The Most Interesting Mask in the World
We stood there, my editor and I, in front of the dingy taco place. And we were very lost.
Not that we minded being in front of a dingy taco place. It’s verifiable science that the shadier looking a Mexican restaurant is, the better the food is. A good rule of thumb is: if they’re giving you cloth napkins, you’re in the wrong restaurant. But that’s neither here nor there.
We were consulting our phones, trying to locate a Dos Equis event we were supposed to attend. Now, if you’ve read my pieces about hanging around the Maserati folks or the AXE folks, you’ll know that I’m used to these shindigs. But something felt off, here. There was no…movement. Typically when you approach one of these events, there’s this underlying din of activity. A block and a half away, you’ll notice people dressed more nicely. Impossibly tall blonde women and impossibly handsome salt-and-pepper-haired men. But here, nothing.
That’s when my editor shrugged and said; “What the hell? Let’s go in and ask ‘em.”
So we walked into this building and asked if they knew where we could find the Dos Equis event. And that’s when they opened up the employees only door and whisked us in. “Right this way, gentlemen” said one of the restaurants workers. And with that, we descended into the basement.
Oh. It’s one of those.
After two flights of stairs, through the kitchen, and into the cupboard past Narnia–with a subsequent left at Mr. Tumnus–we found ourselves face to face with a woman dressed in masquerade-style clothing who, erm…as a gentlemen, I elect not to describe, because there’s no polite way to do so besides “HUMINA HUMINA HUMINA! AWOOOOOOOOOGA! Hibbity bibbity hibbity bibbity” and then hitting myself with a hammer.
She said “Hello, gentlemen.” (Gentlemen! Ha!) “Please select your mask.” We were provided with six distinct styles–the Mastermind, the Provocateur, the Explorer, the Tempter, the Voyeur, and the Jester. From Dos Equis’ perspective, they were kicking off their new campaign, whereby you’re invited to “embrace your alter egos.” From MY perspective, I saw a character select! Like from a vidya game! How cool is this?? It reminded me of Streets of Rage 2. Like, would I rely on the pure punching power or Axel, or perhaps the deft, agile sprightliness of Skate? Or maybe–
“Excuse me,” said the world’s most beautiful woman.
“You’re ostracizing your audience. They came to read about beer and, well, me. Nobody wants to hear about a Sega Genesis game from 1992.”
I looked at my editor. He shrugged, and nodded.
“Even if it was called Bare Knuckle 2: The Requiem of Deadly Battle in Japan?” [Ed. note: this is true]
She pressed her finger to my lips, shushing me. “Go drink beer and write about it.” [Ed. note: None of this happened? Brian, where are you getting this stuff? I clipped the paragraph about you battling orcs with an enchanted sword. Come on, get it together!]
So, of course…I picked the Jester. My editor almost picked the Mastermind–thereby making us veritable Pinkys and the Brainae, but instead he went with the Provocateur, that sly fox.
As we entered the bar proper, we were treated to…one hell of a party. Whether or not you’re a lager fan, Dos Equis knows how to throw a hell of a shindig. They had a number of actors, performers, and dancers in full masquerade getup moving about the crowd, often interacting when you least expected it. It wasn’t until several minutes later that I realized that each performer represented one of the masks we were supposed to choose from earlier in the evening. To be fair, what tipped me off was the Provocateur (she ran her fingers through my hair and gave me a li’l shoulder squeeze while I was masticating a piece of Mexican street corn. Don’t you judge me. It was all parmesan and butter and magic and loveliness) and the Jester–who was the absolute highlight of the night. HEY HERE’S A PICTURE!
Her deal was that she’d just basically play. Sometimes she sat on the ground, intentionally getting in your way. Sometimes she shoved her wig in your face, purely because it was funny. For me? She came up and tried to shake my hand. Then, she challenged me to a thumb war. Then she cheated, won, screamed: “ha-HA!”, kissed me on my cheek, and ran away. To be fair, it was better than a lot of dates I’ve had. Ha haaaaa, I’m just kidding! I haven’t had a lot of dates.
Then came the marketing portion of the evening. Now, understand, these events are always pretty cool, but the speech portion can be hit or miss. Sometimes it’s overly lengthy. Sometimes, the audience is too rude to pay attention to the host what gave them all the free food and drinks. But Dos Equis? They did it right. Here’s a paraphrasing of what they said:
“Hey! We’ve got new, artistic bottles coming out. Also, they’ll have codes on the back for a contest where you can win a trip to meet the Most Interesting Man in the World ON THE F****** BOAT HE LIVES ON IN MIAMI” (emphasis and swears mine). “Anyway, here’s a pretty lady belly dancing with a gigantic albino snake!”
So all that happened. Which I appreciated. Not only for the lady’s remarkably toned midsection, and for the fact that for once I could say “I saw white snake live!” and not be ashamed of it. But because Dos Equis recognized–“Hey. You’re here for our beer and the corn–the sweet, sweet corn. We’ll just give ourselves a quick plug and be out of your way. Toodles!” It was as if the company that created the Most Interesting Man in the World recognized that the most interesting things happen when everyone’s allowed to mingle. Good on them.
So anyway, if you ever have the chance to eat corn at a hidden underground Dos Equis dungeon party, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty choice. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for those new fancy bottles coming soon. Stay thirsty, amigos.