Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bad Advice & (Some) Girls

Last week, I had a little chat with a colleague of mine about a very girly topic: our hair. While mine is on the lighter end in terms of color, she had a full head of the blackest, most gorgeous waist-length virgin hair I've ever seen. "The thing is, I'm really bored with my hair. I want to dye it." I widened my eyes and blurted out, "Are you nuts?" I grabbed a fistful of my loose hair, "This is what's left of my hair. You cannot imagine how much of it was damaged because of color and highlights. Don't you dare touch yours!"

Apart from destroying her hair, I told her that she doesn't even need to do anything to it, "You have beautiful hair that matches your pale skin and round face! Just this afternoon I was parking and saw a girl walking across the lot with her back turned to me. She had amazing, long, wavy black hair that shined in the sunlight. I remember thinking, 'Wow, she has great hair' and only when I walked into work did I realize it was you! It's like your signature or something! Why would you want to screw around with it?"

She smiled and said, "Well, my (female) cousin keeps on telling me to cut it so it falls right under my chin and I'm wondering if I should do that. She just cut her hair short because it's really thin and not as thick as mine. She's been happy about her new haircut and ever since, she's been goading me to do the same."

I raised an eyebrow and said, "Trust me. Keep it the way it is. Don't think about chopping it off and don't mess around with any serious products because you'll regret it."

I walked away thinking about what she was advised to do. Now, this cousin of hers might actually believe that short hair suits my colleague, maybe. Then again, anyone that has functioning eyes would see and know that my colleague looks so much better with her healthy, long, jet-black hair.

My colleague and her hair isn't the point of this post of mine. The point is that I've come across a few girls and have heard of many others who advise female colleagues, friends and even relatives to wear something (clothes, hair, etc.) that obviously doesn't suit them. I mean, it really doesn't come down to one's taste here. It's just basic common sense i.e. something either looks good or horrible on you. But why do I hear of some girls advising their own kind of the latter?

Shakespears Sister - Stay
Thompson Twins - Doctor! Doctor!
Will Powers - Kissing with Confidence
Tears for Fears - Advice for the Young at Heart

at 8:30 AM 13 comments

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Erzulie Lands a New Job – Part Three

"Do you think good looking people get more breaks than ordinary looking ones?" I mulled over my friend's question and thought about the breaks that came my way when I was a student in the US like the speeding tickets I dodged by putting on a fake accent and guiltless, puppy dog eyes; my doorman who used to hide two, mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies for me on Thursdays, the day where my apartment building bakes for the sake of its residents' tummies; that gorgeous, handmade Bolivian Alpaca sweater that was forked over to me in the State Fair; sandwiches, dessert and coffee that were "on the house"; free cab rides, entrances, music and backstage tickets.

By no means am I trying to be big-headed about this in any manner; I'm no I'm Elle Macpherson but I do have to thank my parents for passing along the better side of their genes. But based on the previous freebies, I would say yes, lookers do get more breaks than the fuglies in this cursed world of ours.

However, in the professional world, one's looks might work against them and especially if the individual is a girl. In my case, I know that one of the first reactions people get when they see me is that I'm a daft, possibly stuck-up bimbo who doesn't know the difference between her ass and her elbow. For instance, during one of the first interviews I've had at an established financial institution since my return to Kuwait, I experienced my first case of the glass ceiling when I frankly told my interviewer, the main man behind one of the major departments, that it wouldn't be beneficial for me or the bank if I worked at a branch instead of the head office. "I know what you mean," he replied, "But you're a pretty girl and in a year, you'll be married. We try our best to invest in people who actually stay longer than that." I just remember staring blankly at his face thinking, "Why you mother…"

First of all, it's been a goddamn year. Secondly, the medieval dimwit might've sensed that I'm not like one of the seven girls that were accepted into the unnecessary rotation of meeting all of the institution's heads based on my good grades, the fact that I've graduated early, the handful of recommendations I have and much more pluses, all of which doesn't amount to shit in this country. In a way, though, I do see where he was coming from in a business and sexually infested manner i.e. sex sells. Just stick a hot piece of ass in a branch and watch potential customers slobber all over her. I suppose that all the six girls are now working (it?) at the hawt branches in the country with their cutesy outfits and catty glances.

Speaking of financial institutions, I came across a lot of vacancies online posted by banks and investment companies in Kuwait. Although a corporately stiff atmosphere where people walk around with sticks up their asses is not my cup of tea, I needed a change. Unfortunately, almost all positions had the following requirement, "Gender: Male applicants only."

The only thing that was left for me to think about was, "Do I have to draw in a mustache, cram a few rolled up socks down my pants, speak hoarsely and walk with my feet apart to get a job around here?"

I was close to cutting up my graduation certificate and turning it into a sweet, strapless number. That is the whole point behind an educated woman, isn't it?

