry cleaning in middle America.

I'll expect you spic and span at the start of auto show season in November.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stuff your face

Photo copyright sualk61 via Creative Commons License.

I recently received an email from a reader asking me about my relationship to food as a model, or more specifically if I'm a foodie since I get to travel so much. Shamefully I realized over the weekend that I hadn't yet responded to that email (sorry dude) but perked up when it hit me that this deserves an entire blog post of its own.

While I have done fashion modeling work, I am more of a commercial model. The difference for those of you who are uninitiated in the subtle (evil) ways of the biz is that commercial models are used in advertising for anything from eyeglasses to, well, cars, while fashion models are the uber-tall heroin-chic exoticas on the runway and in the pages of Vogue, as well as in ads for high-end clothing lines.

What this really translates to is that commercial models can eat more than a carrot stick once a day.

We still have to stay slim and trim, of course, but we can be a bit more "real" looking than fashion models. This means I can more often partake in one of my favorite activities: eating. Part of me wishes I lived in Mauritania where fat is beautiful so I could eat pasta and fried chicken all day long. Alas, I have to make sure my auto show wardrobe fits throughout the season. Also, I don't want to be a total fat-ass regardless of my profession, but mmmmmm I do like delicious things.

I have some basic food rules: No fast food. No soda. Whole grain bread, brown rice instead of their empty calorie white flour counterparts. As little processed food as possible. I love going out to eat at locally-owned restaurants when I'm traveling, but that can get pricey and fattening very quickly. We often will request hotel rooms with a fridge and microwave and hit the local Whole Foods to stock up on heathy meals. (Usually healthy. One time it gave me food poisoning. That's a great way to drop some LBs fast, except it sucks, especially when you don't get paid sick days and have to spend hours on a spinning platform trying not to puke and/or crap on some knob telling you to smile OMGstabstabstab.)

I think most of the men and women who work the auto show circuit eat in a similar manner, at least most of the ones I've seen eat. However, I did witness a glaring exception to this rule.

Remember our old friends with Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep? In the skin tight mini dresses that your taxpayer money paid for? Those dresses were so tight that if those poor girls ate a cherry tomato they'd look seven months pregnant. I was eating lunch in the quiet basement food court at the Javitz Center during the New York show and saw one of these unfortunate ladies and her sad little lunch: a small baggie of baby carrots (I think I counted four sad little carrots in there) and a single container of that yogurt that makes you poop. I can not fathom getting through a shift at the New York Auto Show, of all shows, on so little sustenance. I want to kick someone just thinking about it.

Truly, the greatest point of a show is when one of the girls buys a block of fudge and forces it on the rest of us so she won't eat it all herself. I don't know how anyone could possibly get through the complete derangement of the Chicago Auto Show without Ryba Fudge. It's my Xanax. No nuts please; I deal with enough of those at work.

PS - Can someone please remind me to turn on Safe Search when I Google images? You don't want to know what turned up with the combo of words auto+show+model+eating. Don't even think about model+eating+pie. Jesus.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oops

Oh boy, wouldyalookatthat. Been a while since my last update. I haven't forgotten about you, my dearies. I've simply been loving my time off. However, I will be back Sunday or Monday with a piece on everybody's favorite subject outside of sex: food! Tune in.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are you trying to kill your kids?




It's no secret that I want to kill your kids, and by the sheer neglect I see at the auto show it looks like you feel much the same.

However, do me a favor and don't actually try to kill your child with your own stupidity at the auto show.

I scanned the above pic from an official show program. Yes, that is a child in a car trunk. Why yes, someone actually encouraged that kid to get into the trunk of that car. Seriously, because being shoved in trunks of cars is a fun game? Especially when strangers are involved. It's okay - Mommy (who admits you were an accident and has spent every day since your birth drunk) is right here, you won't get hurt.

Jesus f-ing Christ, people. These are kids. Kids aren't exactly known for being the brightest bulbs in the tanning bed.

This is what your kid is thinking:
Oh cool, I get to climb into the trunk of this car!

This is what your kid is thinking a month later when he sees an abandoned car in a lot he's playing in by your house unsupervised because Mommy is drunk again:
Oh cool, I should climb in the trunk of this car! If it was okay a month ago, it must be okay now!

Because kids are dumbasses.

Now, I know you think your kid is already MENSA material, but let me assure you, he is not. I know he is not because I see your little ankle-biters climbing into the trunks of cars at least three times per show with no adult supervision. So your whole "He knows it's only okay if I'm there" argument is bullsh!t.

Plus you and I both know that if something happened to your kid in that trunk you'd try to blame me even though Darwin's law was fully in effect. All of a sudden you think you're going to get your kid's college education paid for by some car company despite the fact that your kid is obviously too f-ing stupid to stay the hell out of a car trunk and therefor obviously not exactly Harvard-bound.

I will sic security on you, I swear to God - and a woman at that, because they're much meaner than the dudes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shoot the gap


It's always the ones you least expect.

I've heard the same story so many times from sales guys: Some guy wearing dirty old clothes comes into the dealership and is ignored by one salesperson, and when he comes back the next day in a suit (because he's actually filthy rich but likes to mow his own lawn for sh!ts and giggles) he gives his business to someone else who didn't pre-judge him.

Now, I can pretty much tell who's going to be a total knob to me from the next display over. I can see it in the expression on your face when you're talking to the other brand's booth babes, by the way you carry yourself. And yet, I refrain from judgement (outwardly at least) and talk to you anyway in the same friendly way I do the non-knobs, until you piss me off. And even then I just end the conversation and walk away. I don't even punch you in the junk! 

Point is, I don't judge a book by its cover because on rare occasion the pre-spotted knobs have turned out to be cool. And the lady you think will only be interested in vanity mirrors and cup holders may have a nascent need for speed that only you can help develop.

I love it when a woman pushing a stroller asks me to compare torque numbers within our lineup.

I love it when a 7-year-old girl rattles off more technical specs than a Detroit engineer.

I love it when I overhear Grandmas talk about the "real" purpose of rear seat privacy shades (naughty Grandma). It's always far less creepy than when Grandpa does the same.

I love it when I shock the hell out of some know-it-all by, well, knowing it all.

Don't assume, kids. Ass. You. Me. Etc.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Minivan man



Last week on TheTruthAboutCars.com I discussed the various ways in which your vehicle is preventing you from getting laid. Some readers took issue with my inclusion of minivans in the list of vehicular dating no-no's, I'm assuming because they themselves drive one and have not gotten laid by their wives or anyone else since their last perpetually sticky, screaming rugrat was born.

