With the afternoon free, our plans for the show were underway. We girded ourselves for it in familiar couple fashion: two coffees, an assorted bag of truffles from a nearby chocolatier, a healthy sandwich baguette, a fully loaded camera, and a let’s-get-it-on attitude.
But we weren’t ready to go just yet. There’d be at least an hour to kill beforehand. And, according to a woman, what’s the best thing to do when you find yourself in a situation with time to spare? You guessed it: shop 'til you drop. Or, in our case, shop until either of the following occurs: the hour expires or an argument ensues.
Merely ten minutes had gone by and I had already had enough. Wandering into several different retail stores to browse the newest clothing lines and uncover the latest shoe sales was a complete drag. In fact, my frustration and impatience for shopping was so pervasive that I made a most negligible and ill-considered shoe buying decision and became the proud owner of a pair of European clown shoes.
A few days later, my return request was rudely denied by the shoe store warden. She accused me of wearing them. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Either way, I was in no mood to engage in a forensic evidence debate with the woman.
Start your engines, boys. There’s just something special about the exploitation of exotic sports cars and the attractive models used to babysit them. Automakers certainly know how to appeal to the male species, and The Frankfurt Motor Show did not disappoint in that respect. Each auto manufacturer appeared to have its own unique theme going on, too: the Audi section’s white dove floors, the rotating Aston Marton’s James Bond model, and the debut of the world’s most expensive Lamborghini, not to mention the royal-looking Maybach. But perhaps the most interesting theme was that of Nissan’s naughty nurses, which left many of the male visitors in attendance in high spirits, and me to wonder about the particulars of their marketing research.
Floor number six, which included the Ferrari line, had a quasi-nightclub feel. There was an exclusive Mini Cooper room with DJs spinning techno and related brand gear on display. Just around the corner was the cocktail bar, which offered free Mini Cooper cups with complimentary carbonated junk water.
I basically wandered off on my own for much of the show, turning my excited self every which way in order to see the attractions. At one point, while strutting through one of the rooms like Tony Manero in Staying Alive, I noticed a mini herd of men in dark suits being trailed by a camera crew. They ultimately marched right in my path and came within inches of trampling me. Fortunately, my elated state kept me from yelling, “Damn you people!” And on and on I went, so I could gawk at even more fabulous rides, often times without my partner in sight. But, I did slow up just enough for the two of us to venture on over to the concert hall together, where the Mercedes Benz line had its red carpet-like showing. The cars were nice, but the moving floor and large projection screen displays were overkill; exotic sports cars are more suited to that type of drama.
The overcrowding at the show proved to be a source of annoyance. We had to fight through lots of sweaty folks, hyper children, and the ever-confused leisurely strollers. After the car gazing became too exhausting, we ventured outside to an area near the convention buildings, where we were met by your staple German food stands serving beer; a woman riding by on an antique bicycle; a Sony PlayStation trailer for the nerd in you; a hair salon trailer, just in case you felt like getting a frickin’ makeover at a car show; and a high rope activity challenge, which featured participants bobbing from side to side in a futile effort to balance themselves on an unstable obstacle.
Like a true noble lad, I was ultimately able to look past some of the show’s imperfections. Overall, the experience was a bit like being in man country, which is sehr gut (very good) in my book. For I do believe, after much deliberation, that it is a man’s duty to attend an auto event of both proportion and magnitude that is the Frankfurt Motor Show.