The 4Ps

So, one of my fag-hags is one of those fabulous, educated black chicks who lovessssssssss men! (don’t we all… well, except my lovely Lesbos). And, in addition to coordinating her ward-robe, being the chief adviser on hair, make-up and boyfriend issues, I have pledged to help her study for her exams.

So, during one of our study sessions, she was rambling on and on about some sort of marketing mix or whatever and something about 4-Ps. But during her rambling (and me trying to figure it out) she was making an analogy about a product of some sort and how to use this ‘marketing mix’ to get the product sold. So, being the attentive fabulous guy that I am, I asked her to explain to me what the hell this marketing mix is! Well, she said (quiet eloquently too… You go girl!!!) that the marketing mix refers to the PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE and PROMOTION a company uses to sell off a good/service. And then she went on and on about how the PRODUCT is what is being offer to the customer; the PRICE is what the customer is willing to pay for the product; the PLACE is where you get that product at and the PROMOTION is what the company does to get the customers’ attention.

So, after chit chatting with her and helping with the studying, it got me thinking of the 4Ps! – If a company has a product that it wants to sell to a customer in order to satisfy a need and that company can mix the right cocktail of ‘’Ps’’ in order to attract and retain a customer, why can’t we do this? Huh? Why not?  Then I thought, what are my 4Ps? Do I have a ‘P’, more so 4? Do you? Does everyone? Then I wondered, if guys are really serious about dating and finding that right guy, wouldn’t we have to address our ‘Ps’. Wouldn’t we need to identify what exactly our ‘’product’’ is? Wouldn’t we need to cost our ‘’product’’ and state what will it take for a ‘’customer’’ to acquire this precious merchandise?  Wouldn’t we need to apply a pricing strategy? – whether premium pricing, psychological pricing, competitive pricing, or penetration pricing ( I just like the sound of this one…lololol). But think about it! Wouldn’t we need to determine where is the best location for potential ‘’customers’’ to find the ‘’products’’ and maybe take some time to learn about the various qualities and attributes that the ‘’product’’ has? Wouldn’t we need to device strategies to draw ‘’customers’’ attention? – Whether by personal selling, direct mail or public relations. Well, I think so! I think this is the answer we have been searching for! The 4Ps!

Needing more clarity on this ‘’Ps’’ issue, I called back my fag-hag-turned-star-student to ask her to explain in more details what these ‘Ps’ are about. Then, according to her [I hope you trust her as much as I do], the ‘’product’’ would certainly be us guys (or me, Dwayne). The ‘’product’’ would represent what we have to offer to a potential ‘’customer’’ (boyfriend/partner): that is, our personalities, our hearts, our individualisms, our commitment to love and our ability to be loved, our beautiful minds (as a recent commenter on my blog has pointed out), our fabulous bodies (well, at least yours… mine is a train-wreck), our killer ass and abs (well, I have the ass.. as for the abs.. nope), our passionate kisses and award winning oral skills, among other (if you know what I mean J). And both of us know that with any good product, the package J is important! Presentation! Presentation! Presentation!

Having a fabulous product is one thing. Now we need to determine the market value of that ‘product’. So, she said that the ‘’price’’ tells the ‘’customers’’ how much they will need to spend in order to acquire the ‘’product’. Then, according her (again, do you trust her?) the ‘price’ is what your ‘’customer’’ has to lay on the table to ‘’win the bid of purchase’’. That is, his heart; his respect for you; his commitment to loving you unconditionally; his ‘sex-buddy’ or whatever (he has to give this up); and of course his luscious lips, charming smile, ripping abs and blue eyes that just captivate you and win you over.