Someone brought up the issue of musicians, saying they drive minivans and have no problem getting laid. I don't know what kind of children's party players this guy is hanging out with, but I know more than my share of professional musicians and not one of them drives a minivan. They are all rolling in pickup trucks with caps or SUVs. Very occasionally do I even see an Econoline-type van anymore.

But if you still think I'm wrong about the minivan thing, I'd like you to meet Jesse Thornhill. He drives a minivan - a 1996 Ford Winstar, to be precise. He was arrested in Tulsa, OK for trying to run over his landlord with said minivan, as a matter of fact.

Interested, ladies? I'm pretty sure he's single.

Photo and info courtesy of The Smoking Gun.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Airport woes Pt 1

So obviously I travel, a lot. I travel so much that in the last four years I've earned enough miles for five free round-trip domestic airline tickets and countless first class upgrades. Most of that travel occurs December through April.

I am intimately familiar with many airports in this country. (Here's a free travel tip for you: There's a "secret" security gate at the Detroit airport that never has a line. It connects the W to the rest of the terminal. Use this information wisely.) I am also intimately familiar with the travel habits of the American public. It's not any better in the airport than at the auto show; the only difference is that people aren't asking me stupid questions.

My biggest annoyance at the airport isn't check-in or security lines (my frequent flier status usually allows me to bypass them), having to take my shoes off or flight delays (I've actually been really lucky in that department, knock on wood).

No, my friends, it is the people mover that is my nemesis.

Well not the people mover itself, but the people ON the people mover. People who apparently cannot read the six signs along the way that say "Stand to the right, walk on the left." That are written in at least two languages, often three.

I'm so glad you have all day to lollygag around and get in other people's way, but some of us have things to do. Things like, oh, I don't know, catch our flights maybe? Since we're here at the airport and all? There are a dozen people trying to get by you and you barely budge from the middle of the mover, throwing shade at those of us who actually read the sign and are following the rules of people mover traffic.

Then there are the people who are actually following the letter of the law by standing on the right, but their suitcase is totally blocking the left side. More shade throwing when you say "Excuse me."

You are not Supreme Leader of the Airport. You don't get to inconvenience everyone else because you're oblivious and lazy.  Move over or I'll run you over. I've done it before and I'll do it again. If you don't move over after I've asked you politely (multiple times even!) then you're probably going to get whacked by one of my bags as I move past you anyway. Not on purpose, but that's what you get for not following the rules of the people mover.

Yet another example of Special Little Snowflake Syndrome in action.

PS - Check out my column this week over at TheTruthAboutCars.com!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't shoot the messenger

It was brought to my attention via a great blog post at CrankyDriver.com that the comments on my column over at TTAC last week got a little rough. I resisted the urge to go look for myself. Ugly comments really only reinforce what I write about here.

When I wrote those couple of pieces for Jalopnik I made the mistake of refreshing my browser almost obsessively, reading each and every comment and getting more and more pissed. I'd keep reading over the course of the next couple of days, as long as the feeding frenzy continued. It accomplished nothing but to make me feel, well, icky. I obviously encounter enough a$$holes on a daily basis. I don't need to add any more to the mix.

Here on this blog I have the luxury of moderating comments. If you're a dick, your comment doesn't get posted. Simple as that. I'm not here to give you a forum in which to make yourself feel like a big man by being sh!tty to me.

But I don't have that luxury elsewhere, so I have a rule. I generally stop reading comments over at TTAC after the first day. A full day's worth of comments is long enough to give me a sense of what the general direction of readers attitudes will be. Last week was actually the only time it got as ugly as it did. The first day I responded to some people and ignored the worst offenders, but I could see that it was taking a turn towards a Jalopnik-style free-for-all so I didn't go back. Nor will I.

The thing that really gets me is this: If you are so upset and worked up over what I wrote, I can guarantee you that you are the person I'm writing about. You're pissed because I just called you out on your idiocy. Frankly, everyone else - the normal, polite, engaging, non-sexist, non-racist, hygienic, intelligent people - everyone else thinks it's funny.And they think it's funny because they know it's true.

The things I write about don't just happen to me, and they don't just happen at the auto show. Anyone who has worked with the public for any amount of time can tell the same stories. The only difference is I'm standing in a convention center when these things happen, and they are waiting tables or ringing up your purchases or writing your traffic tickets or trying to help you at the bank.

So I'm not the only person who thinks you're an a$$hole. Basically, everyone you encounter every day of your life thinks you're an a$$hole. Don't shoot the messenger.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Parenting at its finest



Yes, really.
By the way, America isn't part of Asia. If I catch any of you b!tches doing this at one of my shows I'm getting your a$$ kicked out.

(Thanks for the tip, Ray!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Booth Babe Media

It's been a fun media week for yours truly here at Do You Come with the Car!

My weekly column at TheTruthAboutCars.com is super fun to write, and this week's post was no exception. I've been seeing some pretty sweet rides around town and wanted to share the beauty - check it out... My column appears every Sunday, so keep your eyes open for it!

I was also interviewed for a story on the current and changing role of product specialists for a piece at Autos.Sympatico.ca. Another fun one, just trying to spread the word that we're more than pretty faces... You can find the story here: Heels and Wheels.

I wanted to print the interview in its entirety... There's some stuff he didn't use (which is totally fine; it didn't really change the context of anything he did use) and I think being able to read the whole thing gives a fuller picture. Many thanks to Michael Banovsky for the awesome story, for thinking of me in the first place and for generally being awesome!

How did you come across this job?
I was doing convention work and was staffed as a local at an auto show - meaning I was there to assist the product specialists with things like lead generation, not to talk about the cars. I liked their job a lot better!

How long have you been working in this capacity?
I have been an automotive product specialist for four years, but have been doing other types of experiential automotive marketing as well as a working fashion, commercial and promotional/convention model for much longer.

What’s the proper term for your work?
The sharp-dressed people like me at the auto show who talk about the vehicles on the mic or one-on-one are called product specialists. I use the term "booth babe" on my blog as a facetious nod to those who use it derisively.
 
