Yes, my friends. A day of horrendous shame. A day of darkness. A day of infamy. The day that fashion journalism sank to the greatest of depths. Deeper than an empty Dixie Cup. Deeper than the bathwater of a kid who cries because he’s afraid he’ll drown in the kiddie pool. Yes – deeper than the lagoon at Bikini Atoll – when it was still there.
Of what terrible deed do I speak? I shall tell you. And not only will I tell you of the dreadful deed, but also of the evil from which it sprang – for that evil has a name, and that name is:
Do not expect to see the Evil One justly punished for her sins. No, do not waste your hopes on such a thing. She is too cunning. Too beautiful. Too mysterious. Too… how shall we say this?… French. Yes, that’s the word. French. The quasi-legitimate offspring of a French mother and an African…. mother…. Sel was born under the dark cloud of bright Mediterranean skies. Her destiny was foretold when her mother (#2) placed some vétiver root into a carafe of water, thereby seducing her mother, Céline (#1). Don’t ask. It’s a long story. But the bottom line is that Sel was born. And she was born for one thing and one thing only – to ruin the lives of both men and women. Well, maybe for other things, too, but that’s beside the point.
Although there were many victims before she got to me, my story is exemplary. I was perusing an online list of French mail-order brides from a shady outfit called, ironically, “The Different Company“. I knew these guys were trouble as soon as I saw their name: “The ≠ Co.” You know. Not equal. As in “different”. I suppose that they could have used a hyphen, and then they would be “The – Co.” You know. As in “difference”. But that would be grammatically incorrect, and we can’t have that. Besides, one can read “≠” as “not equal”, meaning “no equal”. (Trust me. I took English Lit in high school.) Well, they have the mug shots of the people who run this outfit right on their web site. Talk about brazen. One of them is even Sel’s own mama, Céline, selling her out. Only in France. And the “bio” pages? Aw, crap. They have these sexy, smoldering, c’mon-and-roll-your-mouse-over-me-big-boy ads for each one of these French chicks, too. Oh, man, it was great. I couldn’t pick. They were all so hot. God, what was I gonna do? And then I saw it. The “sampler“. Oh, yeah, baby. And not just one of each. Two of each. And get this – they were all – and I mean all of them – only about 17 euros. Meaning about 25 dollars. Talk about a deal. Well, to make a long story short, the wise guys at The ≠ Company had these broads on a plane to Ohio before you could say “Hey, baby – your molecules smell great. What’s your formula?”
I was in trouble with this Sel chick in no time flat. My wife left to work early. I waited for the coast to clear, and then I let her out of this box she was hiding in. Now all these other chicks wanted out, too. Oh, man – what a mess. There was this Southwestern cowgirl-type with a friggin’ unpronounceable French name. She was cool. Really cool. She looked like an Indian or something. She told me to just call her “Sage”. OK, baby. We can handle that. I almost went with her, but then this exotic Asian babe named “Osmanthus” gets my attention. Man – I ain’t never smelled nothin’ like her. Oh, man, my head was spinning. I could feel the blood pumping in my neck, and my face getting hot. Sorry, babe. I gotta go to work. But she was cool. She just smiled and said she’d be waiting. What a pro.
And then there was this young, fresh chickie named Bergamote. I don’t know. I think she’s too young for an old rat like me. And this older but really sexy divorcee named Bois d’Iris, but whose maiden name was Iris Florentina. Bring it on. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. An Egyptian gal named Jasmin. Exotic and familiar at the same time. Really weird. And this French babe named Rose, who tells everybody that her ancestors came from Syria, but it was so long ago that it’s almost a lie. Whatever. This ain’t your mama’s Rosie. This chick is the reason roses are red.
So, what’s it gonna be? Man – it was too crazy. It was freakin’ me out. I almost bailed on all of these ladies because I couldn’t make up my mind, when Sel did her little number on me. She’s like when you’re driving down the strip in Vegas in a convertible and you see something out of the corner of your eye, like some girlie flinging her hair around before she goes for her keys in a purse that matches both her miniskirt and her tanned legs. Hey. If you’re a guy like me, you’re gonna check it out. And that’s Sel. It’s like that chick looks up and smiles at you and yells “Hey! I can’t find my keys. Can I catch a ride with you guys?” Oh, man, you know it’s trouble. But you just can’t say no.
