The small silver box on the clearance shelf read: Objectiv-Eye: Your Tool for Finding Beauty. Walter thought he had seen an infomercial about it. He picked up the box for closer scrutiny.
Have you ever ““ as a result of inebriation, medication, or other defect of mental faculty ““ believed that you have found an attractive mate, only to discover later that your assessment was woefully incorrect? Do you question the precision of your aesthetic acumen? Are you concerned that your mate may not be as beautiful as you deserve? The Objectiv-Eye is for you. Just point and Objectiv-Eye!
The pictures on the box showed what looked like a small camera, with a tiny lens on one side and an eyepiece on the other. From the side extended a display that could be swiveled to be viewed from any angle. An unseen man with well-groomed fingernails aimed the device at a bronze-skinned woman in a white bikini lounging poolside under a tropical sky. The display read: “Score: 9.6. 98th percentile in apparent age group. Pros: Strong Facial Bone Structure; Hip Proportionality; Hair Lustrousness; Clavicle Definition. Cons: Breast Asymmetry.” Walter turned the box over. A sticker touted the device’s utility.
Now with more functionality! Use the rotating display to see your results from any angle! And now you can perform direct comparisons of multiple subjects. Curious about how Mary stacks up against Jane? Or John against Jim? Objectiv-Eye both, and let Objectiv-Eye’s sophisticated processing algorithms guide you to the right decision.
Walter looked at the price tag. It was on sale ““ fifty percent off. He had been having second thoughts about Jessica. She was pretty, to be sure. But was she as pretty as Laurie? Recent text messages from Laurie ““ flirty and suggestive, Walter thought ““ made him wonder if she was interested in him. And there was the new girl at work, Monica. She had smiled at him several times in her first week; what if she was the best option?
Sleep easier knowing you have all the information. Trust Objectiv-Eye.
Walter read the instruction manual on the bus ride home.
For best results, Objectiv-Eye your subject from a distance of at least two feet, but not more than ten feet. Frontal exposure, allowing for a full assessment of facial features, breast size and shape (if applicable), and genital alignment (if applicable), will generate the best and most accurate readings.
Jessica made dinner that night. Walter sat in the living room with the device in his pocket while she pressed and flipped two sizzling, crackling pork chops in the adjacent kitchen. Walter needed to get Jessica to face him without realizing that he was Objectiv-Eying her. He walked into the kitchen and stood in the doorway.
“Yeah?” she said, still facing the stove.
“Turn around. Let me take your picture,” Walter said. “I’m trying out my new camera.”
She put down the spatula and turned, curtsied, and smiled. Walter fumbled with the device; he had not conducted a test run. Holding it at arm’s length, he pressed the “Evaluate” button. The Objectiv-Eye clicked and whirred to life. He quickly twisted the display so he, but not Jessica, could see the results. The screen lit up: “Score: 3.2. 13th percentile in apparent age group. Pros: Non-Obese Body Mass Index. Cons: Facial Asymmetry; Multiple Skin Defects; Poor Hair Quality; Oversized Head; Generally Poor Physical Constitution.”
It was just as he feared. Jessica was not the woman he had thought. He knew Laurie, or Monica, would score higher. As Walter considered the implications of the device’s findings, Jessica, still facing him, broke his concentration.
“What are you doing, anyway?”
“Just taking a picture of you.”
“Then why are you pointing the camera at yourself?” Jessica turned back to the sizzling pan.
Walter looked at the Objectiv-Eye and muttered a curse at the designer who made the eyepiece nearly identical to the lens.
He never enjoyed Jessica’s pork chops more than he did that night.
Matt Strada lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, son, and dog.