On your blog, you talk a lot about a lack of etiquette during the auto show. Do you think it comes with the territory or is there something deeper?
It isn't just a lack of etiquette, although the public at large certainly does seem to have forgotten how to use the key phrases "please," "thank you," and "excuse me." This job has opened my eyes to the still-strong undercurrent of sexism in our society. When I try to discuss this on my blog I receive comments such as, "What do you expect when you're wearing a miniskirt?" A) We don't wear miniskirts, we wear business suits or cocktail attire (except for the Fiat brands, but that's a whole other can of worms) and B) It doesn't matter what myself or anyone else is wearing - everyone deserves respect regardless of their appearance. It quickly became apparent to me that a large segment of men think an attractive woman can't possibly know anything about cars. Frankly, I know more than most of the salespeople and nearly all the attendees. My favorite moments at the show are when a male salesperson sends an incredulous dude my way to get an answer to a technical question.

Have you heard stories of the “old days”? Do you think your work is becoming more progressive? Why/why not?
Margery Krevsky, the President/CEO of Productions Plus (which casts a huge chunk of the talent you see at the auto show) recently wrote a book called "Sirens of Chrome" which details the history of the auto show model and how our role changed throughout the years. We started literally as hood ornaments and now are the go-to experts not just at the auto show, but at marketing events across the country. Margery recognized years and years ago that we could contribute to automotive marketing on a much larger scale than just standing around looking pretty. We are walking, talking product handbooks, and how well we answer questions about the vehicles we represent has a direct impact on whether that attendee will buy our car or one of our competitor's.

What sort of training do you do before a show?
Every year we have an intensive training session lasting several days in which we go over every vehicle on our lineup with a fine tooth comb, learning all the new features and how they compare not only to the previous model year but to competitive vehicles. Our trainers, all of whom have engineering backgrounds, have intimate knowledge of not just our product line but automotive technology in general. We leave with piles and piles of information - literally a suitcase full - that we digest during the ensuing weeks before the auto show season starts. Sometimes some of this info is rather top secret, albeit temporarily - it might have to do with details of a concept the company is working on or a new vehicle release or redesign, the details of which have not yet been released to the press. They want us to have time to learn everything by the time the information does go public. Throughout the year we are constantly kept up-to-date with new information as it becomes available.

How many products are you required to know about?
We are required to know every vehicle on our lineup. Sometimes you'll be drawn to a particular vehicle and take a special interest in the minute details of that one, but we must be able to speak in depth about each and every vehicle we offer. We also need to know at least a little something about the direct competitors to each of our vehicles - people will always ask why ours is better or how it is different.

What’s a typical day of working on the show floor?
We usually work in six hour shifts, unless we're doing a double which can bring the day anywhere between 10-14 hours. (Six hours might not seem like a long time, but you try standing there in 5-inch heels under hot lights answering the same questions over and over while people try to sneak photos of your butt and make snide comments about everything you can imagine. Now think about doing that for 14 hours. Now I'd like to introduce you to my friend, the dirty martini.) Anyway, we get to the show, settle our bags in, change into our torture chamber shoes, grab a coffee immediately before our shifts start. Then we just jump right into the madness: depending on our brand and our job responsibilities, we can be doing anything from presenting a vehicle on a platform with a mic to lead generation to manning the information desk, or even just floating around our display area being available to answer questions.

In recent years, I’ve noticed more men on the show that are closer to spokesperson and stand stander (with colour-coded outfits!) than their usual role of buttoned-down expert or salesman. Are more men becoming “models” or (as Jalopnik calls ‘em) “booth professionals”? Why? Equality or…?
There are lots of male product specialists! I'd say the job is about 2/3 female and 1/3 male overall, but for some manufacturers the mix is more like 50/50, and some 90/10 female. The guys (booth bros?) have the same sort of background that the women do: actors, models, other performers and pro drivers who have a keen interest in cars and don't puke at the thought of speaking in front of a huge crowd. There are more women then men who do this, and I think it will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future. The job was traditionally female, so we already have a larger presence because of that, but a lot of women attend these shows and they just seem to be more comfortable talking to another woman. I think attendees assume any guy in a suit at the display is a salesperson and therefor to be avoided, so sometimes even the men who think a "booth babe" can't possibly know more than they do about cars will come to us instead of the guy. Plus, the guys really moan about wearing the stilettos. ; )

Why do you think women and cars are paired together so often?
People, male or female, are naturally drawn to things that are aesthetically pleasing. A beautiful car and a beautiful woman in front of a beautiful vista is much nicer to look at than a beautiful car with some snaggletoothed, unwashed hillbilly draped across the hood in a ghetto parking lot. I'm sure there's also some sort of subtext along the lines of "Which is faster, the sports car or the babe laying on it?" At the auto show it's all about getting people into your display and keeping them there. Beautiful cars and beautiful product specialists might get people into the display, but our approachability and most importantly our knowledge keep them there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rich people are stupid too

There's obviously a big difference between book smarts and street smarts, and people prove that to me over and over every single day of my life. Some people who you would assume to be smart are actually very, very dumb. And many of those people are very, very wealthy.

There are multiple luxury cars companies repped at Pebble Beach for the tourney right now - I know at least two luxury brands are up there, and probably more (I'm not, for the record). That's right kids, we don't just do auto shows. All summer long we're gluing on our best pageant-worthy smiles on marketing tours, ride and drives, and sponsored concerts, sporting events and state fairs. And if you can believe it, the questions can get even stupider off the auto show floor.

Take this one, for example. This was shared on Facebook by a product specialist at the Open, who says this was the response she got after telling the guest about the company website:

"How far away is the website?"

Ohmyblog. I don't even know how you could respond to that without coming out and calling the person a complete moron or accusing them of setting you up for Punk'd. Did you look in your butt? Because I'm pretty sure the website is in your butt. In fact, the entire interweb might be in there. You should probably go check. Shouldn't be too difficult; your head is already shoved all the way up there.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Learn how to drive

So as it turns out, I'm not just pissed off at the auto show. I'm pissed off behind the wheel, too. Hmmm, this ire does seem to be all auto-related...

Anyway:

Oh my f-ing god people, can you please learn how to drive?

The things I see on the road every day are horrifying and appalling. I truly have no idea how nearly all of you get your fat a$$es from McDonalds to the bowling alley without killing yourselves and everyone on the road with you.

I just love it when I see people swerving, cutting others off, driving too slow, driving too fast and generally being menaces while on their cell phones. That's my favorite. I also love the parents who are turned all the way around in the drivers seat to yell at their kids while barreling down the highway at 70 MPH, the teenagers reaching down to the floor of the passenger side to grab their fallen iPods (I know a girl that died doing this; she swerved into oncoming traffic and was hit head-on by a semi), the scaredy cats going a whopping 2 miles over the speed limit who slam on their brakes at the first hint of a Crown Vic.

