Mannequins--classy, foolish, and exemplars
Mannequins Abound-- By John Royce Holtz, J.D.
When I’m not moonlighting as a steady streaker of the electronic quill, I work retail as a salesman. I am vehemently in favor of free market capitalism, in conjunction with a socialist safety net to snare the less fortunate. I try not to slip on bananas as I sprint like a maniac after siphoned-off, introspective browsers and unassuming customers, alike.
Now, it may appear a no-brainer to reflect upon the seemingly spartan characteristics of mannequins. But the following body of evidence warrants an epic exploration of humanistic as well as nihilistic plausibilities for the stuccos (and ourselves):
Because of the fascinating, omnipresence of larger-than-life mannequins in department stores, people become mesmerized not by what truly is or is not, but by what hedonistically could be, all “things” equal...
How many times have we bought a clothing item thinking, “How becoming! That looks suave on this dude. He is representative of how I should carry myself. I am going to follow his clever example for field operations!” He can do no wrong, although I am not sure how much right he can stand for, either. Is it an oxymoron that mannequins seem to just have it all and not much of anything, simultaneously?
Like the mannequins in the mens’ section, I am a genuine brand ambassador with an exceedingly steep learning curve. I do not see why the abundance of inanimate busts would accelerate The Death of a Salesman, unless I tipped over one of the perennial Christmas flowers-- or tripped upon one. Mannequins and I both courteously serve perusers who often do not have energy to engage in the life and times of our era, let alone say hello.
During certain instances, I intuit that the plastic replicas emanate sheer brilliance from their stuck lips and transfixed expressions on their wooden faces! After all, are we not often motionless and too ordinary for words (both His and mine) to describe, yet so inescapably present? Believe it or not, this “hither world” prominence requires a see-saw effort to calibrate all parties involved. Like Descartes’ philosophical revelation: “I think; therefore I am.”, mannequins are also quite abound. Regardless of whether they are doing less or more calculating than adjacent shoppers...
Mannequins’ stillness represents a certain calmness amidst life’s chaos that we all aspire towards, especially aided by confidence-building accessories. Their omnipresence dwarfs their idleness precisely because they do not seem to have a problem with identifying inert. It is our own inactivity that makes us unduly fret. Thus, we ironically figure mannequins are deserving of a fitting reception!
I somehow sense that the silent prince and pauper (in one sculpture) craves deserved recognition by imposingly showing up right in our faces. Despite the brash appearance without an official invite, the mannequin cannot be all that. Unlike better cut-out models, he does not even get paid. The free-loader does not even get to keep the clothes he poses in. No one even overtly thanks him for his suggestive marketing. Sometimes we don’t even mold him a head.
After all, the attractive women are shopping for their significant others while he just poses, waiting for an approach that might someday transpire. He certainly seems plenty content with the action he is already getting.
Should he, if not smile, initiate a slightly firm handshake? Maybe he should sprout significant attributes from the torso down to at least play the lotto game as a mechanical rooster with the upstairs influx of valiant ladies. I doubt if any nonchalant flirting on his part might be grounds for an untimely dismissal. He stands resolute and undaunted in the middle of the well-traversed hub, though he is impotent.
It is a good thing that there aren’t female mannequins in the men’s department. I wonder what humour it might take to fall in love with a mannequin. My Darling, shall we go Double Dutch tonight?! Shall I whisk you off your feet, onto the swinging dance floor?! Hold tight, while we sexually gyrate into elliptical orbits. As long as I do not go hog wild, you will be doing most of the ellipticals! If we happen to get lucky towards the culmination of the evening, please do not fake any passionate love-making! I sure promise not to...By the way, how closely does the naked mannequin approximate a human physique? A pre-nup will absolutely be necessary: Besides your irrefutable charisma, you would not own more than the clothes on your finely chiseled styrofoam and a potentially, can-do attitude!
However, I would never consider dating anyone at work because of clear boundaries prohibiting sexual harassment and any confusion that could arise. Then again, some mannequins have the softest hair!
Although mannequins are tangentially quite helpful, they remind humans of predestined aspects of our own hopelessness. People are stuck in various predicaments throughout their breathing tenures because their flow of inertia has postponed. Mannequins are mired because believe me or not, my friend, they are far from human. Unlike us, they cannot know pain nor wish to cry.
