Calvin Klein are people smugglers! And cheap ones at that.

I must have arrived. Last night I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to a launch party for Calvin Klein’s new ‘X’ range of undergarments. My name was on the list and everything! Well, okay I was the guest of someone who got invited but that still meant my name was on the list alright? You have to hold on to the small victories.

It was held on the seventh floor of the tallest building in Hong Kong and you could tell it was fancy because the floor of the lift was a big screen flashing advertisements for the same building you are currently rocketed up the side of. This is pretty typical of Hong Kong; why waste space when you put a redundant advert there?

Lured by the promise of underwear models and hundreds of people trying too hard to look like they belong there and thus providing some potentially awesome people-watching opportunities, I decided it was probably best to sort out this crash helmet mess on my head I call hair. Having my head shaved near the mid-levels escalator was a far more in-depth process than it had been the last time. It seemed they were trying to create an ‘experience’ rather than a service which, knowing the prices, I suppose was to make me feel like it was worth it. Three different people came by and tied various bibs and towels around me before someone new again took me off to wash my hair. I explained I was only getting it shaved and this was not necessary but that answer was unacceptable. I must have had shampoo scrubbed into my scalp by a lady with the tender, gentle touch of Gengis Khan about three or four times. Was it really dirty or something? I washed it that morning. Then I got it washed again when they were done shaving presumably to get rid of the stray hairs. A good idea, but not one that was totally appreciated when they lead you to and fro with a towel wrapped around your head like a girl. Also, and most crucially, when I said ‘number 4’ they must have heard ‘make sure as much skin and bone is visible while still maintaining a vague fuzz’ because that’s what I came out with.

Never mind, as my mum would say, there’s only two weeks between a good and bad haircut (and as Melinda says ‘David! You look like Military!’) so we suited up and made our way to Kowloon. The aforementioned jazzy lift spat us out and we walked by a table of strikingly attractive staff members who took our names and gave us one of those tattoos you put on with a sponge like when you were a kid. It was in the shape of a red X to denote the brand but on the back of my hand it looked like I was going straight-edge. Around the makeshift white walls we went and entered the main launch party area. Everything was lit with long red lights that ran along the floor reminding me of my grandma’s old electric fire place. Hmm, sexy. We were packed in like sardines, not unusual for this corner of the world but usually in the public you don’t have your head in a bass amp in the process of screaming out Lady Gaga tracks. Silver lining though: free bar. I felt like I would need it too being surrounded by yet more strikingly attractive people. Not attractive as in ‘You have to introduce me to her’ but attractive as in ‘Weep mortal! Weep!’ And tall! These people looked like trees with cleavage. We availed ourselves of some of the roughest red wine I have ever tasted outside of the some of the bottles I have bought in my youth, stood around and waited for something to happen. There were a couple of celebrities apparently, judging by the amount of people running around with cameras but I wouldn’t have known any of them if I had fallen over them. The models, where are the models?

Oh there they are. Behind a small window in the wall, in a tiny white room lit entirely with red light bulbs, looking vacant and miserable and posing. People crowded around and thrust their camera phones against the window and stayed there doing it for a troublingly long time. The whole thing seemed very weird indeed. Staring out at me with their soulless eyes and underneath that red glow, I thought I was catching a glimpse into some sort of Eastern European human trafficking outfit. This is their job. ‘How was work today love?’ ‘Oh you know I took my clothes off and looked miserable for about half an hour if that.’ With their breeze-block jaws and stomach muscles one could grate cheese on if one so wished, I had the overwhelming desire to jump in to the room from the back in my pants in all my pasty, soft-around-the-edges glory. I’d pull the poses and look miserable and all and see how long it would take the Greek statues to crack up and/or kick me out. These are the things that happen in my mind. Seeing them in their clothes when they were out and about and standing at the bar was mildly disconcerting. Not just because I knew what they looked like not wearing much but also because the girls suddenly appeared to be all of thirteen years old or something. Their childlike faces hadn’t been too noticeable under the Amsterdam-esque red light (and also the face tends to be the bit you skip over in that state of undress) but in the main area they stuck out like a sore thumb, or an untoned bicep.

After watching in fascinated horror as two guys failed spectacularly at hitting on a couple of towering Asian girls and relieving the bar of a whiskey or two we made our leave, the magic had gone, the celebrities had disappeared to some poncey VIP room and most importantly there were no bloody freebies!

Oh no wait, I got a coaster. A white coaster with a black X on it. Won’t exactly drive the ladies wild with that one though I suppose if I stole enough of them I could fashion a rudimentary, plastic loincloth. At least it would say Calvin Klein on it and that’s what’s important right?


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