So with a ‘’product’’ on the market and a ‘’price’’ attached to it, the next ‘P’ to worry about is the ‘’promotion’’ (how the hell are you going to get the attention of your ‘customers’). What can you do to attract that fabulous dashing guy you have had your eye on all this time? What chic outfit can you whip up to maximize your assets and minimized your flaws? What signs/messages can you send to the target ‘customer’ to say, ‘‘Hey boo. I like you. I dig you. I am available. Come over here and poke around a little.’’? So, maybe a direct approach is needed in some cases. Drive or die, BITCH!! Approach the ‘customer’ directly, either my mail or face-to-face. With this approach you know if the ‘customer’ is interested within minutes of the first contact. This is a risky move, but with great risks come great rewards! If you are not so brave to pull off a face-to-face encourage, there is always the ‘’PR Department’’ (close friends, fag-hag, mutual friends) to work on that ‘customer’. A good ‘’PR Department’ is a close friend, fag-had or mutual friend who goes in for ‘the kill’ for you and promote the ‘product’ by selling the good points of the ‘products’ and try to spike the ‘customer’s’ interests in the ‘product’. An effective ‘’PR Department’ tries to arrange a one and one ‘sampling’ of the ‘product’ via a lunch date, a movie, a lyme, a BBQ invite, cocktails after work or whatever.

‘’Place’’…..What do you think this mean? No..no.. It’s not sleazy motel where you are going to ‘’do it’’ with the guy! (Well, it can be if you want it to be… lolol)… So, I asked my little star-student what does ‘place’ mean and after she franticly flips through her notes she came out with, ‘’where ever the customer has to go to acquire the ’product’.’’  So, this could be anything from a sleazy bar on some back street to dating online. The ‘’places’’ greatly depend on what city you are in. It could be at a library; a nice chic bar which serve excellent cocktail on coasters; the movies; a trendy gay club in Doyama-cho (Osaka); a sports bar and grill in New Kingston (Jamaica….. Do I hear an Amen? Hmmm mmm); a art gallery in Manhattan (New York); a night club in Delhi (India… Don’t get me started… LOLOLOL); riding the train and starting to chit chat with a cute guy who is sitting beside you; while shopping for that spring sweater to pair with your dynamite-of-a-pant. But where ever the ‘place’ might be, it’s important that the ‘customer’ interfaces/interacts with the ‘product’ and get a good idea of exactly what the ‘product’ has to offer and if that ‘product’ is exactly he (the ‘customer’) needs.

When a ‘customer’ goes shopping, he goes with the intention of finding a ‘product’ to satisfy all his specific needs. With the right marketing mix, that precious merchandise could land in the shopping bag of an ideal ‘customer’. All it takes is the correct combination of the 4Ps! Do you know your ‘Ps’? What are they? Ensure that the next time you place your ‘product’ on the market for a ‘Purchase with no refund option’ you pure all your ‘Ps’ in a cocktail mixer and mix the helllllllllllllllllll out of your Ps until you get the correct combination and pour yourself a cocktail of winning ‘Ps’.  The 4Ps: my marketing mix(er).

Anti-labels….

We live in an era of branding, labeling, slogan-ing, identifying, trying to fit in even when we purposely standout. An age of individualism, but where you want that individualism to be called something. A period where having no identity, is an ‘identity’.  A dispensation of ‘me’, my way. A time of ‘I want to do XYZ because I like it, but not because I do XYZ doesn’t mean I am an XYZ-er’’. We are beings who seek to belong, even when not belonging…is ‘belonging’ to something. Weird, huh? Well, welcome to the Genesis of the ANTI-LABEL era.

In fashion, labels are crucial. That’s what set Versace jeans apart from Arrow Jeans. It tells you what runway that garment should be on, how it should function on the runway and who should take it home. But, without these labels, could you really tell if a sweater is made by Hermes or DKNY? And either way, isn’t the sweater fulfilling the same basic function? — keeping you warm on a cold day. So, really, when it all comes down to it, how important are labels? Can we survive without them? Could you function effectively without being labeled? Wouldn’t it be a little more fun just to exist… live even, without a ‘tag’, without an ‘identity’, without an ‘ISO 9000’, without being forced into one group and subsequently being stereotyped according to ‘outsiders’ perception of who you are? I believe it would! And that’s the way the world is heading now: Anti-labels!

Gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, tops, bottoms, versatile, bi-curious, transsexual, transvestite, butch, fem, stud, passive, active, boy-friend, girlfriend, dating, fooling-around, husband, wife, mistress, life-partner, civil-union, lovers, play-mates, and f`@@k-buddies are just some of the labels we ascribe to ourselves in hope of making things ‘easier’. But does it really make things easier or does just complicate the whole game? – One way to find out, huh?

So, two guys manage to rise above the disco smoke of a dance floor and found each other at a party while sipping on their cocktails; began seeing each other and sharing lazy lunches, candle lit dinners, romantic French films, walks on the beach, Macy’s massive Black Friday Sale, Christmas, New Year and maybe a birthday, but the minute one of the guys asks, ‘’So, where are things going? Are we boyfriends?’’, things start to spiral out of control. Is it that in a weird quasi-universe, the absence of a label ensures security? Is it that the whole ‘free agents of the universe’ have some weight to it? But there might be some truth in that! Is it that a label applies pressure and people start to ‘freak out’ whenever they are labeled? What’s the deal? Or maybe, just maybe when two persons find each other and are so connected that they do not need a marketing department to come in and brand the uniqueness that they share, but rather live freely as two connected agents of the universe and allow themselves to ‘’see where things go’’ and by going there together, they would both know that they are ‘’on their way’’ and when they have arrived ‘’there’’, they would know that ‘’they have arrived’’, label-less-ly!

Growing up in a religious house-hold with a mother who has Jesus on speed dial; a father who DIDN’T; brothers and sister who hated my guts for one reason or the other; and a society that demands you to be on ONE SIDE of the ‘fence’ and stick to it, I believed that things were either ‘black or white’: gay or straight; top or bottom; butch or fem; Bob Marley or Cher; PNP or JLP; Christians or sinners; meat or fish; night or day. But the older I got I realized that a ‘black or white’ universe is a boring one, a narrow-minded approach to existence, a limited believe. As you embark upon the ‘rainbow-shaded gray’ areas, you realize that that’s were LIFE is and that’s where the citizens of Anti-label planet dwell. On this planet, one can afford to dabble here and there in the ‘rainbow-shaded gray’ area without having to give up their ‘’citizenship’ on earth and be forced to be labeled as ‘ALIENS’. But rather feel free to indulge in the splendors of the ‘planet’.

But honestly, I lift my Phillip Treacy hat (the designer who makes Sarah Jessica Parker hats) to our Asian friends who live a little closer to Anti-label planet than most people. These are the guys who don’t even bother to affix a brand to themselves, but happily indulge in any shade the rainbow has to offer. And needless to say, these boys know how to indulge…lolololol…

Wouldn’t it be such a wonderful world if we had no ‘identity’, no stereotypes, no pre-conceived notions, no expectations, no hang-ups, but just allow ourselves to love, live, experience life and all the different flavors and splendor that it has to offer, label-less-ly? I would be first in line! J

40s: The new black! :)

They match my Gucci loafers: Men in their 40s: The new black.

Ok! So, he is tall, handsome, stink of wisdom, maybe divorced once or twice, maybe closeted or out, has a kid who is a little younger than you are, middle or top management, knows the perfect wine to order, knows to make your toes curl without even trying, know his way around the bedroom and even other rooms, remembers when things were cheap and politicians were honest, has a little gray patch of hair which is as chic as a vintage belt you find in a shop downtown, in the middle or exiting his mid-life crisis (perfect!), not into anime nor cartoon nor video-games [good lord… don’t get me started on this….lol], doesn’t wear a t-shirt that says ‘’Oh, I live with my Mom and I have no intention of moving’’, and he loves his scotch on the rocks. This M.O. is of a typical fabulous man in his 40s! The ones who seem to be in demand these days; the ones who seem to make my friends and I go crazy.

So, what’s the deal? Is it that the young boys don’t do it for us anymore? Is it that the young boys need a little more ‘driving experience’? Is it that ‘supply’ just doesn’t equal ‘demand’ in that FREE MARKET ECONOMY? The social scientists are still working on an answer for that. But, all we know is that age and experience trumps youth and inexperience every time!

Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that a young boy doesn’t have a role or isn’t useful. Of course they do. These are the guys you drag with you to a party or a club as they can fetch your cocktails and give you a nice twirl on the dance floor; pair them with your boot cut beach shorts as they provide a nice accessory on the beach; throw on when you are going to a BBQ, and tag him along for a long night on the town.

But, if you have been through all of that and need a guy who fits nicely with that vintage black DKNY sweater at a cozy dinner for two; someone who knows what to wear to a black-tie event; someone who buys you flowers not because he wants to get laid or you threaten to break up with him, but buys you flowers just because he loves you and he’s such a gentleman; someone who has a cork-screw in his kitchen (and also knows what a cork-screw is); someone who doesn’t live with his mom and refuses to leave the ‘nest’; someone is interested in you as a person and as a ‘toy’ (only), well a guy in his 40s would be ideal for you.

Oh come on! Am I the only one who feels this way? Can I get a TESTIMONY?  But seriously, I can’t explain it, but there is something ‘magical’ about a 40-something guy. Maybe it’s an illusion we create in our heads: or we have ‘father issues’ (who doesn’t??); or it’s a weird-control-mechanism-thing where we feel superior because we are YOUNG and he is ‘’NOT’’ and we are the prized possession that he has. And you know what people do with prized possessions? – They cherish them. Maybe that’s it! In the end, we want to be cherished, treasured, and treated like precious stones and delicate flowers. And a ‘NOT SO YOUNG’ guy knows how to do this. He understands this concept. He has been schooled sufficiently and now he is applying his knowledge on us, the specimens. Then again, I could be wrong and all this ‘theory’ could be as a result of all the Indian food I’ve been eating.  But one thing is sure, it feels good.

Financial Accounting 101: Gays’ Balance $heet

No matter what day of the week it is; the size of a country’s economy; the size of your Gucci loafer (or stiletto); or how many wieners you like to ‘have’ at a BBQ; the accounting equation says, ‘ASSETS = CAPITAL + LIABILITIES’.

According to my closeted, squeaky-voiced, tweed-jacket-wearing college Accounting Lecturer, an asset is any items of value owned by the company. And a liability is any debt owed by the company (which can long term or short term). While, the capital of the company is anything invested in it by its owners.

It would have made the accounting lectures more interesting if he had just explained the Balance Sheet for the Gays! Come on!!! We have one! While, I am at it, I need to check mine: I think it hasn’t been balanced for months now… or is it years??… Anyhoo, I digress!

A fag-hag; a party jeans; a fitted pant; a pink top; a rainbow flag; lip balm in every bag you have; nice highlights in your hair; a firm ass; succulent lips; good friends; clean underwear; are just some of the assets a gay guy has. And then, if we should listen to my goofy, hair-line-receding Accounting Lecturer, we can even further divide these assets into those that will last forever; those that are intangible and those that are short termed.

So, a good advice from your fag-hag; your parents approving of your sexuality; to be known for your ‘oral presentations’ skills; and brain/smarts (DON’T forget that), can amount to a tidy sum of intangible assets on your balance sheet. But if your Accountant asks you what long term assets you have, don’t be afraid to whip it (them) out and show him. Show him your perfectly formed body; luscious lips; sparkling eyes and fabulous manicure; Kenneth Cole loafer and Prada tote. If these don’t add value to your balance sheet, I don’t know what will.

But then, I am sure he will still want to check for those short term assets that are constantly changing. This is the point where you need to ‘turn it all out’’ and put your date book, underwear, lip balm, and mood on the table. He should be satisfied with that!

So, keeping in mind that all this fabulous asset = capital + liability, the liabilities of gays can be so tantamount! The credit card bills for that fabulous Hermes sweater, Marc Jacobs bag, tickets to see Celine Dion Los Vegas Show and Mac make up, you just had to have. Yeah, these are liabilities alright! But good ones! That is nothing compared to the liabilities which seems like they never go away such as that ex-boyfriend who won’t leave you alone; that nagging mother who insist on calling you everyday reminding you that you are getting older and you are not married yet; that shirt you have for your ‘ex’ that you kept after the break up, which smells like him; and that suppressed memory of your ‘first time’. Now, these are liabilities that you need to get rid of as fast as you try to get rid of a bad date/bad kisser/bad  ~er.

