CES Adventures, Part 2: Are We Both Just Going to Stand Here?

by Randall Cleveland

Not everyone at CES is a mover and shaker. Some people, like our own Randall Cleveland, are just socially inept. If you haven't yet, catch Part 1 here.

I was still reeling from the sour ending I'd experienced with the American Express rep when another booth lassoed me in with its gravitational pull. And by gravitational pull, I mean "attractive woman." It's no secret, and it's not unique to CES, but maybe the nature of the location (Vegas) and the main demographic (18-35 males) increases the sex appeal companies try to use to lure you in. We watched four women dressed as cowgirls in shorts so short I could see everything in front AND back dance around for 30 minutes under a display for Bluetooth accessories.

Because everyone knows you are more prone to buy a jawbone headset in a state of arousal...


Me and some CES 2007 booth babes
"Awwww, yeah. Get your wholesale distribution logistics solutions on, girl!"


But I'm not actually that into the incredibly-over-produced look Vegas and spokesmodels in general tend to portray: heavy make-up, fake blonde hair, fake breasts, and skirts so tight I constantly ask myself "What do you tell your parents you do, exactly?" don't really do it for me. I'm not judging, and I'm not above taking in the eye candy, but taste is subjective and it's just not my preference. So when the cute, "girl next door" type in a wrinkled polo shirt waved me over to a booth for a company I don't even remember, I thought to myself "Ah, a REAL person," and went over to talk.


Abby Rock Is Cute As A Button - 10/18/04
"Yes. Yes I do want to know about amazing advances in wireless mouse technology. Do you have a bed we can sit on and talk about it?"

I wish I could tell you I remember the company name, or what they were doing, but it was a complicated concept saddled with too much corporate jargon for me to care. Something about connecting your whole home, whatever that means. And, like most spokesmodels hired for the event, she had no idea what it was either, beyond a set of talking points she'd probably had to memorize that morning. But she really, REALLY wanted me to watch a demonstration.

"Come on," she said, "take a load off! Don't your feet hurt, from walking around so much?"

"I actually just got up from lunch, so I feel okay. How about you? Do your feet hurt?" Oh yeah, Randall, you know what ladies like. Maybe she'll get into a discussion about sciatica and THEN you're IN. Being married is great: I love my wife, I'm happy and fulfilled and totally in love; but MAN does it kill your flirting skills. Whatever muscle that is just atrophies and dies. I guess that's probably an evolutionary perk to keep me married and not, say, beaten and left in a ditch.

"Nah, I'm fine. But you should definitely watch the presentation. He's going to start soon. It's only five minutes." I looked over and noticed a large, scowling man in a matching polo shirt waiting for her to seal the deal. Ah, so this was the game: the cute girl lures in the suckers and then the heavy walks up and tells me all about how I'm going to make my fish tank talk to my microwave or some other nonsense.

I don't want to sit through this. My fellow writers are standing a few yards away, waiting for me to end this fruitless exercise and move on to more coverage. But I can't break eye contact! It's like I've stumbled across a Weeping Angel on the convention floor and now I'm forced to stand here, talking to it about back pain and "home connectivity" for fear of its supervisor coming over and throttling me into an uncomfortable-looking plastic chair to watch a demo on calling my dishwasher from my iPhone.

She's not giving up either. We're playing the most awkward game of tennis ever, her serving up direct inquiries as to my willingness to watch a presentation again and again, and me backhanding weird comments on the color of the carpet and comfortable shoes. I pride myself on not bowing out of an awkward moment first, but eventually I break.

"Well, I've got to go. These guys are waiting. Have a good show!"

"You sure you don't have just five minutes?" Yeesh. The one-track minds on some of these Vegas women.



Flickr photo Me and some CES 2007 booth babes by Nick Gray and Abby Rock is Cute As a Button - 10/18/04 by Rob Boudon used under a Creative Commons License.