Red light runners, people who leave their blinkers on for eight miles after they turn, people who don't use their blinkers when changing lanes, Unnecessary Trucks straddling two lanes, slow cars in left lane, motorcyclist splitting lanes (I don't care if it's legal where you live, it's stupid), tailgaters, and especially the people that weave in and out of traffic, racing up to the next car, panting on my bumper to wait for the chance to gain one car length, then do it again to the next guy.

Look d-bag, I don't drive slow. Unless you've bought me dinner get off my a$$.

And god help you if you're confronted with a traffic circle. I have seen people thrown into full-blown panic attacks trying to figure these things out. It's a f-ing circle with yield signs, people. If you don't know how to handle a yield sign (which, by the way, was on your drivers license test) then you shouldn't be on public roads.

So when you come to the auto show and talk about how you would either A) drive the sh!t out of this car or B) run circles around this car in whatever POS you currently drive I know that 9 times out of 10 you're a moron who will be lucky to make it out of the convention center parking lot in one piece.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A narcissist's manifesto

I'm often accused here of being completely self-involved, vain, shallow and full of myself. (I am never accused of this offline, by the way. Not to my face, at least.) I have wondered more than once - pretty much every day, actually - if I would be accused of the same sins were I a male product specialist writing the exact same observations, replacing the male pervs with female.

I don't think I would. In fact, I think the male readers who currently bemoan my attitude would be sending me internet high-fives.

Justine Musk (soon-to-be ex-wife of Tesla head Elon Musk) offered the following observation on her own blog, Moschus:

"The attitude seems to be that personal, confessional blogging ('female' blogging) is narcissistic, and authority blogging ('male' blogging) is not.

Personal blogging takes the blogger's own life and turns it into narrative. Stories.

Authority blogging establishes the blogger as an 'authority' in some particular niche, and relates information that (theoretically) solves a problem the reader might have or teaches something that the reader wants to know. An authority blogger usually has a product or service to sell you."

The designation of 'female' blogging and 'male' blogging is more one of attitude than actual gender.

This blog has always been meant to be both confessional and authoritative. I'm writing my personal experiences from the standpoint of an expert in the field - someone who has never done my job could never write about it, just as I could never pen a blog about nonexistent experiences working in an ER. Is it self-indulgent? I don't see how. I don't get any real-life attention from this since I must remain anonymous. I don't post photos of myself posed enticingly next to vehicles, fishing for compliments.

So I'm not sure where a lot of the vitriol comes from. Is it because I take the occasional shot that bruises the fragile male ego? Is it because a certain type of male can't reconcile the idea of an attractive female who has no sexual interest in him actually being intelligent? Is it because they recognize themselves in the types of creeps I call out here?

Probably a combination, and more. The human psyche is so terribly complicated.

Anyway, I'm not going to apologize for what I write. There are a lot of a$$holes at auto shows. I write about them. The end. If you recognize a piece of yourself in anything I've ever written, my advice to you is that instead of trying to tear me down, you spend that time and energy: A) applying multiple layers of deodorant, B) learning how to talk to a woman respectfully while looking her in the EYES, and C) putting in some quality time on the treadmill.

While you're doing that, I'll be writing. Cheers!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

There are no stupid questions...

...just stupid people.

The amount of incredibly stupid things I heard people say at the auto show this year was truly mind-boggling. I don't think people actually got stupider this year; maybe I was just paying more attention because I was looking for blog material.

But really, we got some stupid, stupid questions. Not just me, but all of us at every manufacturer from every country and in every vehicle type. Stupid, stupid questions.

This year, Detroit took the prize for idiocy. In fact, the stupid question of the year award goes to a Detroit show visitor who, while driving a car in the ride and drive in the green car section in the BASEMENT of Cobo Hall, asked:

"Does this car run on solar power?"

Really, people. Come on, now. Do you know your own name? How to get back to your house? Tie your shoes? Not stab yourself in the eye when eating with a fork?

Let's think about this for a minute. Is there sun in the basement? Does the sun have magical rays that pierce through layers of concrete to power the vehicle you are currently driving and obviously must have some source of power? No?

Then no, this car is not solar powered. Jesus.

PS - Check out this week's column over at TheTruthAboutCars.com!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Smile!

“Smile!” you say, leering at me, usually with a camera in hand. “It can’t be that bad!”

No, despite your rank breath it is not that bad - you just happened to catch me at the one millisecond of my day that I thought maybe someone wasn’t staring at me, waiting for me to be less than perfect so they could call me out on it. It is my job to smile, to “spin and grin” as we call it, and I do it gladly. I like my job, as I’ve said before; it isn’t brain surgery, it pays well and I like cars so I’m interested in the material.

What I am not interested in is smiling on cue because you told me to. Despite being a spokesmodel, I am not, in fact, a dancing monkey. No really, look it up - the two are not actually the same thing. I smile because it is my job, true, but just because you happened to catch me taking a whopping five seconds of my day trying to rest my face (fake smiling hurts after a while) does not mean you can be boring. And telling me to smile like that is one of the most boring things I hear all day.

I’d like to see you smile for 10 hours straight while wearing 5-inch heels on a spinning platform while dirty old (and young) men try to snap pictures up your skirt. I dream of smiling while kicking your camera out of your hand. That’s when I smile.

Seriously, give me five seconds to roll my eyes and pick my nose in peace. (Shut up, you know you do it too.)

I do wish some manufacturer would decide that the pissed off punk demographic is where it's at so I could stand on a platform snarling and giving people the finger. Wouldn't that be a fun job? Especially to those jackoffs who change their kids diapers right in front of me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where my mothafathers at?



Dear Toyota Auto Show Performance Team,
Drop the rest of your act. Drop the Sultry Sienna song, Let Your Unnecessary Truck Grow or whatever the hell you're singing, screw the Avalon Lounge act.

If the rest of your auto show brethren must listen to you singing the same songs at high volume over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over for days and weeks at a time for months on end, then next season make it this incredibly awesome one.

Be thankful the client isn't having you do it on top of the flaming spiral of death. Yet. You know it is being considered at some saki-fueled happy hour.

xoxo
The Booth Babe

PS I'll give you 20 bucks. Doooooooo eeeeeeeeeeeet.
PPS You sound great as-is. But THIS. Do it.
PPPS Sorry for two Toyota commercials in a row, but it had to happen.
PPPPS Check out this week's column at TheTruthAboutCars.com: Punch buggy black and blue

Friday, May 7, 2010

If booth babes ran NASCAR...


...there would be kittens for everybody!

