Wednesday, January 13, 2010


You'd think that grandpas are the least of our worries over here in auto show land, right? That we'd be relieved when we see a sweet, doddering older gentleman heading our way, ostensibly to discuss the finer points of our latest giant sedan that he'll probably wind up mowing down a crowd with because he's too old to drive anymore.

You'd be wrong.

Here's the problem with Grandpas: They talk. And they don't. Stop. Talking.

I don't mind a long conversation about a car with a consumer who is genuinely interested in it. I don't mind a short conversation about cars in general. But please do not hijack me with a long, drawn-out conversation about nothing relevant. I know you're lonely. That sucks. Maybe you're lonely because you talk too damn much. Whatever the reason, move on. I HAVE A JOB TO DO.

In addition to the endless talking, grandpas say some wildly inappropriate stuff that they think they can get away with because they're old.

Here are some things your grandpa has said to me at the auto show:
"When are you serving dinner?"
"Want to hear a joke?" Usually followed by "A black guy/Mexican/Jew/Jap walks into a bar..." or some variation of the same.
"Let me tell you about my very first car... It's where my son was conceived."
"You've got a nice tushie."
"I wish my wife had legs like yours."
"I don't want to talk to that 'Oriental' guy, I want to talk to an American."

And yes, "Do you come with the car?"

Well listen up, grandpas. I've got your number. Just because you're old and survived the Korean War or World War II or whatever doesn't mean you have a license to make me ill.

Look, here's what it comes down to. No matter what your age, be respectful. Talk to us not the way you'd talk to your sister, but the way you'd expect someone else to talk to your sister (because you might be a total jerk to her yourself but you'd punch someone else for talking to her like that).

Please be mindful of our time. We are marketing representatives hired to educate people about our cars and hopefully push them in the direction of buying one, while helping to cement a brand image in your minds. If I'm talking to you about how hot you like your tapioca and what your favorite episode of Murder She Wrote is, I am not talking to someone who has a genuine interest in a vehicle (as opposed to my ass).

And lay off the racial jokes.


  1. Well said, pretty lady. Very well said.

  2. Just to play devil's advocate, if you're that unhappy with "inappropriate talk", why title your blog with a phrase that has an obvious sexual entendre and illustrate it with a photo of a woman's disembodied miniskirted legs?

    I dunno but it seems to me that there's a bit of a disconnect or cognitive dissonance going on here.

    I'm actually someones grandfather so maybe when I chat up a model I'm acting like one of the geezers you mention, but the media preview can be tedious for those of us on the other side of the velvet rope too. If I had to choose between talking to another car guy and talking to a woman who is good looking enough to be professionally pretty, I'll go with the lady.

    And while it's inappropriate to say you have a nice ass, let's be real, you're hired in great part for your looks. I've told models that they're exceptionally pretty. Does that make me a dirty old man? Where's the line? I'll agree that "You have a great ass" or "You have a balcony suitable for Shakespeare" is inappropriate, but what about a compliment for your pretty smile, or your lovely eyes?

    Look, I don't hit on women at the car shows but I will tell them "there is no shortage of attractive women at the auto show". Almost all react nicely, many warmly (including, apparently, Heidi Klum, or at least that's who my son says it was - her husband Seal was singing at the Audi presser that year).

    If a lady's hemline is 12" or more above her knee, is it really out of line to tell her that she has nice legs? Did you see the lady working as on-air talent in the green outfit with hear cleavage bursting out? She had pancake and glitter on her boobs. Would it have been rude of me to ask what kind of body makeup she used?

    It seems that you want it both ways. You have no problem getting the gig because of your looks but if guys pay more attention to your looks than to your shpiel and script it irks you.

    I have a simple rule. If a woman makes an effort to look good, looking at her isn't a crime.

    What's wrong with being real and honest? It's not like I'm gonna ask you out, or that you would say yes if I did. Models are out of my league. I don't travel in the same social circles as Bob Lutz and Billy Ford but if I can kibbitz with them and joke about their jobs or status, why shouldn't I kibbitz with a pretty lady?

    Who are you working for this year? Perhaps we've already chatted in realspace.

  3. BTW, my sister doesn't wear skirts like the ones in your banner. If she did, I'd tell her not to complain if guys told her she had nice legs.

  4. Ronnie, you raise some interesting points that I will be happy to address in blog posts coming in the near future. I truly appreciate you taking the time to provide such thoughtful commentary! One point I will address now is that I can not and will not disclose the company I represent or any other identifying information. You never know if that girl you're chatting up is me - how fun! : )

  5. "Let me tell you about my very first car... It's where my son was conceived."

    Well, I used to go out in a Mustang, a 302 Mach One in green.
    Me and your Mama made you in the back and I sold it to buy her a ring.

    -Outfit - The Drive By Truckers

  6. My wife worked at a nursing home when she was in college.

    Auto show models have it easy compared to what some nurses, orderlies and caretakers deal with from older men who either grew up in a time when groping was acceptable or have decided that they're close enough to death to ignore certain social rules.

  7. A black, mexican, jew with legs like yours and a nice tushie gets out from the car where he was conceived and walks into a bar because its time to serve dinner. Ta-dah!