Anyway, this Sel knows how to hang around like white on rice. Once she’s on you, she’s there for good. First she comes with me to work. Now she’s good at this – she’s obviously done it before. Subtle. You can tell people are looking at her, and you can see that they’re getting that goo-goo smile that everybody gets when they’re around her. But they don’t say anything. It’s like she belongs there. She’s like that Pretender guy. A ringer who can go anywhere she damn well pleases. But after work, I had to bring her home. At first, the wife didn’t like it. She insulted her – right at the dinner table. I mean, she just up and told this chick “You smell like hair tonic.” Man, I thought it was a cat-fight for sure. But I’ll tell you, this Sel is smooth city. By the end of dinner, the wife takes a big whiff of her. And you know what she says? “I don’t know. Not bad. Kind of interesting.” See? That’s Sel. She just gets away with it.
Anyway, Sel is ruining my life. Hey – I’ve got friends I’ve left hanging out to dry. Good, old friends who want to do stuff on weekends. Popular dudes like Joey Waters. Rich guys like “Goochie” Forman. Even that wimpy guy with the Nehru jacket – O.D. Jatt. And that stupid kid, Hugo Boss, who works over at the air conditioner company. Man, I haven’t had a Bud Light with that guy in a while. It’s a bad deal. My new buddy, Terry Hermez – he even calls me on the blower and says to wise up – that this chick is no good for me. But I just can’t put her down. It’s like she’s messin’ with my mind.
Anyway, I was on the internet, looking for some advice on what to do, when I found it. The bad news about this gal. You see, I googled her name. And what did I find? Man – some dude that was dating her before me – that’s what I found. A dude named Chandler Burr. And she almost friggin’ ruined his life.
You want the dirt? Here it is. Big time. You see, this Chandler dude is a journalist. You wouldn’t figure. I mean, most journalists are named “Matt”. Ya know? I mean, what kind of a name is Chandler? Sounds kinda….. Ya know? I don’t know – maybe it works in the city. Anyway, this dude is having some sort of fancy dinner, and he’s introducing this chick to everybody. “Oh, Sel – she’s riveting . . . as unearthly as a god born in the cold under an eerily bright star.” Yeah, buddy. We know she’s hot. Zip it up. Well, anyway, it’s like he’s giving her to all these richies. That’s right. He’s pimping this French hottie to all these thousand-dollar-a-bottle Park Avenue types. You don’t have to be a genius to see that there’s trouble coming down the tracks – and fast.
Well, some hack over at the Post (I’ll bet his name is “Matt”) gets wind of this stuff. Trou-bool – with a capital T. Not only is this Chandler dude pimping Miss Hot France to a bunch of uptowners, but it turns out that he got her for FREE. That’s right, ladies and germs – he didn’t even have to pay some joker named Fabio or Jean-Claude Damn Van or whatever to sneak her in-country in a box like your’s truly had to. No way. These Frenchies over at that front company gave him FREE SAMPLES OF PERFUME. And he had the cajones to give them to other people. Man, that boy is lucky I ain’t the Attorney General of New York, or I’d be firing up Old Sparky right now. Now I don’t know if you know this, but in my entire life I’ve NEVER heard of anything as dirty as free perfume samples, and I’ve been around the block a couple of times, buddy. And regifting the damn things? Hell – there’s gotta be an inner circle of Hell for that one.
So what happens to this guy Chandler? Does he rat out Sel for the devil-clawed bitch that she is? No, man – the dude friggin’ rolls over and takes the bullet for her, that’s what he does. Here’s what that Matt guy had to say. I got it out of the FBI transcript.
Burr admits the practice could be seen as unethical. “The Post gets credit for raising the bar and bringing it to our attention. We’re not going to give out perfumes any more.”
Yeah. Like I said. Sel gets what Sel wants. Every time. But I’ve got a plan. I’m getting free of this chick once and for all. You remember Sage and Osmanthus? Yeah. They got me alone in the bathroom. They wrote me up a little list. Gloves. Rags. Toilet plunger. We’re gettin’ rid of Sel, and then it’s just me and them. Oh, baby. This is gonna be great.