I've asked a few guys I know who race in various series (not NASCAR) what, if anything, would be their limit on sponsorships... I always found it hilarious that the oldest guy in NASCAR drove the Viagra car. Would a big tough race car driver drive a sparkly pink Barbie car? The Tampax car? The Valtrex car? Do they really give a sh!t what's written on the hood when they're making money hand-over-fist?

Actors deal with this too. A national commercial can pull in $40-$50,000. I'll pretend I have herpes all day long on television for a $50K paycheck and 3 days work. At the auto show I'm fortunate to represent a brand for which I have a great deal of respect and admiration, but that just happened to be the luck of the draw and my brand could change at any time. I still need a paycheck.

Anyway, with the drivers, the general consensus was the same as with actors: a sponsorship is a sponsorship. They are few and far between, and when you get one you're so damn lucky to have it that you don't care if you're driving the KY Liquibeads Hello Kitty Pocket Vibe cup car, because you're driving a cup car.

But I, for one, would love to see the Talladega Tampax 500.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interrupt this

Do you have one of those jobs involving long, pointless meetings? I used to and I hated it, so I got myself a cool job instead. Anyway, in one of those meetings, let's say you were in the middle of a presentation, really getting into the meat of your big new idea that's going to save the company millions and earn you a big promotion, when all of a sudden - in the middle of a sentence - some jackass busts in and starts shouting questions at you.

Welcome to every day of my life.

Seriously dude. I am in the middle of my presentation. I am on a spinning platform, trying very hard not to fall on my ass on the incredibly slippery surface, telling you everything there is to know about this car. If you could wait thirty seconds and, oh, I don't know, maybe actually listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth then you'd have the answer to your question. If I don't answer your question during my presentation, I will be more than happy to do so afterwards.

I guarantee during my presentation I will cover horsepower, torque, 0-60, new features for this model year, safety features, any big bells and whistles. I will not make competitor comparisons on the mic, at least not by naming names, and I probably will not say the price on the mic - I find that to be distasteful - but am happy to tell you all about every single trim level there is and line item competitive comparisons when I'm done. STOP YELLING AT ME.

If you had any sense of the definition of polite, you would realize how rude it is to start shouting questions at someone who is clearly in the middle of a presentation. You don't think you're out of line for doing this? Try it at your next work meeting and see what happens. Then let me know how long that unemployment line is.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Doody!


I get a lot of flack here on this blog of mine for being too hard on people. Some commenters think I'm snobby, that I'm being judgmental when I suggest people shower and brush their teeth before coming to the auto show. These people are really going to hate me now, because I am about to suggest something totally outlandish: that you crap in the bathroom. And not just in the bathroom, but in a toilet in the bathroom. And then flush. Don't forget to wash your hands.

But whatever you do, for the love of god, DO NOT TAKE A SH!T ON THE SHOW FLOOR.

The bathroom is right there! See the big giant sign? The one that says "Restrooms"? That is where one goes to relieve oneself of the bodily waste created when you shovel three chili cheese dogs into the gut overflowing your stylish Lee jeans.

You do not go in the middle of the display floor.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows this handy rule of thumb.

One morning, I am told, the early shift of booth babes arrived at their post. While walking the floor to prep for the day's crowds, they discovered a large chunk of what was most decidedly not a Baby Ruth, just laying there on the floor.

Where did it come from? How did it get there? Was it some sort of political message or could this person just not walk another 20 feet to the bathroom? The world will never know.

This was discovered minutes before the show opened and the crowds rushed in. The booth babes sure as heck weren't going to touch it, but they did form a sort of human chain around it to block attendees from getting too close while making sure none of them knew what they were being blocked from. Figuring no one would believe them if they tried to call it in, someone was sent to grab the cleaning crew in person.

This is not the only auto show poop story out there. Oh no, my friends, there are more people - many more people - who believe in freedom from such restrictive man-made ideological theories as pooping in bathrooms, that mankind and mankind's poop deserves to be free. That's great. Poop all over your yard like a dog if that's what you want to do. Just keep it out of my display, you disgusting cretin.

PS - Don't forget to check out this week's column over at TheTruthAboutCars.com: The Psychology of Auto Show Marketing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is that a tire iron in your pocket or are you happy to see me?


Keep an eye on the red shorts... I think that last woman would actually come with the car if he was buying.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New column at TheTruthAboutCars.com!

Guys, thank you so much for your support of my little blog! I've gained a lot of new readership over the past few days, and I hope you'll all keep coming back for more. And remember, if you have an auto show story you want to share send it to me! I will keep  you totally anonymous.

The ever engaging, informative and funny Bertel Schmitt got in touch with me about a month or so ago and asked if I would write something for this great automotive site The Truth About Cars. They had given me mention in a story or two before and sent quite a few readers my way, and were always very gracious. We kicked around a few ideas this is what has developed:

The Booth Babe Chronicles, a weekly column published Sundays and written by yours truly!

Check out my first piece, a wrap-up of the 2010 auto show season. Hope you like - I'll link to following pieces as they are published. And thank you to TTAC and Bertel for the opportunity!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I don't want your man

Ladies, I need you to do me a favor. You've got to dial down the hate.

It never fails. A young couple, usually teenagers or not far from it, will stop in front of my spinning platform and while the guy asks questions (regardless of whether or not he's trying to look down my shirt) his girl is busy trying to poison me with haterade.

Honey, first of all I've got a man. He's way hotter than yours and actually pulls his pants all the way up when he gets dressed. Second of all, don't hate me because I'm beautiful. (Sorry, I've always wanted to say that!) No really, second of all, it's not my fault that your man is a dog who can't keep his eyes where they belong: on you.

The auto show is full of eye candy for men. Between the cars and the models some of them truly do not know what to do with themselves. I literally had a 12-year-old ask for my number once. (Seriously, I asked him how old he was. That's another entry for another day.) The crazy thing is that most of the product specialists, Fiat brands aside, are dressed pretty conservatively nowadays in business suits and knee-length skirts, but I can assure you that the girls who are still working in tight little dresses are giving up nothing more than a coquettish smile.

So ladies, please remember it is not my fault that your man approached me and started a conversation. In fact, it is my job to talk with him about the cars and be friendly, as long as he isn't a jackass. If you don't want to see it, don't come to the auto show. Instead, perhaps your time might be better spent working on your self esteem issues or finding a more gentlemanly man friend.

I promise, I don't want your man.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Put your shoes back on, you pig

Today while working the New York International Auto Show I saw no less than three people walk through my display barefoot. BARE. FOOT. No shoes. No socks. Gross feet on gross floor, carrying their shoes. All three were women.