  8. Ex Hummer Product Specialist

    Wait now im defending her and coming from a Man's perspective, I do not want to sit here and her you tell me how you survived the war with the Hummer the gov't provided. I have to watch promotional videos all day on the history of it all. And while i'm YOU YOURSELF(YES YOU) had a part to do with, I doubt it that you will still drive one. I'm pretty sure you drive a Camry

    I think my favorite came from the Chrysler folks while hanging out. "you know thats not a real HEMI!" and then goes on and explain the whole reason. Oh did I forget to mention we were at lunch?

  9. DoYouComeWithTheCar! I love you! Keep on the good work!

  10. Ronnie: I think generally to play the devil's advocate you're not actually supposed to hold the views of said client.

    The title of the blog was obviously chosen to call out the users of that tired cliche. Cognition consonant.

    "Let's be real." Of course people, particularly women, are selected for their attractiveness in many marketing/PR/customer service fields. Waitstaff, salespeople, receptionists, and marketing-models jump to mind. The point is they have a job function that is entirely unrelated to their looks! The fact that they are hired for their looks is the doing of their employers in response to customers' propensity to make purchases for non-objective reasons. Nothing wrong with that, that's our evolved nature. Models choose to capitalize on the way things are which I'm ambivalent about but hardly reason to blame them for the status quo.

    Does it make one a "dirty old man" to be an exuberant participant in this system? Maybe not, but it does make you boring and annoying. Of course they are going to respond pleasantly, tolerance and congeniality are the name of the (sales) game. Compared to those who make them feel sexually threatened I'm sure the nonconfrontational admirers are very easy to tolerate. That is pretty clearly where the solid line is drawn - at threatening/bullying - just as in any professional environment.

    The interesting question then may be, what do the "nonconfrontational admirers" hope to gain from their banal compliments given that there is no hope of taking the model home with the car? Telling her something she doesn't know? Improving her self-esteem? Instead I would suggest that it betrays a neediness and desire for affirmation on the part of the asker. Thus the offense and not-uncommon "Bitch!" response when the object - key word "object" - of one's desire fails to affirm one's ever-precarious manhood. Autoshows, "ComicCon" and the like make handy surrogates for The Real World in which a woman is more free to deliver confidence-crushing rejection.

    That's my theory, perhaps DYCWTC has another one?

  11. You have many good points but all of these are hided behind an aggressive man-hate.
    Maybe it's a strong word but try to look at the opposite side from the men's side:" You have been rejected several times by women, you're horny, nobody have told you about how to getting laid,You try to talk and be cool, you fake selfconfidence, you try to fake/lie everything to increase your chances, wasted a lot of money/time on sarging/hunting/courting, womens are very passive and once you found the "solution" who is the most effective: Being sexually aggressive." By words or acting. Yes, it's the brutal truth. They're keeping on doing that again and again because it usually works.

    Sure, they want you, and I can understand why you don't like loosers but it could be worser:
    Nobody could talk with you, nobody want you, nobody likes you, nobody touches you, nobody makes you feel attracted, nobody tells you that you're beautiful, lmany are ooking away if you're looking at you.

    Remember one ting: "You choose WHO you want, but it's ONLY mens who ACTS!"

    What would you do the day the one you want don't want you? Try to repeat that feeling several times. :(

    Change your work if you don't like to been seen as a object/thing or the peoples you meet.

    I challenge you with this:
    Stop using makeup, use ugly or baggy clothes, use glaseyes for several weeks and see how others are acting toward you.

    Grow up!

    Have a nice day.
    (In case you want to complain about my bad english, please note that English is not my native language)

    I won't be surprised if this'll be deleted, but I have gained one thing: You've read it. :)

  12. @Bashful,
    Yeah, 'cause not enjoying harassment is "man hate", because men are just dumb animals that can't help but act like assholes! There are plenty of guys out there who manage to behave like decent human beings, so I don't see how asshole-hate can be considered equivalent to man-hate.

    Everyone, men and women, goes through dry spells. Everyone gets rejected, everyone has periods where they aren't getting much attention, where they're feeling unattractive, where they have low self-confidence. Not everyone uses that as an excuse to act like a total creeper, which, btw, doesn't make you look all that alluring to most of the women out there. Yup, I bet it does pay off every once in awhile, but pretty much any method that involves actually talking to people is bound to, eventually. You're the one who needs to grow up: take responsibility for your own actions instead of pretending that a short skirt is some sort of mind control device.

    Anyway, do you really think those creepy, bottom-of-the-barrel guys who harass gorgeous young women are honestly trying to get laid? If so, maybe that's why they get rejected so much. Realistic standards anyone?

  13. @ Ronny: The title and legs are what we call "irony". Try it out sometime, its fun!

    As for the rest of your rant, you seem to have completely skipped the point. The key words for today are "Civility" and "Appropriateness". An auto show is not the appropriate place to hit on women. Go to a bar (or in your case, maybe bingo night). And if you really want to compliment (or even impress) one of these women, try acting like a civilized human being. Ask about the product, the company, maybe even how they got into the whole car show scene.

    @Bashful: I'm SO sorry to hear that you've been rejected by beautiful women in the past. Try therapy. Seriously though, try re-reading your post. It sounds like you're kinda projecting a little bit. Maybe it really is you.

    And Finally @DYCWTC:

    I really am enjoying your blog. Me and my littlest sister have been reading it for a bit now. I honestly used to believe that "booth professionals" were hired strictly for their looks, and didn't know squat about cars. Nice to see I was wrong.

  14. I'm almost that age and demographic but I can't imagine saying retarded crap like that to a young woman. But then I've never been to an auto show either.


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