Friday, February 22, 2008

An Analysis of the Literary Merit of Reviews of the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer

MP’s nose hair trimmer died last month in a spectacular death of crystallized battery guts. I suppose he could have scraped the contacts with dental tools and tried to salvage it, but MP just isn’t that kind of guy. He requested I put an order in for a new nose hair trimmer, because MP isn’t that kind of a guy, either. “I don’t need one with a giant LED,” he told me. “RPMs. I want RPMs.” (That’s the kind of guy MP is.)

Now, what did I say in the neti pot post? Nobody is interested in me talking about pouring saline solution in one nostril and out the other. So it doesn’t take a great mental leap to conclude that nobody is particularly interested in talking about nose hairs or how to trim them, either.

Except that I have definitive proof that people are interested in talking about nose hairs and how to trim them, and I absolutely must share this fascinating topic with you, because this is why I opened Café Tor in the first place.

I stumbled across the proof in this way: Having received MP's mandate to “go for RPMs,” I realized I needed information to make an informed consumer decision. For a fact, some of these gizmos have LEDs like Christmas tree lights, and vacuums so that your delicate fingers never touch the nose hair clippings. Are they really worth $30 or $40? I went to some sites and read the reviews, and that is how I discovered this untapped source of literary wealth.

Here’s a review of the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer, Wet/Dry, Lighted nose-hair trimmer from Leonard in Arizona: “Whatcan I say... it trimmed my nose hair. Inly challenge is that you need a battery. Works well though.” (Direct quote, his typing).

I love this. No shilly-shallying. Brief. Manly.

Here’s one on Amazon from Richard in Oakland, CA: “Had this about 4 weeks and no problems so far. I haven't dropped it/run over it with a car/fished it out of the toilet, so I can't vouch for its durability. The light is completely useless, unless you need an emergency trim during a blackout. The cheaper Panasonic is probably just as good. Final word to potential purchasers - nose hair stubble is a completely new experience.”

My friends, I am not being sarcastic when I say that I am in awe of these men’s writings. They have taken a customer review form, a tiny RTF block typically associated with dry clipped sentences, and turned it into a literary genre filled with humor and sparkling prose. On there were 164 reviews for the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer alone – that’s 17 pages! What is even more fascinating/terrifying is that Amazon allows the user to post a review video, although no one has done this for this particular trimmer (so far).

And there was controversy! The little light, described by one use as having a corona “the size of a freckle” was the make or break feature of the product’s overall review:

“First, the light actually is useful...just not when you've got it stuck in your nose cutting hair. Its use is when you periodically need to examine inside to see how you're doing. So spend the big bucks for the lighted model, otherwise you'll have to keep a flashlight around.”

“Perhaps my nostrils are abnormal, but I found the light useless.”

Most of these reviews are signed with screen names or first names, but my absolute favorite was signed with a real name that I was able to track down to an email address. I sent him (well actually, I had to send it to his wife, because that was the contact info from his blog profile) an email requesting permission to post his review on this blog. (Fred the Editor is looking at me, as he often does, like I have lost my mind. Well Fred, I was acting in the spirit of journalistic integrity, and sometimes you just gotta put yourself on the line.)

Mr. Gene Twilley’s 350 word review was not only hysterically funny, but was also actually useful in describing and rating the product. For example, his usage tips:

“I've found that this trimmer works best when you cut as if you’re trimming bushes, not as if you were cutting grass. What I mean is that it would be best if you refrain from just cramming it up your nose. Granted, if you're purchasing this device, you're probably used to just yanking hairs anyways (hence, you're also used to the associated pain). Trust me, if you take it a little at a time, the pain is greatly diminished and the effectiveness of the trimmer is enhanced.”

His review, in its entirety, can be found here on Amazon. I would point out that Mr. Twilley is in the “Use the Light” camp. (I also recommend searching his other product/literary/movie reviews. While perhaps not as amusing his nose hair trimmer review [what could be?], they are all useful and insightful. For even more of the Mind of Mr. Twilley,

This is the link to the Amazon page for the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer, with the reviews at the bottom. I urge you to flip all the way back, as some of the best ones are buried, and decide for yourselves whether or not the product review is the up and coming literary genre of the new millennium. As for me, the reviews were too much to resist – this is what I purchased for MP.

Now I’m inspired to go write my own review of the product. Of course, that would mean using MP’s nose hair trimmer…

Huh. This could take our relationship to a whole new level.


buddhababe71 said...

OHMIGOD! Marianne you have lost your mind. I don't know what's worse - that these are realreviews or that you're writing about them. At the same time THANK YOU for shedding light on this completely male mystery. The world must hear of this!

Fred said...

I looked at you like you were nuts because I thought you were kidding. I never dreamed you were telling the truth - shame on me for lacking in imagination.

What can I say? As a literary professional, I do admit that these guys really have something here. A geek will geek about any gadget. I may have missed my true calling.

G. Twilley said...

Just to throw it out: my idea was not (admittedly) original. I actually wrote mine after reading a few of the other reviews on other trimmers and having a great laugh. One I received mine, I was elated to find how well it worked.

Also, I tend to think of myself more as a nerd than a geek, thank you:-)

Thanks for the "shoutout" Marianne