So here's what I assume happened: These dumb b!tches decided to break out their new strappy summer sandals for the first time in this glorious New York spring weather, on a day when they would be walking a good half mile at least just to get from their parking spot to Javitz, then another solid three hours on multiple floors covering the show and then were SHOCKED! SURPRISED! ASTOUNDED! when their feet started bleeding out.

First of all, don't come crying to me for sympathy. I stand in four-inch stilettos for anywhere from 6 to 13 hours a day. Let me play my iPhone app of the world's tiniest violin for you. Don't be stupid. Wear cute flats or riding boots.

Second of all, this isn't your living room. By the end of the show this carpet will have been walked on by 1.2 million people, all of whom have just walked through Manhattan streets. Have you looked at the streets in New York City? Have you seen what's on them? Allow me to enlighten you.

Here are some things I've walked through this week on NYC streets and sidewalks:
- Pee (human and animal)
- Gasoline
- Spit
- Chewed gum
- Tobacco juice
- Rancid milk
- Coal dust
- Dog sh!t
- Baby vomit

And then do you know what happens? I walk on the carpet at the auto show in those very same shoes! And so does everyone else in attendance! And all that grody crap that's on the bottom of our shoes is transferred onto the carpet! And then you walk on the carpet in your bare feet! So you now have pee, gasoline, spit, chewed gum, tobacco juice, rancid milk, coal dust, dog sh!t and baby vomit all over the bottoms of your nasty a$$ feet.

And you wonder why your pedicure lady starts talking smack about you in Korean as soon as you sit in the spa chair?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Too much junk in your trunk

Sometimes I can predict a conversation at the auto show from 20 feet away, long before I ever approach the person. While I learned long ago never to judge a person's station in life by appearance alone (that guy in the dirty work clothes may well drive a Lambo), you can certainly tell a lot about a person by the way they carry themselves and observed behavior.

When I see a large person make a face while climbing in and out of a car, I know this is the first thing they will say to me:

"The seat is too small. You make them smaller every year."

The seat is not too small. The seat is not any smaller than it was last year or five years ago.

The seat is not too small. Your a$$ is too big.

I understand that there are some cars that are, in fact, very small, and have smaller seats, and that sports seating can make a difference. I am not talking about these cars. I am talking about large sedans with some of the biggest, cushiest seats in their class. They are not too small. You are too big. And you keep getting bigger.

If you want to be big, that's your business. I am not here to comment on your struggle with weight loss or why you turn to food to comfort yourself after yet another booth babe shoots down your gross pick up attempt. (Large women rarely make this claim, interestingly. It is always the men.)

But it's time to get honest here. Do not blame my manufacturer for making seats smaller. That is patently ridiculous, and I have the measurements from the past ten years at my fingertips to prove that very point. The seats are not smaller, the dry cleaner did not shrink your pants, you are not "fluffy" or "big boned" and you're not Octomom eating for eight. If the seats in a full sized sedan are too small for you, then A) Please don't sit next to me on a plane and B) You need to stop lying to yourself and placing the blame for your discomfort on everything but the real issue.

Like I said, if you want to be big, go for it. It's your business (until my health insurance premiums go up to compensate for your weight-related illness costs). Don't blame your difficulties functioning in the world on external issues when it is your own body that is holding you back. If you're going to live it, own it.

It's not the seats. It's you.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blood on the show floor: The New York Auto Show

Ah, New York. This big show wraps the season for most of us, although there are a couple of small regional shows in the next month. Some find NY to be the most challenging show (I personally give that crown to Chicago). Some would do anything to avoid working this show (I give that crown to Detroit). Some request this show year after year to revel in the energy of the city and the opportunity to play here with someone else footing the travel bill (that would be me).

I love love love NYC, but this show certainly does have its challenges. New York crowds are tough. They talk back when you're narrating, they get mouthy, and we always have a lot more vandalism here than in any other city (although this year, Chicago was really bad in this area). And sometimes they get violent, because obviously the auto show is the best place to vent your frustrations about your misspent life and the injustices incurred therein.

One luxury manufacturer was particularly affected by this last year. Another booth babe tells me this unfortunate area had not one but two fist fights in their display at the New York Auto Show, both of which happened in full view of the public and involved bodily fluids.

The first is my favorite: an overzealous security guard took a swing at a dealer associate because the guard felt the sales guy was too close to one of the prototype cars. The sales guy hit back. The cops were called. No charges were filed because there was not an independent witness to verify who took the first swing, but the sales guy was far more believable and the security guard (who was apparently being a jerk to others) was fired. The sales guy had a bloody lip and a shiner, but came back to work the show. That's dedication!

Later in the week at the same display, the booth babe tells me there was another fight involving some teenagers. It was close to closing time and a large group of them came in together (which always makes us nervous - there's a reason why teens can't hang out in malls in groups larger than four in many places). All of a sudden two started screaming at each other and blood was everywhere. One had hit the other in the face and his watch ripped off a chunk of the other kid's forehead, which was now lying on the carpet surrounded by blood splatters, right in front of a beautiful $70,000 car. Awesome.

(This is why you need to stay in school, kids - so you don't have to take a job on the cleaning crew and scrub blood and bits of flesh out of a carpet at an auto show at midnight.)

So far, as far as I know, none of this violence has affected the booth babes but that doesn't mean we're not afraid of it. Easter Sunday used to be Gang Day but Javits and the NYPD had put the kibosh on that in recent years. Regardless, working downstairs in the truck area can be spooky. It's never as busy as upstairs and in the evening can be almost deserted. Definitely not the place to be working a display by yourself, and in fact most now have a rule that there must be at least two (preferably more and at least one male) working downstairs at all times.

I am not going out by being shanked at the auto show, yo.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I've hit the big time: BlogHer!

I received a lovely email earlier this month from BlogHer asking to syndicate one of my posts! Namely, Life after auto show.

Do be a dear and visit it over there, won't you? I know you've read it already and all, but visitors would be nice to show their interest is valid : )

Do You Come with the Car BlogHer story

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

See, I'm not making this up

A comment came in over the weekend that I decided needed its own post. It is from another booth babe going by the name of "Car People" and backs up some of the stories I've written about here. It also  touches upon a subject I haven't yet: theft and vandalism. Don't worry, I'm getting to that soon.

Here's what this booth babe has to say:

"I can relate to 'Do You Come With the Car?' and while some of the views may seem a bit extreme, an auto show is an extreme environment. I'm sure that there are pro football games that are less intense than an auto show!

