Go Away, Horrible Jewelry Commercials!

reddiamondsProfessor McGregor has ruined my life.

That might be a tad dramatic. I’ll rephrase: Professor McGregor has ruined my ability to watch commercials without rage. On one of our very first dates, we stumbled into a conversation about engagement rings and the jewelry industry. (Yes, this perhaps should have been a sign. Seven-months-ago Grace, you’re going to marry that charmingly grumpy bearded fellow.) Over super delicious brisket enchiladas, he dropped this knowledge bomb: Between Halloween and Valentine’s Day, the number of jewelry commercials played on ESPN goes up by 804%.

Okay. That’s not a real statistic, but it feels like one. Maybe it’s because women are barraged with diamond ads all the time—which, creepy fact, gets worse once you’re in a relationship on Facebook—but I’d never noticed this phenomenon. Now that he’s told me, I can’t unnotice it. Every basketball game I watch is marred by the twenty-seven Kay commercials, insisting that every kiss begins with blood diamonds. Men, it seems, are nagged by no one as much as their neighborhood jewelry store. Buy her diamonds, they insist. You are a horrible person, because you didn’t do the dishes, so do the mature thing and bribe your way back into her affections! Diamond’s are a advertiser’s girl’s best friend!

These commercials are a repository for every bad gender stereotype and trite cliche. Each woman in Diamondville bats her eyes, angling for a marriage proposal, while every man is so clueless that his GPS has to hijack his car and forcibly drive him toward the sparkle. What the hell, jewelry people? While I wasn’t looking, you built an entire advertising narrative based on offensive codswallop. Surely, our populace has advanced beyond the assumption that the way into a woman’s heart is with expensive baubles. Or, if not that far, we’ve at least recognized that men have more emotional intelligence than adolescent baboons.

Worse, y’all can’t even do your own cliches well. Have you seen the latest Jared commercial? The concept is straightforward enough: man proposes to woman, man holds up overpriced white gold piece of swill, woman says yes. Oh, proposals. The one time when real life can out-cliche your industry. This should be your bread and butter! So, naturally, you set the whole thing on an airplane. Because nothing says romance like recirculated air and vomit bags.

Seriously, this is the worst proposal idea ever. Not only are they in a public place, surrounded by strangers, but they’re sitting in uncomfortable seats, near a questionably smelly bathroom, with only tiny bottles of cheap airplane wine to celebrate. Once he’s popped the question, will they get a private moment to celebrate? Nope. The stewardess will announce that he went to Jared and the other passengers will incessantly congratulate them for the rest of the flight. Don’t even get me started on what happens, if she says no. You think Jumbotron proposals can go awry? Try being stuck in a seat next to your broken-hearted ex for two more showings of Hotel Transylvania. This isn’t even a bit romantic, Jared. It’s sadism cloaked in conflict stones.

You suck, jewelry commercials. It would be nice to get a reprieve from your presence, after Valentine’s Day, but—let’s be honest—Mother’s Day is around the corner. The only thing worse than romance cliches are mom stereotypes. Bring on the noble dish-washing and soccer games…

– Grace

Send Me No Flowers, Only Dead Mice

il_570xN.337775143The stuffed bears cometh. They sneak in the night, armed with heart-shaped boxes of bad chocolate, taking up residence in grocery store aisles and college dorm rooms. According to the media, the proper Valentine’s Day gift involves: pink things, hearts, stuffed animals, chocolate, and flowers. I disagree. Professor McGregor, all I really want for Valentine’s Day is you.

And an ethically taxidermied mouse dressed as King Henry VIII.

Unlike many other things I say, this is not actually a joke. I for real real want a costumed mouse. Preferably one dressed as a historical figure. Just think how adorably macabre Marie Antoinratte would look on my dresser, with her wee feathered wig, or Lucrezia Boursin armed with a mini bottle of poison.  Maybe it’s because I’m deeply twisted or that I’ve decided to base all of my life choices on Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but either way: dead mice for Valentine’s Day. This is what my soul wants!

Which brings me to my point: the Valentine’s Day industry is lying. Do not fall for their tricks, friends. The commercials tell us that women want flowers and hearts and extravagant gestures. She doesn’t. Or she might. Honestly, I don’t know what your wife/girlfriend/inamorata wants for Valentine’s Day, because I don’t know her. Maybe the thought of jewelry bores her, because all she wants is a tour of a sewage treatment plant! Or, perhaps, she just wants you to leave the house for three hours, so she can watch the Rockets game in peace. I do not know the innermost workings of her mind! Neither do the ad executives.

It could be that she doesn’t even want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because she believes that it’s an invented holiday to shill pajamagrams and mediocre boxes of candy to the bumbling masses. She could very well think that even mentioning Valentine’s Day is giving it more power, like creating little verbal horcruxes of consumerism, and she’d rather pretend it doesn’t exist. Or maybe that’s all a ruse, concocted by her clever mind to see how much you really love her, so you better show up with daffodils or else. I don’t know!

Valentine’s Day is complicated, because—surprise!— people are complicated. Sometimes they want flowers and sometimes they want dead animals in Victorian garb. It’s a toss up. Good luck, you zany kids!

– Grace