If mannequins could talk, would they request to become tossed into the Pacific Ocean with a sun visor so that they may float to Hawaii for sabbatical? After all, they have been standing 24-7 for generations--so devotedly. They may be immune to hypothermia, or at least not know they are experiencing the accompanying willies. When they shove off, will they feel identically whether they fearlessly float, undergo a happy sinking, or disintegrate before reaching their destination underneath a beach umbrella?
Mannequins only portray sparse principles of pleasure to our observant eyes that they may not partake from. People often may not truly internalize these principles at the deepest levels of spiritual presence, either. Beyond the fuzzy feeling, how many times have we bowed down upon our knees to the Almighty, and decreed, “Thank you so much Lord, for those $500 worth of blazer and shades!?” Then again, perhaps this display of affection has been more frequent than we have bowed down to our same Creator to cherish our temporary planet nestling.
Even though mannequins are not alive, they emit a “stellar seller” image. They justifiably belong in much the same way that people do, if not ostensibly more so, because they do not even try! Thus, we envy mannequins because it appears as if they have gotten their acts together and are at peace with their place in the throngs, if not thongs. They certainly appear to seize the essence of any particular moment in our still-life mini-series. We aspire to duplicate their overstated efforts in order to hap-hazardly fit in with the “purposeful” business conductors.
Despite the overt symbolism of lifelessness, the mannequins come alive by donning alluring rags. After all, isn’t there an American proverb that “the suit, fleece sweater, or corduroy trousers makes the man?” The ongoing numbing of our human feelings are paralleled and overshadowed by the mannequin’s unspoken style. People relate to that drowning out of actual personality in favor of sunken acceptance of surface perception. We gleefully shell out big bucks to emulate the mannequin’s circumscribed charm. It doesn’t matter that the mannequin’s silence can either be attributed to unflinching self-image under microscopic observation...or a complete incapability of cogent thoughts!
I do not always ignite the stage with power strutting and silver jargon, either. But if security questions my belonging, I may ask, “Why does the other motionless guy get to stay?”
Mannequins are not exactly dummies, even though sometimes we wish that they would get a clue. Speak, role model, speak! Share the wealth of the “inner machinations of your mind,” to quote the band, Ms. Mr.. Don some filial piety, for idol worshippers’ sakes.
When I spy a bald-headed, white mannequin with sunglasses on, something compels me to patronizingly palm the hairless head as if to say-- “You go, lifeless pop-up blocker!” Are you really making some sort of indubitable fashion statement by hardly making any “Moves like Jagger?” to quote the band, Maroon 5. I feel like swiping the sunglasses right off the 3-D cut-out’s expressionless face and donning them myself. Better for me than shielding his eyes without enlightened vision!
Often times, during my mad dashes from one end of the 150-foot wing of the department store to the other, I will accidentally bump into a mannequin. I have never heard him squeal. Fortunately, if mannequins get pissed off, they hardly let you know. At least, not usually...
If I happen to have worked out within the past couple of days, the mannequin will budge a little more than I will. He seems to respect the unforgiving bench press. However, if I have allowed myself to deflate even a smidgeon in bulk, he makes sure that I give way as a result of our happenstance encounter.
He seems to be telling me to become a man in my hurried state of transit, or he will man-handle me like a body glove. In short, you don’t want to mess with a mannequin, whether or not he is stripped of his style.
My favorite retail interactions involve customers who realize that the mannequins are wearing the final, stylish outfits in the store. At this point, I take tremendous pride in forcibly removing the wardrobe off the mannequins. “Without any monkey business, Disrobe, I say! I won't tell anyone you have been frisked if YOU don't. If you cooperate, we may...reLOAD you. If you do not shed your outer layers fast enough, we may dismantle your hands, arms, and legs for their plush exteriors.” I have little remorse in declaring that the customer is more important. Who will benefit more from the expanded wardrobe is another question, entirely.
Once pristine models of decorum give way to less invincible displays. Disjointed, prosthetic limbs are awkwardly accentuated like an involuntary contortionist whose spoils have just become swiped. Their fancy garments are stricken from them, without ostensible retaliation. This exposes the human approximations as having less bravery, personality and love to disseminate than we have previously accredited them with.
Naked, without the sex appeal and with dangling appendages, the mannequin is wholly derailed of a broader perspective. The funny thing is that he barely had it going on to begin with. The bottom line is that without the adorned glam, the mannequin is nothing more than a harder version of a blow up, plaster doll! And we seemingly love this vacuousness with its perks! But does this say something about the self-confinement of the human condition-- or the improperly hyped-up image of our otherwise boundless potential that actually is deeply profound?