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No cap

Mark “Meta” Zuckerberg. Founder of The Facebook, applier of too much sunscreen, but also: fashion icon.

I know he’s done a lot of other shit too. Good and bad. Mostly vile. But one must temper their expectations of morality when dealing with a cyborg faintly passing off as a man.

The thing is though, Marky Meta Z IS a fashion icon. There is no way around the terrible truth of this matter. This matter of Meta. This very Meta matter. This matter of Marky Z the Meta Android. It is what it is, and so it goes.

In the late 2000’s, when he kicked in the doors of Silicon Valley to usher in the rise of the Über Geek, he did so clad in a sweatshirt, faded shitty jeans and flip flops. Waves went rippling though the workplace ecosystem. It was no longer fashionable to don the monkey suit. Instead, it was the new norm to wear the dingy-ish shit possible to work. Nerd couture was now de rigueur.

Some may say that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates predated mZuck in establishing drab as the new fab. Some may say Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are equally “to blame.” But “some” are wrong. Stevie and Billy are but primordial beings to what Zucky Sucky hath wrought. Fashion heads are now petitioning to change B.C. to B.M.

So leave Mark alone! And next time you wear your disgusting flip flops to work with your disgusting Hobbit feet sticking out: thank your boy Meta World Bleak.

And it is with this massively utter nonsense swimming through my head that I wore a hat to work on my first week at my new job. How lovely and little and innocent I was. Thinking the Meta Manchine had changed the culture. I wore a hat to work on my first week. Not my first day, mind you, a transgression I now know to be punishable by bastinado at my particular place of employment.

I wore a hat for one day on my first week of work, and it went horribly wrong. Fucked up and worse than worse can imagine. I’m still dealing with and reeling from the consequences.

All because I thought that god damn robot had changed some things.

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There are three tenets of exposition I must give you before we get into the meat of this torrid thing:

FIRST I suppose I must define the hell of a hole I work in. I won’t say the name but it’s a beauty company.

We throw all of these products at people in attempt to help them achieve “the most beautiful versions of themselves.” A concept that irks me only because I believe we are truly our beautiful selves when we are in our purest forms. No makeup or flashy clothes or hair color or artifice of any sort. I don’t mean that in some romantic, idealistic way. I’m just sick of chasing the unattainable model on my Instagram feed and I know you are too. I’m sick of the facade, I don’t like pushing it and making suckers pay with their wallets and their physical appearances.

So while the concept of selling “beauty” boils my blood a bit, what REALLY grinds my gears is that we are selling a total lie.

We sell hair color products that supposedly “anyone” can use. You don’t need a cosmetology license or any training whatsoever, according to these fuckers selling it. Which I guess now includes me. All it requires to get that incredible color is a will and a quick trip to the grocery store.

We create these marketing visuals as if some average, unsuspecting manic pixie dream girl scooped up this box of color on her latest shopping trip and decided on a whim to spice things up with her hair. And then later that night, she throws that color in while she’s “in between a few things.” According to the marketing, these products were designed with busy folks in mind.

Meanwhile, down here in reality, it took conservatively 20 people to bring the hair you see in any one of our given videos to life. At least 3 of those people behind the scenes working on the hair are trained experts considered to be some of the best in the world at their craft. And even then, that’s not accounting for all the maydays that happen during the process. Even with 20ish people behind the curtain, the hair just barely comes out. The whole process is 2 or 3 days of “experts” and “MBA hotshot brand wizards” running around, dripping hair color all over our nice floors, performing miracles. This is because the process is really fucking hard. Way more complicated than we make it seem. Challenging enough that even the experts break a sweat and fear for their reputations.

“So. How is the REAL average, unsuspecting manic pixie dream girl, the one we are simulating in this video as our customer, supposed to achieve this hair color? She likely won’t have 20-some people in her shitty little apartment bathroom helping her. And even if she did, it seems like it would be quite a traumatic experience” I proffered, blinking my eyes like a doe in the foliage.

“Welcome to marketing, babe” retorted my boss, as he walked away to yell at a few people and to refill his coffee with quinoa milk.

I shifted in discomfort, and not at the prospect or science of quinoa milk. I had been confronted with a very real and ugly reality, one I knew deep down was true but had really slapped me in the face to hear out loud.

I was in our recording booth, where the technical people sit to do technical things on video shoots. The Technical Director turned to me and said: “look man, it’s Trojan Horse marketing. At the end of the day, some girl is gonna watch this and try to do it on her own. She’ll fuck it up and then have to go see her hair dresser. So we make double the money off of one customer per purchase funnel. It’s ugly, but it’s true.”

I had never heard or even fathomed the word ugly so many times in one day. Especially in an industry called beauty.

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SECOND I must tell you: I’m losing my hair.

It’s been a slow, but steady ride.

They say it’s all based on your maternal grandfather’s locks, or lack thereof.

