“Are you free Tuesday the 12th?” asked my editor, “We’d like to send you to a Conair event.”
Naturally, I was tickled! Ever since its premiere, I’ve been the world’s biggest Con Air fan, heading up several fan club chapters up and down the eastern seaboard. I also moderated a number of message boards under the name Brirus_the_Virus.
“Awesome!” I said, “Do I get to interview John Malkov-”
“No,” said my editor, impatiently cutting me off. Again. “Not Con Air, the overblown 1997 action drudgery that Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers called ‘depressing’ and ‘pandering.’”
“Well!” I said, “I seem to remember a white-knuckle thrill ride, that Roger Ebert said ‘moves smoothly and with visual style and verbal wit,’ but to EACH their OWN, sir!”
“Whatever,” said my editor, suddenly sounding very tired. Again. “It’s for Conair personal care products. They have a new trimmer and that sweater on your face is gross. Just please go cover the event and try not to draw too much attention to yourself.”
Later, I found myself confined to a chair, on the receiving end of hundreds of camera flashes, surrounded by a PR team and a video camera intent on recording my every word.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Recently, Conair held an event introducing their new 2-Blade All-in-One Trimmer. What this means, roughly, is this–imagine a beard trimmer. Ok, now imagine a second trimmer attachment above the standard trimmer. Like, two levels of trimmer. The logic is that, which two trimmers at different levels, you’re getting both a clean cut, and a quick cut. Even niftier–you can remove the top trimmer for touch up work, and even replace the beard attachments with nose and ear hair attachments, in case you’re a disgusting old man like me. Whatever. Plucking hurts. Their $30 price point doesn’t. Here are some details about it, since they were nice enough to to buy me a trim.
- Conair for Men’s new 2-Blade All-In-One Trimmer is the only cordless rechargeable trimmer with two stainless steel cutting blades, for twice the precision and twice the cutting action.
- It’s the full package, featuring a complete grooming system with unprecedented trimming capabilities to achieve a flawless look – whether you’re perfecting your beard, goatee, mustache or stubble.
So ANYway, I wandered into the event and–as is standard practice for yours truly–made a beeline for the bar. That’s when I passed by me. Nope! Not a typo! I actually walked passed New York Giants tackle Justin Pugh, who’s a spokesperson for Conair. I noticed that our height, general built, and even beardliness were similar. Now, to put this in perspective, Pugh clocks in a 6’5”, 301 pounds. I clock in at 6’6”, 265 pounds. The key difference, of course, is Justin Pugh is a muscled, first round draft pick, and I think New York City should just be a series of moving walkways. Alas.
Now, the timeline of the event was to be as follows: Justin would sit in the chair and get his beard trimmed, and then the seat would be open to whomever wanted a turn as well. I had the thickest beard there. By far. Like, longshoreman length (with a mouth to match!). The reason for this is because when I originally found out about this event several weeks back, I decided to stop trimming altogether. For the story, sure, but also because, you know. I’m lazy and terrible. And for science. Always for science.
It should be noted that this decision wasn’t made without some hesitation, however. I remembered the hot spotlights of my AXE shave (how many times does the public want to see me shaven? You’re weird, universe). But there would be no Adrianne Palicki to soothe me this time.
People started to comment on my similarities to Justin (I, ever the hirsute Sidney Carton to his trim, fit Charles Darnay). And when it was my turn to take the seat — I was briefly, wonderfully, a hairy celebrity.
Cameras flashed. Questions were asked. Video recorders caught me at every angle. Meanwhile, I was there receiving the royal treatment from celebrity stylist Anna Bernabe.
“How do you want your beard?” asked the woman who styled Nick Offerman’s hair.
“I’ll…trust you,” I responded, to the woman who styled Tom Brady’s hair.
And so, she went to work. And as long as I had a captive audience, I figured it was time for some fun.
“So,” I asked her. “Who’s your most delightful client?”
“You know,” she responded, “Michael Fassbender is just a treat to be around. Very nice. Very charming.”
“Cool. And who’s your worst client?”
She giggled. “No way.”
“Ok, which celebrity has the worst hair to work with?”
“What are you doing to me, dude?” she asked, with another lovely giggle. She was a true pro. Deftly deflecting all of my butthead questions, all with a charming smile.
I learned a lot from and about Anna during the trim–so much so that I forgot about all the flashbulbs. She likes shopping for quirky antiques in her free time–which isn’t often, since she takes clients at home, too. She loves interesting food, so she frequently visits Astoria. She started as a photographer before deciding that she far prefered working on living canvases, as it were. And I showed her a picture of my dog and she fell in love.
That’s when I asked how much this beard trim would have cost if I just walked in off the streets. She resisted at first, but finally, after much cajoling, she revealed that most of her billing takes place with her agent. “Oh,” I said, crestfallen, realizing that this would be my first and only Anna Bernabe beard trim. “Me too.”
After the trim, I was swarmed with compliments. “It actually looks even now!” said someone (it was uneven? Hmmph!) That’s when I asked if I could get an “after” photo with Justin (we had already done the before one moments earlier). In a slight misunderstanding, they sat me down with him, one on one. And here I was unprepared with any questions. Or a pen and paper. And I was three beers in.
I went for it–“Man. Long day huh?” I said, going to the hole with authority.
“Sure is,” said Pugh
“I bet you’ve had to sit through a ton of these interviews today,” I said. Look at me over here. I am Terry-effing-Gross
“Yeah man. Been up since 5. But you know–you just keep going with it.”
“Cool. So–what do you enjoy with your free time?” (I figured he gets enough questions about football)
“Man, I grew up with my seven best friends–one of whom is here tonight. I love hanging out with them. Family is really important to me. I love spending time with my nephews, I love going fishing, all that stuff.”
What a sincerely nice answer. Especially since he cracked a smile when I told him that today was my nephew’s birthday. We reached an agreement that nephews were, quote, “the best.” We then briefly bonded over a certain weakness for pickleback shots (we didn’t shoot–we just talked about ‘em). And then I let him be on his way.
We snapped one more photo together, I shook his hand, and headed out–stopping only briefly to mention to someone that I was a Patriots fan, and after two Super Bowl losses, I’m supposed to hate the Giants. Justin Pugh is making that very difficult. Consider me a slightly bashful member of the Pugh Crew.
Stepping out into the cold November air, I noticed a slight chill on my face. Made sense. I just lost part of my permanent facial warmer. But I looked good, and I looked clean. And that’s the price you pay for being a confident man.
Brian Cullen really, really enjoys robots but doesn’t understand how they work. He also enjoys drinking beers, and has a pretty solid understanding of how that works. You can read about his musings about both on Twitter @BucketCullen.
Brian donned The Most Interesting Mask in the World and determined The Inside of a Maserati Is The Happiest Place on Earth