by Ann Ipock
I’m not naming names here — but a male friend of ours just went through a makeover at work. As a corporate executive working in a large city, he and several other employees were selected by his firm to attend an image consulting class.
Though Mike didn’t show us “before” and “after” photos, I noticed a visible difference even before his wife Carla pointed it out. (Names changed to protect the guilty.)
When I arrived at their home for a visit, I noticed Mike looked different — younger, peppier, but I couldn’t say exactly how. That night Carla sent Mike out to buy a new blow dryer. When nosy old me asked her why, saying, “Is yours broken?” She said no, that Mike needed one since we’d be taking hers on an overnight trip she and I had planned.
Then it hit me. I said: “That’s it! I noticed something different about Mike. His hair is longer.”
Don’t get me wrong: it was very neat, brushed back and to the side, and all one length — sort of Michael Douglas-like. Tres chic! And after all, our friend Mike is one of the lucky ones who at our age still has a head full of hair, so why not wear it to his advantage? As Granny Pinky used to say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it, honey!”
Later, Carla had Mike describe the class to me. A nationally recognized image consultant with two decades of experience was invited to his company to conduct her “now-famous classes,” which promise to help each individual discover their personal “best” image. By helping folks to project their utmost impression to others, the students are supposedly going to increase their confidence level. OK, I was starting to get it: Truth be told, sounds like a plan to me!
Mike further explained how each student took a personality test in the beginning, then met with the consultant, who diagnosed their body’s assets and flaws (uh-oh), color analysis, tailoring suggestions, and even hair and eyeglass style, depending on face shape and — do you believe this? — light, medium or heavy wrinkles.
When Mike told me that everyone had their body silhouette drawn on paper, I grimaced. At the same time, I became thankful that I wasn’t in the class. It’s bad enough to look in the mirror daily, disgusted and depressed — but to have my shape pointed out to me? Ah, I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.
One woman was told not to wear a certain style skirt because it made her hips look wider. Other folks were encouraged to change their necklines or hem lengths. In Mike’s case, he was told to buy a pair of glasses without frames that turned up at the ends (to hide his minute wrinkles), which he could find in the ladies’ department. Whoa! When Mike told me this, Carla scoffed at this idea, but I couldn’t quite read Mike’s reaction.
But Mike saved the best for last.
Surprisingly, the men were asked to bring in all of their ties so that the teacher could decide whether the color and design were right for the individual who owned them. Well. Mike brought in about 30 ties, way more than anyone else, and dang if the image lady didn’t take away five of them and give them to other men, saying they were more “well-suited” (no pun intended) for said ties.
Now, if any of you gals have ever bought your man clothes, you know it’d make you madder than a wet hen for those clothes to get snatched from you and given away. And Carla did. She’s a super-savvy dresser herself and she takes pride in the fact that she selects and buys all of Mike’s clothes. And Mike is thankful she does. Heck, he told me he hadn’t been shopping for clothes for himself in a decade. In front of me, Carla asked Mike if he was given a gift certificate in exchange for those expensive ties she herself had bought. He said no. Isn’t that a bit odd? (I asked if the women had to bring in scarves or belts to give to other women more well-suited, but they didn’t.) Hmmph! The strange thing is Mike said none of the men felt comfortable taking his ties and since then, only one man had worn the “used” tie. This I can understand.
Mike said on the final day lots of folks gave positive evaluations. Many said the class had been life changing. I’m afraid it might be for Mike in that he’ll probably be buying his own clothes (and ties) in the future.
MORE STORIES FROM IPOCK!
Leaving Plane Phobia Behind
Salute to SouthMouth
Girlfriends are like diamonds
Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”
Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.
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