In my ten years working in auto shows, I saw tens of thousands of dollars of malicious damage done to cars, and theft of anything that was not nailed down, pop-riveted and spot welded to the floor.

Another challenge was the people who wanted to spend an hour telling you about the time they repaired a puncture on their own Model T Ford (very reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson).

When our security guard caught a guy who had stolen several parts off one of our Mercedes-Benz's he said 'I paid 20 bucks to get in here. I'm entitled to a souvenir.' Our security guard diplomatically replied 'And you're entitled to be introduced to the police so you can show them your great souvenirs.' The guy handed back the stolen stuff and left.

In 1995 as I sat in car with one guy who had perhaps showered once in the 1970's, his B.O. made my eyes water so bad I had to go rinse them for ten minutes afterward.

Taking all that into account, it made me more appreciative of the great people I did meet at auto shows - customers, colleagues and regular people who shared a passion - for cars, technology, design, comfort etc. "

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Car People!

Friday, March 19, 2010

You don't know Roger Penske

There's a slight variation on a conversation I have every day at the auto show. The gist of it is some unattractive aging woman decides to take out her feelings of inadequacy on the auto show models by lording her money and/or connections over us. Most of the time it is a blatant lie; all of the time it is obnoxious.

Another booth babe told me she once had a woman (who was sorely in need of microdermabrasion and the South Beach diet) become super-snotty with her, insisting that the booth babe was wrong about something that she said she knew for a fact was true because Roger Penske himself sold her the vehicle.

Give me a freakin' break, lady. Do you really think anyone believes that Roger Penske, one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, took time out of his incredibly busy schedule of running multiple global enterprises to come down to one of his many car dealerships and personally sell you your car? Yes, I am so sure RP walked the lot with you, took you for a test drive, brought you into that little back room where they wheel and deal on financing then handed you the keys to your new car after raping you on your trade-in. Please name drop some more, ooh, I'm so intimidated.

This morning Howard Schultz poured my Starbucks himself! Then Steve Jobs turned on my MacBook for me, Mark Zuckerberg personally emailed me to let me know my mom updated her Facebook last night and Rex Tillerson pumped my gas. (If you don't know who those guys are maybe you can call up Larry Page and Sergey Brin and ask them to Google it for you.)

And PS - Even if she did know Roger Penske, she was still wrong.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain


I read, a lot. I read in airports, on planes, in restaurants, in quiet hotel bars. I read in convention center food courts and tiny, dark back rooms of auto show sets. I read in strange hotel beds, in first class and coach, from sea to shining sea. I read at home with the back door open so I can hear the birds singing -- it relaxes me more.

I read fiction and non-fiction, classic literature and obscure modern writers, comedies, tragedies, coming-of-age tales. I'm not big on courtroom dramas (although I enjoy watching them on TV but not movies). I hate trashy romances. I like books that help me feel better about the human condition, a feeling which often needs repair after a ten-day auto show.

I read real books, books that I can hold in my hand with pages I can turn and paper and ink I can smell. I've toyed with the idea of getting a Kindle or an iPad because it sure would make my carry-on a lot lighter, but I like real books. I like the way they feel in my hands and the way they look on a bookshelf. Few things tell more about a person than what's in his bookshelf or the condition of her garage. Always investigate those two before investing in a friendship.

Last night I began reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This morning, at 3 AM, I finished it. I'm a sucker for dogs (any animals really, anthropomorphized or not) and stories of triumph over adversity. Plus, hello, hot fast cars! 

You must. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Here's the thing about life: it often sucks. People are mean a$$holes, jobs are lost, people you love die, houses burn down, kids are ungrateful, your underwear is too tight, you paid $10 to get into the auto show but are not allowed to sit in the Ferrari. You have unrealized dreams. Do you want to sit around and whine about the injustice of it all, or do you want to do something about it? Do you want the car to drive you, or do you want to drive the car?

Life isn't about what you can't do, it's about what you CAN do. And sometimes you have to fight through all the "can't" people to get to the "can"s. Actually, in my experience 95% of the time you have to do this. It's exhausting, but such is life. Most people either give up sometime in their 20's or never start at all, giving up on their dreams either out of complacency or simply because they have no one to believe in them. 

Maybe they just need a good dog. 

 Read more about The Art of Racing in the Rain at Garth Stein's website.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kidnapping jokes are not funny

Sometimes people's attempts to be funny fall flat. We've all been there. Just ask Steve Martin about his Toyota joke at the Oscars the other night - nary a giggle. Sometimes a joke is just not funny, even when it is meant to be.

And sometimes a joke is just downright creepy and frightening.

I was at a show a couple of months ago and having a lovely conversation with a visitor who was asking relevant questions about one of the vehicles on display. His cell phone rang and he excused himself to answer it, but did not step away.

His end of the conversation:
"I'm talking to the girl at the auto show. No, I haven't taken her out to the parking lot. Yet."

Yup, color me totally freaked out. I'm sure it was a joke (I hope it was a joke), but in my line of work, that kind of "joke" is scary.

Here's what we need you guys to understand. We're women traveling alone. Yes, sometimes there are men with us, but there are generally more women than men and I've worked plenty of shows with no male counterparts in attendance on my team. We're staying in strange hotels in strange cities with which we're not very familiar. The closest thing we have to bodyguards are the dealer staff who sometimes work the show and can be more odd than the visitors. The crack security teams in these places are a joke -- half are gray-haired grandpas and the other half aren't paying any attention to us because they are stoned. Now, I took a self-defense class and I know how to stay aware of my surroundings, etc., but still, if someone really wants to grab you, he can find a way.

One of the main booth babe talent agencies stopped using a certain hotel in Detroit because one of the girls was attacked on a supposedly secure floor. Yes, things like this can happen anywhere, but hotel management refused to heighten security by checking room keys before allowing elevator access. That move cost them about $100,000 a year in bookings, I'd estimate.

I'm hearing that another booth babe was drugged at the hotel bar in Detroit this year. Luckily her friends were keeping a close eye on each other and were able to take care of her before the guy slipped her out.

So please understand, your insensitive jokes about kidnapping us are not funny. If you are making us uncomfortable, we don't have to talk to you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Your one-eyed monster


I want to know who signed off on this infected-looking phallus with a nasty case of genital warts as a key marketing character for Kia.

A one-eyed monster? REALLY?

