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Mind Appeal is the New Sexy July 6, 2012

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

06 July 2012


I stood back and observed my lady customer, who was staring at the blackboard that hangs high on the wall behind the counter. From the look on her face and, more tellingly, from the tone of her voice, she was not amused that someone had erased what I had written, which had been on display for the last four months. Here’s what it used to say:

Mind Appeal is the new sexy.

When I wrote those words way back in February, I didn’t expect the signage to become such a popular feature at the wine shop. Visitors quickly took a liking to it, so much so that it was common to find customers taking pictures of it, presumably to upload online if not to simply keep as reminders of another merry wine night at Cyrano.

Now, all that was left was a long, chalky smear that snaked tauntingly along the center of the board.

“Who erased it,” she asked indignantly.

“Another customer,” I said.


No, the butler didn’t do it.


I told her that the perpetrator was a dear Cyrano friend, a very stylish, cosmopolitan woman named Patti, who committed the crime the previous week during a fit of tipsy bravado after arriving from another bar. Wearing her signature high heels, which added crucial inches to her reach, Patti suddenly walked behind the counter and rubbed the words out with those delicate fingers before I could stop her.

“It’s such a pretentious thing to say,” Patti declared defiantly after murdering my inscription, the chalk still fresh on her fingers as evidence of the deed. One can only wonder how many homicides like this have resulted elsewhere as a result of one too many a lychee martini.

I made it a point to calmly remind her that she was the only customer of ours who ever hated what I wrote.

“Why not just say smart is the new sexy,” she admonished while elegantly raising her brows at me. “Mind appeal is so trying hard.”

“No, Patti,” I remember correcting her with a smile, showing the kind of gentleness and patience that a wise father might show a petulant child. “That’s not the same. Because everyone who has mind appeal is smart, but not everyone who is smart has mind appeal.”

“Hah! And how exactly would YOU explain mind appeal, Alex?”

“My dear Patti,” I said, modulating my voice so that I sounded more paternal. “Let’s put it this way. There is such a thing as sex appeal, right? Well, what do you call it if a person has a sexy mind? You call it mind appeal.”

“Ah, okay, I get it,” said our other customer, Jimmo, who was a witness on the night of the crime and who, being a top executive at an advertising agency, weighed in with his professional opinion. With him as arbiter between me and Patti, my argument emerged the winner.

“I get it,” Jimmo continued. “I didn’t agree before but after you explained it that way, I agree with mind appeal now.”

Appalled by her fellow customer switching sides and ruling against her, Patti stubbornly refused to yield. She was kind enough, however, to pacify me with a luxuriously creamy, Belgian chocolate-covered, over-sized ice cream bar delivered from the convenience store up the street (I’m easy, so how could I refuse?).

Yet the sweetness of victory and dessert was, in the end, a bittersweet consolation. The damage had been done and, with other customers asking me what I was going to inscribe next, I had to think of something new.

“You should put it back,” my lady customer adamantly insisted, returning me to the present. “That’s a classic statement.”

Yes, it is. But I don’t have to put it back.

I think enough people who matter to me have seen it so that it’s alive and well whenever we’re at the shop, enjoying evenings of wine and wit in the pleasure of each other’s company. Because if I count you as one of my Cyrano friends, then hubba-hubba. In my book, you’ve got mind appeal.


Whaddaya know? I have one picture to show.







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