I remember watching The Gong Show as a child. It was a wacky daytime game show – actually an ancestor to today’s poetry slams – that featured average Joes and Jills in a talent contest. If the act was horrible, the singing too flat or the dancing just too embarrassing to watch, someone on the celebrity panel would stand up and hit this gigantic gong, signaling her disapproval, and the person would be eliminated. The host was a white man named Chuck Something (Barris?) with an afro (It was the seventies, after all), and he more than occasionally tripped on the cord of his microphone. I remember thinking: Hey, why don’t microphones have antennae on them like walkie-talkies? You could just put it on the bottom of the handle. It might look really cool, very futuristic and space-like. Alas, I said or did nothing, and ten years later I saw my first cordless microphone on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.
I also invented the Mosquito Magnet – a contraption that emits a smell that replicates the odor of human sweat and then sucks up any curious bugs with a vacuum contraption – but that, too, was eventually stolen.
I need to act on this next idea before someone beats me to it. I got the idea for it from writing the sequel to my novel “Househusband,” called “Man of the House.” In the book, scheduled for release this September, the stay-at-home dad re-discovers his inner male as his wife undergoes menopause and his daughter, puberty. It should come as no surprise, then, that I have invented a new high-tech gizmo called MY GIRLFRIEND.
As the only man in a house of women, I am called upon frequently to weigh in on either my wife’s or daughter’s appearance: Do these shoes go with this outfit? Which pair of jeans do I look better in? Which top should I wear to the movies – the pink one or the flowered one? Does this skirt make me look fat? (The answer to the last one, of course, is always ‘no.’) Do these pants give me a muffin top?
Often, the man’s answer is not the right one, and he can throw his women into a tailspin if he says the wrong thing. Enter My Girlfriend.
My Girlfriend is a computerized mirror in the corner of your bedroom. It has been programmed to discern colors and styles, all based on the owner’s personality and physical characteristics. For example, it would never let my wife, who has red hair, choose a red sweater over green sweater. You would also have to download into My Girlfriend updates on fashion trends so that it would never let you leave the house wearing something that was so ten-minutes-ago.
You would simply walk up to the mirror and utter your question: “Does this scoop neck blouse look better than the collared?”
“It depends,” My Girlfriend might respond. “Where are you going today? Are you in the office all day or are you out meeting clients?”
“I have a luncheon.”
“Male or female?”
“Republican or Democrat.”
“Does the art in their home match their sofa?”
“I’m guessing yes.”
“Okay then,” My Girlfriend replies. “Let me think on this.(Long pause) Actually, I don’t like either of those. You should wear that teal suit with the short skirt, the one you had tailor-made in Hong Kong. Do you still have that one?”
“Uh … yes.”
“It’s very professional, a conservative style but fashion-forward color, and it still shows off those great legs of yours. … Now, do you need something from this person or do they need something from you?”
“I need something from him.”
“Then you need a little extra to boost your power-image. Wear the two-inch white heels, those Stuart Weitzmans you have. Do you still have those?”
Of course there would have to be a knob to adjust the sensitivity of My Girlfriend. Some days you just can’t hear the truth. What would happen if you’d put on a few pounds, for example, and My Girlfriend said, “You can’t wear those jeans. They make you look fat.”
And, of course, there would be a plethora of personality types for My Girlfriend: Spiritual Earth Mother; Cool Fashionista; Sassy Female Rapper. My wife wondered if My Girlfriend could actually be made into My Boyfriend. (Think Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).
So, keep an eye on your catalogs. I’m guessing it’ll show up in a year or two in The Sharper Image or Hammacher Schlemmer.
Ad Hudler is a comic novelist who lives in southwest Florida with his wife and daughter. Now that the latter has turned 16 and is driving, Ad recently traded in his man-van for an F150 pickup truck. You can read about him and his books at AdHudler.com.