I say that’s bullshit. My dad is as bald as a pebble and I am on that road to perdition. We have matching hairlines. How cute. I’m in the exact same place he was 30 years prior.

My dad is also the most stressed out person I’ve ever encountered. He finds a way to worry about everything. It’s actually quite impressive. He’s the type of guy to lock a door and then shake it 100 times to make sure it’s locked. It used to drive me up a wall when I was younger, but as I got older all it did was scare me because I realized I was watching a vision of myself in the future.

So while this was at first a terrifying fate to realize, I ultimately accepted and embraced the knowledge. At least I knew where I was going, and could emotionally prepare for it. That is a silver lining that not many get, and even fewer see.

I use all of the over-the-counter products, they work fine but let’s face it: I’m dealing with temporary solutions. Kicking the proverbial rock down the road. The recession will proceed, all the way to the sea.

It’s OK. I’m OK. I will not hack my genetics. I will accept my fate and keep it moving. This is the way it was meant to be. I love myself. It’s a struggle, but I do.

Though sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and I would like to wear a fucking hat.

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THIRD because this is a beauty company after all, there is an unspoken expectation for mother fuckers to look on point.

It’s almost silly, because you’re coming to work not to fuck or strut the runway or present on live television in front of billions of people, but to work. How-the-fuck ever, my colleagues still show up in designer clothes, makeup and hair done, shoes that “click-clack, click-clack” down the linoleum-floored hallways, heads always swiveling not to check each other out but to make sure the person passing by is not dressed better than you are. God forbid.

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Back to the day of my offense.

It wasn’t like I was wearing a Dodgers cap or like the hat on my head had some shocking logo or sweat rings. It was on the nicer end, as far as hats are cornered. It was a pewter color (a color perfectly bourgeois for the occasion), made with cloth and wool. I thought it was stylish. When I decided it was a hat day, I purposely went with that hat because I truly thought it was dressy enough.

That did not stop the lip curls and jeers and looks of shock and awe as I “click-clack, click-clacked” down the linoleum floor past rows and rows of identical desk formations.

My boss, upon seeing me, rocketed out of his chair and delicately rushed over to me. One of those cat walks where the person is trying not to make a big scene but is also trying to mitigate some sort of horror quickly. He tip-toe sprinted to me and put his arm around my shoulder as if I had walked in the office with my dick hanging out.

He rapidly rushed me into a corner: “Everything OK?????”

“Good morning. Yes, why?”

He looked around like a crackhead making sure he had dodged the cops before lighting a fat one. Eyes bulging from their sockets.

“Well. What in the hell is on your head?”

I touched it.

“Oh, this? It’s a hat.”

“YES! I can see that…”

“OK.”

“What I’m really asking is: why is it on your head?”

“Oh. Um. It was a choice of…fashion.”

“Well. Don’t go making choices like that HERE. Do you understand?”

“Um. I think so.”

He continued to look around. How many people had seen me like this? How many people had seen him with me? Would they fire me on the spot? Would they kick him in the ass and out onto the pavement right alongside me?

He pulled me into another corner, further away from prying eyes and preening ears.

“Listen. Maybe I didn’t make this clear enough in the hiring process. You’ve been doing a great job the past few days. But please. PLEASE. For god’s sake. Try to remember where you work. We show our hair around here!”

I removed the hat from my head. No room left to hide.

I went back to my desk and sat down. The whispers and stares eventually subsided. Drama has quick turnarounds in the beauty world. The new thing is already the old thing.

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I’ve spent some time at this job bucking against the system, and for the first time in a long time, I think I’ve had some wins.

Last year, I was a part of a marketing campaign for “gray coverage.” Covering up gray hairs is a strange concept to me. Most, if not all of us, go gray. Why don’t we teach the culture that, instead of this being something to hide, this is something to embrace? Generation after generation, we pretend like going gray is bad. Yet we mostly all do it. Why are we making it harder on ourselves? Life is hard enough. “Nope. Hasn’t happened to me yet. I’m not old. See? No gray.” We dye the truth away.

I said something to this effect to a small group, including my boss, who then told me to never say something like that out loud again. Then he scooted to the bathroom. Perhaps too much quinoa milk in his coffee that morning.

I turned to the Technical Director. I knew he was about to lay some profound shit on me.

“Look man. I hear what you’re saying. But we sell hair color here. We help people change what they don’t like, not come to terms with it.”

But I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt it was OK to embrace your grays.

And now, here we are in the following year and our company has a new product we are working on preliminary marketing initiatives for. It’s called ‘True Greys.’

I’m going to assume I don’t need to explain to you what the product is.

Who knows. Maybe I willed it into existence. Maybe the right person heeded my calls.

I still don’t wear a hat to work though.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Flash Fiction, Happy Read, Humor, Non-Fiction, Opinion Piece, Personal Narrative, Satire

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