Here's the commercial in which Dickie is featured. Apparently bumpy dongs hang out in the back seats of Kia crossovers with your friendly neighborhood sock monkey.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Photo etiquette


Everyone with a halfway decent camera at the auto show fancies themselves the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue photographer. I assure you, you are not. We are not celebrities, you are not the paparazzi, and for most of us the nature of our jobs does not dictate we must agree to have our photos taken. If I'm not standing on a platform and my coworkers and I see you aim a camera in our direction, you will often quickly see our backs.

There is a very simple way to figure out if it's okay to take my picture.

- If I am standing on a platform next to a car, it's fair game.
- If I am not standing on a platform, ask for permission.

Lots of people do ask and that is awesome! Some of us will say yes, some of us will say no. When we say no we have very good reasons.

Here are some reasons why we say no when you ask to take our picture at the auto show:
You're super creepy
We don't want to be part of your spank book
We're afraid you're going to Photoshop our head onto the body of some naked chick with an ugly face and add it to a porn site
We're pretty sure it's going to wind up in a "Girls of the Auto Show" blog post where men who haven't gotten laid since the recession started will have the audacity to pick apart our appearance
We're not wearing something we're supposed to be wearing and don't want to get busted if someone important happens to see it on the interweb
We wish to retain as much control of our image and how it is used as possible
You're super creepy

All of us ladies at the auto show have developed Spidey-sense and can tell from a pretty fair distance when someone is trying to sneak a photo of us. We will then send a signal to the other girls in the area and strangely all of a sudden you will notice all of our backs are facing you. I've spotted cameras with telephoto lenses on balconies trained on our information desk. I've nabbed guys trying to set us up like a bad pickpocket job, one distracting us with conversation while the other tries to snap photos of my a$$ (that's handled by clasping my fingers behind my back, covering my cheeks while flipping the photog off - I can't be identified anyway because he's only focused on my butt).

One booth babe told me she was asked by a group of teenaged boys to pose by a car of a different manufacturer than the one she repped. She told them she couldn't do that, then inquired why they didn't ask the ladies in that particular booth to do it. "We did," they said. "They told us they weren't allowed to leave the desk."

That booth babe had to break their hearts. "Boys, they just didn't want to take a picture. Sorry." To make them feel better she offered to snap one in front of one of her vehicles, but they were too dejected to even consider it.

But they asked. So if a group of horny teenaged boys can manage that level of civility, why can't you? Ah yes, because you're super creepy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Life after auto show

There's a terrific article in this month's issue of Spin magazine about what rock stars do for a living after the fame runs out. I've often wondered about this... Not every band you hear on the radio becomes Bon Jovi or Coldplay and most won't get airplay on their second or third albums. Plain economics dictates there can only be so many studio musicians and producers, so how are these peeps who had a tantalizing taste of fame absorbed back into the mainstream?

It was interesting to read the wide variety of post-fame careers. I won't give it away by naming names and careers, but it is definitely worth a read - and it got me thinking...

What happens to booth babes when the bright lights of the auto show dim?

The first thing to understand is that the lights may dim much later than one would think, as long as you still look good. The ages of some of the men and women on the auto show circuit would astonish you. While they don't look like they are 20, they also don't look like they are close to 50, and more than a few of them are. Granted it is easier for men to get away with this than women, but I know some amazing looking women on the circuit that I pray to the auto show gods I will look like when I am their age.

But there will come a day, of course, that the siren song of the auto show turns into a death knell, and you'd better bet we all are developing our own little empires for when that day comes. I personally garner about half my income from auto show and other modeling, and the other half from two other much-loved endeavours. I have a marketing degree and a plan. There are some women who want to do this for years and years. I don't, and I have a plan for when I'm done.

And pretty much everyone does. Some leave the circuit because their acting careers are staring to take off, and auto show season takes them away from too many great auditions. Some have started their own modeling agencies or event management companies. Pharmaceutical sales (the legal kind). Yoga teachers. Clothing and shoe designers. Both the co-founder and the executive vice president of one of the two largest talent agencies handling auto show used to be booth babes. There are a few pro drivers thrown in the mix. Television and film producers. Visual and performance artists.

Here are some jobs for which I am qualified after I leave the auto show circuit:
Circus ringmaster
Airplane emergency evacuation coordinator (since I've seen the demos so many times)
Substitute Mommy (since you certainly aren't parenting your kids at the show)
Convention center dietician (try to maintain a model's figure on convention food, I dare you)
Suspicious smell/stain/scratch inspector
Torturous-but-beautiful shoe tester
Fire scientist
Traveling wardrobe coordinator (must make sure nothing happens to my own 15-piece wardrobe set through seven months of coast-to-coast traveling on multiple airlines with spotty baggage records)
Traveling mercenary (at the very least I know how to protect and defend myself in dangerous situations and ma not afraid to do so)
Hostage negotiator/suicide prevention (have talked a lot of angry-and-taking-it-out-on-the-world types off the ledge at almost every show) (See 'I am not the president of GM')

I do actually have my own little plan. You'll see one of these days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Your kids suck, too

While we're on the subject of disgusting mothers, let's talk about their a$$hole kids while we're at it.

I actually really like kids. Well-behaved kids, well-supervised kids, kids who have been taught to be respectful of property which does not belong to them. I am not a fan of kids who are allowed to do whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want to whatever the hell they want.

Here are some things I have seen your kids do at the auto show:
Licking the rear seat control mechanisms
Jumping on the seats of a car that costs more than their college educations will like a trampoline
Wiping their boogers on the steering wheel
Digging in their diapers right before grabbing a door handle
Locking themselves in the trunk
Climbing onto my spinning platform mid-presentation
Trying to break into the private back area of our information desk
Smearing their ice cream cones on the windows
Smashing their sticky lollipops into the seats
Yanking on the turn signal sticks with their full body weight

Actually, I take it back - it isn't the kids who are a$$holes, it's the parents. If I had even contemplated doing any of these things as a child I would have gotten the spanking of my life. The kids don't know any better because their parents haven't taught them to know any better, because the parents are A) incompetent and B) ignorant. You don't bring your kid to an incredibly crowded event then not pay attention to him. You sure as hell don't bring your kid into my incredibly busy display then watch while he tries to destroy this vehicle and expect me to stand idly by. I will kick your kid out of the car, I will use a stern voice, and I will tell you to keep a better eye on your monster if you plan on spending any more time in our display. Don't like it? Imagine how you would feel if I sent my nephew into your office to pour a milkshake all over your Herman Miller chair, set your trash can on fire then vomit on your desk.

We could call it even.