Beware the new TWEE! What’s twee ? It’s English vernacular for prosaic faux-sentimentality. And as New York retailers struggle to promote holiday shopping in a caring, uncraven way, they are starting to sound rather twee. In fact, the struggle to merge heartfelt inspirational clichés with ad copy is resulting in a new ultra-twee lingo, reminiscent of Jim ‘n’ Tammy-speak:
Let the Spirit of the St. John family embrace
You and yours as we discover
The magical wonder of this
This Hallmarkish little sonnet, along with a rather tarty window mannequin traipsing through a bejeweled Winter Wonderland in a shellacked wig, currently adorns the holiday windows of the St. John fashion store on Fifth Avenue. Don’t mock! The good people of St. John are just trying to be appropriate. Laura Bush, too! No matter how dark the hour, the President’s wife always has a little try-one-of-my-home-baked-muffins smile upturning the corners of her mouth. At one televised memorial, I even saw her giving a toodle-oo wave to her mother-in-law as she exited the church.
May courage, strength and spirit
Lead us hand in hand through
This wondrous holiday Season,
the St. John sonnet continues. Oy vey ! Keep commerce and tragedy separate. And, re 9/11, give me Churchillian solemnity or don’t bother.
Planning a traditional–and potentially twee–holiday party? Don’t do it! This season, it’s more important than ever to relieve your guests of the obligation to make serious conversation. To that end, why not go to the opposite extreme and throw a product party, complete with sales reps? Apart from being novel and divertingly camp, product parties–or “home parties,” as they’re called in the industry–are a terrorist-proof way to do your holiday shopping. Additionally, the presence of a poised spokesperson-stranger will guarantee that your more obstreperous, alcohol-oriented friends moderate their behavior. Choose from the following:
Option No. 1. Host a Mary Kay maquillage party, and don’t forget the black armbands. Yes, the great Mary Kay–the Dallas-based cosmetics goddess–popped her clogs on Thanksgiving at the ripe old age of 83. A lethal combo of Barbara Cartland, Liberace and Bill Gates, this God-fearin’, pink-lovin’ superwoman built, over the course of 38 years, a staggering $1.2 billion cosmetics empire. The key to her success was her system of “independent sales directors,” upon whom she lavished recognition, encouragement and pink Cadillacs. There are currently 850,000 of these super-sellin’ beauty vixens worldwide, any one of whom would be more than happy to come to your house and host a Mary Kay event. Yes, despite the recent cataclysmic loss of M.K. herself, it’s business as usual over at Mary Kay. To quote the memorial Web site, “the torch is carried on.”
To find a Mary Kay beauty consultant in your area, simply visit the consultant locator at http://www.marykay.com and type in your zip. Your Mary Kay event can be themed to match the needs of your invitees. For example: a Tootsie Footsie pedicure party; Pamper Perfect, a glam way to beat holiday stress; and Teen Time, an opportunity for youngsters to learn proper skin care and makeup-application techniques with products designed especially for teens. The latter event would also be great for your middle-aged friends who have been mainlining botox this year and now have acquired teenagerish skin.
Re the Mary Kay product: I’m assured by West Coast makeup superstar Jeff Judd that the goods are top-notch. “A few of my celebs secretly use them. They’re not as glam as Chanel, but they’re not tested on animals. I swear by the Simply Glowing Shimmering Body Gel [$14 for 3.75 fl. oz.] when I’m doing rap and hip-hop music videos. It gives a fantastic glow to darker skin.” Mr. Judd credits Mary Kay with sparking his interest in maquillage . “Growing up in Oregon, I would live for the day the Mary Kay lady would come to the house in her pink Cadillac and matching shift dress. I wanted to eat the makeup.”
Option No. 2. Shocking statistic of the week: A Tupperware party is–according to the official press kit–started every two seconds somewhere in the world. Nearly half a century has passed since Earl Tupper (he perfected the plastic) and Brownie Wise (she spearheaded the party program) revolutionized the humdrum lives of American housewives with this airtight system of food storage. Earl and Brownie burped their way into the homes of America and made Tupperware parties as famous as the product itself–and the brand is still going strong. The colors have changed, but the functional kitschy items–cake takers ($25), bacon keepers ($9.50), snackatizer trays ($25)–are all still available. To find your Tupperware consultant, log onto http://www.my.tupperware.com.
Caution: A Tupperware party could really fall flat if you try and inflict it on a bunch of earnest, irony-is-dead-type friends. If in doubt, augment the proceedings with a celebrity look-alike. What could be more surreal than having a mysterious celebu-stranger lurking at your Tupperware party–sort of like a more personable version of the Ancient Mariner? Call Elaine Chéz of the Chéz Company (718-956-7287), or check out some of Elaine’s options at http://www.lookalike-stars.com: e.g., Howard Stern, Jackie Mason, Monica Lewinsky, Joey Buttafuoco, etc., etc. (A one-hour visitation starts at $300.) Elaine is responsive to requests for obscure celebs: She was recently asked for–and successfully delivered–a Wolf Blitzer.
Option No. 3. Looking to freak people out? Then host a Risqué Business party. According to their Web site, a Risqué Business “pleasure party” provides an opportunity to “spend a fun-filled evening with friends, family members and co-workers to learn about and explore a variety of sensual products.” A Risqué Business sensuality consultant will, free of charge, come to your home and introduce you and your chosen group of funsters to a variety of products: Piña Colada-flavored Lickety Lube ($10), Body Pudding (chocolate or strawberry, $9), scented massage oils, playful teddies and an embarrassingly comprehensive range of “enhancers,” a.k.a vibrators and cock rings (see: Dual Wabbit, $16; Swan Dive, $35; Pumpin’ Peter, $58).
Bawdy, arty drunks and erotic-art collectors will love the 70’s Plato’s Retreat vibe. Call sensuality consultant Jenae LaCroux (877-551-SEXY). Caution: Most family members will be appalled, and prim co-workers may well try to sue you for emotional distress. In other words, it’s a great thing to inflict on a bunch of twee people you hope to never see again.