To be continued…

Little Boots - Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood Remix)
Ce Ce Peniston - Finally (Kam Denny & Paula Zala Remix)
Primary1 - Hold Me Down (Foamo Remix)
Jape - Floating (Prins Thomas Remix)
Cut Copy - Lights & Music (Moulinex Remix)
Kaskade Ft. Deadmau5 - Move for Me (Santiago & Bushid)
Namito & Martin Eyerer - Quipa (Etienne De Crecy Remix)
Stereoheroes - Washout
Clazziquai - Prayers (Shinichi Osawa Remix)
Larry Tee - I Love You (Bulgarian Remix)
Piero Piccioni - Psychedelic Mood

at 8:30 AM 11 comments

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Erzulie Lands a New Job – Part Two

To snag a job, one normally has to go through a string of interviews. Apart from talking to relatives and friends, I posted my CV on a few career related websites. One morning, I got a call from an unheard of advertising agency that spotted me online. The girl on the other end of the line cooed in a coy, Lebanese accent, "Would you like to schedule an interview at 11 AM tomorrow?" I hung up after telling her that that's fine. "It's my first interview," I thought, "Showing up wouldn't hurt."

The next day, I found myself walking across a street in Kuwait City to get to the building where the company was at. I went up the elevator and when the doors slid open, I knew that the next two hours would be a complete waste of time.

I went to the reception desk and was greeted by a Playboy Bunny. "You must be the girl who called me yesterday. I'm Erzulie." The Bunny bounced up from her seat and ushered me into a waiting room that was furnished with classically stiff brown sofas from Midas' 75% off sale.

After less than five minutes, I was escorted down the hall to meet the person in power and in less than one minute after meeting him, I discovered that the balding, 30-something Jordanian dude was not only a prick, but he was dumb too. The thing is, working with pricks isn't so bad in the short-run; although they can be assholes, they can still be great at what they're doing and you can learn a lot from them. Dumb pricks, however, are good for nothing.

Dumb Prick: So, are you Kuwaiti Erzulie?

Me: Yes.

Dumb Prick: Well, I just want to inform you that this job doesn't have fixed hours. Sometimes, we work after 5 PM.

Me: What does me being Kuwaiti have to do with the job's hours?

Now, I know where the Dumb Prick was coming from – although he could've been more subtle about it - since some Kuwaitis don't want to associate themselves with any job that requires them to work after 3 if not 2 PM.

Dumb Prick: Oh don't get me wrong! I love Kuwait! I love Kuwaitis and I love working with them!

I was surprised that his nose didn't grow ten miles when he said that last bit.

Me: Working long hours is fine by me. I rarely went back home at 6 PM sharp in my previous job anyway. Are there any Kuwaitis working here right now?

Dumb Prick: No, but I am looking forward to employ many Kuwaitis here.

Me: Have you worked in an advertising agency before?

Dumb Prick: No.

Me: So you've never worked in an agency and you want to run one?

Dumb Prick: Yes!

Strangely enough, I soon became the interviewer. He answered all of my questions in broken English and told me about his life, how he worked at one institution's marketing department for nine years in Kuwait ever since he graduated from college and how he's passionate about psychology.

Dumb Prick: I'm obsessed with psychology you know? For instance, if I see someone with their legs crossed, body slouched forward and left arm supporting their body weight, I would know that that person is nervous and not confident.

The annoying part is that I was seated exactly in that position. I looked down at my left arm that was propped on my knee before cocking my head at him. He could tell that I wasn't amused.

Dumb Prick: I didn't mean to say that about you! But are you nervous by any chance?

Me: No. There's no reason to be. Are you?

Dumb Prick: Oh of course not!

He went on about psychology, his college days and Jordan while I was thinking about how it would feel like if I just stood up and walked out.

Dumb Prick: Hello? Are you with me?

He was actually waving his hand at me. I looked at him, surprised. I wished my mother was there because everything was so amusingly surreal; I knew I couldn't recount the peculiarity of my outlandish experience.

Me: Yes, I'm listening.

Dumb Prick: I sensed that your mind was somewhere else.

Me: No, I was nodding and listening to you.

I was actually because I knew that I would never again get a kick out of any interview such as this one. I hit my limits when the Dumb Prick hunched over his desk as he doodled a diagram of how an advertising agency works.

Dumb Prick: First, we have the account management department. That includes the account director, manager and executive. In the creative department, we have the executive and creative directors, graphic designers and copywriters. In between them is a traffic manager. That person is, how can I explain this, communicates information between the two departments. Are you with me? I can explain each position's details later but is any of this making sense?

Me: Have you read my CV?

Dumb Prick: Of course I have.

Me: Well, if you did then you'll know that I've worked in an advertising agency as an XYZ for more than a year. I know how it works.

Dumb Prick: But I'm just drawing this diagram for you so you know the general structure.

Me: I know the (friggin') structure (you friggin' piece of shyt).

The atmosphere was tense and I liked it that way. I knew I wasn't going to work there even if my life depended on it. This might sound evil, but I drove all the way downtown for this so I might as well enjoy making the guy squirm in his sweaty seat.

The Dumb Prick and his tacky suit soon took off for a meeting and I met up with the temporary creative director who was basically responsible for setting up the advertising agency from scratch before fleeing for good. After exchanging a few words and looking through my portfolio, he spoke my thoughts.

Creative Director: You've done some great work.

Me: Thanks.

Creative Director: Erzulie, I probably shouldn't tell you this but this place is too young for you. It's all in-house, below-the-line work. It wouldn't be the best place for you to grow.

Me: Yeah. I know. All right, I'm off.

Creative Director: Good luck.

Speaking of good luck or in this case, its irony, the up-and-coming advertising agency's mother company and sole source of revenue went bankrupt three days later.

To be continued...

at 8:30 AM 9 comments