I don’t consider myself to be particularly vain or superficial, but I do try to take pride in my appearance. I bathe regularly. I use deodorant. And I attempt to do the same for my car. After all, with the exception of sleeping or working, I spend a good chunk of my daily life behind the wheel of my automobile, and like myself, I try to keep it as attractive and sweet smelling as possible.
So once a month or so, I fork over a coupon and tip money to the hard-working gents at Studio City Hand Car Wash where they vacuum, scrub, rinse and buff my car to a dull shine. Then I insert a new two-dimensional evergreen around my rear view mirror so my vehicle can smell like an olfactory Big Sur for a day or two until the pine scent dissipates.
Unfortunately the economy has not been kind to me, and I’ve now resorted to washing my own car.
So you can guess that I might especially enjoy this summer’s Bad Teacher where I heard there was a scene in which Cameron Diaz works at a car wash fundraiser. There’s Something About Mary is one of my all-time favorite comedies, and I consider Cameron to be somewhat brighter than your typical 30-something movie bombshell. Besides studying the moves from the pros at the car wash, maybe Cameron could give me a few suggestions on how to wash a car.
It turns out that Cameron has only two things in common with the guys at Studio City Hand Car Wash. She too is working for tips, and she also washes cars by hand. And that is where the similarities end.
Even before my LASIK, it would be easy to see that Cameron Diaz is a wee more attractive than basically any living being who works at any car wash. Her shirt is knotted 6 inches above her belly button and she bumps and grinds in her ultra short shorts while washing a Corvette. Cameron sloshes the car (but mostly herself) with the soapy sponge and wrestles with the snake-like hose as it bursts in slow motion. It’s basically a lap dance for the high school dads and lesbian PE instructor with the car mercilessly used merely as a secondary prop. By the end of the day, Cameron has made enough tip money to pay for the new boob job she obviously doesn’t need.
The scene in Bad Teacher has very little resemblance to real life – particularly in my driveway. First of all, Cameron is unbelievably sexy, and as I’ve got a good decade or more on her, the best I can say is I look pretty good in clothes. Rather than hot pants and a clingy wet shirt, my car wash attire consists of an oversized top covered in paint and hair dye, boxer shorts, and a ball cap advertising my kid’s elementary school. To crush even the slightest expectation of sexiness, I also don a large pair of Playtex rubber gloves.
In Bad Teacher, as well as any Whitesnake video, the vehicles are always shiny new luxury cars – Corvettes, Ferraris, Jaguars. There’s not a minivan in sight, especially nothing that resembles my filthy 1998 kid mobile. Cameron lovingly strokes each car with her large soapy sponge, even though the vehicles already appear to be squeaky clean. You never find her manically scrubbing mud-crusted hubcaps or individually scratching off the hundreds of yellow insect gut splatters off the windshield.
Perhaps it ended up on the cutting room floor, but you don’t actually see Cameron cleaning the inside of any car. I imagine the filmmakers could have had a field day with Cameron maneuvering an enormous vacuum hose, bending over car seats, discovering secret incriminating artifacts lost by her paying customers.
In reality, there is absolutely nothing sexy about cleaning the inside of a minivan. There’s cereal crumbs and raisins embedded in the carpet, sand clinging to seat crevices, windows streaked with sticky juice and sun block, ashtrays overflowing with candy wrappers and snot-filled Kleenex, and the overpowering stench of overturned milk and coffee creamer. A pine tree scented ornament can mask it for a day or two, but by the end of the week you realize why a mom with a minivan has every reason to cry over spilled milk.
One day, I’d like to see a movie that shows the truth of how totally unsexy a driveway car wash really is. Maybe when Cameron’s pushing 50 she’ll do a Bad Teacher sequel: Bad Tenured Teacher. She’ll wear rubber gloves, a muumuu, and begrudgingly scrub the aftermath of carsickness and potty training from her dented minivan. The only slow motion shot will be of her sobbing and lamenting her terrible lot in life. But instead of being rated R, this movie would be rated G. And McDonald’s will have a Bad Tenured Teacher tie-in and hand out plastic vomit and poo with each Happy Meal.