Stock markets fail because investors stop investing. Gays can’t afford a failure! Cher would disown us; Elton John would go mute; the fashion industry would be in chaos and I would put on 2 kg ( ha ha ha.. as if I am not doing that anyway… anyhoo), if gays fail to invest! Gays invest allot of time on hair and outfits. Good lord! I can’t tell you the number of times I have threatened to commit my fag-hag if she messes up my hair. (I love her so: So patient)

The perfect outfit is deemed a big investment for any guy. That special outfit which sets you apart from everybody else. Investment! That perfect pant which hugs your ass and tastefully shows your assets. Investment! That chic shirt with a fabulous neck line, hugs your body and at a perfect length. Investment! That edgy loafer which pairs with your party pant! Investment!

Similarly with assets and liabilities, capital has its variation. There are those low-risk, high return capital investment that every gay guy should have on his balance sheet. These are time you invest with your friends, family and lover; the love that grows between you and your fag-hag; the patience you have with your family if they don’t understand why you are gay; the forgiveness you share with ones who have hurt you; the tears you cry when you’ve lost a friend to HIV/AIDS; the anti-gay parades you march in (whether physically or in your heart); the closeted guy you help to fully accept and love himself and then there are those cherished cosmos you share with your friends who help you celebrate you life, love you unconditionally, and support you through every wardrobe disaster and break-ups.

ASSETS equal CAPITAL plus LIABILITIES. The balancing effect of gay guy’s balance sheet! Precious!

Can you taste the rainbow?

Found myself in Okayama, Japan and something tastes different. Oh yeah, it’s the Japanese rainbow.  Does it have a salty taste?— A sweet taste? — A vanilla taste? Or just one of those taste that you can’t really identify, not sure you want to taste again, but because you are curious to find out what exactly is that taste, you keep going back to the ‘rainbow’ and putting your precious tongue at risk, just for another taste. Oh yeah, it’s the Japanese rainbow.

 

Silly little kids think rainbows are those pretty colourful water-marks in the sky after it rains, with a pot of gold at the end. But being in Japan, I realize that the Japanese ‘rainbow’’ doesn’t have that pot of gold at the end, but rather a pot of natto.

 

My background exploring Jamaican flavours lead me to appreciate rainbows of a more spicy variety and I have somehow grown accustomed to all those side effects, a major one being the dangers of indulging one’s appetite publicly; let’s just say one has to master the skill of appreciating his choice of rainbows with ‘’CAUTION’’ in that side of the world. It is quite logical then to question the relevance of indulging this type of desire but the proof as they say, is in the pudding.

 

My recollection of this addiction to Jamaican spices and the potency of that rainbow has lead me to question the strength of the Japanese ‘rainbow,’ does it seem a little dull because it is lacking the sugar, and spice I’ve grown accustomed to? Is the flavour grossly unpalatable; or have my taste buds just gone numb? I need answers!

I get the feeling I’m not alone in this state of uncertainty so, if you are a buffet and you happen to taste a ‘rainbow’ that is ridiculously closeted (as in, afraid to being even called gay, afraid to meet you, afraid to talk on the phone, afraid afraid, afraid….); only calls or emails you when you they feel ‘colorful’; wants to ‘’play sex’’ and forget tomorrow (not that that’s a bad idea…*wink wink*); locked in an iron-fist marriage; into you on day one and disappears by day seven; you happen to meet at a straight club while out with your fag-hag; wants to bring you on a date with his girlfriend and introduces you as his ‘English teacher’; you can rest assured that you are eating a Japanese ‘rainbow’. The good part about a buffet is that you have choices…..but when you are at a Chinese restaurant buffet, all the choices are Chinese food…. So a Japanese ‘rainbow’ buffet is no different! It’s all Japanese ‘rainbow’ food! But, as my mother said, if you don’t like it, spit it out of your mouth! And that’s the choice you are faced with; ever so often, at a ‘rainbow’ buffet…. Swallow or spit it out!!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!