There are at least two Lexington businesses I refuse to patronize, based solely on the names. They could be marvelous purveyors of their chosen products and I’m doing myself a vast disservice by sticking my nose in the air, my fingers down my throat and braying loudly for the world to hear: “There is no way on God’s green earth I would ever buy a Big Ass Fan.”
Not that there’s any danger of me needing any large, energy efficient industrial ceiling fans or commercial ceiling fans — but as I find out on their website, they now deal in residential ceiling fans. So perhaps there is cause for concern. But no matter: I restate. It would be a cold day in hell before I would blythely purchase anything so crassly named. Not because I’m a prude, mind you — ask anyone I work with, or my husband for that matter and you’ll learn I’m apt to curse like a sailor if the occasion warrants. No I just object to the reality-TV shaped world around us, which has led us to the conclusion that Big Ass is a perfectly good name for a serious company.
I’m certainly not the first person to notice Big Ass — they’ve garnered world-wide attention with their audacious marketing, which is apparently paying off in sales. Cretins the world over are responding. What, I ask, is next? Where do you draw the line? Cool as Shit Air Conditioning Inc.? Fuckin-A Furnaces?
No — the secret to successful vulgarity is strictly in naming your company with the business end in mind. See Butt Rubb BBQ, a restaurant near my home. Clearly, in order to capture the public’s imagination, you’ve gotta keep the behind in mind.
Despite my nearly 10 years as a vegetarian, I now enjoy barbecue and eat it semi-regularly, thanks to a husband who grew up in Owensboro, Ky., the middle of a barbecue-obsessed region of the state, Western Kentucky. Oh I started slowly … deigning only to eat chicken in my vegetarian-to-omnivore transition years. Which is why my family still hoots about the time, at an elementary-school sports banquet catered by another local barbecue restaurant, I heartily dove into the “chicken” barbecue. The thing was, I was pregnant, uncomfortable, bored, and starving — to hell with vegetarianism today, I gotta eat. On and on I went about the deliciousness of this chicken barbecue. On the way home, Claire tentatively asked, “Uh, Mom you know that was pork barbecue, right?”
But I digress.
My problem with naming your product Butt Rubb Barbecue is the ridiculous statements you end up making …
“What’d y’all do last night?”
“Oh, I got some butt rub.”
You see the problem.
“What’s this charge on your expense account here, Bob? Big Ass what?”
“It has nothing to do with my trip to Bangkok, Jim. Just go stick your nose back in your spreadsheet and keep it out of my ass.”
I blame reality TV, which has made the nauseatingly outrageous antics of the side-show segment of the population as common as dirt. But I also point a finger at politics where in places as composed and deferential as Wisconsin, people are flipping the bird at one another as a matter of course.
I can’t say that I’ve come to any conclusions about all this. I’ve completely neglected to mention the restaurant that has caused me to make abundant sour faces for years, Hooters, which coyly uses an owl in its logo design like we don’t know what the thrust of the place really is. I only know that in Lexington, at least, if you want to achieve international success and/or a really sweet level of notoriety, just come up with a name for your business that is guaranteed to make you the butt of lots of jokes.
Don’t worry, though: in this climate it definitely won’t come back and bite you in the ass.