How The Quest For Masculinity Ruined Our Deodorant Shoot

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Everybody in the office was excited. This was going to be a huge shoot. They were going to launch a new male deodorant into the market. The timing was impeccable since Valentine’s Day was around the corner. For David, this was even bigger. David had been the advertising manager for the last three years in the company before the merger. There were new bosses and he was on probation. He had to impress the new management to maintain his position.

“Wainaina is everything ready?” David asked his assistant.

“Almost sir,” responded Wainaina.

“What do you mean by almost? What is the holdup?” David said.

“The brown horse, sir. The ranch only has white horses; they have to get a brown horse unless we can use a white horse.” Wainaina explained.

David’s frustration was written all over his face. Wainaina instantly regretted making the suggestion.

“I have told you it has to be a brown horse. White horses look like a slay queen in makeup and fake talons for nails waiting on nonexistent servants to attend to them. This deodorant needs to exude masculinity.” David was beginning to wonder how else he could explain this to his assistant.

“The ranch has brown cows though, we could improvise.” Wainaina offered hopefully.

“Wainaina do cows from your place evoke masculinity and sexiness? Get me a brown horse by Wednesday next week. This advert goes out a week before Valentine’s,” David said in annoyance.

Growing up he had imagined all sorts of things would stress him; children, the wife, bills and the struggle to get his dream car but never in his wildest dreams did he think that a brown horse would be the source of his stress. The next three days Wainaina moved up and down looking for a brown horse.

Lady luck must have felt for Wainaina because the ranch’s foreman was very resourceful. He was a young man in his early twenties with a golden heart who walked around smiling. Do you know that one employee who is always looking for more work to do? The foreman was that employee. So when Wainaina stressed that the horse had to be brown, he walked to neighbouring ranches to look for one.

The ranch where they would have the shoot was large with all sorts of animals. There were herds of cows on one end of the ranch with chicken and goats close to them. There were acres of hay and grass in between the animal zones. On the other end of the ranch were the four white horses. The ranch owner would rent them out for weddings mostly. This time, however, the ranch would host David’s company as they shot the advert.

David tasked Wainaina with getting models for the advert. He was very pleased when Wainaina reported that everything was ready. David, in turn, informed his bosses that everything was ready for the commercial advert shoot. He was scoring points with the bosses. This was his genius plan.

He could see the man and the woman riding on the horse in the wind. The man was in Egyptian attire looking like a king. The woman would be holding on tightly to the man’s waist and digging deep into his skin as the scent of the deo wafted into her nose. The man would be thinking about how a colt had turned into the strong horse that they were riding on. The woman would be focused on how manly her man smelled. With the horse, the man and woman in their element, the wind, hair and admiration would define that moment. Then like icing to the cake, a deep voice would read the tag line, “Audacious like the boys who become men.”

The deo would be a hit and he would secure his job. Heck, maybe mention a payrise too. Nothing and I mean nobody was going to ruin this.

The shoot day arrived and by 5.30 AM everyone was awake. All roads led to the ranch. The models had their directions to the ranch. A man approached David.

“Hey, Good morning I’m Kevin. I am the male model for the shoot.”

David looked at him in shock.

“Morning! Just call Wainaina for me,” David responded.

“Yes, sir. Kevin and the female model are ready, ” Wainana said excitedly as he came over to his boss.

“No, no, no this can not be happening,” David hissed. He snapped and looking at his face you could tell he was furious.

“Wai-na-ina!” He articulated slowly to emphasize his disapproval yet no surprise in his assistant’s ability to screw up.

“Sir, did I do something wrong?” Wainana looked at him with confusion all over his face.

“For the umpteenth time, what does masculinity mean to you? A goatee, a strong build, a darker complexion, none occurred to you while picking a model?”

David wanted a male model who possessed the stereotypical features associated with masculinity. He wanted to see a tall,  buffed up guy who had a chocolate or dark complexion who probably had a beard on him. However, Kevin was probably 5’5, which would have been okay since they would be seated but the girl was much taller. Kevin was probably the kind of guy a girl chooses because he looked good and neat but you wouldn’t pick him to protect you if a fight started. He just didn’t meet David’s standards of masculinity.

“David, is there a problem? Remember we’re paying by the hour here,” said one of the bosses.

“Nothing that I can’t handle sir.”

Kevin was a budding model who grew up with Wainaina. This was probably the easiest part of this task for Wainaina. He had told Kevin to show up and to come with a female model. After all the brown horse was the key focus. Wainaina felt quite resourceful for knowing a model. David would be happy, only he wasn’t.

With Kevin not meeting the expectations, it was time to get the next best thing. The makeup artist was waiting, so David had to step up since he was the tallest among those present and with the build needed for the shoot. He came up with the script; this could not be that difficult.

10 attempts later, they had the perfect shot but the horse had different ideas. It was getting agitated. Maybe David was mishandling it. Perhaps Wainaina and Kevin’s hurt feelings were spreading bad vibes but the horse started galloping at a high speed. The female model was screaming as she fell. David was holding on to the horse as tight as he could as though his life depended on it, well his life did depend on it. He was about to die in the hands of a brown horse that he made a fuss over. Maybe it was a masculine end. However, the beads of sweat and the fear of death that engulfed him at this moment took away any shred of masculinity that he was holding on to.

As he came to terms with the possibility of death in the hands of the majestic and masculine animal, the horse came to a sudden stop and he fell into cow dung. He was in shock, in pain and inside a pile of cow dung. There was this ringing in his head and something gooey in his mouth. His boss calling his was the last thing he heard as he fell unconscious. The Valentine’s Day deodorant shoot had turned into a colossal mess.

His workmates would be laughing about his cow dung incident for years to come.

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